Friday, December 20, 2013

Obligatory End of the Year Reflecting

2013 has ben good to me in more ways than I can fully acknowledge. Hands down, its been one of my better years. I've been blessed in more ways than one through because of the individuals that have helped me get here. I couldn't have accomplished a lot of things without the support and aid of mah friends.

And yet at the same time, this year has seen me make growth and strides in my own individual independence. Having a space of my own has helped immensely in all of this. Job stability has helped me be more stable. Getting DACA has made things easier in terms of helping me navigate systems I already mastered.

And as I sit in this coffee shop, listening to Machine Head through my headphones, I look back at this year with no hesitations. I have privileges and freedoms not accessible to others, and for that I am thankful everyday of the year. I've had great times this year meeting with like minded folks and learning from each other at events and conferences. The more resources I have at my disposal, the better I can tell different stories and get information out there to folks.

I made the conscious decision to step and look away from activism and organizing for the better part, but not completely. Not having my life dominated by endless meetings, calls and planning for events/actions felt great. The fact that I could go home after work, have a quite dinner, grab a brew and peace out on some movies is the best.

I've reflected many a times in terms of where my place is in this all work and how I can continue to contribute more effectively, rather than passively. And as another year comes, I'm looking at being increasingly active again and being intentional about that work. I know what I can do and how I can help. But if spaces I'm in don't value that or can make use of it, then it's up to me to find spaces that can take advantage of my skills and resources.

I'll see what the coming year brings in terms of challenges and opportunities.      

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Corrido Tribute to Me

This was an "in the moment" kind of thing that happened after watching the horrible documentary "Narco Cultura."Pretty hilarious if you know me. Thanks to Jose and Zuriel for ignoring me and recording the song.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Of a Broken Hearted Mustache

As with anything, I can’t help the natural inclination to reflect on the anniversary of events. November is one of those months for numerous reasons, but for me, it marks the passing of another year with my mustache. The thing has a life of its own and is my most recognizable feature. I’ve met folks at conferences and events who’ve been able to spot me because of the damn thing, despite never having met me in person.

This November marks four years of growing upper lip hair. And while Movember seems like an obvious reason for me to have started growing bigotes in the first place, let me tell you that it’s not. Simply put, me growing a mustache was a result of having my heart broken for the first time and like any good heartbreak story, it’s a good one.

In the four years of having my magnificent mustache, I’ve shared this story with only a hand full of folks. The question of why I started growing one is something I’m use to, but I will usually say something that is funny and won’t have folks asking follow up questions after. So I would just say that I always had mustache envy, and that envy prompted me to grow one. And while that is one my reasons, it’s not the entire story.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Political Growing Pains

The act of being politicized was never something new to me, but taking action was. It’s only in these last few years that I have taken action in support, solidarity and/or against numerous issues. But the one issue that brought me into the fray of things was one that affected me directly and inherently, selfish. It was the Federal Dream Act. My foundation has been built on being selfish.

Up in till then, music, comics, video games and some television had sowed in me ideas, notions and ideals of social justice, but the connections were never made. There was never a spark to light something in me and push me to do something about it. More than anything, that was on me because I was and in many ways, still am a nihilist. My personal experience growing up left me longing for what I didn’t have and instead of doing something positive about it, I let it fester into something negative.

There was this one time at a party, someone was asking me which political figures I admired. Who were the folks that I looked up that helped me be socially conscious. The fact that I was cross faded aside, I replied by naming Peter Parker, The X-Men, and a few other fictional characters. When the same person asked me again when I was sober, I gave him the same answers. He thought I was yanking his chain, but I was just being honest. Fictional characters have more impact in my life than any individual you can think of.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tolerated Presence

Somewhere there’s a quote by some inspiring individual that I can drop here, about how it is easier in life to hate than to love. If you think of one, insert it here on your own, other wise I may have to use a star wars reference with Yoda. The thing about hating someone or thing, at its core, is lack of understanding. While obviously not an be all end all explanation, it suits my needs for this thread of thoughts. Thus I ask myself the question, why all the hate?

Hate of/for specific individuals, things, practices, things I can’t control, pass experiences etc. The most important question for me isn’t trying to find the cause or origin, but reflecting more on the active decision making process in which I acknowledge choosing negativity versus anything positive. I don’t deny past decisions I have made, once upon a time I may have, but not these days.

Hence, knowing and fully understanding what it means to put out bad juju in the universe, I consciously throw metaphorical rocks that have started and/or escalated beefs that could have been avoided and/or ignored. None of it does any good and it only furthers to alienate myself from whatever it is I’m trying to get away from and/or put down because I don’t agree with whatever thing I don’t agree with.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Not About That Life

You know, the last time I found myself caught in an existential transition that revolved around life milestones I was graduating high school. Everyone around me had some sort of plan on how they were going to move forward as one part of their lives ended and another started. Me, I had no plans. I just worked whatever jobs until I started going to community college. I’ve never planned ahead for anything because frankly, I never thought I would be alive this long to find myself in these kind of existential situations.

Part of it is that I gave up on myself when I was seven years old. I treated school and life like I job I hated, but had to go to. I went through the notions and did enough work so as to not be “fired.” And the Los Angeles Unified School District had no problem letting me go through the motions until I was no longer their concern.

