California releases reparations recommendations
S1: A first of its kind report on reparations in California.
S2: What surprised me is the extent of which California did perpetuate it , maintain slavery.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. The death of a Catholic priest and the shelter he ran on the US-Mexico border to help migrants.
S3: It gets to be very painful to keep saying , no , no , no. You know , I look forward to the day when I could say , yes , there is hope. You can go apply for asylum.
S1: Plus , the changes coming to the San Diego International Airport and a preview of the San Diego International Fringe Festival. That's ahead on Midday Edition. Documenting the harms of the past and present. A first of its kind report from California's reparations task force is making recommendations for reparations for descendants of an enslaved black person or of a free black person living in the U.S. before the end of the 19th century. The 500 page report traces how U.S. laws and policies perpetuate badges of slavery to create barriers for black Americans from reaping the same benefits as white Americans , as well as the violence and oppression black people have faced over the last 400 years. The task force is recommending a state subsidized mortgage program free health care , free tuition and scholarships to California colleges and universities , among other things. Joining me now to talk about this landmark report is Camila Moore. She is the chair of the California Reparations Task Force. Camila , welcome back to the program. Hi.
S2: Hi. Thanks for having me back , Jane.
S1: So the reparations task force represents the first time a state government has studied slavery. What do you see as the significance of this report coming from the state government ? Yes.
S2: So it's significant in many ways , but it's the most extensive government issued report on the African-American community since the Kerner Commission , which was commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. And so , you know , it's been an honor and a privilege to supervise the release of this monumental report alongside my fellow task force members. It's been a yearlong effort. It's nearly 500 pages. And this report chronicles the harms against the African-American community , starting with the transatlantic slave trade , the institution of U.S. chattel slavery to emancipation , and the broken promise of reconstruction to genocidal Jim Crow and the policies that defined that era. And lastly , two more contemporary harms that are still plaguing the African-American community.
S1: And as you mentioned , this is a 500 page report. But can you summarize your key findings ? Yes.
S2: So , you know , the report has 13 chapters. And in each chapter , there's a substantive breakdown of state or California state responsibility for the particular harms that we've outlined. And then there's a national or nationwide breakdown of the federal responsibility of the United States in perpetuating the harms against the African-American community. And so some of the harms that we mentioned was enslavement itself , you know , black codes , housing discrimination through eminent domain or through redlining or even through white supremacist terror. Even in California , there were instances of black Americans land being taken through violent means. Right. No. We also talked about discrimination in banking and tax and in labor in the labor market and the denial of the G.I. Bill to African American veterans. We've talked extensively about homelessness , mass incarceration , police terror. In this report , there's testimony from personal witnesses and expert witnesses as well that color , this report and the harms that we've outlined.
S1: You know , you mentioned it earlier , but this interim report refers to something called badges of slavery. Can you explain what that is ? Yes.
S2: So in 1883 , the Supreme Court interpreted the 13th Amendment , which abolished slavery , except if you're punished for a crime as empowering Congress to pass all laws necessary and proper for abolishing all badges of incidence of slavery in the US. However , throughout the rest of American history , instead of abolishing the badges in incidents of slavery , the United States , federal , state and local governments , including California , actually perpetuated and created new iterations of these badges and incidents. And these resulting harms have been innumerable and has snowballed over generations. And that's what this nearly 500 page report outlines in great detail.
S1: Can you talk about some of the contemporary harms of slavery ? I mean , what did your report find.
S2: In terms of contemporary harms ? No , we invited people to provide personal and expert testimony around the contemporary harms. So , for instance , we brought on to speak to the task force , Jacob Black Jackson , who talked about his experience as a black American student in LAUSD and being impacted by the school to prison pipeline. And you'll see the personal testimony of Jacob Jacob Black Jackson in that report. And while he was incarcerated , class rated as a juvenile. He's now an L.A. youth commissioner for the L.A. County. But still , we thought it was important to implement his testimony in. To the staff for support to really color or at least to elucidate the contemporary horrors against the African-American community.
