Hearts & Hands, Second Edition, Book Release with Luis J. Rodriguez

We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the Book Release of Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, Second Edition, by Luis J. Rodriguez this upcoming Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 5pm to 8pm. Live Art by Rah Azul and Silent Art Auction Fundraiser during reception beginning at 5pm followed by Author Reading and Signing at 6pm. The event is free to the public.

Hearts and HandsThe event will begin with a Reception that will include Live Art by Rah Azul, a self-taught Painter, Muralist and poet based in the San Fernando Valley. Rah Azul’s work is featured on the cover of the new Hearts and Hands book. There will be limited prints available of the Book Cover Artwork for sale. The Silent Art Auction will feature a special edition Art piece by this featured artist.

“Hearts and Hands is a book that belongs in the hands of any person or organization wanting to understand and work with youth and community in a respectful, meaningful way.”-Trini Rodriguez, Co-Founder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore

Hearts and Hands is available for order from Tia Chucha’s. Revenue from your purchases help Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center and Bookstore continue the holistic healing of our community through cultural arts and literacy.

“Rodríguez is a relentless truth-teller, an authentic visionary, a man of profound compassion…[In Hearts and Hands] he acknowledges the lessons we can learn from the social sciences, he scrutinizes what succeeds and what fails in the realm of public policy, but he never allows us to forget that the rescue of young people is also ‘a spiritual quest.’”–Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review

For more info check out the Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1452522418328853/

Download the flyer and share: 2014HeartsAndHands

9th Annual Celebrating Words Festival

CWF2014sqJoin us this Saturday, from 1pm-7pm at Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima for the 9th Annual Celebrating Words Festival!

This year, in honor of the 25th Anniversary of Tía Chucha Press, the Celebrating Words Festival Planning Committee will be featuring poetry, or better yet, flor y canto at the Annual Celebrating Words Festival.

Flor y canto originates from the Nahuatl phrase In Cuicatl In Xochitl. Cozkacuauhtli Huitzilcenteotl, “Huitzi”, the Mexihcayotl Facilitator at Tía Chucha’s, shares some history behind the Nahuatl phrase:

“In Cuicatl In Xochitl, is a Nahuatl difrasismo, literally meaning Flower-Songs, which was used by the ancient Nahuatl peoples to describe the concept of the ‘arts’ (i.e., song, poetry, music, dance, etc.).  While most pre-Hispanic educational institutions were organized and taught according to gender, the cuicacalli (‘house of song’)–where the arts were developed, involved participants of all genders. Therefore, it’s historically apparent, that In Cuicatl In Xochitl describes the ‘creativity’ and ‘expression’ that all persons possess and need to develop in order to be complete beings–regardless of age and gender.”

Flor y canto is a concept that Tía Chucha’s practices on a daily basis by providing a safe place for our community members to express themselves and tap into their imagination to create positive change. We’re thrilled to be able to showcase our efforts and programming to the community of Pacoima.

Uniting Through Flor y Canto, this year’s festival theme, will be represented by live musical performances, spoken word and poetry, and on-site painting.

PoetsOur featured poets are acting San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía and Mayda del Valle, cast member of the Tony Award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. Also featured on the main stage will be Antonieta Villamil, Luivette Resto, Catalina Maravilla, Alejandro Molina, Dan Hernandez, and Jessieca Cervantes.

Our Poetry Booth will feature intimate readings and workshops by Jesse Bliss, Dez Hope, Kenji Liu, Daniel Olivas, Yumi Sakugawa, Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut, Vickie Vertiz, and In the Words of Womyn. Poesía para la gente will be on-site penning poems on demand, and Writ Large Press will be running a PUBLISH! booth where you can experiment with publishing.

San Fernando Valley artist and muralist Rah Azul will facilitate an interactive mural activity while Kristy Sandoval and other local artists will create live art on-site. Other festival attractions include Mercado Pochtecayotl, offering hand-crafted items, food and refreshments from Pollo Pelón, informational booths presented by various community resources, and a Children’s Corner featuring face painting, a Son Jarocho lesson, and arts & crafts activities for our younger guests.


Read the San Fernando Sun’s article, This Weekend at Ritchie Valens Park Will Rock At Celebrating Words Festival, to learn more about our Edutainment lineup.