I wanna say that part of it also involves my parents, but that’s just a cheap cop out. They fed me, put clothes on my back and a roof over my head. Anything after that is just being nit picky. But I don’t deny that my particular experience growing up and my relationship with my parents, or lack there of, does have its place in all this.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Redolence of Mexico

It’s true when someone says they can never go back to their home country after being in the United States for soo long. I can’t count how many times I’ve romanticized the few memories I have before leaving at the age of seven. As such, I’ve held on to them because I don’t ever want to forget where I came from, the things I did and what it was like to be a kid. No matter what, I can never go back to how things were then because I’m not seven anymore. Family has moved on and even the houses and land I once lived in may not be there anymore. Least not like I remember them.

I visit these memories now mostly as a courtesy to myself. I’ve built many more on top of those and as I get older, they’re becoming more and more vague. Like anyone else, I do my best to keep reminders around me or visit certain places to keep these memories alive. Wrestling mask is one of them.

Before I was born, my father was a luchador. He never made it beyond the warm up matches that got the crowd warmed up for the main event because of a shoulder injury, and because I was born. I can remember walking toward the entrance of the stadium. Seeing folks sell everything from cotton candy, tiny luchador action figures to wrestling mask. I can remember being in our seats, up high, looking down at the ring and hearing the babble of the crowds.

But the distinct smell of the mask has always been imprinted in my head. Over the years, I’ve come across numerous mask of all kinds, but none of them ever smell like the mask I remember having. In a sort of obsessed way, I’ve been looking for the kind of mask that you can only get in Mexico, hoping that someone brought them up here and they’re selling them. To this day, I’ve never found anyone that has’m, not like the ones that remind me of my childhood.

Recently, I had a friend offer me an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. His dad brought back a couple of mask directly from Mexico. The kind of mask I’ve been looking for all these years. When I finally got them in the mail, I couldn’t help getting emotional over them. Not only were they the mask of two of my favorite legends, Blue Demon and El Santo, but also the smell took me back to my childhood.

The texture of the material, they way they fit and even they way the mask feels against my skin; it was just as I remember it. It’s as if a part of me that was missing for all these years reattached itself. Part of me wants to wear the mask everywhere, but another just wants the have them on display, but either way, I’m over joyed at finally having my hands on them. The nostalgia of a scent from a time long ago, instantly brought back after all these years.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Classism While Being Undocumented

Inherently, we are taught and in many ways, shaped by our parents to be classist. Course this isn’t true for everyone, but lemme get down on this before you start rolling your eyes. The fact that our parents brought us to the U.S. for a “better life” laid the foundation for folks, whether they know it or not. I mean think about it, really think about it. Using myself as an example, my parents are borderline literate.

They’ve been in the US for more than 22 years now, and they haven’t learned English in any shape or form outside of short conversational words. There’s numerous factors thrown in the hat for that, but at the end of the day, my parents, like many others, were putting in time hustling to make a living and feed their kids. Education wasn’t a luxury they had neither in their home country nor in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This One Time When I Was 13

There was this one time when I was a teenager in junior high. For as long as I can remember, my father would always have the family working on whatever business we had at the moment. In Mexico, I remember that being that being a fruit stand in the tianguis (an open market). So when we got the U.S., it continued on. In this particular moment, my father had a new/used tire shop in South Central off Hoover and Slauson.

If I wasn’t in school, then more than likely I was with my mom and sisters at that infernal shop. This wasn’t his first shop either; at this point it was probably his second or third time operating one. For whatever reason, the man had to have us there with him at all times. My mom’z eventually told me that the reason he had her there was because of his insecure ways. If a woman has a job outside the home or is going to school, she’s only there to hook up with me. To this day his logic baffles me to no end, but I gave up trying to understand him years ago.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chosen Solitude

"Do not chase people. Be You & do your own thing & work hard. The right people that belong in your life will come to you & stay."~ Wu Tang

For sure, one of the hardest life lessons I’ve grappled with is chosen solitude. Learning to be alone in all the different aspects, in which that statement can take, shows strength of character. And for me, much like other life lessons, it was something that was worked on gradually.
But the driving force behind it wasn’t spiritual/religious teachings, advice from anyone or something I read in a book. Nah, all that existentialism can’t hold a candle to the immortal words of the great philosopher “Smokey.” In which he spoke these words and proclaimed across the land, “Fuck it.”

It’s hard for many to comprehend this unless they know this kind of life, or even the context of it within the first “Friday” movie. But in my time, I’ve found the courage and strength to move forward on numerous things by simply following that simple mantra. Whether it was asking a girl out, jumping into the deep end of a pool knowing full well I don’t know how to swim or just trying to make every day choices like having my eggs scrambled or over easy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Golden Age of being Undocumented

Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera - Photographer
“The days of hiding and switching names have long been over.” This is my reply to a friend who I helped out with an interview on community cultural wealth when they asked whether they should put my real name down or a pseudo name. After 2010, as Jose Antonia Vargas succinctly put it in his Time Magazine article, the Golden Age of being Undocumented fell upon us, but only for those within the dreamer/immigrant rights movement.

