Stories of Healing-Historias de Curación

We at Tía Chucha's invite you to share with us your story of transformation and how the arts have impacted your life.


 Los invitamos a compartir su experiencia y historia de transformación y como el arte ha impactado su vida.


  • commented 2017-09-26 14:54:47 -0700
    Magu: I have known Magu a good part of my entire life. I met him in 1975 when I was an inner city kid, who had run ins with the law. Magu, Bob Cruz, Fernando, Sal Garcia, La Brotha Del Valle De Fresno, got funded to “Teach by doing” a mural in the Projects in East Fresno. I was 14 and I was in that group of “troubled kids.” to work with Magu for the summer. Anyway, since then, and for years to come, I’d pop in and out, check on him, shoot the breeze, talk art, poetry, Mental Menudo, etc. Months before he passed, my wife and I decided to buy another piece from him, an addition to our Chicano Art Collection. And so, we went to his house. Oh, that house was a gem. Pieces everywhere. Every inch of that place was filled with sculptures, paintings, drawings. It was a delight for my wife and I to witness such power, artistic presence. So, I decided on a piece. It was the last of a serigraph, that had become quite popular, and I was very happy to have the opportunity to purchase one. My wife readied our check book. It wasn’t signed and so Magu leaned up the piece with his Sharpie and then he stopped. He looked at me and said, with hesitation; “should I personalize this, to you and Rosa?” I hesitated. We both froze for a moment, and Rosa was perplexed…like, “what going on.” So, then I said, "Of course, Magu, make it out to me and Rosa y Familia. He looked at me and smiled, that Magu smile. and then signed the piece. You see, if he had just signed his signature and nothing more, it would have maintained its value, and increase as the years went by. If he personalized it, the value is only ours. That is, it wouldn’t have much resale value. He was concerned, whether or not I wanted a piece for us, out of love, I suppose, out of wanting something that I would never sell. He wanted me to make that decision. And that is the reason why we both froze. I will never forget that moment, and, yes, my decision was the right one. .. Que Viva Magu For Vida!
  • commented 2017-07-12 09:58:51 -0700
    Pues raza, through my intrepid journey Ive learned a lot from my peers, subordinates, friends and family people from all walks of life. But I could never relate to any of them, there words could not shine any light onto my dark mind. Personally i would like to thank Luis J. Rodriguez Somehow, someway your struggles managed to touch me at my very essence. I remember growing up without any father figure another wanna be pandillero. A lost Hispanic looking for a sense of belonging. I found solace in your book always running at the age of 16… I’m 20 now striving and looking to impact young hispanics the way you did. I’d also like to thank this organization for giving our people the ability to expand our horizons.
  • commented 2017-06-11 12:39:37 -0700
    For the past 3 years I have been teaching the youth Son Jarocho class at Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and it has been personally transformative. The opportunity to teach the youth about our cultural heritage through percussive dance, rhythmic harmonies, and folk themed songs has allowed me to help youth build a positive self image of themselves. After being part of TC’s music program they learn to cherish the rich history of their culture and adopt it as an asset while they navigate between two worlds. As a child I didn’t have creative outlets such as the ones offered at Tia Chucha’s. I struggled with my confidence and identity as a young man. This results in moments of embarrasment and shame however, music offered an outlet to express my appreciation for the music my parents listened to while I was a kid. Each Son Jarocho class allows me to see the transformative impact this music has on their ability to make profound connections between their schooling, personal upbringing, and future aspirations. I do not feel alone in this endeavor because each of my student’s parents are very committed to the vision of the organization. Tia Chucha’s truly is a space where the arts and literacy unite to provide a powerful counter to the effects of violence, poverty and alienation afflicting the residents in our area.
  • commented 2016-12-12 23:19:23 -0800
    I find myself recanting a story as of late. A story of a tumultuous childhood and the healing power of the arts. Once in a blue moon, I was a young artist in Pacoima, although I never really considered myself that at the time. Now that I think of it, I was always surrounded by the arts, whether it be my old man’s music, my mom’s crafts, or my grandmother’s knitting. Regardless of this, the hood got the best of me at times. In retaliation of my lived experience, I strapped on my boots in middle school and became a little, existentialist “rockero”. As a misunderstood kid, I had my fair share of bumps and bruises leading up to high school – the usual playground fight, encounter with lunch time bullies, and unrequited puppy love. In high school, however, a shining light shone in my life in the guise of a safe space.

