LACAC Main | Free
Thu, January 28, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Ticket Information

PLEASE NOTE: This event has passed.


Photo courtesy of Self-Help Graphics & Art.

In this time of heightened activity and urgency, we invite you to join us for a half-day of learning and discussion on the role of arts and advocacy. We will cover the legal rules of the road for arts organizations to engage in legislation, campaigning, and lobbying at the federal, state, and local levels—not only at election time but throughout the year on issues ranging from public health, social justice and racial equity, arts recovery, and community investments in arts and culture.

We will also hear from nationally recognized Los Angeles artists Patrisse Cullors, Lauren Halsey, and Luis Rodriguez, on the role of advocacy, justice, and community making in their vision, their work, and the organizations they lead in a conversation moderated by Alberto Retana. President and CEO of Community Coalition.

The goals for this engagement are to share knowledge, build community, and hold space for leaders and organizations that are deeply involved in arts advocacy work, specifically those led by and serving communities of color.

The Department seeks to highlight creatives and artists as changemakers and visionaries who reflect our current conditions, illuminate an alternative path forward and provide the inspirational stamina that can mobilize and nourish communities as we look ahead to 2021.

Event Recording

Viewing Key
Introduction by Rudy Ortega Jr. Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians – Minute 00:25
Nona Randois – Minute 22:55
Nan Aron and Kristin Sakoda – Minute 1:17:50
Artist Presentations – Minute 1:47:03
Patrisse Cullors – Minute 1:50:36
Lauren Halsey – Minute 2:03:06
Luis Rodriguez – Minute 2:15:29
Artist Panel – Minute 2:27:48

Advocacy Training Materials

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Panelists & Training Presenters

Rudy Ortega Jr., Tribal President | Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians

Rudy Ortega Jr.Tribal President, Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians
Vice Chairperson, Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission

Rudy Ortega, Jr. is the Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, a native sovereign nation of northern Los Angeles County. As the elected Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (, President Ortega Jr. oversees the Tribe’s governmental body and manages affairs pertaining to the rights of all Fernandeño Tataviam tarahat (people).

He is a member of Siutcabit, the lineage of present-day Encino, CA. His ancestors come from the villages that originated in the geographical areas of Santa Clarita Valley, Simi Valley, and San Fernando Valley. His great-grandfather Antonio Maria Ortega, from whom he receives his role as tomiar, traditional leader, fought in Los Angeles Superior Court in the 19th century to preserve traditional lands and protect the Tribe’s title to Mexican land grants from encroaching Anglo-settlers. His father, the late Rudy Ortega Sr., served as the previous leader of the Tribe for over fifty years and was elected to the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission (LACCNAIC) in 1977. Following his father's leadership, Ortega Jr. was appointed to the LACCNAIC by Mayor James Hahn in 2004 and currently serves as Vice Chair.

From 2004 - 2018, Ortega Jr. served as the Executive Director of Pukúu Cultural Community Services (, the Tribe’s non-profit that serves the greater Los Angeles County American Indian community and manages Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, located 14 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway (2) (

Currently, Ortega Jr. is a member of the Los Angeles River Master Plan Steering Committee, the Edison Consumer Advisory Panel Board, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.


Nona Randois, California Director | Alliance for Justice - Nonprofit Advocacy

Nona RandoisNona leads Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy work in California. She supervises AFJ’s California team and ensures that AFJ offers expert training, resources, and technical assistance to support nonprofits and foundations conducting advocacy in our state. She is a thought leader who directs advocacy efforts to protect nonprofit advocacy rights and builds relationships with key partners.

Nona previously served as Directing Attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where she and her team represented nonprofits in community economic development, land use, tax, real estate, and corporate matters. She also has experience in policy advocacy, employment law, strategic planning, and organizational capacity building. Before working at Legal Aid, Nona was a litigator at the Los Angeles office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Nona earned her law degree from Georgetown and bachelors’ degrees in International Relations and French from the University of Southern California. She is on the board of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, a member of the LA Council on Immigrant Integration, and served on the City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board for over a decade. She has also taught Public Policy and Law at the University of Southern California.

Pre-Event Materials

Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. —Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka, the Notorious RBG

Nan Aron, Founder and President | Alliance for Justice - Nonprofit Advocacy

Nan AronNan Aron is the founder and president of Alliance for Justice (AFJ), the leading progressive advocacy organization on justice issues since its inception in 1979. Under Nan’s leadership, AFJ has grown to become a national association of more than 130 groups representing a variety of progressive constituencies. At present, AFJ comprises two main programs, the Justice Program and the Bolder Advocacy initiative.

Alberto Retana, President and CEO | Community Coalition of South Los Angeles

Alberto RetanaAlberto Retana is the President and CEO of Community Coalition, a mass based nonprofit organization in South Los Angeles that empowers residents to transform their communities, improve education, and reimagine public safety.

Community Coalition has broken new ground under Alberto’s guidance. The organization recently published the People First Platform, a policy agenda informed by over 4200 adults and youth, to equitably move resources to highest need communities, re-imagine our criminal justice system, and transform the built environment in South LA. He also built Community Coalition’s cultural arm, including: PowerFest—South LA’s premier political concert; People Power Convention—an annual convening engaging residents through plenary sessions; and Re-Imagine Justice—a living art exhibit marking the 25th anniversary of the 1992 LA Uprising. In 2018, Community Coalition was selected by the City of LA to organize the embRACE LA inaugural dinner series, and mobilized over 1200 Angelinos to discuss race and equity.

