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Hearts & Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times

Sunday, May 29

We welcome to the Rector’s Forum Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodríguez to address a new imagination for healthy and thriving communities, centered on the arts, based on years of experience working with gangs, youth, the homeless, prisoners, artists, writers, and more.

He tells some of his own story in this powerful YouTube interview: Luis Rodriguez and the Gift of Words — a life of work and witness that has inspired a generation of justice seekers, including musician Bruce Springsteen.

“I met a fella named Luis Rodríguez, a writer and a poet, who had a … cultural center in Los Angeles. These are people I’ve known and worked with for a long time. These are the people trying to fill the holes that should long ago have been filled by government. Those are the people who give me optimism. They’re relentlessly hopeful, and they face it all on the front lines on a daily basis.”– Bruce Springsteen from Rolling Stone magazine, November 15, 2007

Appointed Poet Laureate by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014, Luis has 15 books of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, including the best-selling memoir “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.” His last memoir, “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing” was a finalist for a 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. He also has 40 years working with gangs, youth, and the most troubled communities throughout the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, and Japan. He is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, which publishes culturally rich and socially engaged literature, and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center & Bookstore in the northeast San Fernando Valley. His latest poetry book is “Borrowed Bones,” with a preface by Martin Espada (2016 Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press). This semester, Luis served as Scholar-in-Residence at California State University, Northridge.

Join us — 10:15 a.m. on Sunday May 29 in the Forum — for this opportunity to be inspired by a truly  transformative and relentlessly hopeful leader.

For more information call 626.796.1172

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