Dear Teatro Familia,

It seems like old times, doesn’t it?  The worst of times, the best of times, but hard times just the same for so many people.  We are just grateful that after fifty years, El Teatro is still around to do what we do.

I cannot help but remember the first time I pitched Cesar Chavez an idea for a theater of, by and for farm workers. It was late at night in the basement of the rectory of Saint Elizabeth’s Church in the Fruitvale District of Oakland. It was the second or third week of the 1965 Delano Grape Strike. Cesar was clearly exhausted, after a long day in the Bay Area giving speeches and collecting donations of food and financial support for the huelguistas. He patiently heard my spiel anyway.

Once I was finished, he nodded and smiled gently. I could see that he liked my idea. But then he honestly said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said: “You know, there’s no money to do theater in Delano.  There are no actors, no stage, no place to rehearse in Delano. In fact, there isn’t even any time to rehearse because we’re on the picket line all day. Do you still want to take a crack at it?” My answer was brash but unequivocal: “Absolutely, Cesar, what an opportunity!”

The fact is that Delano was full of the human spirit that Cesar evoked out of the faith and will of working people. That spirit empowered a national movement for civil rights and social justice, and most recently a presidential election, with the cry of ¡SI SE PUEDE!  It is that spirit that has kept El Teatro Campesino going for over five decades. Please help us to continue celebrating the soul of La Causa by supporting our work.   We keep our overhead low, relying on our faithful, hardworking volunteers. But we do count on our loyal members, friends and family. So this direct appeal is to you.

Whatever you can donate will be deeply appreciated. In return, we promise to continue bringing you the most stirring theatrical productions we can muster. For the last 50 years we have been creating a New American Theatre reflecting our history, our experience and our community. In spite of the unpredictable political times facing our nation, we are still powered by the same hopes and dreams that motivated us a half century ago. They now animate a whole new generation of young Teatristas in the 21st century. Simon que yes, we can! Gracias in advance.

Abrazotes de todo corazon,

LuisSignatureBlack

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