That’s Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice is the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s spring theatrical production scheduled for March 17-19 at the Guadalupe Theater. Adapted for the stage from Carmen Tafolla, Sharyll Teneyuca, and Terry Ybanez’s children’s book of the same title, That’s Not Fair brings Emma Tenayuca’s passionate and true story to life. Told with live music and dance performances by the Guadalupe Dance Company, this play honors a heroic figure in Mexican-American history and is sure to educate, inspire, and touch the hearts and minds of audiences from all walks of life. Emma’s story will now come to life and her voice will be heard again on the Guadalupe Theater stage.
About the Play
Adapted from the children’s book of the same title written by renowned author, educator and literary figure Dr. Carmen Tafolla and attorney and legal professional Sharyll Teneyuca (Emma Tenayuca’s niece), the play will enjoy its second San Antonio production. First workshopped in 2009 at the SAY Sí Blackbox Theater, the play has been further developed by Carmen Tafolla and GCAC Director of Performing Arts Joel C. Settles.
“Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Teneyuca are committed to keeping Emma’s story alive. What Ms. Tenayuca fought for and inspired so many others to fight for is just as important and relevant today as it was in the 1930s in the midst of the Labor Movement. This chapter of Mexican-American history and San Antonio history must not be erased or forgotten. This production is for audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds and aims to introduce Emma’s story to a new generation.” – Joel C. Settles
“The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is committed to the same principles of social, political and economic justice and equality that Emma Tenayuca fought for. It was because of leaders like Emma Tenayuca that organizations like ours came to be and now more than ever our community must be adamant in condemning voices of intolerance, racism and cruelty. Institutions like the Guadalupe need to foster more civic participation, open dialogue, cultural expression and treat all people regardless of their background with dignity, respect, compassion, and acceptance.” – Executive Director Cristina Ballí
Emma’s Tenayuca’s Story
In 1920s San Antonio, a young girl named Emma Tenayuca took a long look around her and decided that life is not fair to some people. She began to do things to change that. She taught other children how to read, and she learned the value of sharing what little she had with those who had even less. Emma began to care deeply about poverty and hunger during a time when many Mexican Americans were starving to death and working unreasonably long hours at slave wages in the city’s pecan-shelling factories. At the age of 21, Emma led 12,000 pecan shellers in their historic strike for fair wages and improved working conditions in one of the first significant actions in the Mexican-American struggle for justice. No less a legend in her own time, Emma’s story inspires both young and old alike to have courage, compassion, and to fight for what is just and fair.
Emma’s 100th Birthday Celebration
This year’s production is especially significant as it is also a Centennial celebration commemorating Emma’s Tenayuca’s 100th birthday. The authors will partner with various community organizations such as local schools, libraries, cultural centers, and Texas A&M-San Antonio to present programs throughout the year.
ABOUT THE GUADALUPE: GCAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to preserve, promote and develop the arts and culture of the Chicano, Latino, Native American peoples for all ages and backgrounds through public and educational programming.