In 2013 I took part in Sam Quinones‘ Tell Your True Tale workshop at the East Los Angeles Library. Our stories were published and are available for purchase here. Volumes 2 (click here) and 3 (click here) are also available for purchase.These workshops are open to the public, free of charge.
“Who are you?” “California’s future leaders!”
In the first half of high school I moved without purpose. The only goal I had in mind was college but no real plan on how to get to college. I knew the college application process from my older brother and the UCLA Early Academic Outreach Program counselors at South Gate High School but I lacked the motivation and drive to do more than just my classes to prepare for college. I was involved with an environmental justice group in Southeast Los Angeles and two mariachis (South Gate High School’s and our own group) and spent the rest of my time in school, reading, playing video games, or (in the second half of my sophomore year), with my then girlfriend.
The summer of 2005 was a strange time for South Gate: for the first time in over two decades, all of its high school students had a summer vacation. South Gate High School’s position as the only high school in South Gate for over 70 years was about to end. South East High School was set to open in September 2005, taking with it about a third of South Gate High School’s students, along with South Gaters attending Jordan High School in Watts and those bussed out of South Gate due to overcrowding. The days of summertime school for two-thirds of South Gate high school students were over. For the first time in my life, I had a summer vacation.
I think it was for that reason that my older brother pushed me to apply to the 2005 Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP) in Sacramento. He knew that I needed motivation I was not going to find by checking out books from the library or staying around South Gate. All I had lined up that summer were two summer school classes to fulfill graduation requirements and a free August.
The CLYLP promised me a week away from home with other students from California, most of us Latino, and learn about college and expose us to Chicano/Latino professionals. My first summer camp.
What I got was so much more. Read the rest of this entry »
I write to let you know that a story of mine was included in a book. I participated in journalist and author Sam Quinones‘ Tell Your True Tale workshop at the East Los Angeles Library over the past few months. Our nonfiction stories were collected and published in this book, which you can buy as a paperback or Kindle edition via Amazon.
The stories by seven first-time authors — of braceros, mariachis, bus riders and vets — are tremendous and reflect East Los Angeles and similar neighborhoods in a profound way. My story is a polished version of a story that first appeared in this site.
Tell Your True Tale aims to get new writers working on stories about their own lives, or the stories of those close to them. Stories that are true but read like fiction are the goal.
Please take a moment to check out the book, buy it in the form you prefer, and share it with others!
We’re planning an event in Los Angeles in the coming months. I’ll let you know about it..
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
This is my last post for LAist.
In the grand U.S. tradition of co-opting ethnic pride as an excuse to get totally blotto, this weekend bars and dorm rooms across the United States have been celebrating the Mexican Army’s 1862 defeat of invading French imperial forces (nevermind Mexico’s subsequent defeat and status as French colony for three years). Drinko de Mayo, Gringo de Mayo, whatever you call it, is what Gustavo Arellano calls a “mestizo St. Patrick’s Day.” This weekend will be the only time of year mainstream U.S. will want to be Mexican, putting on fake bushy mustaches, wearing sombreros and listening to Antonio Aguilar lament about being away from his homeland.
Amid cheers of “¡Sí se puede!” and “¡Viva Sal Castro!”, family, friends, former students, contemporaries and numerous admirers gathered this morning at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for Sal Castro’s funeral mass.
You can read my remembrance of Sal Castro here.