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Dolores Huerta and Josefina Lopez to Testify in Support of Save The Performing Arts Act in Sacramento

SB 805 will direct the California Arts Council to establish the California Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster.

Dolores Huerta and Josefina Lopez to Testify in Support of Save The Performing Arts Act in Sacramento

Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights and Human Rights Icon, Founder and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Co-Founder of United Farm Workers of America union, and Josefina Lopez, renowned award-winning playwright and screenwriter (Real Women Have Curves), will testify on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. in Sacramento, CA at Senate Labor Committee Hearing for Senate Bill 805 (SB 805), "Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021," authored by State Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) representing the 22nd District, and co-authored by State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) representing the 26th District.

Dolores Huerta said: "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), 'Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021.'"

SB 805, entitled, "Save The Performing Arts Act of 2021," is the first bill in the nation that will create a critical funding infrastructure to help assist Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Companies (SNPAC) with average adjusted gross revenues equal to, or less than $1.4 million, to be adjusted every five years based on the California Consumer Price Index.

SB 805 will direct the California Arts Council to establish the California Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster, which will provide low-cost payroll and paymaster services to SNPACs. This legislation will establish the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund to ensure that SNPACs can pay all workers minimum wage, particularly workers in marginalized communities.

Small nonprofit theaters are incubators for playwrights, actors, designers, directors and other artists. They have historically provided networking opportunities and mentorship for Black, Indigenous and People of Color artists to facilitate connections necessary for career advancement by providing performance experience that helps to open doors to larger, less accessible companies. Furthermore, SNPACs contribute to the economic growth, social well-being and cultural vitality of the local communities they serve.

Dolores Huerta is a two-time U.S. Presidential Award Recipient. Huerta received the Medal of Freedom Award from President Barack Obama in 2012, the highest civilian award in the United States, and the Eleanor D. Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Bill Clinton in 1998. Earlier this year in 2021 Huerta participated in President Joe Biden's primetime television special, "Celebrating America."

Dolores Huerta is the President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She is a celebrated Latina labor leader, activist and community organizer. She has worked for labor rights and social justice for over 50 years. In 1962, Dolores Huerta and the late César Chávez founded the United Farm Workers of America union. She served as Vice President and played a critical role in many of the union's accomplishments for four decades. Dolores Huerta coined the term, ¡Si, Se Puede!® - Spanish for "Yes, we can," which inspired President Barack Obama's political campaign for President. To learn more, please visit, www.doloreshuerta.org

Josefina López is an award-wining Writer, Director, Producer, Performer, Activist and Author. She is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the 2002 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AWARD-WINNING film Real Women Have Curves. López started her writing career at 17 and has had over 100 productions of her many plays throughout the country.

Josefina López has been working as a professional screenwriter in Hollywood for almost 30 years with countless development deals and screenplay assignments. She has worked with many established producers like Norman Lear (All In the Family) and Michael McDonald (American Crime) to bring Latinos to television. She is also the Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater located in Boyle Heights, CA. To learn more, please visit www.casa0101.org

The SB 805 Coalition consists of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and 40 organizations/individuals throughout the state of California, including 5 Theater Leagues, 32 small 99-seat theaters and 3 independent artists.


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