S1: As you mentioned , you know , to put this report together , the task force held numerous hearings with experts who shared their research and Californians who shared their testimonials.
S2: I think what surprised me is the extent of which California did perpetuate it , maintain slavery , because I think that the narrative that's out there is that California had nothing to do with slavery or California didn't have slaves. But just very early on in the process , we learned from people like Professor Stacey Smith , who was an expert on slavery , particularly in the state of California , that while California entered the union in 1850 as a free state , that was really only a name. There was still slavery in the state. And even two years after California was admitted to the union in 1850 , they enacted a Fugitive Slave Act in 1852 , which empowered white individuals to try to deport free black people to the South to be re enslaved or even in some cases enslaved in the state.
S2: So we have this is a two year effort. So we're in year one , right ? And we're transitioning into year two. And so I characterized year one as the study phase where we were hearing from people providing personal and expert testimony and public comment. We were I'm doing the research to finalize this interim report , which really catalogues on the extensive harms that we've studied for this past year. And now we're transitioning to the development stage of the task force in this second and last year , where the task force is really going to work together to , you know , think intentionally about , okay , now that we have , you know , this comprehensive list of harms , you know , these lists of badges and incidents of slavery , let's start having continual conversations about what does reparations actually look like , which will , of course , be informed by community input as well.
S1: And many of the recommendations at this point stop the bleeding.
S2: And this is why , you know , I say it's my hope that this interim report is seen and viewed and utilized not only as an education tool or to , you know , increase awareness , but I hope that it's also used as an organizing tool because I think it quite nicely lays out and substantiates the claim for reparations , repair , healing , reconciliation , not only on the state level , but the municipal level. And of course , of course , the federal level as well.
S1: So what's the process for getting these recommendations implemented across California ? Yes.
S2: So since we released the interim report yesterday , you know , that marks the transition from the study phase of our efforts to the development phase of our efforts. I mean , so we have a year left to , you know , formulate a full comprehensive reparations plan that also includes compensation along with the other four forms of reparations under international law. And then we will be drafting and finalizing our final and second report , which will be released in July of 2023 , so July of next year. And that report will include a discussion about the community of eligibility on , you know , compensation models and how our final comprehensive reparations plan comports with international human rights law standards. And then it'll be up to the California state legislature to adopt our final recommendations. But given that this interim report was just released yesterday with some preliminary recommendations , the California state legislature could , in theory , start acting now.
S1: And you touched on this , but what's the task force's next priority ? Yes.
S2: So this month , a date to be determined. We have a celebration of the report at the state capitol in Sacramento. And then this summer , the task force is taking a break from our formal hearings. And we're allowing anchor organizations or community organizations that we've selected and named organizations to host a series of community listening sessions over the summer to increase awareness and engagement about what the task force is doing. And then the task force meets again in person in September , later this year in Los Angeles.
S1: I've been speaking with Camille Amoore , chair of the California Reparations Task Force. Camilla , thank you so much for joining us today.
S2: Thank you so much.
S4: Last month in Takata in Baja , California , a Catholic priest who ran a local migrant shelter was found dead. Father Jose Guadalupe Rivas Saldana had been reported missing two days earlier. The Archdiocese of Tijuana says the priest had apparently suffered head injuries. And his death is a suspected murder. To date , no arrests have been made. Father Jose was pastor of St Jude Thaddeus Parish into Cathi and ran Casa del Migrante de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe , a shelter serving migrants along the US-Mexico border. Today , I'm joined by the director of the Casa del Mar , grantee in Tijuana , Father Pat Murphy , who knew and worked with Father Jose and Father Pat. Thank you for joining me today.
S3: You're welcome. It's my pleasure.
S3: The only other thing I could add is I know he was on his day off and was at some ranch. I think it's quite interesting , Kathy , taking it easy with someone else. We still don't know who the other person was. And then next thing I know , we find out he's been murdered.
S3: He was in this area. And when he was being moved , he told me on two occasions , I want to come and talk to you and learn about the case and then how I can implement some good practices and take Kathy. We talked about it two times , but he never got around to visiting me. I think anyone who works at a course they got , they could could be in danger because for two reasons. One is that the neighbors aren't really happy about it. And two , and sometimes you have to say no to somebody that they can't stand the casa , that they have to leave. And that also makes people upset. And I'm not even talking about the local police said and all of that involves. But yeah , it could be dangerous. I always keep one eye in the back of my head , looking over my shoulder , making sure no one's following me. You live with a little paranoia , but it's okay.
S4: Tell us more about the mission of custom in grant shelters.
S3: Well , our mission has been here for 35 years. We just in April had our 35th anniversary. And for many years , we were working with mostly deported men. And that was a big population until about two years ago when the pandemic hit. We had to change our way of doing things because more and more families kept arriving. And so today we're working primarily with families who are escaping violence , trying to ask for asylum when there is no asylum. So so we give folks the basics , but we also have a lawyer. We have a psychologist who works with them. We have a work office. There's a lot of work in Tijuana. So we really push people to go out to work , to earn some money. And we have a full daycare center. We take the kids to school and and take care of them from basically seven in the morning to seven at night. So we offer them some great opportunities and some of the people are taking advantage of it.
S4: You mentioned that the asylum system doesn't really work at the border today. That's shaped by two U.S. policies , Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico policy.
S3: Just people are very vulnerable and they really have health issues. You know , there might be a few cases that are accepted , but basically the border is closed. If you don't have a visa , they're not even going to hear your application for asylum. So this has left thousands of people staying in Tijuana. So most of the shelters are full. We've had some new shelters pop up that are helping people , but a lot of people just there is no help to give them. You know , I get about 15 Facebook messages a day asking if there's political asylum and it gets it gets to be very painful. They keep saying , no , no , no. You know , I look forward to the day when I could say , yes , there is hope. You can go apply for asylum. And the ironic thing is most of the people , probably 90% , will be rejected. So we're always encouraging people. Think of plan B. You know , the American dream may not be a reality for you. You might want to think about. You can dream as your reality and do one thing. You can make a living. You can find a place to live and maybe start a new life here. So that's where we're at and it's very frustrating.
S4: Now , the bishop of Tijuana is demanding that Baja California authorities find out who committed the suspected murder of Father Jose. And because , as you mentioned , the climate of violence that you feel yourself and because of the large numbers of death in the past 20 years , Mexico is said to be the most dangerous country in the world for clergy. Is Mexico doing anything to protect you and other members of the clergy ? No.
S3: First of all , I don't think they'll ever come up with the result. I don't think they'll really investigate too much. I just don't foresee that they're going to bring this to a conclusion. No. And I don't want them to protect me because I fear them more than I do. The criminals , the police and the tourists they corrupt. You know , we've never had more protection officials. We have the Mexican army. We have the National Guard , we have the police. And there is literally more and more violence every day. So. So I don't know what the plan of protection is , but I'm okay. I don't need the protection because I really don't trust them.
S4: What would you say to a politician back in Washington , D.C. about the situation along the border today.
S3: That they should come and not just do a tour on the other side of the border in the U.S. They should come down and see Tijuana. They should visit the Ghazni. They should see the suffering of the people in the streets and stop looking at it as just a political vote issue , but look at it as a humanitarian issue. To me , it was very ironic that they were able to help thousands of Ukrainians and very much justified. They didn't they didn't have to go through Title 42. They just crossed the border and were sent on their way. And somehow they can help the Mexican Central Americans and other foreign born. They've been waiting at the border two or three years. So I just don't get it. I don't think there's any will because it's the migration is 100% the political issue. It's not a humanitarian issue. And that's a shame.
S4: Well , we'd like to extend our condolences for the loss of Father Jose. And thank you , Father Pat Murphy , director of Casa del Migrante in Tijuana , for joining us.
S3: You're welcome. It's been my pleasure. Have a good day.