For me to say that we’ve been in a golden age the last three years without acknowledging the million plus people that have been deported, well it would be rather fucked up I should say. However, if you’ve been in the movement, the getting has been good. Folks moved into jobs at non-profits, working for officials, going to their plan B and getting married etc. etc.

A seminal transition of leadership within the movement toking place. Last time I saw this happen was in 2007, when first generation dreamers finished college and the real world beckoned. They suddenly found themselves outside their college organizing spaces, thus they created other spaces in which being in college wasn’t the only way one could participate. (A major key point here in So Cal that lead to the current political atmosphere that we have here AKA drama).

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I’m sorry. I wasn’t with you in the end like I thought I would be in the beginning. You remember that? You were born on a Monday with all your brothers and sisters. I remember seeing all of ya’ll in the house, at your mothers teet. I even remember when I was presented with you. And while I don’t remember taking you home on the day you were old enough, I remember everything else.

I remember how I asked my dad if it was ok to have a dog again. Of course when they saw you, who could have said no to you? Then I remember you becoming my responsibility because he changed his mind all of a sudden. I didn’t want to take you back. I wanted to do everything right by and I did. You saved my life back then Harley. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Born Day Reflections at 29

As cliché and unoriginal as they are, I enjoy these born day post. It’s typical to reflect at this point in time because it’s one of those life events in which an emphasis is placed on the passage of it, much like new years. Thoughts of what has gone on since this day was last acknowledged flood my mind, body and soul.

If I’m to look back on the year that I am going to be celebrating on July 22, I can look back with no regrets. Getting older was something I never gave thought to back in the day. My concerns were on just trying to make it to the next. But alas, this has been a blessed year. I’ve had the privilege of sharing it with beautiful friends who’ve I’ve shared a laugh, meal and beer with.

It’s through them that not only I’m still here, but flourishing. With DACA kicking in, getting my own apartment, having stability… I can’t complain about anything. I dated here and there, but past lessons have helped me keep clear of unhealthy relationships that I would have other wise found myself involved in. Shit, pondering about it just know… this is the most selfish I’ve been. Ever.

Monday, July 08, 2013


I had a four-day weekend thanks to the 4th of July holiday. No, I didn’t celebrate America’s birth, but I did take advantage of the free time that was given to me. I spent every single day drunk, waking up in the middle of the afternoon, and kicking it with the homies. Life is good to me right now.

Being dacamented sure is hard. NOT. Me having a good time has nothing to do with my immigration status, ever. More than anything, ever since I did receive my work permit, things have been easier in the sense of administrative changes. Paper work is no longer a huge round around, sure. And I no longer have to carry my passport when going to bars. Shit, DACA hasn’t changed my life.

But stability is something that has dramatically changed my life on levels a legal status in the US never could. Good lord baby Jeezus, 7 lbs 8 ounces, stability has eluded my grasp for as long as I can remember. Whether it was when I lived with my family or when I set out on my own, stability is a rare, almost mythical status that is the foundation in which everything else hinges on.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Growing Movement Pains

Over the years, I’ve met folks in the social justice movement who are complete tools and those who are entirely genuine and altruistic  In the beginning of it all for me, there was a simple notion that lead to me being politically involved, to help others the way I wasn’t. You see, by the time I was in high school, I had no motivation to do anything with the opportunities I had. I chose to focus more on what I couldn't do than what I could do.

My initial motivation for wanting to be part of a social justice movement was to help others with information. To share it with those that wanted and needed it. I lost track of how many workshops I’ve done in which I’ve explained how laws work in California to help undocumented high school and college students pay in-state tuition, where to look for private scholarships, look for resources and connecting with other student groups.

Monday, July 01, 2013

My Owm Meme

For anyone who knows me, ya'll know I love me some meme's. Thus, it was only a matter of time before I made the leap and become a meme myself. I give you, Bad Advice Erick. Of course it's nothing like the real thing. I don't expect it to go viral or anything of the sort, but it's something more for fun than anything. But that shouldn't stop ya'll from using it yourselves. Download the thing and share with me what ya'll come up with. Ya'll can tweet me pics: @ElRandomHero

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mick Foley fights for immigrants

Maybe I haven't said this enough, but I am a freakin' huge wrestling/rastling ever since I was a kid. Part of that is because my dad was a luchador when my family still lived in Mexico City. He went under the stage name, "Chamaco Montezuma" and he was moving forward with his amateur career, that is until two things happened. One: during a match, another guy took him out by way of dislocating his shoulder on a routine move. Second: I was born and with a family to support/being injured, he had to figure something out job wise.  

I've grown up on both Mexican and American wrestling over the years and have never stopped loving it. Fact of the matter is, I've learned to appreciate it as I grow older and crave for it sometimes. At its heart, wrestling is a kind of sports-theater. The elaborate costumes, trash talking and mask are all part of the show and mistic that goes along with this over dramatized soap opera.    

Part of the theatrics used on story lines often mirror those of events happening in mainstream society, and on this occasion, it's immigration reform. This is something that isn't new to the world of wrestling. The WWE currently has an on going story line between two wrestlers, one being against immigration and the other being an immigrant himself. Ironically enough, the Daily Show got on this and they have a hilarious bit with legend Mick Foley. So, if you have a problems with immigrants, you have a problem with Mick Foley son !!     

