Fires strike near my home--again

As many of you know, our community has once again been hit by brush fires in the foothills and canyons just to the northeast of us. The Sayre Fire in Sylmar, not far from where Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural used to be located, began two days ago and has already destroyed 8,000 acres, forced the evacuation of 30,000 people, and destroyed more than 500 homes in the Oakridge Mobile Home Park. The local Olive View/UCLA Medical Complex lost power and patients had to be moved as well.

Other fires in Palos Verdes and Orange County south of us also tore into brush and neighborhoods, destroying several homes. No deaths have been reported, although there are some injuries, including of firefighters. Still my prayers go out to all those who lost homes and valuable possessions.

Barely a month ago, the north San Fernando Valley area was hit with two big fires--the Marek Fire that also involved Sylmar, Lake View Terrace (where Tia Chucha's is currently located, although we remain intact), and parts of Pacoima. And the Sesnon Fire in the Porter Ranch area a few miles west of my home community of San Fernando.

These fires were being fed by the Santa Ana winds carrying flames and embers from canyon to canyon, home to home. Police believe most of these fires may have been arson set. They seem to happen as soon as the winds pick up, indicating that some people are keeping track of this so they can get the blazes going. My hats off to all the firefighters, police, and other officials who have bravely tried to save homes and terrain, often with tears in their eyes when their efforts turned moot. They are true heroes.

We didn't have to prepare to evacuate this time, but the air quality was intolerable at times.

On Friday night, I was on the air at KPFK-FM on Divine Forces Radio with Fidel Rodriguez. He announced this will be his last radio broadcast, which he's done for eight years, and for many more years as Seditious Beats. This is the largest and most respected underground Hip Hop show in the LA area. I've been on his show many times, and Divine Forces Radio has always been good to Tia Chucha's and the work we're doing with the arts and community. On Friday, we talked about indigenous prophecies, in particular the Mayan prophecies linked to the year 2012. I know this is of big interest today, but I also know there is much confusion and misinterpretation. I'll be exploring these issues further in my talks and writings, but also in our online Xicano magazine called Xispas ( This won't happen until around next spring since I'm writing a new book and working on a couple of film projects that will take priority (on top of Tia Chucha's work, family, gang intervention work, and more).

I want to find the language and images that will carry the lessons and truths of these prophecies to the greatest number of people possible. Tia Chucha's will also sponsor talks at our space but also around the city called "2012: Coherency Studies" to open up the dialogue.

I'm leaving tomorrow for Albuquerque, New Mexico to speak at a youth mentoring conference, and then after that to California State University, San Marcos for various talks and workshops. Meantime stay in peace, in change, in wholeness.


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