Age: 41

Marital Status:  Um, I guess it’s considered “single”

Occupation:  Um, unemployed for now!

Do you have children? Um, yep.

How long did you live in Pomona? Total of nine months, and before that I probably lived there a year and 5 months altogether.

What brought you here? I was forced out of our home in Ontario.  I moved to Pomona out of necessity.

What was the best thing about living in Pomona?  One time I lived in a trailer park in Pomona.  I was surprised at how close knit everybody was there. They’d watch each other’s kids, they lent each other money, and they were so giving even though they had nothing.

Also, even though there’s a lot of poverty in Pomona, what I like is that during Christmastime they have a lot of stuff.  Even if the house is, like, falling apart there will still be Christmas lights on it!  It’s very festive!

Where are your favorite places to be in Pomona? The hospital!  Tiajuana’s tacos is good.

What was the worst thing about living here? I feel like I’m in TJ.  The poverty level, the danger, and no real grocery stores…no Vons, Albertson’s, etc.  Holt’s crazy, Holt’s a crazy street, like where the Cardena’s is and the 99 cent store.

Can you talk about one significant event that happened during your time  in Pomona?   Well, it was funny because there was such a contrast between the trailer park home and living with my significant other’s parents.  They have a houseful of stuff, literal stuff.  They have an excess of material things and I realized at that point that we really had…that they were really stingy with things. Even though they had so much, and they had a lot of things that they didn’t need, they didn’t want anyone touching them.  It was there that we realized that we had to depend on each other…it was just a realization that both our families were very dysfunctional and we had to depend on each other.

How has living in Pomona changed you? I’d say, I think that it opened my eyes to a lot of things that I would’ve never experienced before. Like, I would have never associated with some of the people living in the trailer park before.  I just never would’ve known them. It was a good thing.  One of the families were illegals, they weren’t citizens, and a lot of times they would comment on how lucky I was.  They wondered why I didn’t have a good job since I had papers.  Papers were a big deal.  But, at the same time, they would date people without papers!  I would wonder why they would date someone without papers…since, you know, if this is an important thing you’d think they’d want to not go in that direction.  Also, they worried about being pulled over because they were illegal.  Sometimes they were scared of opening the door. There was a real fear of “LA MIGRA”, and, you know, before, that was just something I would joke about.  For them it was real.

How have you changed Pomona? We’ve made a lot of the taco stands some money!!  I don’t think I’ve really probably changed Pomona at all.

Pomona’s city motto is “Vibrant, Safe and Beautiful”.  What motto would you choose for Pomona? (long pause) Pomona–People from Different Paths:  Poverty, Prosperity, and Promise …hmmm, I need to get back to you on this one.

Any last thoughts you’d like to share? I think that because I came from a very impoverished family, I came from poverty, I tend to try to stay away from areas that remind me of that.  That’s why I tend to shy away from places like Pomona.  But I forget that the children there are important.  Last night I was talking with a Pomona teacher about his students, and I realized that those students have more worries than just studying.  Some of them are homeless and living in a car.   For a moment I wanted to join in and help…I thought, “Well, the school could have a food pantry” and I thought of different ideas to help the kids so they don’t have to be stuck in a place that they don’t want to be. There are things that people can do to better Pomona, starting with the students.

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