Updates on Tia Chucha's Move and other Matters

We are moving along with our plans to relocate Tia Chucha's to a temporary space soon after we move from our current space in Sylmar. We've had tremendous support since word got out about our notice to vacate the premises by February 28. Last Sunday, a community meeting was held at Tia Chucha's that brought around 50 people -- teachers, youth, artist, musicians, poets, and more. KPFK did testimonial interviews with our supporters that was later aired this week. We also had great stories in the LA Daily News, the LA Times, La Opinion, LA Weekly, among others. And Univision and Telemundo have both been airing shows and special shorts on our situation.

I've also had amazing offers from people in downtown LA, East LA, San Gabriel Valley, and other places who want us to come and set up shop in their areas. We would love to, of course. But we are committed to the Northeast San Fernando Valley with a large Chicano/Mexicano/Central American population that has been neglected when it comes to bookstores, movie houses, and cultural centers. We may also consider satellite events at some of these spots, like a mobile Tia Chucha's.

Hopefully, once we are in a more-or-less permanent facility and stable, we can share what we know and help other communities create their own Tia Chucha's (they can name them after their own aunts). The point is every neighborhood should have venues like ours -- where books, ideas, dialogues, music, art, writing, dance, indigenous traditions & thought are alive and thriving for everyone.

One bit of bad news -- I got an attack of gall stones last Tuesday night, January 16. I didn't know what it was at first. I was in tremendous pain and my wonderful companion Trini took me to the emergency at the Olive View Hospital in Sylmar (I don't have insurance so I joined the other uninsured, included the undocumented, with hours of waiting). I was there from 11 PM until 4 PM the next day. I must say though, once I got over the wait and was given a cot and a backless hospital gown, I was treated very well. They gave me tons of tests -- blood test, urine tests, EKG, X-rays, and an ultra-sound. The last one finally discovered the source: tiny gall stones blocking some important passages.

While I may need to consider gall bladder removal, I am thinking this over very carefully and consulting health experts I know before I make such a decision. The upside is that I'm now feeling much better and I'm more knowledgeable of what causes gall stones and what I can do with diet and exercise to avoid another attack. I've had kidney stones (passing them as well, another pain I would rather not ever endure again). I even had a hernia and other ailments at age 10 -- with beatings, accidents, and tooth decays along the way. I know pain. But gall stones... they're up there.

Anyway, none of this has deterred Tia Chucha's from our efforts to move, to find a suitable temporary situation, and to raise around $250,000 in two years before we move into a larger, better, and more permanent space. We thank you all -- all our customers, students, instructors, staff, volunteers, board members, friends, and family who are standing strong with us. Our communities deserve the best, and we will do all we can to do our part.

Remember to make plans to join us on February 17, Saturday from noon til 11 PM for our 5th Anniversary Benefit Event at Tia Chucha's. We will be having a silent auction, raffles, and Aztec dancers, musicians, poets, theater, and more. Go to www.tiachucha.com or call 818-362-7060 for more information.

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