Monday, May 24, 2010

Green card marriages

I've babied that thought over the years a few times. Both for logistical and personal reasons I don't think I could do it as a sham, but if it was real, then that's different. However, if I ever did go through with it, I would imagine it would be like all those movies about green card marriages, in which two people meet so one doesn't get deported, they lie to the government and their case manager, try to live with each other and eventually, fall in love by the end of the movie and live legally and happily ever after. Us immigrants get into the most kooky situations to stay in the U.S. No wonder they make movies about it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

3 years later

When May rolls around, one thing that comes to mind is the job. I started working where I'm at right now on May 15 or 17 in 2007. I took it because I needed it and because I had no other choice really. I have seen things that at times have made me loose hope in my fellow human beings. I have seen the face of racism and ignorance. I have seen the problems of this country and taken their order. I write about these experiences and will forever hold on to them because I know the truth about people. I know how they really are and I will never forget that. I use it as fuel to push me through life so I will never become like that. I wrote a poem about during my lunch break.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reporting with ganas

Do I look freaking awesome or what ? As a lover of art, I can't thank Ernesto Yerena for including me in his serious of works for his upcoming show in November called "Ganas 2020." Ernesto is an amazing visual artist, as you can see and is one of the most down people I know. He let's his work do the talking for him and is always there supporting the community with his art, presence and support. I consider it an honor to be able to know him and call him friend. I'm also ecstatic about what his future will bring both to his art and the community. Most of you recognize his work from the "We Are Human" campaign stickers and posters seen at marches. Thanks for making me look pretty damn good Ernesto. And for all the ladies out there, I'm single, bilingual and ready to mingle :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tam & Cinthya's memorial at UCLA/Civil Disobedience in AZ by 3 undoc students

On Saturday night, around 1 a.m. I woke up. I felt weird and thought it was time to go to work because I went in at 6:30 a.m. I looked out my window and saw a red sky. Then I remembered a line from the Lord of the Rings movie, "It's a red sunrise. Blood was shed this night." During the rest of the day, I attributed that wake up call as a prelude to my mom being arrested. It wasn't until I got home and checked twitter that I found out what happened to Tam and Cinthya. I realized that when I woke up, it was because I felt the disturbance in the force when the accident happened. When their lives transcended from this life into the next.

Their memorial was a celebration of the lives they lived, the activist they are and the friends they touched on their journey of life. Everyone got to know both of them just like their closest friends know them and will forever remember them. I know I did. It was hard to see everyone feel soo much pain from their leaving, but it was a joyful kind of pain. They were in that room today supporting and comforting everyone.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


When I contemplate about life when it happens or I find myself at a cross roads, I look to my patron saint, Peter Parker aka Spider-man. I think to my self,  what would Spider-man do ? For as long as I can remember, I have always used humor to sort of diffuse a situation. I once almost broke my ankle, and after they got the dirt bike off of me, I joked that my wipe outs aren't as funny when they hurt. Everyone got a good laugh. Yet, when I got a text from my sister saying that my mom was arrested by police, I couldn't find anything funny to say. I just froze and thought to my self, no. This isn't happening. This only happens to other people. Other families. Not mine. Not my mom.

One lesson I've learned in life is that you stand by your decisions. If you decide to do something, you take everything that comes along with that decision. The good and the bad. My mom knows what she does. She knows that in Los Angeles it's illegal to sell food without a proper permit. She's never had run in with police because she wasn't a normal street vendor that was mobile. She sells tamales in front of a path way where we use to live a few years ago. Before her our aunt sold there because she lived there before we got there and she herself sold tamales at another local popular spot at night. She was doing it since the early 90s, for mare than 20 years.

Metal legend Ronni James Dio R.I.P

He's been fighting stomach cancer the last few years. This is a huge loss in the metal community. Dio was a trail blazer and was known for his power house vocals. Dio took metal back to a medieval era, with swords, dragons, magic and operatic story telling and vocals. He's best known for associating the metal horns with metal music, back when he was with Heaven and Hell. Music is a huge and vital part in my life. I live and breath musically for Heavy Metal. I learned alot from listening to this music and will always have tremendous respect and admiration for it. It's a huge loss, but that is life, and I think Dio knew that more than anyone. Now, he's probably signing vocals and fronting the greatest band in the universe with dimebag, hendrix, Pual Bonum, Jim Morison and all the other greats that have transitioned to the next life. One day I'll be front row to see the greatest concert of all time.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The worst day of my life: my mom gets arrested and DREAM family passes on

“Las Tres Muertes,” the three deaths. Ofelia Esparza says that in life we all go through three stages of death: the day we die, the day we are buried and the day we are forgotten. She said that the worst death a person could go through is dying and not being remembered for who they were and how they lived." 

I think today might possibly be the worst day I have ever faced in my entire life time. And I'm not being dramatic. Earlier in the day, my mom was arrested by local police because she sells tamales. She's a street vendor. She and my aunt have established their spot and tamales for the last two decades. People know them and love them, that's why they've been able to sell for more than 20 years. Even when my mom moved away for two years, people would ask me about her and joked that they missed her tamales. When she finally did return to her spot, everyone came back, as if she was never gone.

