Author: Jasmine De Haro

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Savannah St.

When I walked into the funeral that day, I wasn’t going to go say goodbye to a loved one. I didn’t even shed a tear. My mom and I attended. I wasn’t too thrilled about it. I felt out of place. I only knew of this young man and what he represented to our community. But here I was. Walking up to Our Lady of Talpa church that night, I imagined bullets coming out of nowhere while mourners fell to the floor. The parking lot was full of low riders, of men and women dressed in perfectly creased Ben Davis pants, sunglasses and Nike Cortez shoes. The church was standing room only. Like so many in our neighborhood, this young man went too soon. But you show up for someone’s funeral regardless of whether you knew him personally. Out of respect. I guess that’s a good enough reason. Savannah was a small street nestled between an elementary school and a park in Boyle Heights. The homes sat on large lots with multiple families sharing a …

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“Okay, Dad”

I never lived in the same home as my father. Or at least, when I did, I was too young to remember. My mom removed my siblings and me from his home when I was 10 months old. What remains of my life with him are bizarre moments. For example, my father had a safe word when we would go out. He would tell me, “If I’m not around and you’re in danger, yell Abraxas.” I was a child and found this strange. Why Abraxas and what did it mean? I never asked my father. My mother later told me that “Abraxas” was the title of Santana’s second album. My father never had a sense of humor, at least not one that you would find traditionally funny. He wasn’t good looking; he was short in stature but muscular. He had fair skin and dark black hair. He looked me straight in the eye that day. “Say Abraxas and I will know.” “Okay, Dad.” I chuckled nervously. He wasn’t amused. When I was 13 and it …