A hidden culture

Managing Editor’s Column for January 2014

Written by PROMISE LI, the Managing Editor/ Published on January 20, 2014

I was talking to a woman outside of the Metro station at Lake Avenue who told me a story about an old man whose throat was slashed open at a nearby station. Through encounters like these, I sometimes question the authenticity of the hyper-reality I live in: living in a quaint, safe, little town, and growing up with a hopeful generation of youth that is guilelessly directed towards security and success, who, if ever under those rare lapses of enlightenment, might realize the absurdity and bleakness of pursuing a future of conformity and comfort.

Beneath the façade of growth and peace, there is a brokenness that exists around us that we are sometimes too blinded to acknowledge, too blinded by our privileges and well-being, and too blinded by our individual pursuits.

We wait to receive and indulge in seasons of giving. Outside the consumerist commotion of holiday sales and warm family gatherings lay the true reality of our towns in which we have always neglected to notice. Yes, in the thriving communities of the San Gabriel Valley there are those who had been wandering for decades, victimized by random and repeating splurges of both physical and sexual violence, and broken for so long that one can see nothing behind their glassy eyes.

I never did truly stop to recognize this hidden culture of plight and suffering in our supposedly sheltered and privileged perimeters until now. I joined the staff of this publication to satisfy and cultivate my youthful desire to document, to explore, to discover.

In this season of truly exploring and communicating to more people in the streets, I must admit, my naiveté did take quite a blow. Understanding the desolation of life outside of the matrix we live in is only the first step; giving back to the community takes on a new meaning once one actually takes the initiative to give back to the community. Not until then would one realize that the issues of our society are even grittier, harrowing, and in need of aid than it seems.


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