by Josh Blecherman
Today, wake up was at 7 and we got on the bus at 8 to hit the road for LA. We stopped around 11 to eat brunch at Peggy Sue’s, a 50’s themed diner in the middle of the Mojave desert. I got a Mickey Mouse club and a chocolate milkshake, both of which were good. We were also able to celebrate our bus driver, Earle’s, birthday. After we ate, we continued on the way to LA. During the remainder of the ride we watched the movie “Crash”. The movie dealt with racial struggles, connectedness and takes place in Los Angeles.
When we got to LA, we went to Homeboy Industries, an organization devoted to helping gang members and formerly incarcerated people achieve careers and get off of the streets. I was in the group that talked to Marco, a man who is in the process of making a more wholesome life for himself. Homeboy Industries has created businesses that the former convicts are trained to work at and create new life skills.
The most eye-opening experience of the day was Homeboy Industries. So often, we label criminals as an evil that must be contained and punished, but we rarely consider the humanity of the criminal and the circumstances that led that person to go to the streets. The experience taught me that although we can’t excuse a person’s past, it’s our responsibility to help them obtain a future.
We then went to the Farmers Market/Grove for dinner and free time. I walked with Ben, Michael, and Adam, and we roamed for 2 hours and fifteen minutes exploring the area. I found a shop devoted solely to hot sauces. I bought two different sauces and tried them both on my dinner.
After free time we went to a poetry slam. While we sat on the stage floor for the duration of the performances, the inspiring, comedic, and otherwise profound poems made this a worthwhile experience.
Today was the day we finally made it coast to coast!