Welcome 2015!



“Tia Chucha Press last year celebrated 25 years of publishing the best of cross-cultural poetry, including such award-winning writers as Terrance Hayes, Virgil Suarez, Kyoko Mori, Elizabeth Alexander, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, and Patricia Smith. In October of that year, founding editor Luis J. Rodriguez, yours truly, was selected as the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles by Mayor Eric Garcetti. No, not “poet illiterate,” as one of my so-called friends said. This is a great honor for a local Valley poet who has helped carve a special place for powerful voices in poetry that may not have been seen otherwise. I take this responsibility seriously, like I took the creating and organizing of this small press, now part of the nonprofit cultural space, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore of Sylmar. Please celebrate with me this year as I do readings, workshops, presentations, and more throughout the L.A. area.”  – Luis J. Rodriguez

Season of Giving!

Dear friend,

Have you had the good fortune of being at Tia Chucha’s

  • to participate in an amazing workshop on healthy eating, yoga, or Reiki?
  • to witness “kids” of all ages growing up to the music in them?
  • to connect to the innate seeds of ancestral indigenous knowledge?
  • to relish the creative community-building that is open mic nights?
  • to open your heart at a writing circle?
  • to be touched by the truths of teen spoken word?
  • to watch the unfolding of women’s empowerment through deep sharing?
  • to feel the spirit that is mexica ceremonial dancing?
  • or to tap into the art inside you with a brush, a book or a discussion?

If so, you know the power of healing and transforming community through the arts.

We rely on your gifts of time and money to keep Tia Chucha’s alive and well. This season I invite you to celebrate the creative capacity of this unique space by adding us to your holiday gift list. Please consider a one-time gift, or pledge a monthly gift of $20, $50, $100—or any amount you are moved to contribute. Your tax-deductible donations will help us keep giving the gift of the arts year-round at this valuable space.

Thank you and enjoy this season of giving! –

Trini Rodriguez –

Operations Director

Donate Here

Eclectic Offerings, Episode 1: Matt Vibes (Brown Soul)


Tia Chucha’s in the past couple years has been an essential part of my growth In various aspects of my life. Spiritually & Consciously have been the biggest parts of my life where it’s helped me grow. Tia Chucha’s provides an environment to artist, poets, musicians, confused youth & misunderstood souls like open arms from a mother to a child in need of her care. It makes you feel home away from home & if you never felt home anywhere, I truly believe it sparks an idea in your mind, heart & soul of what warmth a real home should have. I’d like to think I had always been somewhat of a conscious person even in my youth, but perhaps too scared to share my consciousness w/ others In fear that they would not want to hear me out, or that they simply would not understand. I never had been mentored into thinking the way I was thinking so I had no Idea how to go about developing my thought. Tia Chucha’s and all of the wonderful community that unites there helped me get rid of that fear & give birth to strength through self realization, self appreciation & self love. I begun to see that there was many misunderstood, in fear of, nervous souls, just like me there as well but, they were using that fear as a drive & eventually ridding themselves of that fear entirely and transforming it into song, poetry, stories, film, various forms of inspiration for others to feed their conscious minds & loving souls, Allowing themselves to become a tool to move someone else’s heart, letting them know through their creativity “it’s ok, Be you, there is nothing wrong w/ that. In fact, that is a beautiful thing to be.” Tia Chucha’s for me signifies movement, Love, unity & staying strong through the toughest of times because within you there has always been present a strength you had, but may have not been able to understand yourself enough to acknowledge it’s presence. It is a Vision. It is a Dream come Reality. It is a Community giving birth to Opportunity. It’s Tia Chucha’s & I’m glad it’s been a part of my growth. -M.E (Matt Vibes/Brown Soul)

Giving HeARTfully for 14 Years!

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore is entering its 14th year and is now known around the world as an oasis of arts, song, dance, poetry, music, photography, writing, and books in the oft-neglected northeast San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.
Against great odds, in the worst economy in the U.S. since the Great Depression and as arts funding is widely diminished, Tia Chucha’s has met every challenge. We now serve up to 15,000 people a year-children, youth, adults, the elderly-with workshops in all the arts, open mics, Mexica indigenous dance and cosmology, festivals, our own poetry press (Tia Chucha Press), a youth empowerment project (Young Warriors), and more.
Still we need your help to continue our important work.
We rely on donations to keep our doors open and our programming free or as affordable as possible to a community of 500,000 people in great need of the creative experiences and resources at Tia Chucha’s. This center/bookstore is proof that the arts and literacy can save lives, strengthen families and regenerate economies.
Will you please invest in our continued success with a tax-deductible contribution?

With respect,

Luis, Trini, Silverio, Melissa, Mike, Miguel, Yessenia, Walter, Ruben

Donate Here

Hearts & Hands, Second Edition, Book Release with Luis J. Rodriguez

We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the Book Release of Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Second Edition, by Luis J. Rodriguez this upcoming Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 5pm to 8pm. Live Art by Rah Azul and Silent Art Auction Fundraiser during reception beginning at 5pm followed by Author Reading and Signing at 6pm. The event is free to the public.

