So far, the 2020s have not been a walk in the park. Many have struggled – either with the virus, their own mental health in isolated times, racial justice and police brutality, or war. But seeing as we are all only human, we’re seeking that light at the end of a dark tunnel, and that is what the LAist’s “WILD” podcast is about – the glimmer of hope after a year of darkness – specifically 2020.
Award-winning New York Times writer Erick Galindo hosts the LAist’s newest podcast. Along with Adweek’s producer of the year, Megan Tan, the “WILD” podcast is a time capsule of 10 lives from that year. It’s kind of about growing up, as its description says, but it suggests to us more of an adaptation, like a flower blooming through the cracks of a sidewalk. Galindo and Tan are highlighting the resilience we can show through chaos, adversity, and tragedy: scars and all. This is about the marginalized people suffering through a nation-wide housing crisis, a pandemic-induced recession, and depression from isolation. But it’s not sad stories; it’s just stories. Really good stories in a really good podcast.
The first episode is a feature on Daisy Figueroa, an Angeleno from Huntington Park.
In 2020, she was in her final year of Boston Law School about to start an exciting internship when COVID made its way across America. She frantically packed up her studio apartment, putting the majority of her belongings in storage to return home to her family. She finished law school virtually from her sister’s Orange County home. While she was there, she could not stop lingering on the question, what does it mean to be home?
Her parents had lived in the same one-bedroom apartment for decades: from Daisy’s childhood with her two sisters, to now as empty nesters. They constantly said they would upgrade from the tiny place, but the housing crisis just continued to worsen in Los Angeles. As she finished her law degree from her own bedroom at her sisters house, she couldn’t stop thinking about her parents, sleeping in separate beds in their one-bedroom because there was not a bed big enough or accessible enough for them in their older age.
She decided to remodel her parents home.
She removed the family bunk beds that had been there since the 1980s and gave them their first real bedroom. Then, she had an even bigger idea. She did not want to stop with just her parents’ room; she wanted to do the same with other families like her. She called up her friends Joseph and Francisco, and together they created Hood Renovationz. A start-up that gives away home renovations to LA’s most marginalized residents. They have raised thousands of dollars in donations and completed several renovations of kitchens, bedrooms, and general repairs. They are now in the legal process of creating a business.
Every story is a little different, but they all encapsulate the human experiences from 2020. Hear Sara Palafox’s journey to motherhood and Chris Garcia’s opening up to fatherhood. Or Linda Yvette Chávez’s imposter syndrome and Aida Rodriguez’ coping techniques. “WILD” is a heartfelt look into the lives of others. 10 lives, 10 stories, 10 evolutions of hopes, dreams, and futures. These are uplifting stories that aren’t all unfamiliar: tales of homegrown love for community, family, and friends. Listen to the “WILD” podcast for the beacons of hope that came out of a dark year.