Inside 826LA's Words, Spoken workshop

Education with Imagination: 826LA innovates student services

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart

If you’re a time traveller about to go gallivanting into the medieval times, you should stop by the Echo Park Time Travel Mart to pick up any last-minute chain-link armor or bottled humors.

The playful time travel-themed storefront doubles as the entrance to the main room of 826LA, the Los Angeles branch of the national 826 non-profit organization that provides both on and off-site writing and tutoring support for kids ages 6 to 18.

Each branch has an idiosyncratic storefront, eccentrically themed and stocked. They follow a tradition stemming from the original site’s pirate supply store at 826 Valencia – conceived because the building happened to be licensed to the organization as a business.

The whimsical storefronts attract community members who learn about the 826 upon exploring the interior while sales from specialty items alongside student work help fund the non-profit organization.

Off-site, 826 helps local public school teachers develop or work with existing curriculum to facilitate the student progress.

Former high school teacher Joel Arquillos’ social studies class at the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco was

one of the first that 826 teamed up with to provide in-class support for four years.

Arquillos, a 39-year-old Eagle Rock resident, remembers when his class participated in 826’s Young Authors Book Project in 2005.

Over the course of the school year, students wrote and published a collection of family legends, titled “Home Wasn’t Built in a Day.” Actor and comedian Robin Williams funded the project, wrote the book’s forward, and much to students’ disbelief, attended the kick-off event and final release of the book.

Now the executive director of 826LA, Arquillos said that on top of providing the in-class support, and free community workshops and after-school tutoring services on-site, 826LA hopes to improve outreach to high school students by offering them services tailored to their needs.

One way Arquillos said the organization hopes to do so is through direct communication. Michelle De Leon, a 16-year-old student at Downtown Magnet High School in Los Angeles, serves along with fellow high school teenagers as part of 826’s Youth Advisory Board.

De Leon has experienced first-hand the resources 826LA offers. She and her friends approached the organization with a proposal to publish a fashion magazine.

826LA did not only provide tools to print the magazine, but brought in professional writers and editors to guide them through their first publication, even throwing them a launch party for the magazine’s debut.

826LA’s impressive services consistently go above and beyond. The organization manages to encourage students to develop their creative writing skills with fun, engaging activities, and tangible results. According to Arquillos, in just five years, 826LA has served over 10,000 students.

In an 826LA field trip, classes come out to the writing lab where they’re met by the voice of Mr. Barnacle, a particularly finicky editor – played by an unseen volunteer – who hates clichés and demands original work.

A professional artist illustrates the stories as volunteers type them up. In two hours or less, each student leaves with a bound book as a published author.

Paulina Aguilar, 826LA intern and fourth-year UCLA sociology student, volunteers an average of 15 to 20 hours a week at 826LA East, the organization’s Echo Park location.

Aguilar said she feels lucky to have found a venue that allows her to connect with students and enjoys fostering their creative growth.

“We’re all there to be cheerleaders, encouraging them and complimenting them along the way,” she said.

From her first visit to 826LA in March, she immediately saw how committed the organization is to serving children and knew right away she wanted to be a part of it. Almost half a year later, Aguilar said she still remembers feeling a child-like amazement at the quirky and unique space.

As De Leon put it, “Impossible doesn’t exist here. There’s always room for more.”

Get involved!! Learn more at 826la.org

Inside 826LA's Words, Spoken workshop

Education with Imagination: 826LA innovates student services

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart

If you’re a time traveller about to go gallivanting into the medieval times, you should stop by the Echo Park Time Travel Mart to pick up any last-minute chain-link armor or bottled humors.

The playful time travel-themed storefront doubles as the entrance to the main room of 826LA, the Los Angeles branch of the national 826 non-profit organization that provides both on and off-site writing and tutoring support for kids ages 6 to 18.

Each branch has an idiosyncratic storefront, eccentrically themed and stocked. They follow a tradition stemming from the original site’s pirate supply store at 826 Valencia – conceived because the building happened to be licensed to the organization as a business.

The whimsical storefronts attract community members who learn about the 826 upon exploring the interior while sales from specialty items alongside student work help fund the non-profit organization.

Off-site, 826 helps local public school teachers develop or work with existing curriculum to facilitate the student progress.

