San Francisco Civil Rights Lawyer Performs at San Francisco Fringe Festival

San Francisco Civil Rights Lawyer Performs at San Francisco Fringe Festival

When Irma, an attorney, returns from lunch to her 25th floor financial district law firm, Shelley, the receptionist, hands her two pink message slips. "Ear-ma can I ask you a favor? When your friends call the office tell them to say their names in English." One messages is from a client, the other, Susana, Irma's best friend. Irma counts to three and takes a deep breath and privately recites the Serenity Prayer. Where the hell does she start this conversation?

Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? invites us to experience life in a segregated small town in South Texas where the subjugation of Mexican-Americans was as tightly controlled as it was for blacks in the Deep South. Irma's 20+ characters give us a glimpse of life for class migrants - first in their families to attend college and work their way into the learned professions. Despite its seemingly serious tone, the show is funny.

"Many people will see bits of their own experience in Irma's struggle not just to belong, but to thrive in a society often ambivalent about including her. A must-see for anyone who wonders what it will take for us to all get along." --Rinku Sen, Executive Director of Race Forward and Publisher/Colorlines.

This is Irma's first play (previously titled Tell Me Your Name) and has been performed before sold-out houses at Ross Valley Players Theatre (Marin County) and the historic Guadalupe Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. Excerpts of this work have sold out the house at Stage Werx Theatre's Solo Sundays and The Marsh. The show was at The Fresno Rogue (Fringe) Festival.

Irma Herrera spent 30+ years in the San Francisco's legal community. A staff attorney job with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) lured her from Washington State's Yakima Valley (where she represented Spanish-speaking farmworkers). At MALDEF, she worked on various landmark cases advancing the civil rights of Latinos. After MALDEF Irma spent three years as a freelance journalist. She then joined the corporate law firm world for several years. Her final 15 years in the legal world were spent as Executive Director at Equal Rights Advocates, the country's premiere legal organization advocating for gender equality.

Irma honed her creative writing skills during her breaks from law both as a freelance journalist and on staff at SF-based New America Media. Her articles have appeared in news outlets including The Washington Post, NY Times, LA Lawyer, Huffington Post. She also taught Law and Social Justice at The Colorado College as a visiting faculty member. Prior to studying law at the University of Notre Dame Law School, Irma worked as an urban planner in New Orleans for several years.

Among the numerous awards she has received is the Margaret Brent Award, named after the first woman lawyer in the United States. It is one of the highest honors for women lawyers and is given by the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession.

TICKETS/INFORMATION: $10 at door, $12.99 in advance at http://sffringe.org. Performances are Sat 9/9 - 4pm, Tu 9/12 - 8:30pm, Th 9/14 - 7pm, and Sun 9/17 - 7pm.

Photo credit: Chuck Revell

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