S4: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. The travel industry is expecting a busy summer season as Americans get out of the house and take the trips they've been postponing throughout the pandemic. But if you plan to fly from San Diego International to your dream destination , you might want to consider some preplanning. Next week , the airport is closing terminal one parking as part of a massive remodel. And that's expected to make airport parking tight not only through this summer but for the next two years. Joining me is Sabrina Lo Piccolo , the senior communications specialist for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. And Sabrina , welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you.
S4: Now , Terminal One is undergoing this huge multibillion dollar makeover.
S2: We're going to be building an entirely new facility. So the new one will be a 30 gates terminal that will have a lot of different amenities , things that we don't have right now. If you've ever flown out of Terminal One , it's it's not a great experience. There's lack of post security connections. There's not a lot of gates to get through security , not a lot of food or concession options. But the new T1 is is going to be a lot better in the fact that , again , we're going to have 30 gates , will have faster security throughput , we'll have more concession , more dining options , we'll have more room. We'll even have a children's play area and a restaurant that overlooks the bay. So this is something that we're really excited about. And , you know , to get to that point , we have to get through a lot of construction first , which is what we're really trying to tell people. You know , when you said really need to do some preplanning , that is paramount right now. If you're traveling out of San Diego International Airport.
S2: And so right now we have about 500 spots currently in the Terminal one parking lot. So come June 5th , which is Sunday , all of those parking spots are now going to be eliminated. So the only on site parking that we have at the airport is in the terminal two parking plaza or valet. And we do offer valet in both terminal one in terminal two , but that is a significant amount of reduced parking available at the airport. So , you know , if anybody's going to be traveling this summer or even into the next couple of years , we really are encouraging you to plan ahead. Either make parking reservations , which you can do on our website , or if you're not trying to park at the airport , then you can always use public transit or have friends , family or rideshare drop you off.
S4: There are other parking options around the airport , though , right ? Absolutely.
S2: Yes. There are several offsite parking locations and you can find those. We have some listed on our website , which is new T1 dot com. And that website is going to be a really great resource for again for anybody who's traveling. It has a little bit about the project and then really most importantly , they'll keep you updated as far as the construction impacts and just some of the cues , if you're really just kind of curious about the project.
S4: Tell us about the San Diego Flyer shuttle.
S2: The San Diego Flyer is something that we launched in November , and it's a free shuttle service that is transporting between the terminals and the Old Town Transit center. So this is an all electric vehicle o shuttles. Anybody that's wanting to get a connects from the airport to old transit center can do that can jump on the flyer it runs about every 20 minutes and we do have a schedule on our website which is San Dawg. But this is a great option if you are going to be taking public transit. You know , if you're taking the trolley , the MTA bus coaster and you happen to be at the Old Town Transit Center , you can just jump on this shuttle and it will drop you off right in front of the terminals.
S4: Now , let's talk about how much the volume of air travelers is picking up at San Diego International.
S2: You know , we often think of Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial kicking off of summer travel and the summer season. So we saw about 65,000 passengers on average each day coming and going from the airport the Thursday before Memorial Day and then on Memorial Day that Monday. So this is , you know , a little bit more than within. We're seeing on average day throughout the year. And currently we're at like when compared to 2019 passenger traffic , we are down 12%. And this is actually the closest that we've been to regaining numbers as close to the 2019 numbers as we've been since the pandemic started. So we are seeing more people getting on planes , feeling more comfortable to do that traveling. But we're still just not quite to the 2019 numbers.
S4: How is the entire Terminal one project advancing ? Is it on schedule ? Yes.
S2: You know , as of right now , we are somewhat general in our timeline. You know , we are looking at late 2024 for the new Terminal one parking plaza to open. So the terminal one parking plaza will be in generally the same location that our parking lot is in now. So that is scheduled for late 2024. And then the new terminal one will open in phases. So the first phase will open in late 2025 , and that will include 19 gates. And then the second phase will open in late 2027 , and that will include the additional 11 gates for a total of 30. And I want to make it clear that the current terminal one will remain open and operational until the first phase of the new terminal is open. So we'll continue using the old terminal until those first 19 gates are open in late 2025.