At the same time, I got home after work today only to find out through twitter and facebook that Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix have made the transition into the next life. I wanted to believe that it was another Tam, not the one I knew. But as I kept reading more and more it started to sink in that it was her. The Tam that inspired me to do the work I do for the DREAM Act. The same Tam that I first heard about doing all these amazing things with all the other UCLA IDEAS folks way back in the day. They inspired me to continue on and fight. I met Tam a few times, I told her about my blog and she said she would check it out. I was star struck the first time I met her. I was like, "It's Tam !!." It's a sick joke that they died in a car accident.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Moving The "Movement" Forward

Breaking up with someone is an experience that everyone has experienced one way or another. When two individuals connect on deeper, more profound levels, trusting each other and sharing their feelings, deeply rooted connections are made. Those connections became like nerves in some relationships. If they're fragmented or cut, the pain is unbearable for both parties. That's what I saw today, nerves, roots and connections that have been severely fragmented by time and miss-communication, opened up again and sanitized and prepared so they can be closed, and so they can finally heal.

The "movement" here in California has been around way before I was even out of high school. By "movement," I mean the fight for immigrants rights and all the different shapes and forms it has taken over the years. For you see, the current "movement" I'm a part of, the DREAM Act and immigration reform, started in 2001 when AB 540 was introduced and passed in 2002, along with the first version the DREAM Act. I have had the pleasure and honor in meeting and talking to people who have been with the "movement" since those days. They fought to get that work done and they were there when it was all said and done. They have put in work and helped pave the way for the DREAM movement.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ethnic Studies banned in AZ

I saw this clip of AC 360 over at Immigration talk with a Mexican American. Great blog, check it out. Sigh, I really don't know what to say anymore about what is going on in AZ. Part of me understands that there is a problem in AZ and that people are fed up about it. Nothing has happened, so they've taken it upon themselves to fix those problems. The problem with that is that some of these people shouldn't be the ones making these calls. It's like all of a sudden, people in AZ are calling out anything that isn't "American" or promotes the ideals of "America." Those ideals and values of course being changed and reworded to promote whatever change they're trying to make so they can say they have the values of America in mind when enacting these laws.

One of the main arguments that Tom Horn uses is that "Raza" studies does nothing but teach kids that they are oppressed and to feel like shit, more or less. He also mentions that once kids take these classes, they become problematic because in classes they are taught to be proud of their race. His argument, more or less, is that school systems shouldn't teach ethnic studies because it doesn't promote unity within the educational system. While his points maybe some what true and not complete BS pulled out of a hat, if regular school curriculum incorporated the history taught in these ethnic studies classes, then they wouldn't be needed right ?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Your name is Toby

I believe it was Mr. Steve-O from Jackass that once said that even though the stunts he does do hurt, he can't imagine the what kind of pain and damage other people do to their souls going to a job they hate and/or can't stand. Ditto. As I made my way to my job this morning I couldn't stop thinking about what I did all week. Going to school, meetings, planning events etc. To cheer myself up, I saw Iron Man 2 at midnight and the next day I saw the play, "A Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo." An amazing play that I highly recommend to any that is in L.A. or will be in a city that will be playing it near them. I can't say enough about how amazing it was.

At my job, I think a lot. I think about the people I see there, my co-workers and things I have to do. Today I spent the entire day taking peoples orders and scrubbing floors. I also contemplate there a lot because of all the contradictions I see within myself, within others and the world around me. As I was riding my bike home, I saw the guys that drive around in a truck cleaning the trash cans on side walks. One of the guys finds a pair of women's panties, smells them and then wears them on his head, laughing with his co-worker. I laugh out loud and they notice. Funny stuff.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


"I don't think I deserve the scholarship more than anyone else, in fact they probably need it more than I do."
~ What I said at an interview for a scholarship Last week.

"Sometimes I don't even bother applying to some scholarships because I've already talked to a bunch of other people that are applying for it. Plus, I already have one for the fall, and I don't wanna be greedy because the pool of scholarships undoc students can apply for is extremely limited."
~ What I said to someone last night.

There are some days man when you get kicked down when you are already down to begin with you know. It's like, alright this happened, it's cool you know. Just forget about it, you have other stuff to take care of. That's what happened when I went to a workshop today about a scholarship that  I would apply for, if I qualified for financial aid or could prove how broke I really am. Just a month ago I got assed out from another scholarship worth a few thousand bucks because of the same reason. Then I get home and get a letter that says that I didn't get another scholarship that I thought I had in the bag. Guess that's what I get for being cocky about it huh ? 

Way to fuck with me there universe. That's a good one. If anything, my bank is going to charge me that $35 overdraft fee for that $1.54 I went over this weekend. Wouldn't that be awesome huh ? Yet, my problems are nothing compared to those of others. I just like to think and feel that it only rains on me. After all, this is why I created this writing space in the first space. At this point, whatever opportunity presents itself for me to become legal, I'm taking it. I need not concern myself with pride for trying to get the DREAM Act pass anymore and see in all the way through. Fuck that man. How can I help others when I can't help myself ?  

Sunday, May 02, 2010

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

What if you had the power to do more ? If you could stop the suffering of countless others with a single sacrifice of yourself, would you take it ? Could you ? Do you think you're that strong enough to do it ? Could you handle everything that would come before and after ? The mixing of fear and anticipation combined with excitement and compassion. Could you carry a mountain of DREAMs ? These thoughts have crossed my mind before, on several occasions actually. This sense of superhero-ism that I romanticize because that's the kind of world I live in.

A world in which the people in my life never inspired me to take action the way comic books and fictional characters do. I live my life through superhero analogies. It's how I break down and understand the world around me. Which is why I was never one for religion. Over time I have come to understand and accept that there are forces beyond my understanding guiding and protecting not only me and my family, but the people around me as well. I have tried to search for those higher powers that go under different names by different people, but it lead me to understand that my life, the way I live it and the way it is guided falls more under the Buddhism tree.I live my life by their teachings, whether I knew it or not and I'm more receptive and understanding through it.