Alberto’s leadership has been recognized by Los Angeles Business Journal’s as one of LA’s 500 Most Influential People, and ACLU’s Educational Equity Award. He is currently on Advancement Project California’s Board of Directors. Alberto also completed Rockwood’s Leading from the Inside Out fellowship in 2017 and the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity in 2018.

Pre-Event Materials

"I selected this piece because it was a formative part of my political awakening as a teenager— it is a song shared to me by my older brother on the meaning of homeland— a piece to keep me rooted in my history, my people, and my family." — Alberto Retana

Patria by Ruben Blades (with the support of Wynton Marsolis in the video)

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Some time ago a little boy asked me
Hace algún tiempo me preguntaba un chiquillo

For the meaning of the word homeland
Por el significado de la palabra patria

You surprised me with your question Me
sorprendió con su pregunta

And with the soul in the throat
Y con el alma en la garganta

I told him like this
Le dije así

Neighborhood flower, little brother!
Flor de barrio, hermanito!

Homeland are so many beautiful things!
Patria son tantas cosas bellas!

Like that old tree that that poem tells us about
Como aquel viejo árbol de que nos habla aquel poema

Like the love that you still keep after your grandmother is dead
Como el cariño que aún guardas después de muerta abuela

Homeland, there are so many beautiful things!
Patria, son tantas cosas bellas!

They are the walls of a neighborhood
Son las paredes de un barrio

It is his dark hope: it is what he carries in his soul
Es su esperanza morena: es lo que lleva en el alma

Everyone when he walks away
Todo aquel cuando se aleja

They are the martins who shout, flag, flag!
Son los martines que gritan, bandera, bandera!

Do not memorize lessons from dictatorships or confinements
No memorices lecciones de dictaduras o encierros

The homeland is a feeling like the look of an old man
La patria es un sentimiento como mirada de viejo

Sun of eternal spring laugh of a new sister
Sol de eterna primavera risa de hermanita nueva

I answer you, little brother: homeland are so many beautiful things!
Te contesto, hermanito: patria son tantas cosas bellas!

Patrisse Cullors, Co-founder | Black Lives Matter, Crenshaw Crenshaw Dairy Mart, Reform LA Jails, Dignity and Power

Patrisse Cullors Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer and freedom fighter from Los Angeles. The co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Cullors completed her MFA at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design in 2019. In 2020, she designed an online MFA program with Prescott College. The Social and Environmental Arts Practice program combines art, social justice and community organizing. Art and activism have been intricately intertwined in her work and in her repertoire of intimate theatrical and movement based performances, her work seeks to offer respite to Black and Brown folks on the margins, while asking audiences to imagine portals for liberation and healing.

@osopepatrisse @blklivesmatter @blmlosangeles @crenshawdairymart


Pre-Event Materials

Lauren Halsey, Founder | Summaeverythang Community Center

Lauren HalseyLauren Halsey (b. 1987, Los Angeles) is rethinking the possibilities for art, architecture, and community engagement. She produces both standalone artworks and site-specific projects, particularly in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles. Combining found, fabricated, and handmade objects, Halsey’s work maintains a sense of civic urgency and free-flowing imagination, reflecting the lives of the people and places around her and addressing the crucial issues confronting people of color, queer populations, and the working class. Critiques of gentrification and disenfranchisement are accompanied by real-world proposals as well as a celebration of on-the-ground aesthetics. Inspired by Afrofuturism and funk, as well as the signs and symbols that populate her local environments, Halsey creates a visionary form of culture that is at once radical and collaborative.

Lauren Halsey has presented solo exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2020); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2019); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018). She participated in Made In L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018), where she was awarded the Mohn Award for artistic excellence. Her work is included in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Halsey was the recipient of the 2019 Painter and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York. In 2020, Lauren Halsey founded Summaeverythang Community Center and is currently in the process of developing a major public monument for construction in South Central Los Angeles, where she and her family have lived and worked for generations.

@summaeverythang @davidkordanskygallery

(Photo Credit) Portrait of Lauren Halsey. Photo by Czariah Smith. Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

Pre-Event Materials

"A call to action. A meditation on where I hope to land." —Lauren Halsey

Luis Rodriguez, co-founder | Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore

Luis J. RodriguezLuis J. Rodriguez has been an arts advocate since his teens—working as a muralist, a photographer, and eventually as a writer. He has worked with gang and other troubled youth for 50 years, including in East Los Angeles, South Central LA, the Mission District, and Chicago. For 40 years, he's done poetry readings, talks, healing circles as well as creative writing classes in prisons, jails, juvenile lockups, and parolee housing. An award-winning journalist, poet, fiction writer, essayist, and children's book writer, he has 16 books in all genres, including the bestselling memoir Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. He is also founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, a small press of emerging poets and anthologies, and co-founder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. From 2014-2016, he served as Los Angeles official Poet Laureate. His latest book is From Our Land to Our Land: Essays, Journeys & Imaginings of a Native Xicanx Writer.

@lrodrig555 @tiachuchas

Pre-Event Materials

"I am the weave and the weaver, I am the dream and the dreamer." - Indigenous Mexican elders song


'Arts and Culture Forum: Arts and Advocacy' is generously supported by the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

The Department of Arts and Culture is a member of the Art for Justice network.