We had the good fortune of connecting with Angel Romero & Jesus Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angel Romero & Jesus Flores, what do you want your legacy to be?
We want people to remember us as individuals who lived fearlessly and authentically. For us, living fearlessly means having the audacity and conviction to become self-published authors. As foos that seek to empower our people, we are committed to being life-long learners, recognizing that healing and personal growth is an ongoing process. Self-publishing allowed us to manifest our most authentic selves without compromising our roots as foos who are the children of working-class immigrants. There’s tremendous freedom and power in not having corporate entities or elitist gatekeepers control your message.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Angel: In 2014, I dropped out of a doctoral program at New York University. After dropping out, I spent about a year and a half bouncing around various service sector jobs. Unexpectedly, I met Dr. James R. Marin, who eventually became my mentor. Dr. Marin mentored me through the credential program and helped to facilitate my transition from grad school dropout to English teacher. I’ve taught high school English for five years now and I absolutely love it! Currently, I serve as the 9th grade Composition and Literature teacher at the award-winning School of Arts and Enterprise in the city of Pomona, CA. What sets me apart from other educators is that I fully embrace a culturally-responsive and trauma-informed teaching approach. I recognize that my students come from diverse backgrounds and that many of them have had to deal with trauma to varying degrees. Recognizing the unpredictability and multi-dimensional needs of my students allows me to practice empathy. The most important lesson I’ve learned during my time as an educator is that there are no bad students and that teachers can inspire life-long change in a young person. Ultimately, what I want the world to know about me is that I firmly believe in the power of personal development and community. Without those two core elements, I would not be a thriving teacher and published author.
I absolutely LOVE being a teacher. In fact, that might be an understatement. I got into this profession to be a part of the critical-thinking revolution. As someone that was raised around poverty and ignorance, I realized that by being a teacher I could make a difference in my community and my people. My mentor once shared with me that teaching can either be the easiest job, or the hardest, and there is much truth to that. When you care deeply about your students, their experience really impacts your mental health. This vocation is incredibly taxing on the mind and soul, and that makes it a formidable challenge. I’ve overcome this challenge in the past by deeply reflecting in my darkest moments, and always going back to my why. Why did I choose this path? Why am I here? By reflecting and finding ways to recommit myself to the fight against social and economic inequalities, I’ve been able to teach kids from different hoods to the best of my ability. I hope that by exposing them to critical-thinking skills, they will use these skills to live self-actualized lives full of love and inspiration, ready to change the world around them if they wish to be the change they want to see in their neighborhoods.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
-Cocina Doña Chona’s in South Central LA
– Sunken City (sick times)
– Mulholland Drive nighttime view of the LA skyline
-Pacoima Mural Mile (hit up Taco Charly after)
– A hike to Hermit Falls
-Gotta hit the beach for sure
-Universal Studios Hollywood
-The Arts District in DTLA
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Angel: First and foremost, I’d like to thank my mother for raising me to be fearless and tenacious. My mother taught me to go for it and to stand up to the bullies. Secondly, I’d like to thank my colleagues at The School of Arts and Enterprise who have supported the book from the jump. In particular, I’m deeply indebted to Victor Lee, William and Janine Bissic, Chelsey Cavion, and Chelsey Brunelle for believing in our vision and generously sharing their resources and network. Thirdly, I want to give a huge shoutout to my co-author and good friend, Jesus Flores, who pushed me to finish our book while teaching me to pursue truth relentlessly. Finally, I’d like to thank my students for inspiring me to evolve and become a better person and educator each day.
Jesus: My mother instilled in me how to care for others and that’s always remained an integral part of how I traverse the world around me. I’d like to thank Dr. Marin for believing in me when I was 22 years old and no one wanted to give me a chance as a teacher. Angel Romero inspired me greatly to jump into the world of digital content creation. Finally, my day one homies for always keeping me grounded and humble.
Other: Personal IG: Angel Romero: @scholargamernerd Jesus Flores: @jflow_323
Photo Credit: @voyager.iii