Former high school teacher Joel Arquillos’ social studies class at the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco was

one of the first that 826 teamed up with to provide in-class support for four years.

Arquillos, a 39-year-old Eagle Rock resident, remembers when his class participated in 826’s Young Authors Book Project in 2005.

Over the course of the school year, students wrote and published a collection of family legends, titled “Home Wasn’t Built in a Day.” Actor and comedian Robin Williams funded the project, wrote the book’s forward, and much to students’ disbelief, attended the kick-off event and final release of the book.

Now the executive director of 826LA, Arquillos said that on top of providing the in-class support, and free community workshops and after-school tutoring services on-site, 826LA hopes to improve outreach to high school students by offering them services tailored to their needs.

One way Arquillos said the organization hopes to do so is through direct communication. Michelle De Leon, a 16-year-old student at Downtown Magnet High School in Los Angeles, serves along with fellow high school teenagers as part of 826’s Youth Advisory Board.

De Leon has experienced first-hand the resources 826LA offers. She and her friends approached the organization with a proposal to publish a fashion magazine.

826LA did not only provide tools to print the magazine, but brought in professional writers and editors to guide them through their first publication, even throwing them a launch party for the magazine’s debut.

826LA’s impressive services consistently go above and beyond. The organization manages to encourage students to develop their creative writing skills with fun, engaging activities, and tangible results. According to Arquillos, in just five years, 826LA has served over 10,000 students.

In an 826LA field trip, classes come out to the writing lab where they’re met by the voice of Mr. Barnacle, a particularly finicky editor – played by an unseen volunteer – who hates clichés and demands original work.

A professional artist illustrates the stories as volunteers type them up. In two hours or less, each student leaves with a bound book as a published author.

Paulina Aguilar, 826LA intern and fourth-year UCLA sociology student, volunteers an average of 15 to 20 hours a week at 826LA East, the organization’s Echo Park location.

Aguilar said she feels lucky to have found a venue that allows her to connect with students and enjoys fostering their creative growth.

“We’re all there to be cheerleaders, encouraging them and complimenting them along the way,” she said.

From her first visit to 826LA in March, she immediately saw how committed the organization is to serving children and knew right away she wanted to be a part of it. Almost half a year later, Aguilar said she still remembers feeling a child-like amazement at the quirky and unique space.

As De Leon put it, “Impossible doesn’t exist here. There’s always room for more.”

Get involved!! Learn more at 826la.org

Samantha Lim-La Gente's 2010-2011 Editor

Meet La Gente’s Editor

Samantha Lim-La Gente's 2010-2011 Editor

When some people meet Samantha Lim, they ask her, “What are you?”

She says she doesn’t like that question, but it depends on how people ask.

“I say that my dad’s from L.A. and my mom’s from El Salvador,” Lim said, current Editor in Chief of La Gente Newsmagazine. “But then they give me a certain look, so then I say that I’m half Chinese.”

Lim, a fourth-year English and Spanish student, remembers walking with her Salvadorian mom in Latino-dominated supermarkets in Los Angeles where she received inquisitive stares from others.

“I remember hearing people ask my mom, ‘Is that your daughter?’” Lim added.

As she grew up, Lim said that at many times she felt out of place from either side of the Chinese or Latino community.

“The first time my husband and I realized Samantha felt alienated by both cultures, and it broke her heart,” Lim’s mother said. “We learned of it from a high school essay that she wrote.”

In elementary school, Lim said that other students would say she was smart because she’s Asian. She said such classmates’ comments devalued her work as if she did not put her own effort into her assignments.

“[The situation] is the same thing when it comes to Latinas,” Lim said. “Why don’t you say that about them?”

Although she is also Latina, she said others might not identify her as that because not only does she look more Asian, she doesn’t speak Spanish. She said she feels that speaking Spanish is like a marker for Latino identity. She said she wants to break this stereotype.

She says she wants to broaden her Latina identity through La Gente Newsmagazine. She wants other communities to distinguish Latinos away from their stereotypes. As Editor-in-Chief, she hopes to continue sending messages that there is a diversity within the Latino community and that each of them has his or her own individual identity.

As Lim raised her hand in front of her face with her palm open, she imitated the shape of a mirror. She referred Carlos Fuentes’ book “El Espejo Enterrado.”