S4: I've been speaking with Sabrina Low Piccolo. She's senior communications specialist for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Sabrina , thank you.
S2: Thank you so much.
S4: We all know rancid housing prices are skyrocketing and that market is becoming just one more insurmountable challenge for San Diego childcare providers. KPBS reporter Claire TRAGESER explains.
S5: A dozen young children sit in a circle on the sun. Speckled lawn of Liberty wins home childcare in Carlsbad.
S2: We are wasting my money away.
S5: After singing their school song , she dismisses them one by one to leave the circle , visit the party , and then pick out their snacks. Okay.
S2: Okay. How about. Yeah , yeah. Seat and every.
S5: All right. The idyllic scene belies the more than two years of turmoil when has faced in the age of COVID. She was forced to close when the pandemic first hit in March of 2020. She wasn't able to reopen for two months.
S6: And then within two weeks we got the eviction.
S5: Her landlord said he was moving back into the home Wynn was renting. She frantically searched for a new place where she could both live and have her childcare business. She ultimately found the building in Carlsbad , but it wasn't suitable for a daycare. So when had to take out a federal emergency disaster relief loan and spent $20,000 on the property.
S2: I had to put a lot of.
S6: The loan money into this place because it's on a lake. It's lovely , it's gorgeous , but it was a huge risk.
S5: Her lease will be up this summer and when she just received more bad news , her landlord has plans to turn the property instead into a luxury Airbnb. So Wynn is out of business again this time. Permanently.
S6: So our last days , August 26th and the Oasis of San Diego will be ending.
S5: This historically tight housing market has created a crisis on top of a crisis for childcare providers. First , the pandemic walloped the already fragile industry. State data show that one in eight childcare businesses temporarily closed during the past two years , and now many are struggling to reopen due to staggering rental costs.
S2: It puts them it puts the providers in a terribly vulnerable position.
S5: Laura Cohn is a long term early education expert.
S2: But child care provider is totally dependent on that rental situation for their livelihood and that moving the business would be incredibly disruptive to a lot of parents and families as well as to the providers business.
S5: Without government funding to help providers. Child care availability will continue to decline , says Kim MacDougall , who runs child care for the San Diego County YMCA.
S6: The funding mechanism for childcare is truly broken and the way we have built our economic model is truly broken , and that's something that we really need to address going forward if we're going to solve the childcare crisis. Because parents can't pay more. Providers can't charge less and it's never going to match up without public subsidy to close the gap. Kim , can I be told , cannot get here.
S5: She will have to pack up or sell everything from the art supplies and tiny tables and chairs to the aquariums holding snakes and turtles. And all of the money she put into the property will be lost. I am.
S7: So grateful to have.
S6: Found my calling and.
S7: Have a business that was.
S6: Flourishing and I seem to to be in my element.
S7: So that's that's just the best something I could do until a meeting.
S6: But there's no you know , if I really think about it , there's just I'm just quite vulnerable.
S2: And that's what I'm noticing.
S5: The kids at her school and their parents will have to find new care when wind moves. Claire TRAGESER , KPBS News outside.
S2: Go with me.
S1: After a decades long absence , Mexican culture and representation once again has a place among one of Balboa Park's iconic attractions. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages has long given park visitors a glimpse at different cultures from around the world. Yet for years , San Diego's closest cultural and geographic neighbor was without its own space. That's changed now , thanks to a year long effort by community organizers to restore the house of Mexico. Back at the Balboa Park Institution. Joining me now with more on the new cottage is the House of Mexico President Blanca Gonzalez. Blanca , welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
S1: It's been a pretty notable admission for years that Mexico did not have a place among the international cottages.
