DOLORES HUERTA FOUNDATION
April 23, 2021
Honorable Senator Dave Cortese
Chair, Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee
1020 N Street, Room 545
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 805 (Rubio) The Performing Arts Relief Act – SUPPORT
Dear Chair Cortese,
The Teatro Campesino organized by Luis Valdez was instrumental in motivating farm workers to use their power to change their oppressive conditions and also took their struggle to the public through their performances. This is the power of theater. In this critical time in our country, community theaters are desperately needed to enlighten, educate and motivate people to engage in social change. We respectfully ask for this committee’s aye votes on SB 805 because it would support the survival of performing arts groups like Teatro Campesino.
The grape strike and boycott of the 1960’s created the Chicano movement in the United States, as well as the consciousness of an entire nation leading to walkouts in schools and campus strikes for a better education, Teatro Campesino was the voice that touched the hearts and minds of the public when they performed giving life to the people affected by the oppressive conditions.
The history of the performing arts is interwoven with the fight for social justice every step of the way. Theater was a significant voice that helped bring about change in public consciousness during slavery, the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage, the organized labor movement, the Chicano movement, and just about every other movement working to bring about equity for those in their group.
To not help community performing arts, is to shut down a major pipeline the voiceless have to assert their humanity in opposition to those who would deny it. Stories like Josefina Lopez’ Real Women Have Curves, or Luis Valdez’ Zoot Suit, or Kemp Powers’ One Night in Miami were written and developed in small theaters.
What is at stake is not an industry per se, but the vehicle of the voiceless, the downtrodden have to bring about change in the consciousness of the public at large. Not to mention, they represent the only access children in disadvantaged communities have compared to their more affluent counterparts.
SB 805 provides a solution to help create and preserve opportunities for emerging artists, performers and people in the performing arts sector – particularly workers from marginalized communities.
For all these reasons, I enthusiastically support SB 805 (Rubio), The Performing Arts Relief Act. For further information please reach out to Lori Pesante, Civic Engagement & Government Relations Director, at the Dolores Huerta Foundation (661) 558-2047.
President of The Dolores Huerta Foundation
cc: Office of Senator Susan Rubio
Members of the Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee