Moving On with "Music of the Mill"

On May 16, I ended my seven-city promotional tour for “Music of the Mill” in San Francisco (although Pasadena’s Vroman Books will have me on June 5). I had a fantastic hour-long interview on KLAW. Then at Borders Books on Mission Bay (across from the SBC Park/Giants Staduim), some 30 people showed – including a few friends and many who came because of the radio shows I’d done in the Bay Area. Again, the discussion around industry, the economic shifts in technology, the closing of major plants and mills, and the impact this has had on our communities and our futures was deep and lively.

I will, of course, continue to promote this book in my on-going talks, readings and events for a long time to come (I’m gone from 80 to 100 days a year). It’s an important book that I hope will have a long shelf life.

The next day – as many already know – the city of Los Angeles elected a Chicano mayor – Antonio Villaragoisa – with close to 60 percent of the vote. This is historical but also challenging for Antonio as well as the whole city. Los Angeles must look toward the future, its elegantly mixed populace, and imaginative and inclusive ways to cooperate, share, learn, and act in the interests of all the people in an unprecedented world city.

I hope to work with Antonio on major key issues – most notably in the arts (LA can lead the nation as a pristine example of what an arts agenda can do to transform blight to beauty and deep divisions to unifying creative endeavors), but also around gangs and violence. There are amazing peace and healing efforts throughout the city that have been minimized, without proper funding, and often pushed aside. Most of the money around gangs and violence is in law enforcement and prisons. While there’s a place for police in any workable package for community peace, much more has to be done on the front end of the problem – with schools, healthcare, decent recreation, creative options, and meaningful work.

One man can’t do this alone. One man’s leadership, however, can galvanize the energy, vision, and social forces already in place to transform and transcend the deep and ongoing problems plaguing the country’s second largest city.

Tonight, Tia Chucha’s hosts a special reading of Frank Del Olmo’s book “Commentaries on his Time.” Frank past away last year – far too soon. He was an LA Times reporter and editorial board member and one who would go out of his way to help others in his field. I was one of those, many years ago, struggling as a young journalist. People like Del Olmo, Frank Sotomayor, and others would make sure the doors they helped open in U.S. journalism would stay open long enough to bring in new talent and ideas. Frank Del Olmo was always open to me on ideas. Once in the early 1980s, when I brought activists from Juchitan, Oaxaca who had taken over city halls and farmlands with Zapoteca Indian villagers, he set up a special editorial board meeting to hear from them and share knowledge of the growing Mexican indigenous movement for land, dignity, and life. I thank Frank Del Olmo’s wife, Magdalena, and the LA Times for making this event possible. Please come to Tia Chucha’s Café Cultural at 7:30 PM. Frank Del Olmo is someone who must not be forgotten. This book is a great way for his example to be taught to as many as possible – particularly young people looking to grab a thread of life they can follow.


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  • busermo molpey
    commented 2023-06-27 21:37:22 -0700
    The doors that Del Olmo, Frank Sotomayor, and others like them helped open in the United States would remain open thanks to their efforts.