"More Than A Margarita" by Ana Maria Campoy
I grapple with being an engaged citizen and theatre artist when the news is filled with stories of deportations, DACA, and police violence increasing every day. How does one go on performing, knowing that Puerto Rico lost power again or Flint, MI, still doesn’t have clean water? To top it off, those news stories are constantly interrupted by problematic beer commercials about Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that overlooks Mexican culture and Latinx people entirely. When your entire history, culture, and people get reduced to tacos, tequila, and cheap beer, it minimizes the value and beauty of the stories and artists in an industry that rarely wants to tell stories of Latinx people outside violence and trauma.
So before you order that extra guacamole or margarita this weekend, try to keep in mind:
- Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo is about La Batalla de Puebla (the Battle of Puebla) where the small Mexican army defeated the large French army, inspiring future battles as Mexico fought to prevent France and Napoleon from establishing a puppet regime in place of the Spanish colonizers that were kicked out 30 years before.
- Dressing “like a Mexican” for the day is racist. Be better.
- My sorrow and anger concerning this holiday are plentiful but not productive. This is productive: The average price of a fancy margarita (with tip) is like $10. Maybe give the cost of one margarita to an organization that helps Latinx folx? #margaritasforacause
- Are you sitting there thinking, “But I don’t know any!” Well, here’s a list:
- Hispanic Federation is doing incredible work in Puerto Rico and Mexico City to help those people recover from natural disasters. (http://hispanicfederation.org/)
- NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Culture) works to support Latinx artists in the US and abroad. (https://www.nalac.org/)
- Voto Latino helps get the Latinx vote out– we have an election coming up, and over 27 million Latinx young people will be eligible to vote between this election and the next one.. (http://votolatino.org/)
- United Farm Workers Union (UFW) is a union for migrant workers, founded by civil rights activists Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, who advocate for migrant workers’ rights to safe living and working conditions with fair pay and housing rights. Every single fruit and vegetable we see is because of these workers. They deserve the damn world in my opinion. (http://ufw.org/)
If you want to support local organizations here in Seattle:
- El Centro de la Raza does SO MANY different things, I can’t even list them all. They are a huge part of Seattle’s civil rights history–Google “Gang of Four Seattle” and discover the history of intersectionationality, community organizing, and progress. It’s awesome. (http://www.elcentrodelaraza.org/).
- Casa Latina works on protecting and informing workers of their rights, advocating for immigrants, and much more. (http://casa-latina.org/)
If you want to support Latinx theatre artists:
- First off, HIRE THEM. There are so many talented, interesting Latinx artists who deserve a seat at the table. Then consider checking out these organizations:
- Thriving Artists is spearheaded by the amazing Arlene Martínez-Vázquez. I love this woman and would follow her anywhere. She brings Latinx plays to the US that haven’t been done here before, translates them into English, and brings many aspects of our varied culture and histories to the stage. Arlene is thoughtful, passionate, and resourceful. (https://www.thrivingartists.org/)
- Teatro Milagro is the longest-running PNW Latinx theatre company! Roy Antonio Arauz (former Seattle resident) does awesome work in Portland, bringing up important conversations within the Latinx community and transferring them to the stage. (Shout out to Latinx playwright and former Seattle resident, Benjamin Benne, whose work got read there last month!) (http://milagro.org/)
- eSe Teatro: Seattle Latinos Take Stage is Seattle’s Teatro Milagro, founded by Rose Cano. Rose is unflinching, brave, and ambitious. Through her, I stumbled into bilingual theatre for the first time, and I found a part of my artistic self I didn’t know I was missing. It is now my life’s work. Her work demands space and is always layered. Thank you, Rose, for giving me a seat at the table and for demanding that we all have a seat. (http://eseteatro.org/)
- Latino Theatre Projects has Fernando Luna and Robert Harkins at the helm. They work continuously to remind Seattle of the breadth and depth of Latinx playwrights in the US, nudging us all to remember that Latinx stories are American stories and that we have been here a damn long time. (http://latinotheatreprojects.org/)
I have nothing else to say but give a damn about us. Latinx folx (in all colors, types and documentation) matter. At least the price of one margarita. Aquí estamos y no nos vamos.
ANA MARIA CAMPOY is a first generation Mexican-American theatre artist who works as an actor, teaching artist, translator, and dramaturg throughout Puget Sound. As an actor, her notable roles include Rayna in Above Between Below (Seattle Children’s Theater), Susanna in Blood/Water/Paint (LiveGirls! Theatre); Nemesis in The Gifts of War (Directed by Gin Hammond); Player 1 in Shipwrecked! (Key City Public Theatre); and most recently, as Catherine in the critically acclaimed bilingual production Proof (Proof Porch Project), this past summer. For the past two years, she has worked with Seattle Shakespeare where she has developed bilingual scripts for The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night for their Educational Tour. Additionally, she tours nationwide in Living Voices’ solo show, La Causa, as Marta Hernandez. She teaches with Arts Impact and Seattle Repertory Theatre, in addition to being the Director of Education & Community Engagement at Seattle Public Theater. She is a passionate and proud advocate of the performing arts and believes that the arts provide communities a voice and individuals self-exploration. At the center of her work lives the driving desire to create opportunities for artists of color, to remove economic and geographical barriers for audiences and students, and to expand and deepen our American identity.
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