Hearts and HandsThe event will begin with a Reception that will include Live Art by Rah Azul, a self-taught Painter, Muralist and poet based in the San Fernando Valley. Rah Azul’s work is featured on the cover of the new Hearts and Hands book. There will be limited prints available of the Book Cover Artwork for sale. The Silent Art Auction will feature a special edition Art piece by this featured artist.

“Hearts and Hands is a book that belongs in the hands of any person or organization wanting to understand and work with youth and community in a respectful, meaningful way.”-Trini Rodriguez, Co-Founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore

Hearts and Hands is available for order from Tia Chucha’s. Revenue from your purchases help Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center and Bookstore continue the holistic healing of our community through cultural arts and literacy.

“Rodríguez is a relentless truth-teller, an authentic visionary, a man of profound compassion…[In Hearts and Hands] he acknowledges the lessons we can learn from the social sciences, he scrutinizes what succeeds and what fails in the realm of public policy, but he never allows us to forget that the rescue of young people is also ‘a spiritual quest.’”–Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review

For more info check out the Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1452522418328853/

Download the flyer and share: 2014HeartsAndHands

9th Annual Celebrating Words Festival

CWF2014sqJoin us this Saturday, from 1pm-7pm at Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima for the 9th Annual Celebrating Words Festival!

This year, in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Tía Chucha Press, the Celebrating Words Festival Planning Committee will be featuring poetry, or better yet, flor y canto at the Annual Celebrating Words Festival.

Flor y canto originates from the Nahuatl phrase In Cuicatl In Xochitl. Cozkacuauhtli Huitzilcenteotl, “Huitzi”, the Mexihcayotl Facilitator at Tía Chucha’s, shares some history behind the Nahuatl phrase:

“In Cuicatl In Xochitl, is a Nahuatl difrasismo, literally meaning Flower-Songs, which was used by the ancient Nahuatl peoples to describe the concept of the ‘arts’ (i.e., song, poetry, music, dance, etc.).  While most pre-Hispanic educational institutions were organized and taught according to gender, the cuicacalli (‘house of song’)–where the arts were developed, involved participants of all genders. Therefore, it’s historically apparent, that In Cuicatl In Xochitl describes the ‘creativity’ and ‘expression’ that all persons possess and need to develop in order to be complete beings–regardless of age and gender.”

Flor y canto is a concept that Tía Chucha’s practices on a daily basis by providing a safe place for our community members to express themselves and tap into their imagination to create positive change. We’re thrilled to be able to showcase our efforts and programming to the community of Pacoima.

Uniting Through Flor y Canto, this year’s festival theme, will be represented by live musical performances, spoken word and poetry, and on-site painting.

PoetsOur featured poets are acting San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía and Mayda del Valle, cast member of the Tony Award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. Also featured on the main stage will be Antonieta Villamil, Luivette Resto, Catalina Maravilla, Alejandro Molina, Dan Hernandez, and Jessieca Cervantes.

Our Poetry Booth will feature intimate readings and workshops by Jesse Bliss, Dez Hope, Kenji Liu, Daniel Olivas, Yumi Sakugawa, Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut, Vickie Vertiz, and In the Words of Womyn. Poesía para la gente will be on-site penning poems on demand, and Writ Large Press will be running a PUBLISH! booth where you can experiment with publishing.

San Fernando Valley artist and muralist Rah Azul will facilitate an interactive mural activity while Kristy Sandoval and other local artists will create live art on-site. Other festival attractions include Mercado Pochtecayotl, offering hand-crafted items, food and refreshments from Pollo Pelón, informational booths presented by various community resources, and a Children’s Corner featuring face painting, a Son Jarocho lesson, and arts & crafts activities for our younger guests.


Read the San Fernando Sun’s article, This Weekend at Ritchie Valens Park Will Rock At Celebrating Words Festival, to learn more about our Edutainment lineup.

For more information about the festival, please visit our website and Facebook page.

See you all Saturday!

The origins of Mother’s Day

"Amor a Todas Horas" by Simon Silva

“Amor a Todas Horas” by Simon Silva

Are you aware of the radical origins of the first US Mother’s Day? I wasn’t. Well, according to “Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World”, this is the real deal behind Mother’s Day:

“The original Mother’s Day Proclamation written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, was not a commercial idea created to sell cards, flowers, or candy. It was a proposal to bring women of all nationalities together to bring peace to humanity. Howe had seen the horrors, devastation, and the aftermath of the American Civil War… This first Mother’s Day Proclamation was a call to gather the women. It was directed to women to add their voice to “the voice of the devastated Earth” and called for women to take counsel with each other to find the means to bring peace to the world.”
As Matthew Arnold predicted in the nineteenth century,
“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of humankind, it will be a force such as the world has never seen.”
That would be a beautiful sight.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Thank You To Our Funders