These Holidays are for Community

Thursday night was another great time in L.A., as at the close of an incredible year, the Inside Out Writers rocked the house with an amazing holiday party!

Ever since I first walked into IOW’s office back in 2014, the place and people there have been a pivotal part of J.T.’s growth, so this holiday season it’s an honor to ask readers to consider supporting the organization with a Donation.

Every donation will go towards supporting more of IOW’s creative writing programs both inside and outside the halls, as well as public readings, parties, and much more for our youth. Give it a shot! I guarantee you won’t regret it.

And if you’re not following us online already, you can do so here, here, and here!


California Dreamin’

I was only walking out of the store when I realized how gorgeous the sunlight felt on my skin, and how the wind was just grazing the earth. Standing there alone, it almost felt like a betrayal to experience something so beautiful by myself.

I had to share the light with someone, but there was no one to reach out to. Time was running out. It was almost 5:30 pm, which meant it was almost time to get back to base to see the second group of youngsters.

I was on the far East side to visit a group of kids. Kids from group homes, ‘camps’, and ‘the hood’. Kids struggling with addictions to meth, and whose only inheritance was life into street politics. Kids who haven’t spent a day in The City for months — and even years over the long run– and kids on medication, whose files are being prepared for only more courtrooms where odds are that they’ll face even longer sentences in harsher conditions.

Kids like me, but also far unlike me. Most of all, kids who need and deserve a second chance. I was there to share some writing with them over the course of ninety minutes, to try to be of service.

But who else could I share such a long shot with? Who could join me in the fight to show some kids some light?

Pulling up to the base, I dashed out of the car in a hurry on seeing I still had twenty minutes left. I found a bench just outside of the facility, and blasted some of my jams through the phone. I then told myself that I’d get as much sunlight as I could and enjoy it, but even then the betrayal lingered within me like the final thread of a stubborn web.

I thought of sharing the bench and my jams with someone –anyone else– but there was only myself and the earth. I looked down, and all around my feet were a swath of stones. I picked three up –and what the hell– made a wish as I chucked them out into the air.

Soon enough, I found myself back inside of the facility. When the kids came out of their dormitory to meet me halfway, I realized there were plenty of them to share light with. Even if only just in glimmers.


Buenos Dias L.A!

This morning I have the pleasure of sharing some written work published with Youth Today, a print and online newspaper centered on issues facing young people in “the system” today.

In particular, the piece touches on some of my personal experience with the juvenile justice system in my teenage years, as well as trends within the system that are as troubling now as they were ten years ago.

It’s been some time since I published outside of J.T., so it feels as good as ever, but I can only hope readers will enjoy it too!

With many thanks as always,