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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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State of CaliforniaCandidate for Governor

Photo of Luis Javier Rodriguez

Luis Javier Rodriguez

Writer/Poet
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • End poverty, end homelessness
  • Clean air, water, soil for all Californians
  • End mass incarceration and deadly police practices

Experience

Biography

Luis J. Rodriguez has emerged as one of the leading Chicano writers in the country with sixteen nationally published books in memoir, fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, and poetry. Luis' poetry has won a California Arts Council Legacy Fellowship, a Poetry Center Book Award, a PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a Patterson Poetry Life Achievement Award, among others. From 2014-2016, Luis served as Los Angeles’s official Poet Laureate. His two illustrated and bilingual children's books, America is Her Name and It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: A Barrio Story, have won a Patterson Young Adult Book Award, two Skipping Stones Honor Award, and a Parent's Choice Book Award.

Luis is best known for the 1993 memoir of gang life, Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. A best seller, the memoir also garnered a Carl Sandburg Literary Award, a Chicago Sun-Times Book Award, and was designated a New York Times Notable Book. The memoir is popular among teachers and young people. It’s known as one of the most checked out books in libraries—and one of the most stolen! Despite this, the American Library Association has called Always Running one of the 100 most censored books in the United States.

In addition to the above honors, Luis has received a Los Angeles Times’ Robert Kirsch Life Achievement Award, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, a Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, a Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, a National Association for Poetry Therapy Public Service Award, an Illinois Author of the Year Award, and several fellowships from Illinois, Chicago, North Carolina, California, and Los Angeles, among others.

Luis’s publishers are Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Seven Stories Press, Lee & Low Books, Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press, Tia Chucha Press, and C&C Books. His poetry collections include Poems Across the PavementThe Concrete River,  TrochemocheMy Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems, and Borrowed Bones.He also has another memoir, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions & Healing. And he has a non-fiction on work with troubled communities through arts and healing, Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times. His most recent book was released in 2020, From Our Land to Our Land: Essays, Journeys & Imaginings of a Native Xicanx Writer. His fiction books include The Republic of East LA: Stories and Music of the Mill: A Novel.

Luis has been praised for helping start several prominent organizations, such as Chicago's Guild Complex, one of the largest literary arts organizations in Chicago, and its publishing wing, Tia Chucha Press. Luis and his wife Trini twenty years ago also co-founded Tia Chucha' Centro Cultural & Bookstore—a bookstore, workshop center, performance space, art gallery, and media center—in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles.

Luis has spent over 40 years doing writing workshops, readings, and talks in prisons, juvenile lockups, homeless shelters, migrant camps, universities, public and private schools, conferences, libraries, bookstores, Native American reservations, and men's retreats throughout the United States. He has also traveled to Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Japan doing similar work.

Luis has been part of the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation's Men's Conferences since 1994 with Mosaic founder Michael Meade and other teachers such as West African teacher elder Malidoma Some and American Buddhist Jack Kornfield. At these conferences involving men of all walks of life, the complex but vital issues of race, class, gender, and personal rage are addressed with dialogue, ritual, story, poetry, and art.

In 2001, Luis Rodriguez became one of fifty individuals from around the world to be recognized as an Unsung Hero of Compassion; an honor bestowed on him by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Luis' work has also been widely anthologized, including in Letters of a Nation: A Collection of Extraordinary American Letters and the Outlaw Bible of American Literature. His poems and articles have appeared in college and high school textbooks throughout the United States and Europe. He has done radio productions and writing for L.A.'s KPFK-FM, California Public Radio as well as Chicago's WMAQ-AM's All-News radio and WBEZ-FM. His writings have also appeared in the New York TimesLos Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, U.S. News & World Report, L.A. Weekly, Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, San Jose Mercury, Grand StreetAmerican Poetry ReviewBrooklyn RailYes! Magazine, and Huntington Post, among others.

For over 30 years. Luis has been active in Indigenous people’s movements and spiritual practices, drawing from his own Mexica (Aztec) and Raramuri (Tarahumara) roots. His teachers also come from the Dine (Navajo), Lakota, and Akimel O’odham in the United States as well as Maya (Mexico and Guatemala) and Quechua (Peru).

Luis has run for public office several times, including as Vice-Presidential candidate with Rocky Anderson for President with the Justice Party in 2012. He’s run for California governor in 2014 and in 2022, both times endorsed by the California Green Party and others, including most recently the Peace & Freedom Party and the Justice Party.

Who supports this candidate?

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $1,000

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Employees of Sandra Cisnero
$1,000

More information about contributions

By State:

Texas 100.00%
100.00%

By Size:

Large contributions (100.00%)
Small contributions (0.00%)
100.00%

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
100.00%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

California is a wondrous garden, a land of great plenty and of immense resources. Yet for being the world’s 5th largest economy, we have the highest poverty rate and homelessness of any state. We have massive agricultural, defense, shipping and technology industries, but huge gaps between the rich and poor. There’s plenty of wealth in California, but pushed into few hands, leaving far too many others struggling to barely surviving.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m running for Governor to give a voice to those who agree.    I have one main goal: The shared well-being of everyone. I call this campaign, “Let’s Imagine a New California for shared well-being. Then Let’s Build It Together.”   No more poverty. No more homelessness. No more poisoned air, water, soil. No more mass incarceration. No more sanctioned deadly force and militarized policing. It’s time for fully funded arts & literacy in every neighborhood, for decent housing, free quality education, dignity and rights for immigrants, universal healthcare, and for public safety based on meeting needs, rather than adding trauma to misfortune.   How can we get there? It will require a major change in thinking and in representation. The economic, environmental, and social ills of our state are mostly human made, the result of capitalist-driven thinking, where the aim of maximum profits rules.    It’s time for a new paradigm to guide our politics. Mine is a campaign for social, economic, health, and environmental justice. For a society that puts people and the environment first, with justice and sustainability as guiding principles.   That kind of change comes from giving the dispossessed a voice in our politics. The most impacted should help lead. That’s what this campaign is all about. It's about a politics of soul, a politics of depth. Not just manageing crisis, but getting to the root of the problems. I'm about the big dream and the big delivery.

 

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