Our Memorial Stones
Teen Angel Magazine, since its first publication in 1981, quickly became el voz del barrio, The Voice of the Barrio. One artist’s rendition of our humble calles undecidedly spoke volumes of our Chicano culture. A small publication that was meant to portray the art and poetry of the neighborhood was the catalyst that brought together a generation of youth that was in search of an identity. Teen Angel Magazine exposed the beauty of an art form that was once looked at with disdain. It united a generation of lowriders, artists, and Chicanos, revealing our plights as a forgotten people, so that in one voice we could proclaim without shame, Barrio Si, Yonke No!
Teen Angel, for us, has always been an icon of the glory days of lowriding. When people did it for more than just an image, when it was a way of life, a bridge that brought people together, a family affair, of sorts. And yet, just as all good things eventually come to an end, Teen Angel Magazine slowly faded from existence. Gone were the days of cruising Whittier Boulevard, of car clubs coming together to celebrate a culture and an art form that spoke volumes about the beauty of our neighborhoods, of our families, and the rich history that the barrios contained. When Teen Angel fell from existence we lost a vital part of our voice. Our documented history of the beauty of prison arte and the pictures of our gente that told stories in the faces of every person that found themselves on the pages of this magazine ceased to exist. And yet, we are are proud to say that from the hands of a tremendous group of artists Teen Angel Magazine has found its way back, 32 years after its birth.
To open Teen Angel and to find ourselves on the pages of this magazine was but a surreal moment in our lives. One of those moments, though it may be but for a blink of an eye, will forever be impressed in our hearts as a monumental occurrence. A parting of the Red Sea, of sorts. A time in our lives that we will build, as the children of Israel did in the Old Testament, a pile of memorial stones in remembrance of all that the Lord has done for us, "and Joshua said to them: Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?" (Joshua 4:5-6) This magazine will serve as a memorial stone for us. A remembrance of all that the Lord has done in the past year. As He took us from the filth of this world and transformed us into vessels of honor for His glory. How He has, time and time again, heard the prayers of His saints, us, who He calls His children. How, in a matter of ten months, He birthed Ponte Trucha and not only allowed us to be in Teen Angel Magazine, but gave us a two page spread in which we were able to proclaim the goodness and grace of God. Moreover, not only did He bless us with an article, but He put one of our own on the cover of the magazine. "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" (Romans 11:33)
We are humbled and yet very honored. We know that we don't deserve the goodness and kindness of the Lord. We know that it was simply because of the Lord's favor upon our lives that we have been given this opportunity. And so, just as the children of Israel set up memorial stones in remembrance of all that the Lord had done for them, we too will save this magazine as a memorial stone in our lives. So that when our children and children's children open up the pages of Teen Angel and ask us, "What do these stones mean to you?", we can proclaim with humility the wonderful works of the Lord in our own lives. We are living testimonies that God does, in fact, exist and that He has made Himself known in order that He might be found. There are never coincidences in God's presence nor does He ever make mistakes. You have been put here for a reason. You are reading this for a very marked purpose. Quiet your soul now that you too may hear the whispers of God. For He is not dead, but very much alive. And His desire is to commune with you.
Burn the ships! We're not going back! Leaving an eternal mark on this world, one calle at a time.