I came back to the Bay in 2013. After a long layoff Kearny Street Workshop relaunched their annual emerging artists festival, APAture, and I took part in it. One of the first things I wanted to do when I got back was get reconnected with the APA arts scene out here. It’s where I came up as an artist and where I found a lot of support when I was first starting out. One of the things that was impressed upon me early was knowing and respecting the literary history of the area. Not only knowing the artists, but the organizations and the movements that took place here. You recognized the impact and importance an organization like Kearny Street Workshop had over here and you didn’t take it for granted.

The first writer who ever took any interest in me and offered any kind of mentorship was Jaime Jacinto and his book, Heaven is Just Another Country, was published by KSW back when they had a publishing house. It’s still one of my favorite books and holds up today, very well. For the longest time I wanted my first book to be published out of here, but KSW no longer publishes books and, instead, I find myself in 2014 as the program manager of this great organization that has been serving the Bay Area for 42 years. In 2014 I have found myself with a job that I am passionate about, that has been and continues to do the kind of work I’ve wanted to invest myself towards. A job that allows me to offer the kind of support that was so necessary for me coming up as an artist.

I love this job. I’d love to keep doing this job, but we are a small non-profit and we rely on the generosity of others. If you support me as an artist or a person, then I ask you to help us support and maintain community-based arts in the Bay Area. It’s about spaces and opportunities and allowing the different voices in our community to be the ones who get to define and name our experience. That’s what art can do. It empowers us to speak our own histories and not allow that to be done by people who don’t live where we live or experience what we go through day in and day out. Help the artists in our community be seen and be heard. Support Kearny Street Workshop.

You can make a secure tax-deductible donation here: bit.ly/kearnystreet
To learn more: bit.ly/kswat42