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Superman and his Immigration Status

It’s easy to see how and why Superman can be considered an undocumented immigrant. His origins mirror those of anyone forced to relocate from their home country to another because of outside factors and in Sup’s case, a dying planet. For decades, he’s embodied the spirit of America by upholding truth, justice and the American way, reflecting the origins his original creators had in mind and those placed on him by society throughout the years.

And while the details of who Superman is and how he got to earth have wavered, the fact remains that he is from another planet and he grew up in the United States, just like me. That is, if you consider Mexico another planet. I’ve lived in the US for 21 years as an undocumented immigrant and assimilated to the point of surpassing numerous negative stereotypes and low expectations placed on Latin American immigrants by US culture and society.

Like Superman, my views on society have grown and changed over time to see the inherit connection between all people of the world. Politics, policies and/or wars know no borders when it comes to creating situations in which individuals have no other choice but to migrate for a better life. When parents are faced with the choice between death and a better life, they’ll do whatever is needed to protect their children. Just as Superman’s parents did with him and my parents did with my siblings and me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


To be or not to be, that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them: to die, to sleep no more; and by a sleep, to say we end heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to?….

To say that this is an interesting transition is an understatement. For the last couple of months, I’ve seen others enthusiastically share pictures and updates as they got approved for work permits, ID’s and driver’s licenses. I’m no stranger to over sharing myself, and had I been in this situation a few years ago, I would have done the same thing. It’s a major transition for anyone that goes through it. Going from undocumented to being quasi-documented.

I would joke with friends about having a work permit party once I was approved, because the idea of throwing a party to acknowledge this transition is hilarious to me. Like throwing a pet a birthday party. But there’s no fan fare here. No facebook post, instagram picture (sort of) or semi-emotional status update in which I make a hollow vow to continue fighting for others and/or my family so they can have the same opportunities I have.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The demarcation of my values

Being positive is the hardest thing I consciously work on. Constantly. There are moments in which it feels like in pulling fingernails with pliers. To consciously be positive, both for others, and myself is tremendously strenuous. The incredible ease in which I can just hate, critic, and mock with the utmost disdain is indeed a conscious struggle. I like to think I’ve made some progress in how I handle situations, but it’s not enough. I still catch myself slipping here and there.

My intentions are not to silence or censor myself, but to be more critical and productive with this internal need to speak my mind, call out bullshit and have my own voice be heard in conversations. But even that in itself is incredibly selfish. This want to have a dominant voice, be acknowledged and valued as a source of wisdom and resources is something that I’ve been getting rid of because it turns into a gluttonous craving.

Hard to say how and why I’m like this now, and it’s not important right now. Not being able to see these qualities within myself has lead to questionable decisions on my part that ripple through friends and circles. My current priority is to stop them here and now. If I can do that, I can take the time I need to look back on how I got like this and start changing things from within.

No way will I ever force myself to fake being happy for someone I could careless about, but that doesn’t give me an excuse to be vindictive either. I can be genuinely happy for close friends and family when good things happen to and for them, but not to people who are at best, frequent acquaintances. The fluidity of relationships, like water, takes the shape of the container. The container will change and the water will take a new shape, but it’ll still be water at the end of the day. Unless that water is frozen and/or turned into a gas, then it takes on a whole new meaning from there. Now I'm just rambling.

The demarcation of my values escapes me. Like said water constantly changing containers, few things have been constant in my life, all except the help and support of friends. I think about that and realize that I have no reason nor excuse to be negative toward anyone given what I’ve gone through and whose gone through it with me. I’m blessed beyond count, but my ignorance blinds me to no bounds.

I’ve gotten use to throwing myself pity parties and being dramatic. In those moments, I knew of nothing else but that, but I’m glad to be learning other wise. Putting an end to destructive habits and creating positive one’s in their place has taken a lot of personal growth. Growth that wasn’t possible without the help of others.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Bourgy Values

In my life, I’ve assigned being bourgy to things I’ve never had the opportunity to try and/or explore. And because they were out of my reach for whatever reason, I figured that trying to get specific things or acting a certain way meant I’m selling out and that I’m ashamed of where I came from.

As is the case in other aspects of my life, I’m finding that selling out can mean many different things and that sometimes people can’t help be bourgy and/or sell outs because that’s all they know. And in all honesty, that’s totally fine. One can’t be blamed for how they’ve been raised and what habits form from that, but one can be held accountable for frontin’.

And that’s what it comes down to really. I can understand someone being poor all of their life, working hard to move up the ladder, leave the hood, sell out and have a baller life style. They’ve put in the time and made it happen. And they don’t deny it either. But the one’s who do the same thing and deny what they are doing, claim to be for the people and/or community and are just opportunist, those are the people I have beef with.

Then again, I’m still trying to make sense of all this and generally stay off the hateraid. But I can’t help ponder and entertain these ideas given the people I’m around sometimes. I know what I like and I enjoy it, just as others do the same. And I do respect that folks work hard for their money and if they wanna spend it at places I would never give I consider fancy, then that’s on them.

