Celebrating Words Festival

16th Annual Virtual Celebrating Words Festival

We are thrilled to present you with the 16th annual Celebrating Words Festival happening on May 28, 29 & 30th. As we emerge from a pandemic imposed isolation, Tia Chucha’s will provide a space for connection that supports the mental health and well-being of our community. This year’s festival will feature immersive virtual programming and a drive-thru experience focused on using the arts, literacy, and ancestral teachings as viable ways of healing and transformation. This festival is Tia Chucha’s offering to you as our community, an offering that we hope inspires you to expand your imagination, healing, and consciousness.

Virtual Programming:  May 28, 2021 from 5pm-10pm 

Virtual Programming: May 29, 2021 from 12pm-10pm 

Drive-Thru Experience: May 30, 2021 from 11am-3pm
At Vaughn G3 Learning Academy, 11200 Herrick Ave. Pacoima, CA.

Kalpulli Temachtia Quetzalcoatl Opening Ceremony 

Friday, May 28 2021 5pm- 6pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube
Tia Chucha’s resident danza group will open our festival weekend with a traditional danza Mexica in honor of the four directions and the Celebrating Words Festival. 


Author Reading w/ Duncan Tonatiuh

Saturday, May 29 2021 6:00pm- 7:00pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube

Join us in a conversation with award-winning author-illustrator, Duncan Tonatiuh. His children’s books are some of our best sellers at the Tia Chucha Bookstore, covering a range of culturally relevant and social justice topics. His artwork is Pre-Columbian inspired, particularly that of the Mixtec codices. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but that are relevant to people, especially children, today.


Sonaja Making and Song Singing 

Friday, May 28 2021 6:00pm- 7:00pm via Zoom 

Part l: Kalpulli Temachtia Quetzalcoatl will lead participants on this 2-part workshop where they learn about the cultural importance of sonaja making and its connection to ceremonial song singing. Participants will be guided in a step-by-step guide to decorating their sonaja and provided with materials.  

Saturday, May 29 2020 6:00pm- 7:00pm via Zoom 

Part II: Participants will learn songs with the sonaja they made the previous night.


Queer Poetry Night: Featuring Andres Sanchez 

Friday, May 28 2021 8pm- 10pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube

Queer Poetry Night is a tribute to the brilliance and creative excellence that is the LGBTQ+ poet community. This night is age inclusive program for the entire family intentioned on sharing the beauty, the struggle and the triumphs that Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color experience and bringing that directly to your homes across this virtual platform. 

Author Reading: Razabilly by Nicholas F. Centino

Saturday, May 29 2021 12pm- 2pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube

Pairing a decade of participant observation with interviews and historical research, Centino explores the reasons behind a Rockabilly renaissance in 1990s Los Angeles and demonstrates how, as a form of working-class leisure, this scene provides Razabillies with spaces of respite and conviviality within the alienating landscape of the urban metropolis. A nuanced account revealing how and why Los Angeles Latinas/os have turned to and transformed the music and aesthetic style of 1950s rockabilly, Razabilly offers rare insight into this musical subculture, its place in rock and roll history, and its passionate practitioners. Join us in this conversation with insider Razabilly and author, Nicholas F. Centino. Hosted by Erick Iñiguez.


Papel Picado: 101

Friday, May 28 2021 12pm-2pm via Zoom 

Introduction to Papel Picado: 101. Students will be introduced to the history, materials, and basic techniques of Mexican paper cutting. Materials will be provided for pre-registered students. For ages 7 and up. 


Baby Massage 

Saturday, May 29 2021 12pm- 2pm via Zoom 

Through this hands-on workshop, families and caregivers will learn about the benefits of infant massage. Benefits include increased bonding and attachment, early childhood development knowledge, techniques to relieve baby from gas, colic and constipation discomfort, relaxation, deeper, longer sleep and so much more! For pregnant families and families with babies up to 12 months old. Materials will be provided for pre-registered families.


Fire Limpias & Barridas w/ Erika Buenaflor 

Saturday, May 29 2021 2pm- 4pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube

Explore and learn about the ancient and contemporary Mesoamerican practices of using fire limpias and barridas (sweep limpias) to cleanse and prepare sacred spaces for platicas (heart straightening talks), other types of limpias and ceremonies, and guidance from the elements, ancestors, and other supernatural guides. Along with learning about these sacred limpia traditions and how to care for the pahwawtztli (Nahuatl sacred limpia tools), we will learn the essentials of performing barridas with fresh and dry plants, and getting more insight about the barrida with a fire limpia. 


Erika Buenaflor has 20+ years of practicing as a curandera, mentoring with curanderx in the Maya Yucatecan jungle, and studying curanderismo in academia. She has a master’s degree in religious studies with a focus on Mesoamerican shamanism and curanderismo. She has written Cleansing Rites of Curanderismo, Curanderismo Soul Retrieval, Sacred Energies of the Sun and Moon and Animal Medicine.