“I learned to look at your reflection, knowing that it’s not yourself but a representation of yourself,” Lim said. “Everything is a representation that can be worked, bent, changed. It depends on your perspective. Maybe that reflection is how people see you. But you are also projecting your own ideas onto that mirror.”

Samantha Lim-La Gente's 2010-2011 Editor

Meet La Gente’s Editor

Samantha Lim-La Gente's 2010-2011 Editor

When some people meet Samantha Lim, they ask her, “What are you?”

She says she doesn’t like that question, but it depends on how people ask.

“I say that my dad’s from L.A. and my mom’s from El Salvador,” Lim said, current Editor in Chief of La Gente Newsmagazine. “But then they give me a certain look, so then I say that I’m half Chinese.”

Lim, a fourth-year English and Spanish student, remembers walking with her Salvadorian mom in Latino-dominated supermarkets in Los Angeles where she received inquisitive stares from others.

“I remember hearing people ask my mom, ‘Is that your daughter?’” Lim added.

As she grew up, Lim said that at many times she felt out of place from either side of the Chinese or Latino community.

“The first time my husband and I realized Samantha felt alienated by both cultures, and it broke her heart,” Lim’s mother said. “We learned of it from a high school essay that she wrote.”

In elementary school, Lim said that other students would say she was smart because she’s Asian. She said such classmates’ comments devalued her work as if she did not put her own effort into her assignments.

“[The situation] is the same thing when it comes to Latinas,” Lim said. “Why don’t you say that about them?”

Although she is also Latina, she said others might not identify her as that because not only does she look more Asian, she doesn’t speak Spanish. She said she feels that speaking Spanish is like a marker for Latino identity. She said she wants to break this stereotype.

She says she wants to broaden her Latina identity through La Gente Newsmagazine. She wants other communities to distinguish Latinos away from their stereotypes. As Editor-in-Chief, she hopes to continue sending messages that there is a diversity within the Latino community and that each of them has his or her own individual identity.

As Lim raised her hand in front of her face with her palm open, she imitated the shape of a mirror. She referred Carlos Fuentes’ book “El Espejo Enterrado.”

“I learned to look at your reflection, knowing that it’s not yourself but a representation of yourself,” Lim said. “Everything is a representation that can be worked, bent, changed. It depends on your perspective. Maybe that reflection is how people see you. But you are also projecting your own ideas onto that mirror.”

Question 9

I was home for the weekend, eating dinner in the kitchen and talking to my mom about my week at school. It was last month, when the government made every effort to urge people to fill out the 2010 Census. So after seeing one of those TV census commercials, my mom told me she filled out every question of the famous survey. I felt very proud of her since I thought she would have difficulty understanding the questions—not that she can’t read or anything, but you know how complicated things can get with politics and the government. While thinking what a good job my mom had done, she then said, “but I still need to answer one more question.”  With a question mark in her face, my mom asked, “¿mija, que somos?”

I found it interesting, or better yet, annoying and irritating, to see that race and Hispanic origin are separated into different categories.  Not only do we have to decide if we are of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, but we are asked again to classify our race.

Allow me to problematize these questions. First of all, Latino, although it sounds nice and even exotic, is a term used exclusively for people who come from Spanish speaking countries south of the border. But doesn’t Europe have Latinos too? After all, Italians, French, Romanians, etc. are also of Latin origin.  Secondly, one can come from a Spanish speaking country but not be of Hispanic/Latin heritage. Most countries have Indigenous communities that are secluded or excluded from the greater city life and have to learn Spanish as a second language.

The census also left me in awe whe I saw Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, listed as races next to white and black. So I ask: do they want to know our country of origin or our skin color?  Maybe the answer is both. Thus I find that the last option for question nine, “some other race”, is the most pertinent option. In my opinion, there should only be one racial/ethnic question next time, that way people can have the liberty to write in answers that they consider most appropriate to define themselves and are not limited to imposed options.

Time magazine reports that in the 2000 Census, more than 40% of Hispanics did not register as white or black but rather as “other.” Angelo Falcón, the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York City president and census community adviser told Time that “a lot of Hispanics find the black-white option offensive, and they’re asserting their own racial uniqueness.”  As for me, I consider myself, and most of my paisanos mestizos.

So after analyzing all these discrepancies and incongruities (which are not only applicable to Hispanics/Latinos), I laugh at myself for telling my mom we are white; I should have said what I really believe we are, mestizos.