It just that there’s this nagging feeling of always having to worry about money. Knowing that while I could afford a $10 drink, part of me is going, “I paid $10 for this?” When I could have gone somewhere else and gotten more bang for my buck, you know. But there are days in which I do treat myself to whatever I want without stopping to think of price.

But at the same time, I don’t aspire to any of those kinds of places. I can appreciate them but that’s not me. I’m just there because the group is there and it’s only fair to sort of take turns in doing something they like and then doing something I like. I dunno, it just seems like I don’ fit in anymore and I’m finding comfort and stability in being independent, something that I never truly had before. The fact that I'm able to see the situation from a different perspective because things in my life are in a better place, helps out tremendously.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Assimilation Doesn't Equal Liberation

At one point in my life you may have heard me say that I want to be an American. And at that time, I meant it. But as with anything else, time changes things and I no longer desire to be American. There are several layers to that statement, but it basically comes down to assimilation doesn’t equal liberation.

English is technically my second language and the only reason I’ve adapted to the US is because I’ve spent the majority of my life here. The culmination of my time here has guided me to the kind of understanding I have today, that at the end of the day, all want is to be a citizen of the US, but I will never call myself an American.

I’ve invested in this countries system just as much as it has in me, and to not attain citizenship would be like giving up on everything I’ve gone through and worked for. It’s the principal of the whole thing. It’s principalities in this.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Help me get to Netroots Nation this year

Warning: Self Promotion Ahead

Occasional readers of this blog, I need your help. I'm trying to get to Netroot Nations this year. Netroots nations is, "We amplify progressive voices by providing an online and in-person campus for exchanging ideas and learning how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. Through our annual convention and other events, we strengthen the community, inspire action and serve as an incubator for ideas that challenge the status quo and ultimately affect change in the public sphere."

That being said, the scholarship competition works like a popularity contest. The folks with the most votes are given a scholarship to attend the conference. I applied last year and sadly, didn't make it  :( That's why I'm applying again this year, and doing a HUGE push, flexing my social media muscles.

So take 2 minutes of you time and CLICK THIS LIKE RIGHT HERE and vote for me. Once you do that, take to more minutes and vote for my home girls Nancy Meza and Meagan Ortiz. They both bring in something that is critically needed at these kind of conferences, woman of color in media.



Tuesday, April 09, 2013

La Santa Cecilia: ICE El Hielo

I've had the privilege of seeing La Santa Cecilia grow as a band. They'v been putting in work for the last couple of years and the community has supported their efforts at every step possible. At the same time, the band has returned that same kind of suppor by always playing at fundraisers, parties and marches. They're a band for the by people by the people and it shows through and through.

Their latest video, "El Hielo" is a perfect example of the bands commitment to supporting the fight for social justice through their music and art. The video is part of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network's campaign #not1more. The video hit close to the heart for alotta folks and it has some familiar faces for those that organize and do work here in Los Angeles and Arizona. If you haven't seen a LSC show in person yet, be sure to follow them on facebook and catch them next time they're playing near you.

Monday, April 01, 2013

How I learned English and American pop culture from the Simpsons

I’ve been re-watching old Simpsons episodes. I’m talking about the first 10 seasons or so, which are the classic episodes folks grew up with. I started watching them because I don’t have a TV or internet connection at home, so these old episodes help me zone out and by happenstance, revisit some childhood memories.

In the early days of when I fist arrived to the US, watching Saturday morning cartoons was one of the things that didn’t really change. In Mexico, I reveled in the time I got to spend in front of the TV watching the same shows everyone else watched, but in Spanish. I asked my mom about this once, and she told me about how I use to sing the Thudercats song when the show came on and I’d be swinging a sword while watching.

And like some latchkey kid, whenever I wasn’t in school, I’d be playing video game or watching TV with my younger sisters. There are too many shows to name that contributed to my mastery of the English language at an early age, but also a wealth of useless pop-culture knowledge that is increasingly becoming irrelevant with the passage time. All these nuclear family sitcoms also instilled false sense of what it meant to be “American,” social norms and what to expect out of universal experiences such as high school and college.

It took me a while to filter out all of the subliminal brainwashing that comes with pop-culture, leaving only a chewy, nugget center of nerdom and knowledge that has helped me navigate different paths throughout my life. Real fans of the Simpsons know that it was much more than a situational slapstick comedy. It parodied old movies, historical events and nuances that can be over looked if you don’t know what to look for.

To me, it’s happenstance that all of the gems dropped into every episode sank deep into my psyche and molded the foundation for my logic, sense of humor, sense of sarcasm and partly, my view on life. But this goes numerous other things such as some of my favorite movies, books, music, comic books, video games etc.

But what makes the Simpsons the exception is that I found the show at a time when I was starting to laying the foundation as I was learning English at home with the TV and at school with other kids.

I guess more than anything, as I laugh hysterically, I’m appreciating the true uniqueness of the show, noticing things I didn’t before and appreciating the simplicity of it all. That I learned English from watching shows like the Simpsons.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Word is Bond

Word is bond has been advice I’ve received in different variations and meanings at various points in my life. Each time I’m reminded of this basic concept and practice, the concept continues to grow and develop. Not only that, but like anything else, my interpretation of what this means and how it’s to be practice continue to change, and grow.