Mini Piñata Making 

Saturday, May 29 2021 2pm- 4pm via Zoom
The mini piñata project is made with all recycled materials, bringing new life to these pieces. This project will be a fun way for all family members to participate in cultural arts projects. Materials will be provided for pre-registered students. Ages 6+ .


Watercolor Pencil

Saturday, May 29 2021 2pm- 4pm via Zoom 

The watercolor pencil workshop will focus on creating a composition with just a few materials and water. This detailed step-by-step workshop, will teach participants to both draw and paint while learning how to compose a final project. Materials will be provided for pre-registered students. Ages 12 and up. 


Hummingbird Cricket Hour

Saturday, May 29 2021 4pm- 6pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube
Join Luis and Trini Rodriguez, Tia Chucha's co-founders and community elders, for a dialogue on "Ancestral Knowledge for Healing'' through the pandemic and beyond.


Card Embroidery

Saturday, May 29 2021 4pm- 6pm via Zoom 

In this workshop participants will learn a couple of basic stitches and create a hand made embroidered card. Materials will be provided for pre-registered students. Ages 12 and up. 


Holding Space: Healing in Community for BIWOC 

Saturday, May 29 2021 4pm- 6pm via Zoom 

WOC Sister Collective, will hold space for the various types of grief that may be arising, such as state-sanctioned violence, loss of a loved one, and or collective grief. With the supportive practices of guided meditation, group sharing, sound healing, and journaling, we will nourish our spirit and make space for rest. Hosted by Alex Purple Liera and Moni Lopez. 


From Trauma to Transformation: A Documentary Following the Work of Luis J. Rodriguez

Saturday, May 29 2021 6pm- 8pm via Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural’s Facebook & Youtube

The documentary highlights the work of world renowned author and former Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, as he teaches Creative Writing in Lancaster Prison. Under his mentorship, he inspired the creation of Trauma to Transformation project which encompasses Creative Writing, Theater, and Visual Arts as a means to amplify the voices of those impacted by incarceration. Through Luis’ guidance, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural expanded his philosophy to include a team of Teaching Artists and staff to put it into practice. Through this work, we see the power of the arts in healing, and in changing social consciousness to envision an equitable world. The project and the creation of the documentary is thanks to the support of the Arts for Justice Fund in 2018.
The documentary will be accessible to view on Saturday May 29, 2021 during the Celebrating Words Festival. 

At 6 PM we will be having a Live Q and A of the contributors to the documentary. 


Homemade Self-Care Products

Saturday, May 29 2021 6pm- 8pm via Zoom

Join Sharah as she leads us through an afternoon of affordable self-care practices created from common household products. The workshop will cover salt baths, herbal showers, sugar scrubs and body misters. Materials will be provided for pre-registered students. Open to all ages.


Unfolding Identity: Finding Poetry in the Naming of Self

Saturday, May 29 2021 6pm- 8pm via Zoom

Join Rachel Kann for this prompt-driven poetry journey into memory, emotions and identity in service of creating rich, textured, real experiences in your writing. We will embark on a guided writing exercise using the naming of our multiplicity of selves as our inspiration. A gentle and generative experience for all. Ages 10 and up.

Entertainment TBA

Saturday, May 29 2021 8pm- 9pm via Facebook & Youtube


Entertainment TBA

Saturday, May 29 2021 9pm- 10pm via Facebook & Youtube


Drive-Thru Experience

Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 11am-3pm

Location: Vaughn G3 Academy

11200 Herrick Street, Pacoima, CA 91331

(Roundabout at front of school)(Rotonda al frente de la escuela)

We invite you to come with your households and be a part of our immersive drive-thru experience. Please wear your face masks to ensure the safety of all including our staff. We will ask all our attendees to fill out a  questionnaire for us while waiting in line as their ticket entrance to our event.
Featuring: (while supplies last)
Free Tia Chucha Grab Bag

Free art posters by Gina Paolo Barranco and Maldito Perrito

Free bookmarks by VLY GRL and Izuriel Marquez

A free copy of our first CWF coloring book featuring local NESFV artists:
Adriana Fonseca, Andrea Lopez, Desiree Sanchez, Elvia Aguirre, Gemma Jimenez, Izuriel Marquez, Karina Ceja, and Manny Velasquez


Our Celebrating Words Festival book giveaway is intentionally designed to be a resource that supports imagination, healing, and the collective well-being of the community in the San Fernando Valley and beyond. 1,000 books will be given away for all ages, in English, Spanish and Bilingual. Books will be available on a first come, first served basis.


From Trauma to Transformation: Together We Grow is an interactive educational exhibit created by young adults and community artist Kristy Sandoval to highlight not only the systematic issues we face such as racism and mass incarceration, but also offer community engagement, to amplify a creative response on how care, compassion, healing, and love looks like within.


Professional photos by Noe Montes
More to be announced!!

Email: Karina Ceja,  [email protected] 

Facebook: Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore

YouTube: Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore
Instagram: @tiachuchas


Thank You to our Sponsors for supporting the vision of Celebrating Words Festival: 

California Arts Council

Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Los Angeles Educational Partnership

First 5 LA

Vaughn Next Century Learning Center