For more information about the festival, please visit our website and Facebook page.

See you all Saturday!

The origins of Mother’s Day

"Amor a Todas Horas" by Simon Silva

“Amor a Todas Horas” by Simon Silva

Are you aware of the radical origins of the first US Mother’s Day? I wasn’t. Well, according to “Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World”, this is the real deal behind Mother’s Day:

“The original Mother’s Day Proclamation written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, was not a commercial idea created to sell cards, flowers, or candy. It was a proposal to bring women of all nationalities together to bring peace to humanity. Howe had seen the horrors, devastation, and the aftermath of the American Civil War… This first Mother’s Day Proclamation was a call to gather the women. It was directed to women to add their voice to “the voice of the devastated Earth” and called for women to take counsel with each other to find the means to bring peace to the world.”
As Matthew Arnold predicted in the nineteenth century,
“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of humankind, it will be a force such as the world has never seen.”
That would be a beautiful sight.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Millionth Circle


The book “The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and the World–An Essential Guide to Women’s Circles” was the seed for the creation of an organization whose intention for change included involvement at the level of the United Nations. I quote from their shared vision statement below:

“Circles encourage connection and cooperation among their members and inspire compassionate solutions to individual, community and world problems. We believe that circles support each member to find her or his own voice and to live more courageously. We intend to see and nurture circles, wherever possible, in order to cultivate equality, sustainable livelihoods, preservation of the Earth and peace for all. We intend to bring the circle process into United Nations accredited nongovernmental organizations and the 5th UN World Conference on Women, and to connect circles so they may know themselves as a part of a larger movement to shift consciousness in the world.”
(From www.millionthcircle.org)

Circles recapture the connections we have always had but often find ourselves cut off from.

Join a circle. Create a circle. Reconnect to others in strength.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Stand Up Women

Trini Rodriguez Tia Chucha's Co-founder & Operations Director

Trini Rodriguez
Tia Chucha’s Co-founder & Operations Director

Circles of powerful women are re-emerging everywhere, and that’s good news for everyone. For when women stand up in honor of their dreams and the sacrifices of their mothers, we have a fighting chance to make meaningful change.

For example, below is a quote from a Mother-inspired grassroots organization Standing Women, who encourage women to stand together on Mother’s Day and affirm:

“We are standing for the world’s children and grandchildren and for the seven generations beyond them.

We dream of a world where all our children have safe drinking water, clean air to beathe, and enough food to eat.
A world where they have access to basic education to develop their minds and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies.
A world where they have a warm, safe, and loving place to call home.
A world where they don’t live in fear of violence–in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school, or in their world.
This is the world of which we dream.
This is the cause for which we stand.
This is Mother’s agenda.”
Stand up women, wherever you are.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Urgent Message from Mother

Very few people can turn away from matters that have to do with their mothers. So when I recently spotted a book with the title “Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World” I figured it was a worthy read.

So, in honor of our mothers as we approach Mothers Day, I share the following words from the book’s author Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD:

“I find those who are reading a Message from Mother are motivated by love for whatever it is that needs to be nourished, protected, or saved.  It’s advocacy, caretaking, or outrage at indifference or abuse of power. These people are putting their efforts into saving the life and well-being of a particular vulnerable living thing or thing of beauty or into saving the world.”

It’s wonderful to know that many people who love Tia Chucha’s are these kind of people and that Tia Chucha’s is itself a beautiful thing worth nourishing and saving.

Let’s support eachother’s efforts for beauty in our communities.

Happy Mother’s Day.


Tia Chucha’s seeks applicants for paid Summer Internship Position

INTERNSWe are currently interviewing applicants for our Summer 2014 Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program position. We are looking for an Outreach Volunteer Coordination Intern with bilingual skills and we must complete the entire intern selection process by May 16, 2014. Interested students must submit a cover letter and resume to be considered for the position. Selected candidates must provide a copy of their college transcript before the May 16 deadline in order to be hired.

Click here for more information and details on how to apply! 

Looking back and celebrating 13 years



No one knew 13 years ago when we imagined Tia Chucha’s into existence that she would grow to be loved so much by so many. Like a child birthed into the world with hopes for a long and meaningful life, her creators wished for her the nurturing to make her strong, spirited, authentic and free. They knew the road would not be easy and set out to give her firm roots in community so she could weather any storms.