At it’s current interpretation, word is bond has meant keeping things to myself and holding back immensely in numerous shapes and forms. Having unfiltered thoughts stream directly means that balance and control are aspects of myself that I’m continuously working on. But nonetheless, I’ve been caught up in moments where I find caution being thrown into the wind and I wont’ feel good with myself unless I say what I need to say, right or wrong.

It’s from those lessons that I’ve been learning balance and control in my words and intentions, which are extensions of deeper concepts and ideals that are continuously shifting as well. But if there’s one thing that will never change is that no matter what gibberish comes outta my mouth, I stand behind everything I say and do, wrong or right.

It can be taxing to remind myself of what spaces I’m in and how much of myself I can truly share, and thus far, there’s never been a place in which I can truly be myself. I’m realizing that it’s up to me to create that kind of space in which the amalgam that makes me can be truly comfortable.

No man is an island entire to himself. Each part s a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as a manor thine own or thine friends were. Each man diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What I Think About Immigration Reform

It was the aftermath that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals brought on that showed me what I already knew, but still needed to go through in order to fully grasp it. Along with compiling and submitting my application. The flood of questions individuals had about the application process about what paper work was required, would they be able to travel abroad, how much it was going to cost, what if they had a criminal record etc.

DACA reminded me of how things are outside of the organizing/social justice bubble. I’ve been in it for a few years now, and while it may only take a moment to dig up the feelings of the days before I was even aware of social justice, I see myself doing the same as others, just getting mine and not worrying about any else.

The different manifestations of barriers individuals face when applying became apparent. Whether it was language, meeting requirements, or even making sure you fit within the specific qualifications, it showed how desperate people can be when the opportunity to move forward presents itself.

Monday, March 11, 2013

LA to the Valley Unity Ride 2013

Continuing to build and foster relationships with groups and communities in the Southern California area, the 2013 LA to the Valley Unity ride aims to strengthen the bonds and ties between LA and San Fernando Valley.

Just as we have done in the last two rides with Orange County, this bike ride is intended to connect folks from different communities together through cycling. Seeing our cities from a different perspective and appreciating our diversity, making the ride a growing experience.

This year’s ride will be on Sunday April 28th at 9 am. It will start from the Los Angele Angeles Historic park and end at Tia Chuchas. The route will take us through the LA River bike trail and the San Fernando Valley.

Registration is $20 and it covers lunch, dinner, snacks, and bike mechanic support throughout the entire ride. If you would like to pay for registration online, send us an email at and we will send you the pay pal link.

If you do not have access to online payment, let us know in the space provided in the registration form and we will coordinate with each individual as they sign up.

You must register in order to participate in the ride. If you are under 18, email us so we can send you the form your parent/guardian will need to sign and bring the day of the ride.

Registration will close on April 17th. After that, there will be a three day grace period in which registration will go up to $25. If you do not register for the event by April 19th, you will not be allowed to participate in the ride and will not receive any kind of support or food.

As in previous years, we are also going to need the support of volunteers to make this event happen. If you are going to be available the day of the ride, please get in contact with us at

We are going to need volunteers in the following areas:

Ride Marshalls
Bike Mechanics
Setting up lunch
Setting up dinner

If you have any questions regarding the ride, participation or volunteering, contact us at UNITYRIDE2013@GMAIL.COM

Los Angeles Contact: Erick Huerta 323 638-9043 (text or call)
San Fernando Valley Contact: Salvador (818) 626-2271 (text or call)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Personal Space

It's funny how as soon as I moved into my own apartment, a friend was bewildered as to why I didn't immediately write about it in this blog. I got a good laugh outta it. Not that it should be surprising, but folks that know me can set their clocks to some of my habits.

Initially, I wasn't gonna write about moving into my own apartment. I felt it was to obvious and predictable, but after talking to a few folks about the experience and transition, I felt compelled to share my thoughts now. It was talking it out with folks that I started seeing things from another angle that is unseen to me.

So the gist of it is that I have my own apartment. It comes with crazy loud neighbors who scream and get into fights at all hours of the night. Roaches that seem to come out of thin air and decor that could be suitable for a straight to DVD horror movie. But it's all mine. I'm no longer crashing on someones couch, sleeping on their floor, sharing a room with three or more individuals, over staying my welcome, taking quick showers, taking up space or any of the stuff I've experienced all these years.

Not to mention the fact that never in my life have I ever really had my own space. I've always shared it with family, friends or room mates. The fact that I'm the only person staying in the little room seems like a foreign concept at times, but it's a big step forward for me.

Through the stable job that I currently have, I'm able to be more independent that I've ever been in the past. And I'm truly enjoying the experience. For the last few days I've been going through my stuff and cleaning things out and rediscovering others. I finally have chance to hang all of the art work I've been keeping in storage for years.

At the same time though, I have countless friends who've supported me and helped me get where I am right now. At on point or another, they offered their couch, rooms and floor for me to crash on for days,  weeks and months. They've been there when it counted the most and because of that support, it makes my place that much more meaningful.