S2: But the reason that we didn't have a house in Mexico is we know it went back many , many years because originally when the houses were built in 1935 , there was a house in Mexico. But over the years , and including during World War Two , when the military took over the park and the cottages were turned into barracks , obviously all of the houses left the park. And when the houses returned in 1948 , the cottages were assigned based on membership. And unfortunately , the House of Mexico's membership was not as large as others. So House in Mexico was assigned to share a cottage with some of the other houses. Eventually , the house in Mexico disappeared from the membership rolls. And , you know , we don't really know because we weren't we weren't around in the 1950s , but in 2003 , we were able to resurrect House of Mexico and started a campaign to get the cottage built. And it took many , many years , but we were so happy that that we are open. We opened to the public on the first Sunday of April , and now we're getting ready for a big celebration this weekend. Fantastic.
S1: Fantastic. And I mean , like you say , this is something that's been years in the making.
S2: We had a lot of fundraising and we continued to do fundraising because we had to take out loans to get the final construction , everything built. But we had a lot of people that it was truly a labor of love. You know , we did fundraisers , you know , selling tamales , December nights , events , selling that course and our works and just being out there asking for donations and really asking everybody , anybody who has an interest and a love of Mexico to please donate to our cause. And like I said , we had a lot of people , a lot of supporters , you know , unfortunately , many of them. Well , I can give you $5. I can give you $10. We just were so happy to have had the support of so many people.
S2: So every quarter or so , every few months , we will present the artwork , photographs , paintings , arts and crafts from different regions and states of Mexico. We've started out with the state of Nayarit. We have brochures about the beautiful places that you can visit , and we have traditional dress from the area. So it's just a beautiful glimpse of the art , the art and culture and traditions of Mexico. Why do you.
S2: Mexico is the closest neighbor. Especially here in San Diego. And we have a lot of people who have Mexican heritage or people who just appreciate and love the Mexican culture. And to have a place like the International Cottages , which is so unique where people can go and get a glimpse of so many countries but yet not have Mexico represented. I mean , that that was just astounding to so many people who , you know , once they found out that that that was the case , they were they were appalled. And , of course , so many of us knew that for many years. And while we enjoy and love Balboa Park , we've always felt that something was missing without the house of Mexico.
S1: And as we've mentioned , San Diego shares such strong cultural and geographic ties with Mexico.
S2: Mexico means a lot to many people. And there are so many positives that people aren't aware of about Mexico. And it's traditions and it's culture and it's art. And so we're happy. You know , you don't have to cross the border. People will say , Oh , it's so close. I can just cross the border. But the fact is , a lot of people don't do that. So we have it right here. It's very convenient. Come to the house in Mexico , get a glimpse of this beautiful culture and we say to everyone , good , many of us.
S1: And next week , the House of Mexico will be hosting a lawn program to show off the new cottage.
S2: We have our long program at Balboa Park and we're going to have Mariachi , we're going to have Ballet Folklorico We're going to have all kinds of delicious food , tacos , Somalis , churros , our Fresca. It will be a wonderful day for the family. We're also going to have some craft activities for the kids , and we just want people to come out and and enjoy. Have a good afternoon and visit our cottage and see what we're about.
S1: I've been speaking with House of Mexico President Blanca Gonzalez. Blanca , thanks so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you so much.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. San Diego International Fringe begins today. One of the returning artist is Kota Piers Morgan who has created a new show , Bones Abide for this year's festival since piers morgan is also the owner of Lee Girls Adult Entertainment Club. She is bringing her own venue to Fringe. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO spoke with Piers Morgan at The Girls during a rehearsal break last month.
S6: Kota , you have a new show for Fringe , so explain what this one's going to be about.
S7: It's called Bones Abide , and it's about the Armenian genocide which took place at the beginning of the 20th century. And it's about the survival of Nasrallah , who is based on my lead actress's grandmother. It's a true story and how she survived. She was a child survivor of the genocide. And in our show , we use some creative license. So she becomes mistress of the cabaret , and she has developed multiple personalities. Now she is the only real person on the stage. And all the other dancers , they're her alters. It's about how naturally survived. And the the core of the show really is in keeping with what we do with Golden Corpse , which is dealing with the cruelties of social injustice , you know , like prejudice towards diversity and abuse of power. The show is very complex. It's not only is it provocative and emotionally disturbing , but it also has the entertaining elements , which is we always do that mix of drama with cabaret , with darkly lit burlesque or a moody modern dance.
