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Chasing Dreams On The Expo Line

Joy Hahn |
September 2, 2015 | 3:43 p.m. PDT


Jualisa Haith on the Expo line going to La Brea
Jualisa Haith on the Expo line going to La Brea
In a city that is notorious for traffic, some people solely rely on public transportation. Jualisa Haith uses three trains to get to work. 

“I’ve been taking public transportation for five years now because I’m so afraid to drive. It’s the safest way, it’s the quickest way and it’s cheaper,” Haith said. 

The couple sitting to her left has never taken the Expo Line before. Haith leans back and laughs; the Metro has always allowed  her to get around the city through all the turmoil of her life. She’s been through a lot. 

“My mom died when I was seven years old, and I went to live with my older sister in San Fernando Valley. I been raised there up until 18, then I moved to Norwalk. From there I was traveling places and now I’m finally settled down with my son,” she said. 

Her mother’s early death created constant movement, but Haith turned to L.A. public transportation to get around all over the sprawling city. These days, Haith’s after-work commute starts with the Expo Line from USC to La Brea and Centinela, then all the way down to Vermont and Carson to get home to Inglewood. 

“It’s my only way to get around," she said, as she shared the wisdom that comes with years of experience riding the rail lines.

To stay safe, she suggesed staying close to the driver or staying in your own zone and minding your own business. But she said the Expo Line takes her to and from work with a few bearable nuisances. 

“We get bad smelling homeless people, we get crazy homeless people, we get some who try and sit and talk to you, someone to lean on you or clutch on to your belongings. It’s a good and bad experience to ride the train,” she said. 

Her job promotes self-empowerment and helps her with parenting skills. She’s an after-school staffing coach at Carson Street Elementary. But Haith has been around children and chaos long before she was hired. 

“I’m the baby out of 11 kids, and I’m 21-years-old now,” she said. “So working with kids at school and teaching helps me a lot and it helps me with my family situations, and helps me to calm my temper down, it helps me with my son, my job builds a lot of patience within myself.”

As she speaks about the students at work, there’s passion in her undertone. She tutors them, plays with them outside and tries to help keep them occupied in healthy ways. 

“We reteach them what they learn in class too,” she said. “It helps them with doing hands on experiments and it helps them come together with their friends and know how to share and be nice to each other.”

Haith’s career shapes a vision for her family. 

“I’m trying for the better of me and the better of my son,” she said. “He’s not going to get into violence, the gang banging violence, or anything negative. I want him to be a successful man – a man for me and for his family.” 

(Ariba Alvi / Annenberg Media)
(Ariba Alvi / Annenberg Media)

Contact Contributor Joy Hahn here.



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