Even today, I had help running some errands and picking up a fridge from a second hand store. I guess when I stop to think about things and how much I've been able to grow in the last couple of years, I'm glad that I'm still moving forward and making progress. No matter how hard things get, as long as I can continue moving forward, everything will come into place sooner or later.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Art from an Undocumented Perspective

Needless to say that I'm an avid supporter of art in all shape and forms, specially when it's coming from folks who are adding their voices to a grandeur of the fight for social justice. Recently, Educators 4 Fair consideration, an amazing organization based in the Bay, announced the winners for their national contest, "Things I'll Never Say." The contest encouraged undocumented young people in the U.S. to share their immigration stories in creative ways, whether it was through poetry, spoken word, art etc.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Criminalizing Reform

I love going on the Huffpost Live. They hit me up for the most random conversations at all hours, which I don't really mind because I can always work around them since I'm on west coast time. And I will say that it's usually a cute girl from their offices trying to get me to be on the panel.

Anyway, I participated in a conversation about what immigration reform will mean for the border to prison pipeline that currently incarcerates thousands of immigrants for extended periods of time for civil infractions. Folks are held in for profit detention centers that make more money the more folks the house. It's something I've talked about in the past and is getting more and more attention as immigration reform is at the fore front right now in congress.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shedding Notions of Regional Attachment

You know, it wasn't until I got outside of my bubble and experienced new things, that I finally realized that living in one place all of your life isn't the best idea in the world. For various reasons, I have spent my life in Los Angeles and no where else. My family moved around a lot growing up, following work. So the notion of being in one place for more than a year was something I wanted to aspire to. To plant roots and let them sink in.

I've never had the opportunity to travel anywhere, aside from areas where there was family. As with a lot of other things in my life, ideas, notions and beliefs I held on to for lack of not knowing anything beyond them, are changing dramatically.  I keep on opening my self to new ideas and concepts that are helping me grow as an individual. Ideas and concepts that seem to be taking me to other places.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Taco Life Moments

Finding myself at a taco truck is nothing new. Fact is, it's almost an everyday thing for me, ever since I was a kid. It's a kind of life style I've been a part of from both sides of the truck, if you will. Yet, every once in a while, I'll be reminded of everything else that I get at taco trucks, beside food.

I think that having the ability to walk up to any taco truck or stand, to greet everyone warmly, have a conversation while the food is prepared, and leave both content in that you are full, but also in that you connect with strangers over tacos, is an ability that can't be comprehended by everyone.

Whenever I find myself at a taco truck/stand and I have those moments of connecting with folks over food, sharing tid bits of our personal lives like where we're from, how long we have been in the US and personal thoughts/commentary on what is going on with immigration reform, I truly feel at peace with myself.

I realize that I have access to folks that help keep me grounded and tell hilarious dirty jokes. At the same time, I'm reminded of my parents every time I have 'taco life' moments. Familiar faces and scenes like deja vu, standing on a corner, mouth full of carne asada, the sound of cars passing by, the meat cleaver chopping meat, the look of hungry faces. It's a symphony or sorts that can only ever be replicated by happenstance. And yet, I pity those who have never had the opportunity to have a taco life moment.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Immigration Reform Memes

Sweet Brown breaking it down 

Between Republicans, the President and everyone else and their momma talking about immigration reform, I thought to myself, why hasn't anyone made any memes about what's being said yet? So guess who had the bright idea to start making some? This guy right here. I gotta admit, I out did myself on some of these cause not only are they hilarious, but they're also on point.

Some of the banter being used in the conversation about immigration reform, is that what is being proposed now, is similar to what was proposed in 2007 and in 2010. Those were different times and immigration reform needs to reflect the realities of the present. That being said, we didn't have memes back in 07 or 2010. So, I offer ya'll all of the memes I have 'created' up to this point. Feel free to share on social media networks. You'll notice that my affinity for grumpy cat knows no bounds.

Huffington Post video on me talking about access to higher education for undocumented immigrants

I was on the Huffington Post Live again, this time talking about access to higher education for undocumented immigrants. It's 30 minutes long and I end up dominating a chunk of the panel toward the end. Although, I noticed the other day that I say 'umm' a lot.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Immigration Reform messaging that excludes rather than include

From my homie Nancy Meza: "Frame Shift when talking about immigration : We do not need to "fight for our parents " this immigration round we need to INCLUDE OUR PARENTS AND COMMUNITY IN THE ORGANIZING AND DECISION MAKING IN THE FIGHT FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ! come on most of our parents were more savvy and brave at the age of 18 than we will ever be , lets give them that credit .... they deserve it , they know and understand whats going on :)"

Over the last couple of years of being around the immigrant rights movement and seeing how the wheels in the machine turn, I've had my share of issues with how things got done, what was being said, and how it was being said. Inherently, it's going to happen because even though we're all working for the same goal, we all have different ideas as to how to get there.

And with the 'fight' for immigration reform already gearing up, the messaging coming from non-profits, organizations and others is one that excludes folks, rather than get them personally involved and invested. So much rhetoric and messaging is pushed with the idea that 'we need to fight for these people.' Not in those exact words, but that's what I take away from it. 'THESE, THOSE, THEY, THEM PEOPLE.' I hate that shit.

