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Blessings & Beauty – An Evening of Healing & Transformation

On Saturday, April 23rd, Youth Passageways in collaboration with Los Angeles Host Partners and many gracious volunteers opened its doors for the first time to the public for an evening of rhythm, poetry, ceremony & celebration AND action. The event was codesigned and facilitated by youth from the Tia Chucha’s Young Warriors.

As Militza Tapia, a Young Warrior & Event Co-Organizer put it: “This is a celebration of what keeps us together as one. The blessings and beauty are in honor of our unity—Adults and young people, people of all ages coming together.”

As people arrived they were asked to look at the three questions below and then offer their answers, we’ve compiled a collection of some of their answers:

An offering was made to Marcus Lopez (A representative of the Chumash people & part of the Barbareno Chumash Council) and his son. He then offered a deeply moving opening to our evening. Hear an excerpt below:

In addition the poet laureate of Los Angeles Luis J. Rodriguez (as well an MC of the whole gathering) offered his thoughts on Rites of Passage:

“When we talk about rites of passage we mean a time when we recognize and see young people for the beauty they bring into the world. The rite is to get them to wake up to their own dream, their own story. Waking up to the live the life they were meant to live, not the life someone else told them they were supposed to live. This is a time in which they get blessed by community, and the reason we don’t see it today is because of all the systematic obstacles in their path and it’s taking them from us, it’s killing our youth.  We’re not just talking about nice things to do, we’re talking about the lives of our young people. From drug deaths to gang violence it is killing our youth. So rites of passage is a revolution, a revolution that doesn’t just go to the future but takes from the past in which the threads from the past get tied to the future. The reason why we called this event Blessings and Beauty is because if we don’t properly bless our young people, if we don’t properly see them, if we don’t draw that beauty out of them, many of them will turn to violence. So this is to save lives and not just the lives of our youth but the lives of the rest of us too. When our youth are healed, we all heal. When they begin to make a turn in their lives towards their art, their own genius [because everyone has a genius] we are all able to find our voice. Community is made by these rites, by initiation, initiation to a new life, that says something has to go but not them. It’s a multidimension revolution. It has so many elements and moving parts. It’s also political, it’s economic, we are taking on the system in all kinds of ways but at the heart of it is healing and if there is not healing there is no revolution, you understand? It’s an armed revolution, but let’s expand that view of arms, not guns but poetry, it’s dance, it’s song, it’s hip-hop and it’s punk rock. It’s all the things that people can do in this world and the beauty they can bring into it. It’s theater, it’s writing, it’s an armed revolution and we’re gonna use all our arms to fight this struggle. And it’s important to recognize that we want to be there and witness it.”

He then read from 1993 work “Always Running”

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