Rocking that Collar

Uno. In 1995, when I was six years old, dad gave me two dollars. I treasured those two baros so much I decided to get a wallet to store them. So, at Harbor College swap meet that Sunday, I secretly bought a cheap ass wallet which cost two dollars. When it came time to store my wealth, my pendejo ass was puzzled that I no longer had any money.

Dos. When I was eight years old, mom took my siblings and I to visit a relative. Living in the Wilmington barrio meant we lived among junkyards and talleres and all…

Southbound on Anaheim St.

The intersection of Anaheim street and Avalon boulevard in Wilmington in south Los Angeles contains little that is unique. On one corner sits a market, on another a small parking lot, and on the other two sit fashion shops stocked with garments from across the pacific. Traffic moves east and west and north and south smoothly and apart from the occasional evangelical preacher, the intersection could largely be forgotten.

Forgotten, that is, until you look closer, at the people.

The fact of the matter is that an estimated eighty-five percent of Wilmington’s residents are Latino and over forty percent were…

Let me begin by saying that Americans are living in a dangerous time. This danger isn’t new and I have no reason to believe that it will disappear anytime soon. Let me also state our current predicament in the most succinct way possible: this country is today faced with deciding who is American and who is not, who is legal and who is not, who is human and who is not.

In this trying time, the Trump administration has made its position clear and vigilantes of all stripes, many empowered by hateful rhetoric, have made it their responsibility to see…

Notes on our in(di)visible family

A few weeks ago, while on my way to a relative’s birthday celebration, I drove past a one-story apartment building in Wilmington, a city bordering the Port of Los Angeles. The building was number 729 on Sanford Avenue, a grey and dusty road dotted with several auto repair shops, junkyards, and a liquor store. It is a noisy street — a route for 18-wheelers, a home to stray dogs, and the territory of the East Side gang.

It happens to be that on this street, in this building, in a one-bedroom unit, my family and I once lived for 10…

J. Cortes Rivera


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