luis_rodriguez.jpg

Luis Rodriguez and the Gift of Words

For Luis Javier Rodriguez, the pen is mightier than the sword. It's what ultimately saved him from being swept away by the drug and gang scene in Los Angeles.

Recently honored as poet laureate of Los Angeles, Rodriguez never thought he'd live to see the day where his literature and poetry would make its home at L.A.'s Central Library, a place he would often frequent when he was homeless. Rodriguez spent hours perusing the aisles and reading dozens of books written by authors he idolized. The library became his refuge and a place void of gunshots and violence.

When he was a juvenile in prison, Rodriguez channeled his experiences into words and later became a community activist and mentor for at-risk youth. While Rodriguez impacted the lives of many people, he struggled to keep his son from spiraling into a life he previously knew. But it was also through a shared love for words that his son was able to recover and find himself again.

During his career, Rodriguez has published countless memoirs and poetry collections such as "Always Running -- La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.," along with various other works of Chicano literature and poetry. Rodriguez also founded Tia Chucha's, a bookstore and cultural center in Sylmar that aims to amplify the voices of authors and poets in Los Angeles. It provides a safe place for at-risk youth to express themselves through words and steer clear from prison and gang life.

Reporter Jennifer Sabih visits Central Library and Tia Chucha's to find out how Rodriguez turned his life around and, in doing so, inspired the lives of many others.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Luis Rodriguez, Poet Laureate, Los Angeles
  • Mayra Zaragoza, Young Warrior
  • Ramiro Rodriguez, Luis's son

Get the free PBS App

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Life In Plastic: California’s Recycling Woes

As California deals with the fallout of a global waste crisis, plastic manufacturers continue to spread misleading information about recycling, while spending big on lobbying efforts to keep their products on the shelves.

  • 2020-06-03T22:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-04T14:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-06T12:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Who Killed Josiah?

A Humboldt town is polarized over allegations of racism and police incompetence surrounding the death of college student Josiah Lawson. 

  • 2020-06-09T13:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-09T17:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-10T22:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-11T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-11T14:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-13T05:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-13T12:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Born to Run

The Los Angeles Jets youth track and field club is one of the oldest and most established running teams in California. It was founded in South Los Angeles in 1973 by then West Vernon Elementary school teacher Ron Moore.  Five years later James Robertson and Booker Woods joined as coaches and the team became one of the largest co-ed running groups in the city.

  • 2020-06-16T13:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-16T17:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-17T22:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-18T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-18T05:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-18T14:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-20T05:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-20T12:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Access Denied

An investigation reveals how the state and many cities have let developers get away for decades with not paying their fair share when they replace affordable lodging with luxury hotels up and down California’s coast.

  • 2020-06-23T13:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-23T17:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-24T22:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-25T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-25T05:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-25T14:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-27T05:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-06-27T12:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Under Pressure

Parents are willing to spend thousands to get the competitive edge in the college admissions process, but at what cost? Socal Connected takes a revealing look at the high stakes world of the for-profit education consultant business.

The following changes were made to the original episode:
Students featured in the #decisionday section were replaced with new photos.

  • 2020-06-30T13:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-06-30T17:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-07-01T22:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-07-02T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2020-07-02T05:00:00-07:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2020-07-02T14:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK