We're back!

We're back with a new blog program and blogposts! My good friends and supporters. I apologize for not posting blogs this past few weeks. I've been extremely busy with finishing up a new book for Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster, due August 1 and slated for Fall 2010 release. I also continued my travels and lectures, my work for Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural, my other community work, and "Keeping up with the Rodriguez's" (including my four children and four grand-children). But we also made the switch to WordPress, which is due to the hard work and diligence of my web designer and collaborator, the renowned Chicano artist Mark Vallen. Until my book is done I'll only do sporadic posts, so please bear with me. Meantime, I want to inform people about the federal indictments against my friend and fellow peace activist Alex Sanchez. These are serious charges against him and 23 other alleged "shot callers," "members," and "associates" of the Mara Salvatrucha. You know I've written about MS-13 and 18th Street in various articles, books, and posts due to my work as an expert on gangs in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. I know Alex very well. He's a genuine leader for peace and turning youth away from gangs, violence, and drugs. He's a founder and current director of Homies Unidos, one of the most active and prominent gang prevention and intervention programs in the city. He's also a solid father, husband, brother, and son. Many of us are doing what we can to help him make bail, if needed, for his next court hearing on Tuesday, June 30 at 2 PM. If anyone is interested in being part of the group that will stand vigil at the courthouse, please contact Mirna at (213) 291-5494 for more information. The address of the federal court is 312 Spring Street, 8th Floor, Court D, in downtown LA. Also a community forum is set for this Sunday, June 28 at 6 PM at CARECEN, 2845 W. 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005. I'll try to provide more updated information as it comes. I'm also encouraging the community to attend the free "Celebrating Words" Literacy & Arts Festival at Mission College in Sylmar this Saturday, June 27 from 3 to 9 PM. We'll have vendors, a children's area, food, books (for free and to sell), author signings, as well as a stage with Azteca danza, indigenous blessings, bands, poetry, performance, and more. And I send a big rest in peace to the talented, troubled, but no doubt amazing Michael Jackson. c/s

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