Mexico

To travel or not to travel: Mexico

Mexico

Tourist hotspot or danger zone?

On March 16 an e-mail from the Dean of Students, Robert J. Naples, appeared in my inbox. The e-mail issued a warning about traveling to Mexico due to the recent drug-related violence in the border cities such as Tijuana, Nogales, and Ciudad Juarez. The Dean’s warning appeared to be more than a mere suggestion – it implicitly discouraged students from traveling to Mexico. I knew the university wanted to ensure that students had enough information about what was happening south of the border before embarking on any Mexican adventures, however, the e-mail relied on fear-mongering to exacerbate our feelings of suspicion and doubt regarding the safety of Mexico.

The media coverage of Mexico tends to focus solely on the high crime rates and sensationalized news, while the beauty of Mexico falls to the wayside. The statistical crime rates and televised news should be taken into consideration when planning a vacation, but they must not deter us from visiting a beautiful country that has much more to offer than what the media depicts.

The constant coverage of heinous crimes against tourists, reportedly the result of drug cartels, intensifies the trepidation of traveling to Mexico. The U.S. Department of State reports that in Mexico, “kidnapping, including the kidnapping of non-Mexicans, continues to occur at alarming rates.  So-called express kidnappings, i.e., attempts to get quick cash in exchange for the release of an individual, have occurred in almost all of Mexico’s large cities and appear to target not only the wealthy but also the middle class.” Interestingly, with 64 murders per 100,000 people, New Orleans holds the title of the most murderous city in the United States, according to the FBI.

With all this information, should one reconsider his/her travel itinerary? After graduation I’m planning to visit Guadalajara for the first time. As a future Mexican tourist, I don’t want to feel like a potential target for an array of crimes; I want to enjoy what Guadalajara has to offer. Instead of fearing the risk of kidnapping, I want to appreciate Guadalajara’s Metropolitan Cathedral, instead of worrying about the drug cartels I want to enjoy Guadalajara’s numerous public parks and squares, such as the Rotonda de los hombres Ilustres (Rotunda of Illustrious Men), and instead of spending yet another summer in L.A., I want to visit the Cabañas Cultural Institute which features several works by the renowned Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. These are only a few of the perks Mexico has to offer. Unfortunately, they become overshadowed by the fear-mongering of the media and our own lack of understanding of what lies beyond the crime statistics.

Aztec Exhibition at the Getty Villa

The Aztec empire has been resurrected in—of all places—the mansion-riddled cliffs of the Pacific Palisades.

Since March 24, the Getty Villa, located in the namesake’s mega-estate, has been featuring an exhibition entitled “The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire.”

The modest-yet-enjoyable exhibit boasts in its collection such relics as a cuauhxicalli, a masterfully detailed offering vessel in the form of an eagle, a slue of god-depicting monuments made from vivid minerals, and Spanish artwork documenting their particular point of view of the conquest.

Of singular interest is the Florentine Codex, the post-conquest pictorial manuscript compiled by friar Bernardino de Sahagún and native elders with aim to document the Aztecs and their imperial culture and religion. The codex contains more than 2,400 images, including detailed descriptions of the chief Aztecan deities. According to the exhibit’s curators, this will be the first time in over four centuries that the Florentine Codex will be found in the Americas.

The exhibit avoids mere showcasing, and provides a thoughtful thesis that juxtaposes the Aztec empire and the empire of the ancient Romans—much like the Spanish did when discovering the new, prolific culture in the 16th century. The exhibit shows the importance that religion, art, and imperial conquest played in both civilizations citing that “to many Spaniards, the Aztecs were the Romans of the New World.” This notion itself warrants a visit to the beautiful museum.

If you are particularly worried about whether you’ll fit in amongst the typical affluent, older crowd at the Villa, have no worries, you most definitely will not (if you are anything like me). But this should hardly discourage anyone from taking advantage of these illuminating and conveniently nearby relics. “The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of the Empire” will run through to July 5 and is a free exhibition, excluding the $15 dollar parking fee. LA Gente recommends you carpool, Latino-style!