Tia Chucha’s Staff

Over the years Tia Chucha’s has been blessed with many people who have cared for her, shared their talents, and opened their hearts to make possible an abundance of offerings in arts and culture, books and healing.These servings of empowerment and love, worth and growth, have taught her many things, so that in her space others now learn to tap into their strength, spirit, authenticity and freedom. This is how it should be. This is why Tia Chucha’s exists.

As Tia Chucha’s turns 13, a new generation of cultural, artistic, creative transformation warriors are stepping forward to help lead the way in the next phase of Tia Chucha’s development. We thank all of you for being part of the effort to make neighborhood arts valued and accessible in our communities. We invite you to celebrate with her, to continue supporting her, and to make the next 13 years even more amazing.

Come celebrate with us on March 22nd Tia Chucha’s 13th Anniversary.

Que viva Tia Chuchas! The best is yet to come!

Trini Rodriguez, Operations Director
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore


Celebrate Tia Chucha’s 13 years of transforming lives through the arts

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore Co-Founder

When Tia Chucha’s opened its doors in 2001, we did so despite resource constraints and fiscal limitations. Arts funding in California, as in most states, have suffered substantial cuts since that time. In the fall of 2008, when the stock market crashed and the current financial crisis caused the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression, Tia Chucha’s, like most arts-providing organizations, faced even harder times.

           Yet, we never gave up. Tia Chucha’s recognized what many funding sources had forgotten: the arts save lives. The arts transform individuals, families and communities. The arts are known to revitalize ailing economies—and to deepen the spiritual and cultural life of everyone.

            We are immensely grateful to those agencies and foundations who have supported our one-of-a-kind cultural, performance and bookstore space. These generous entities are lifesavers.

           Recently, however, I attended an LA City-sponsored meeting regarding a consolidated plan for the city that was quite disturbing. It was announced that many federal funds for services have been cut in half and the city is now forced to de-fund or reduce funding for key services.

          What services am I talking about? Proposed cuts in Fiscal Year 2015/2016 to Aging Services Delivery Systems from $1,358,516 to $0; AIDS Prevention from $1,041,941 to $0; Youth Nutrition and Recreation from $973,477 to $0; Gang Reduction Youth Development System/Summer Night Lights Program from $1,749,760 to 0; LA’s Best After School Programs from $500,880 to 0; Summer Youth Employment Program from $200,000 to $0; Community Beautification Program from to $150,000 to $0; Clean Streets, Clean Neighborhoods from $85,000 to $0… I can go on and on. You get the picture.

Tia Chucha’s Son Jarocho Students with Instructor Mapache

          It is wrong to cut these services. These services help our elderly, our poor, our children, our youth. They keep kids from joining gangs and getting caught up in the drug trade or violence. L.A. city’s overall homicides have declined since the extremely violent 1980 to 2000 period when some 15,000 young people were killed. Most of  this decline in homicides was due to youth development, including gang prevention/intervention programs.

           At the same time, money for law enforcement in the city is now about $1 billion. Prisons in California take in some $8 billion a year even though they have been under federal court oversight and a proven failure. When we don’t do what’s needed on the front end—with schools, the arts, youth services, training, and treatment—we are forced to contend with the back end: prisons, hospitals and funeral parlors.

           I know one thing—the money for needed resources exists. California is the richest state in the union and the eighth largest economy in the world. Yet the state also has the worst poverty rate in the country: close to 24 percent. This is unacceptable. Now our communities need to get educated and properly oriented to organize strategically and insist that our government helps those who are bearing the brunt of a failing economy.

           This is one man’s opinion, but I also know it’s one that resonates more and more with people who are beginning to wake up to the unequal nature of the economic, political and social realities of our time. It’s time for a new vision, new ideas, a new imagination. It’s time to realign resources and social wealth to human needs.

          For thirteen years Tia Chucha’s has provided needed transformative arts, culture and literacy resources for the North East San Fernando Valley communities. Come celebrate this success with us on March 22 for Tia Chucha’s 13th Anniversary!


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