I felt so proud of my son, Carlos, the other day when I walked away from the grand opening of the Dojo Café, a little place on wheels he and his friends, Tayari, Peter, Nancy, and Christina put together for City Heights.
I was particularly wowed because it seems he just got here as I have vivid memories of him falling asleep in my arms after a little baby-dad play.
Then it seemed like it was only a matter of days that I was blown away by his wizardry on the soccer field and the moves he grooved to dancing on stage. On the other side of the coin, I remember wanting to, on family road trips while the van was still moving, climb over my seat and strangle him to release the pressure off that last nerve of mine he had stomped on. Oh, his energy! Dude had no off switch whatsoever. Loved him dearly never-the-less.
But soon I was writing checks to Long Beach State (we called it a minor form of kicking him out of the house) and then I was attending a left-to-right tassel turning celebration when he got his masters degree in social work at San Diego State .…
And the next thing I know I’m sitting at a table under a canopy at the corner of 44th and El Cajon, in a large open welcoming space where there sits the Dojo Café in all its beauty.
I had just missed a performance of the Hoover High School Jazz Band but I could feel their energy in the crowd in a big way .…
Folks of all ages and ethnicities were drinking coffees and juices, and licking the flavors of grilled corn and East African cuisine off their lips, and dancing, and rapping and ….
I sat there bubbling with a kind of pride I had never felt before as I looked around me, realizing I was witnessing a dream my son and his friends have been putting together passionately for some time: the creation of a safe environment in City Heights where residents with all their skin colors and languages and cultural practices and beliefs could congregate; break bread and drink coffee from countries represented in the community; show off their talents, whatever they might be; express their needs and seek ways to grow politically and as individuals to see that those needs are respected and taken care of.
People finding their way in our society. Together. Advancing social good and developing social capital. I like it.
Sure beats the mojo Trump has foisted on us like some fiendish bozo as he tries to divide us rather than have us come together as one; embraces white supremacy; defines those who stand for flags and anthems as patriots and those citizens who sit or kneel as un-American; shows no love for Mexicans, or immigrants, or Muslims, or Puertorriqueños, or transgendered, or the handicapped, or women .…
Oh, sometimes I feel like all the marching and protests I’ve done for decades for peace and justice and human understanding has been wasted energy.
And then along comes my son and his friends with the Dojo Café and I cast such thoughts away as they continue the struggle for human understanding and dignity.
That he is using his intellectual and spiritual energy to make the world a better place not only has me swollen with pride, but it also satisfies all that I’ve ever wanted for my children and that is for them to be loving caring decent human beings.
Well, the dude’s got that down. He inspires hope in me, greatly rewarding me for whatever I did or didn’t do right in being his dad. And I still, as always, love him dearly.
I’ll take his and his friends’ dojo over the president’s misguided mojo any old day.