La Teta Asustada

El cine Peruano: La teta asustada



“La teta asustada” es la primera película Peruana en ser nominada para los Oscares en la categoría de mejor película extranjera. La directora Claudia Llosa, sobrina del famoso escritor Peruano Mario Vargas Llosa, nos presenta a Fausta, papel interpretado por la actriz Magaly Solier. Como el título lo sugiere, Fausta sufre de la teta asustada, una condición que resulta porque su madre fue violada cuando estaba embarazada de ella. El miedo y temor de la violación fue transmitido a su hija a través de la leche materna. De una manera sutil Llosa recuenta la violencia que existió en el Perú durante el régimen terrorista entre los años 1980-2000.

Efraín Kristal, profesor de literatura comparada en UCLA y autor de “Los Andes vistos desde la ciudad: Discurso literario y político sobre el indio en Perú” y “La tentación de la palabra: Las novelas de Mario Vargas Llosa” explica este periodo histórico, “este momento de la historia Peruana no se puede entender sin explicar la revolución Cubana,” cual tuvo varios simpatizantes como el mismo Vargas Llosa. El primer intento de una revolución en Perú fracasó, pero motivó a Abimael Guzmán, un profesor de filosofía y creyente en el maoísmo, a crear la organización terrorista El Sendero Luminoso  que deseaba empezar una revolución mundial comunista en el Perú. Según Guzmán el fracaso de la primera revolución había sido a causa de no conocer a los indígenas. Sin embargo, El Sendero Luminoso fue responsable de numerosos actos violentos contra grupos indígenas que no querían unirse a esta causa.  Interesantemente, Llosa decide no recrear esta violencia y tampoco representar la violación visualmente. A cambio, nos enteramos por medio de la canción y a través de nuestra imaginación. Profesor Kristal comenta que esta decisión, por parte de la directora, es efectiva porque “nos presenta la generación que ya no vive la violencia…al darnos un testimonio ficticio nos permite libertad de la imaginación, nos da una invitación para investigar el pasado.”

La película se enfoca en la relación entre madre e hija, otorgándole a la película un punto de vista femenino. Cuando la madre de Fausta fallece, ella decide llevarla de regreso al pueblo para ser enterrada. Fausta empieza a trabajar en la casa de una compositora para poder ahorrar suficiente dinero. Sin embargo, es a través de la música y de su encuentro con Noé (su interés romántico en la película) que Fausta debe enfrentarse al miedo que la acecha. Llosa bellamente capta la timidez y miedo de la protagonista por medio del simbolismo, las imágenes, las metáforas y el poco diálogo que caracterizan a la película. En una escena particularmente conmovedora, Noé le regala a Fausta una papa, símbolo que se repite en la película, que originalmente representa el dolor y enajenación pero que gradualmente se convierte en un símbolo de esperanza.

En diferencia a México, España, y Argentina (que han recibido varias nominaciones por parte de la academia), “La teta asustada” es la primera película Peruana en ser nominada en los Oscares. También ha recibido varios reconocimientos: una nominación a los premios Goya, como mejor película Hispanoamericana, y ganó el premio Golden Berlin Bear. Profesor Kristal opina que este es el caso porque  Llosa, “tiene un control visual, la película tiene un valor estético, [Solier] tiene una cara que se presta para la cámara, y es una película magníficamente bien hecha.” Esta película presenta una visión contemporánea del Perú y de las heridas que todavía están vigentes a través de la protagonista. El miedo de Fausta nos lleva a enfrentar nuestros propios temores y analizar de manera critica el pasado traumático de un país, “si bien es cierto que la violencia terminó, no se puede olvidar, no se puede barrer bajo la alfombra las consecuencias,” acierta Profesor Kristal. Aunque Fausta es víctima de un miedo antiguo y heredado, cuando finalmente estalla en llanto, logra enfrentarse al miedo y empezar el proceso de recuperación.

MALC

Rebuilding MALCS: A space for female minorities

The emerging group on campus, Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS), has taken on a complex task: to create a safe communal space for female minorities. MALCS welcomes all women to openly discuss their unique experiences at UCLA in a supportive and safe environment. Their philanthropic work on campus, however, isn’t new.

Adaljiza Sosa Riddell and a group of graduate students founded the national chapter of MALCS at UC Davis in 1982. MALCS originally emerged as a student group at UCLA in 2004 through the efforts of a group of Chicana/o Studies students. The chapter, however, lost momentum after many founding members graduated in 2006.

