Cool things are happening on and around the BC campus every day. I could walk you through any dozen entertaining and enlightening offerings in the past seven days (and that would barely cover sporting events alone), but with all due respect to all the great things that happen here daily, let me focus on one that took place this week that truly speak to the diversity and pride we see 24/7/365 at Bakersfield College.
On Friday, Sep 25th, BC got to celebrate the arts, address a critical social issue, engage with our wider Bakersfield community and reach out to the next generation of Bakersfield College students — all at the same time.
BC hosted a Simonsen Center performance of playwright Gary Soto’s amazing musical “In and Out of Shadows” as presented by the incredibly talented actors and performers of San Francisco Youth Theater’s DREAM ensemble.
A powerful piece of theatre, “Shadows” tells funny, eye-opening and sometimes tragic stories of what it’s like to be an undocumented resident of California as told by teens trying to navigate those confusing and often frightening waters.
The play was assembled from Soto’s interviews with actual Bay Area DREAM Act kids, offering a deeply authentic voice to the all-encompassing human impact our nation’s thorny immigration policies have on young people.
And who better to relate to those stories of youth struggle than students from some of our local high schools? About 200 teens from Arvin, Mira Monte and Golden Valley high schools packed Simonsen with enthusiasm and appreciation for the production and it was a joy to introduce them to our campus and our commitment to performing arts.
The play was followed by an equally engaging panel discussion on all aspects of America’s immigration debate organized by the California Endowment and moderated by BC Professor Gerald Cantu. The panel even featured local activists, organizers and attorneys who work in South Kern County.
The event was one of a series of events planned with our partners at CSU Bakersfield commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic 1965 Delano Grape Strike, a standoff that still stands as one of the watershed labor and civil rights events in our nation’s history.
A huge thanks to Gerald as well as Professor Oliver Rosales for helping to put this tremendous event together.
Thank you Jason Kobely for covering this event.