An impassioned Josephina Lopez kicked off the press conference to pass SB 805, as it was languishing in the Appropriations Committee. It has been an urgent matter to get the word out to pull it out of the committee and send it on to the floor of the California State Senate for consideration.
On the outdoor loading dock beside Casa 0101 Theatre, with a podium set up to one side, Lopez related the reasons she established her small theatre in Boyle Height, a venue that now serves as a cultural community center, having raised three generations of young children in the community.
Turning to SB 805, which will provide funding and services for non-profit theatre across California, Lopez explained the reasons why the arts are so vital to the life-blood of any society. “A dream can contain a thousand dreams,” she said, but without small theatre, generations of dreams will be lost. She commended the bill’s author, Senator Susan Rubio, stating, “SB 805 is the lifeline for (theatre) folks who are having to close their doors.” She ended with the vow, “You cannot eradicate small theatres!”
The Coalition supporting SB 805 brought together an impressive roster of artists to speak. Henry James Olmos talked about his beginnings at The Los Angeles Actors Theatre and Teatro Campesino, two companies that gave many young actors their start. Danny Glover, who helped establish the Robey Theatre, quoted Paul Robeson: “Artists are gatekeepers of truth” who flourish nowhere but small theatres. Ben Guillory, his partner at Robey, added, “What we do should be noted – valued – in this country.”