And while I have my issues on how and what is said, like everyone else, I'm working and fighting for immigration reform that won't condem the majority and only allow a select few qualify for permanent residence and citizenship. But all of that is overshadowed by weak messaging that doesn't get anything across other than to annoy who ever is on the receiving end of that message.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hyper Local Activism

Ever have an epiphany that was right in front of your face the whole time, but you were clueless in seeing it? That's how I feel right now. Since last year, I've been reflecting on my role in the social justice movement I have chosen to be a part of. To fight not only for myself, but for others in whatever shape or form that may be. But I've never been one for the big picture. All the stuff that happens on a larger scaled never really called my attention.

Having been part of different campaigns at different levels and aspects, I've gotten an opportunity to see how things work and where I can plug myself in. When I first started out, I was taking on other roles that helped me develop in areas that haven't caught up to the rest of me. It helped immensely in helping me grow and become well rounded, but it also helped me focus on what I want to do specifically, which is communications.

In the neighborhood that I live in, Boyle Heights, I was able to become a sort of hyper local reporter/blogger. It was easy for me to write about the neighborhood I lived in because I knew what was going on at any given time. That helped me earn a reputation as a resource of things going on around the hood and of things coming down the pipe line.

Never did I once think to combine both my activism and journalism work in such a way that they both become one. If anything, for the last few years I've been double dipping and doing things here and there, but never fully combining the two and going with it. The idea of being a hyper local activist is something that I'm liking the more I say it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Migration is Beautiful

Artist Favianna Rodriguez is featured, along with other talented artist, on the lastest trend of art that is bringing attention to immigration. I've known of Favianna's work for years now, but it was great to see other artist she works with featured in the 3 part video series for Voice of Art. The videos highlight numerous aspects of what causes immigration, how laws and policies are directly affecting folks, but also the movement that is fighting those very same policies and laws. One of the highlights of the videos was putting the spot light on the Undocubus and the actions they held all over the south.

You can check out the rest of the videos here:

Video 2
Video 3

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Finding Love on Public Transportation

In all of my time riding public transportation, there's one idea that I've always romanticized, falling in love with someone I met on public transportation. It's the kind of thought that brings a smile to my face because part of me believes it. That on a random day, I'll be going on about my business, but somewhere along the way, I'll meet this beautiful woman, we'll talk and by coincidence, both get off at the same spot. Needless to say I've given this idea a lot of thought.

But the realities of public transportation don't lend themselves to the kind of romance I want from a woman. I've heard countless stories on the horrors women endure while on public transportation. Groping, perverted old men staring, cat calls, even threats of violence and rape. No, I'm afraid that when I see women on public transportation, all I see is the face they have to put up to deal with all the crap that goes their way.

A simple smile won't do here. Hell, even trying to talk to them is a challenge in itself because folks just wanna get to their stop and not have to deal with anyone along the way. Alas, I just keep to myself and smile a non-perverted smile when I make eye contact with women on public transportation. Besides, this notion of finding 'love' on the bus/train is one that comes from a place of privilege as a man. I don't deal with any of the nonsense women have to deal with, so of course it's easier for me to romanticize an everyday, uncomfortable situation women have to put up with.

Still, the idea that in a city this big, we both just happened to be on the same bus, made eye contact, talked to each other enough to peek interest and follow up with lunch. And the rest is history from them. Sigh ....

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

30 Days: Immigration

Most folks will remember this episode of Morgan Spurlock's short lived tv show, "30 Days." This is the episode that has a minute man living with a family for 30 days. There's nothing in this episode groundbreaking or of highlight for the episode, other than it was filmed in 2006, when immigration was being discussed in congress and families were taking to the streets in marches. The family featured in the show also lives in my neighborhood of Boyle Heights and one of the girls featured went to the same high school I did, Roosevelt High. Things have changed dramatically since then to say the least.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Couch Drifting

It's going on six years now that' I've been doing the couch surfing thing. I started reflecting on these last six years through a fever induced dream I had the other night that was in turn inspired by an earlier conversation I had with the current people I'm staying with. The dream was a trip and a lot of things kept coming back again and again. Mostly how I've been a perpetual house guest this whole time and the eventual moment when I know I've over stayed my welcome and have to bounce to the next couch. Something I've become an expert at.

Looking back through the majority of my life, it seems I've always been drifting in the most existential and literal sense. My parents never could stay in one place too long growing up and it continued on when we got the to the US. The reasoning always changed, but the moving didn't. My current life right now is one that has been built upon happenstance and as such, it's no wonder it's taken me this long to even find any kind of stability that I've never had.

I gave up asking and wondering the whys of things, rather, just going with the flow of things. This has afforded me once in a life time experiences that I can never give back, for better or worse. But after living like this for all these years, I'm finally in a place where I can finally stand on my own. I have the capacity to be in my own how and not a house guest. Not taking up space, annoying others or being an awkward inconvenience to have around. That's something I won't miss at all.

And while it won't be easy, by the simple fact that I have finally reached a level on independence I should have reached long ago, I wouldn't have been able to do the things I've done, meet the people that I've met and most importantly, never would have made the friends that I treasure with all my heart. But we'll see how things go, there's a lot more awkward moments to come before everything comes to a close, so I'll just have to go with the flow.