    Walking down the halls at San Fernando High one day, I overheard someone mentioning a rock show taking place at Tia Chucha’s. At the time, I thought they were talking about a backyard show, of which I had heard went down in the Northeast Valley. Nonetheless, I asked around, got the address and went to the show along with my friends. I remember clearly, that night Upground was playing at the old Tia Chucha’s bookstore/cafe. Everyone was skanking in the pit, dancing the night away. I remember going to the middle of the pit and doing a 360 turn to take in all the energy in its pure majesty. At that moment, I saw all the smiling faces of my peers, of people I knew were also dealt tough cards, yet they were in ecstasy. That was the first rock show, of many, that I attended. After that day, I would frequent the local Valley rock scene backyard shows and venues. Tia Chucha’s introduced me to a whole new world in my backyard.

    Needless to say, the rest is history. I am now a community activist and co-founder of The GR818ERS, a community organization utilizing Hip Hop culture to empower youth and families across the San Fernando Valley and beyond. Although my roots were in Rock, my work focuses on community interventions through Hip Hop culture. However, the important similarities are the cultural elements, which allow youth to gain a sense of self by learning who they are by studying where they came from. We need spaces like Tia Chucha’s in our community because they provide safe spaces for marginalized youth to find their voice and learn about themselves though the arts. Thank you Tia Chucha’s for your contribution to my lifetime journey. Looking forward to building with you all!
  • commented 2016-06-26 18:27:03 -0700
    Speaking the Truth about Evil and Darkness ; Prison Escape, Kidnapping, Cocaine Overdose, Suicide Deaths, Murder, Contraband Trafficking, Child Trafficking, Hit Men, Addiction, Cartel Violence( Sinaloa Cartel Members, El Jabali – Operador De Chapo, Chapo Guzman) Domestic Violence.
    Through The Power Of Good: Prayers, Recovery Homes, Church, Restoration Of the Body and Soul, Boxing, Basketball, Motivational Speaking, Poems, Writing, Singers( Valentine Elizalde, Flaco Elizalde)Worship Music, Self Employed.. SPEAKING TO OUR YOUTH AND GIVING MY LIFE EXPERIENCE AS A MOTIVATIONAL TOOL TO HELP OTHERS
    As a child I had an adoptive father who was raising me to be a preacher. No more than my 1st Grade year he went missing and found a week later, he had committed suicide. With the heartache of losing my known to be father, I then referred to not speaking, became a mute child and got bullied Soon after my mother reunited me with my real father who is from Mexico.
    Shortly after his move to Tucson, he began to smoke marijuana, snort cocaine and inject heroin in front of me. Before I was in 3rd grade, I experienced kidnapping, murder, domestic violence, and once helped my dad tend to a guy that he had lit on fire, my father was a hit man. At the age of my 4th grade year, my father was sentenced to life in Tucson AZ. My mother then continued the life, became a powerful drug dealer and I got involved in street gang activity. My mornings before school were an AK-47, a plate of cocaine and me eating cereal while my moms body guards protected the house. I once attended a party at a house in Mexico were the owner had a pet lion. My mom then was sentenced to 2 years in the federal prison system in 94 were she served in the same prison as Griselda Blanco. (COLOMBIAN DRUG LORD OF COCAINE). In 1997 my father escaped from the SANTA RITA STATE PRISON IN TUCSON AZ. He was from the original EME prison gang and participated in the Rincon riots of Tucson.

    With the influence of my mother and father was born struggle. I followed directly in there footsteps after High School. In my late 20s I was contacted by several powerful cartel members and offered positions and jobs. Through the Banda Del Buda-Nogales Sonora, long time family friend El Jabali – El Operador De Chapo and Albert Gaxiola – which I rejected his offers – Abert participated in home invasions for MINUTE MEN and was the killer of a family in ARIVACA ARIZONA THAT INCLUDED A LITTLE GIRL. Soon after living the lifestyle of my father I grew a hatred for my actions and participation in the life, and soon had a cocaine overdose and felt my spirit leave my body. After my overdose I admitted myself to a recovery Christian home and began to change my life. With severe heart damage, I decided I wanted to Box to regain my health, were I later trained with Boxer Nito El Gallito Bravo and had 2 fights. Soon after I was asked by cartel leaders to stand with singer Valentine Elezilde months before he was killed, and now am a body guard for his brother Flaco Elizlade in Tucson. With all my positive accomplishments I was asked by Josh Pastner U of A assistant basketball coach to speak to kids. I then began to give my heart with words and shared all my battles and my struggles with dark life that I lived. I have developed my speech to be a motivational tool to help our youth overcome the demons that tried to destroy my life with the hope saving theirs. I have spoken life and hope to several hit men, mentored young youth out of suicide, paved a way with words out of the gang life and helped several youth out of addiction. I NOW PLAY MUSIC FOR CHURCH, MUSICIAN, SELF EMPLOYED, COMMUNITY SPEAKER, FATHER OF 4 GIRLS, AND HOPE SOON TO BE AN AUTHOR. THIS IS ONLY A QUICK SUMMARY I HAVE MORE.

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