Cafecito Diaries #4: Stay Woke With CHCH

Many of us know that City Heights hasn’t always shone as bright as it does today. It’s taken the efforts of many thoughtful residents, rising immigrants, and caring individuals to help our neighborhood flourish into more of the multi-colored safe haven that we’ve imagined together. We still have a long way to go. To echo a millennial colloquialism, we have to “stay woke” - which simply means staying alert to the causes of our most marginalized. Below, I share a bit about my common experience at the coffee house.

Imagine yourself sitting down on a wooden bench. You’ve got your your favorite book in front of you -- one of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ classics or perhaps a romantic novel by Isabel Allende? You’ve got your headphones on and you’re listening to soothing Brazilian bossa nova or chill electronic vibes, you choose. What’s missing from this picture? Ah yes -- COFFEE! You hear the barista call out your drink, “Medium Café de Olla” (you mentally thank them for pronouncing ‘olla’ correctly). You take a sip and almost immediately you are transported back to the sweet coffee Abuela used to make whenever you visited her. You stand up from your spot, make your way out of the shade and into the warm sun. You thank the barista and in return, you get a reply and a legit smile from a courageous individual whose story you’ve read about on social media, and you know that this isn’t just any random barista that serves you your drink and moves onto the next customer.

All of a sudden you remember that abuela always had pink conchas (your favorite type of Mexican sweet bread) and you just know that she would be disappointed if you drank the coffee on its own. You also purchase a strawberry-and-cheese-danish. You turn back to your spot on the bench with your hot cup of coffee in one hand, your danish in the other, and a contagious smile on your face. You take a seat and enjoy the rest of your novel in peace and quiet with the casual disruption of another friendly face that that accompanies you on your bench. Does this scene sound familiar --if you’re picturing it in your head, does it look familiar?

This is exactly what I go through everytime I visit CHCH, and when I think back to the earlier years of my time in City Heights, I can see how much our community has changed for the better.

My coffee-visits to CHCH are one of my favorite parts of the week. I’m not just saying this because I write for the coffeehouse; I also mean it as a City Heights resident, as a community member, and as an individual with a strong ethnic identity - as a feisty Latina. I love reading the menu and seeing coffee drinks I grew up with on the list. On the other hand, I also love switching up my orders everytime I stop by to get coffee because it gives me the sense that I am trying out different cultures through coffee. There’s so much diversity on one menu it almost seems like they took the ethnic variety of City Heights and turned it into a list of coffee drinks. I love how I am greeted by the coffeehouse staff. Even more so, I love how I am able to recognize their face because they’ve chosen to share a little bit of their story (read their stories here!)

This coffee shop reminds me that great things are going on in City Heights and it’s up to me to support the growth of this forward movement. By keeping this truth in the back of my head, it makes it easier to bike my way through the alley to the little coffee shop every Saturday morning for my cup of City Heights coffee. So give yourself the chance to fall in love with CHCH! With a community as important as City Heights, it’s up to us to #STAY WOKE and actively engaged with issues in our community that we can help solve. CHCH will help you do just that. Take the first step and check out our Gamechangers campaign here.

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