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On the Road with California Humanities Comes to an End

Youth Performance: Destiny Arts Center

From exploring why history matters, to the future of food, and what’s in store for journalism, to California’s water, the Farmworker Movement, and our robust culture of arts and humanities, the On the Road with California Humanities Pulitzer Speaker series has been an inspiring journey. We have zig-zagged the state and met with over one thousand fellow Californians to discuss some of our most pressing issues.

What have we learned? California holds a wealth of abundance: abundance of knowledge, creativity, insight, viewpoints, and the energy and desire to come together to learn and create solutions for a better and more inclusive future!

During the final stretch of the journey, we travelled to the Fresno Art Museum to join in conversation with Luis Valdez, founder of El Teatro Campesino and recent National Medal of Arts awardee; Miriam Pawel, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; Dawn Mabalon, Associate Professor of History at San Francisco State University; and Samuel Orozco, author and National News and Information Director of Radio Bilingüe. The audience was filled with several community members who lived the history of the Farmworker Movement, yet many learned about the involvement of the Filipinos and how the movement has evolved over time. One audience member shared that they learned “the importance storytelling to educate and share the narrative of the Farmworker Movement”.

For the series finale, we returned to our Northern California home base in Oakland. In partnership with the California Arts Council, we celebrated October as National Arts and Humanities month in style at the Oakland Museum of California while highlighting the importance of providing access to educational opportunities that include the arts and humanities. Marc Bamuthi Joseph of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts lead the audience and fellow panelists – electronic music pioneer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Morton Subotnick, Sarah Crowell, Artistic Director at Destiny Arts Center and Jordan Simmons, Artistic Director at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts – in a conversation that asked about the seminal moment that led each of us on our life’s trajectory. It was a thought-provoking, inspirational conversation with truly remarkable arts leaders who passionately create transformative learning experiences for young people.

Throughout the series, we’ve made intentional efforts to engage youth organizations and to showcase their contributions to the issues. The last two forums of the series were no exception. In Fresno, a local high school artist displayed her painting inspired by the work of Cesar Chavez, a Fresno State theater student performed an excerpt from the play “Blue Willow” from the perspective of a farmworker, and forum videography was produced by the Youth Empowerment Studios. At the On the Road finale, we were inspired by the spoken word artist Donté Clark, dance performance/call-to-action by Destiny Youth Performance Group, Son de La Tierra + African drummers of East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and beat-builders from Youth Radio.

Did you miss your chance to join us on the road? Please visit our website to access video, media and other resources from the series’ forums.

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