S6: And Kata , you are the owner of Lay Girls and explain what inspired you to create this Golden Corpse company to produce other things here on these stages.
S7: After I graduated from UCLA and I came to San Diego and I was on a hiatus from graduate school in education , I decided to dance because I'd been dancing all my life , and what I discovered was something that was really disturbing to me. There was so much darkness in San Diego. Not so much now because more women are in charge of a police force and they have more control over the rat pack of guys that we dealt with many years ago. And so as I grew up and I wanted to speak out about what was happening , I did I did everything I could to protect dancers. And after a while , I realized that rather than being in front of the mayor and the police review board and that kind of thing , I preferred to do it through art. And so I started creating the shows , which I think reached a broader spectrum of people. And as they learn more about what girls was , that , we were a place of social activism. We have this authentic old vaudeville stage , you know , and there's something about this venue that I like so much , because without censor , you know , we can kick prejudice in the behind. I've done a number of shows now. I think this is the ninth one on topics of social injustice. And I decided that one point because our shows were always San Diego based , they wanted to do one on immigration. And so I started putting that together and I started hiring cast and I started talking with my cast. And it turns out that Patty Copeland , that her grandmother had been an immigrant to these shores and she was actually a survivor of the Armenian genocide. True story of what took place to her family and to her grandmother and to her grandfather was pretty horrific. And we started putting bones aside together then and this was before COVID came. We had one in person rehearsal here. And then COVID came and just knocked us into the hard sidewalk of reality. And we had to stop. And we did all our rehearsing on Zoom. We did not expect that I would come down with severe COVID. It was difficult for me , but it was especially difficult for the cast to be dealing with a show about genocide and a true story while the pandemic was going on. And so this they were so entwined together. You know , there was this those elements of fear and uncertainty and many deaths that took place with both.
S7: Festival because we went. One of the shows that I'd like to do at some point is about theater censorship , and we definitely need to keep those avenues , those doors open without there being restriction to what's happening through the spoken word , through stage , through media. And there's a big danger of that happening. And so what Kevin Charles Patterson offers is avant garde theater. And I will support it. I will support it to my dying day. You know , this is so essential that we have this that we move away from the conventional , traditional theater , you know , where everybody's telling you exactly what you're supposed to do and to do something that may be a little shocking and having it in a venue like this , which is like girls theater and I love being here just because of that.
S6: For this particular show , the costumes and the props have significant meaning and talk about how that plays out beyond just what people see on the stage.
S7: One thing I have the cast do is I have them take their costumes home with them. They have a chance to wear them. I ordered costumes from Armenia. There was a woman by the name of Tamara who helps women in poverty by creating these beautiful costumes. And so they're connecting and to what they're wearing. It's not just something they put on right before the show. They start to live in the costume and they become that character. I ordered the Armenian dolls that we use in the show , and I even told our new dancer , Kate Burrell , take your Armenian doll home with you and sleep with that. And I told Patty to take this go home with her , because in one scene in the Act One , she's dancing to Bessie Smith , you know , dying by the hour , and she's got this skull.
S6: Discuss what the title means for you. Bones abide.
S7: Bones abide. Well , the whole show is dealing with with bones. And it represents what happened to people where they lost their life. The collaborator in the show , played by Menaka , almost salivate when she discovers the bones in the suitcases from the prisoners and their suitcases are taken away from them and the bones fall out. And so in every scene there's some even in Puttin on the Ritz. At the end of the cabaret , they are Dancing with bones. It's a theme that runs through the show , along with the butterflies , which represents recovery and survival. It was something that I envisioned when I was putting the show together that they would dance with bones. And the show was about the rawness of everything that's taken place with the genocide , where people were stripped of their lives and their spirit , and there was nothing left but bones.
S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with kind of Piers Morgan. Her show Bone Divide will have its first performance on Sunday as part of San Diego International Fringe.