But MALCS de UCLA is on its way back to fulfill its mission to offer a safe space to empower women of color in academia. Rosie Bermudez, founding member of MALCS de UCLA, is now working with current students to re-establish this organization. Bermudez recalls, “It was such an amazing space for women of color to come together. It was just an amazing experience and I want to bring that back to UCLA.”

Cheye-Ann Corona, a second-year graduate student in urban planning, sees this organization as a space where she can simply talk with people that listen and identify with her. “Coming from the communities that we come from, especially as women of color we have a strong sense of family and community, and when we come to the academic institution we lack that,” she says.

The revitalized chapter has not been officially established as a student organization on campus. However, they are coordinating meetings, hosting events, and actively recruiting members to rebuild the chapter.

MALCS de UCLA is a cooperative organization, and this is an essential part of member involvement. Maira Sanchez, a third-year, recalls an International Women’s Day event with Susana Baca, “Everyone just helped out in every way that they could and it just all came together. I think it’s wonderful that we can all just create something out of a communal space.”

MALCS offers women at UCLA a place to share how cultural experiences shape academic experiences. Corona sums it up, “When it comes down to it, these women are your homegirls.”

MALCS de UCLA

Wednesdays at 6pm

Public Affairs 529

malcs-de-ucla@googlegroups.com

cyclists

UCLA Students Reach Out to Latino Cyclists

by Jaqueline Vergara Amezquita

In the busy streets of downtown Los Angeles, you can see them whiz by on their bicycles before the sun rises and then again just as it begins to hide under the horizon.

Tackling the auto-congested avenues and boulevards of L.A.’s major streets day in and day out, the city’s Latino riders rely on their pedals for work, errands, play and all that is in between.

They do not ride because Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” inspired them to reduce their carbon footprint or because they believe in their civic right to “reclaim” public space. Cycling for them is no doubt a joy, but they mostly ride out of necessity.

The majority of them are low-income, immigrant workers who depend on their bicycles mainly because of affordability. Most would not be allowed to operate a vehicle even if they wanted to due to their immigration status.

Allison Mannos, an Asian American Studies student and senior at UCLA, noticed that although Los Angeles is beginning to witness a growing cyclist movement, Latino riders unfortunately take no part in the advocacy and political dialogue.

“It was important to me to reach out to Latino cyclists because they often are left out of discussions about bettering communities and bikes,” says Mannos.

An avid cyclist and transportation activist, Mannos first learned about the challenges faced by this group after reading a 2004 study published by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC).

The study found that Latino cyclists lacked access to bicycle safety education and information about their legal rights on the road. Moreover, at the base of the problem was the absence of basic safety gear, such as lights and helmets.

After being hired by the LACBC in early 2009, Mannos jumped on the opportunity to create a new campaign that would help bridge the disconnection between the Latino cyclist population and the larger bicycle activist network.

What begun as a simple bicycle light and safety information distribution effort back in January of 2009 has expanded to include curriculum-centered monthly educational workshops and weekly bike mechanic and maintenance sessions held at La Bici Digna bike repair shop inside the Instituto De Educacion Popular del Sur de California Downtown Community Job Center.

The City of Lights, or Ciudad de Luces, campaign has diversified the cyclist advocacy movement by reaching out to Latino cyclists housed in day-laborer worker centers in downtown L.A.

At the forefront of City of Lights’ educational component is third-year sociology student Andy Rodriguez. “Our goal is to not only teach bike safety and legal rights workshops, but to have the guys spearhead their own culturally-educational bike classes and rides” says Rodriguez.

Implementing popular education methodology fused with interactive activities, the educational classes inform day-laborer Latino cyclists about safety, traffic laws and cyclist rights.

Led by two certified bicycle mechanics from the Bicycle Kitchen, a non profit organization that spreads and fosters bicycle expertise, the weekly maintenance and repair classes motivate students to build on the mechanics skills they already possess, stressing that they also learn from each other.

Enthusiasm for cycling runs high at the day-laborer sites visited by City of Lights. “Promoting bike-use is good. It benefits all in many aspects. It is 100% healthy and it does not contaminate”, says Latino cyclist Cesar Herrera, who is a day-laborer at the Central American Resource Center.

With the leadership of Mannos and Rodriguez, a more inclusive and diverse bicycle movement in Los Angeles looks pretty promising.