Governor & First Lady Launch Million Plates Campaign for the Arts

The Governor and First Lady joined the California Arts Council, the Creative Coalition, prominent individuals from the entertainment industry and arts advocates to launch the Million Plates Campaign for the Arts.


Good morning and thank you for joining us today. This is a great day for California as we launch our Million Plates Campaign to raise $40 million for arts education and community arts programming. This campaign will take California from last in national arts funding to first and it is as simple as changing the plate on your car. It is easy to get at or your local DMV. It funds many of the organizations that are here today and it is tax deductible.
I would first like to thank Fox Studios for hosting us and in celebrating the unprecedented commitment of the entertainment industry behind this campaign. We would especially like to thank Emma Watts who made this happen for us today, to allow us to be on the lot and also Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos. (Applause)
I would also like to thank the award-winning Crenshaw High School Choir. (Applause) They truly epitomize the essential value of keeping the arts in our schools.
We are very honored to have the Governor and First Lady of California here today in support of our campaign. (Applause) The Governor and the First Lady, along with the California Arts Council, have appointed Arts Ambassadors, leaders in their fields, a number of whom are here today:  Billy Al Bengston, Wallis Annenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Chuck Arnoldi, John Baldessari, Amy Brenneman, T Bone Burnett, Dana Delany, Morgan Freeman, Frank Gehry, Tom Hanks, Anjelica Huston, Quincy Jones, (Applause) Robert Redford, Catherine Wagner and Rita Wilson.
We also are very lucky today to have two members of President Obama’s Arts and Humanities Committee with us here today, Mr. Fred Goldring and Ms. Vicky Kennedy. (Applause)
Lastly, we would like to thank our business partners, the companies that have commitments to help us reach of our goal of one million plates: Avon Rental Cars, the cast of the television show “Glee;” Creative Artists Agency; The Creative Coalition; Disney; Fox Studios; Get Lit; HBO; Loyola Marymount University; P.S. Arts; Screen Actors Guild, who is represented here today by Valerie Harper, who is a member of the Screen Actors Guild Board; (Applause) United Talent Agency; Warner Brothers Studios; Westfield Shopping Centers; William Morris Endeavor Agency; the Emmy Broadcast; MusiCares; the Grammy Foundation; the California DMV.
And especially today, Star Waggons, which is right back there, the big trailer with the California Arts license plate on it; Tesla, which also has an Arts license plate on it; and the Portraits of Hope painted vehicle over there; and the Fox new hybrid studio truck with the Arts license plate. (Applause)
We also want to say a quick thank you to the California Arts Council staff, the board — our board members are here today, all of them — our director, Muriel Johnson and to our team at Dewey Square.
And now, California Arts Ambassador, award-winning music producer and my friend, T Bone Burnett. (Applause)
Thank you. You know, while we grew up with the three R’s. The Greeks had the three A’s — academics, athletics and the arts and Plato said that without any one of those legs the stool of education would fall down.
We’ve neglected the arts pretty roundly in this country for the last 20 years. About 20 years ago the United States decided to become a knowledge society — to leave manufacturing behind and become a knowledge society — and in that 20 years we’ve reduced the value of our knowledge to zero.
So there’s hardly a subject that has more importance for the long-term health of our society than education and certainly the arts is the heart of our education. In the old days music was used to teach history, language, mathematics, everything.
So I just want to say, now I want to introduce Quincy Jones. No one has done more or given more to the cultural life of our city and our country and our state than Quincy Jones and no one has proven more thoroughly the transformative power of music in the lives of our children. So please welcome Quincy Jones. (Applause)
Thank you. How did everybody get up this early? I have to stay up all night to do these. (Laughter) But I’m honored to be here, because inviting me to an event with a subject like this is like inviting a dog on a meat truck, because this is one of my biggest passions.
I’ve probably traveled more than anybody — I don’t care if it’s Obama, generals or whatever — everywhere. I’m leaving day after tomorrow for nine weeks, everywhere in the world from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Shanghai, Rio, Cairo. And I’m mentioning that because I’ve been on that road, out on the road since I was 19 with Lionel Hampton. Fifty-seven years I’ve been on the road.
The best advice I ever had was at 19, leaving New York with Lionel Hampton on a prop plane — going from New York to Oslo, 27 hours. And before we got on there Leo Fender brought the first Fender bass to us. And it’s ironic, because the Fender bass — without the Fender bass there’d be no rock and roll or Motown records. It totally revolutionized music.
But my point is everywhere I go, whether it’s Jimmy’z in Monte Carlo or Mumbai, I don’t hear Spanish music, I don’t hear bagpipes, I don’t hear Chinese music in Xi’an; I hear our music. And guess what? We’re the only country in the world without a Minister of Culture. And it hurts me to the bottom of my heart, because we have a culture that has permeated the entire planet. Most countries have put their own music aside and adopted our music as their Esperanto, that I’m sure of, up into Russia and to the conservatories of Beijing. I’m not going to see anything like it in my life.
And I’m not talking just doing the talk. We’re doing the walk. We’ve got almost a 200-person consortium, music consortium. We’ve met three times. We’ve got the greatest minds in America working with us to save the record business — that’s the first thing, because it is looking right at level and we’re in big trouble, may have about 10 months. And I want to see that these young kids have someplace to go. We’re trying to get China to really acknowledge the copyright laws and so forth, intellectual property and so forth. And I’m telling you, we’re getting close. (Applause) We’re getting close, because I know who to talk to over there. I’ve got some warriors over there if you need some.
Anyway, my point is you’ve got to go to know. You don’t get it until you go. I even went to Baghdad and I know that was foolish, (Inaudible) told me it was foolish. But I’ve been there 50 years ago.
And music seems somehow to have that power. I really believe, you know, even in spite of the record business, the gloom in the record business, that music and water will be the last things to leave this planet. How many out here, how long could you go without music? You think you could make it two weeks without one sound of music? I don’t think so.
And I come from the society of Chicago, 5 million black people during the depression, where they bought music before they bought food and clothes, the soul food to survive, because it’s powerful, powerful, powerful. You can’t see it, you can’t taste it, you can’t touch it, you can’t smell it but you can feel it. And it’s an absolute with mathematics — and I don’t want to make it sound academic, because I’m a bee-bopper and I didn’t like that association with mathematics but it’s true. And Slonimsky and Schillinger, I have studied that too and they proved that there are absolutes.
But music is the only one that engages the left and right brain simultaneously and it makes everything else easier to learn, I’m telling you, because it keeps — every time you hear it or you play it, you have to use your emotion and your intellect. And that’s what we need to do now.
We’re with a group, Operation of Hope. My son and I called. Let’s make smart sexy. Dumb is not cool anymore, you know and that goes across the board with music. All the rappers are saying, “Quincy, show me how to be a good musician.” It’s about time, you know? (Applause) It’s like letting a doctor give you a brain operation; he can’t even give you a penicillin shot. You know, you have to know your craft and your science.
And I do believe — and I’ll shut up after this — I do believe that, from the bottom of my heart, if we get this on track that everything everybody is trying to do here, we’re saying the same things. Hang the Art plate and do everything youcan, especially in this state. This is where all of it — this is the headquarters of all this stuff, so you know we’ve got to have our thing together. Know what I’m saying?
Anyway, I love you for being here and caring. Thank you for inviting me. And you can’t get an A if you’re afraid of getting an F, so when it rains get wet. Give it up. Every time it’ll come back twice as full. Thank you, much love. (Applause)
First Lady Maria Shriver. (Applause)

The Governor and First Lady joined the California Arts Council, the Creative Coalition, prominent individuals from the entertainment industry and arts advocates to launch the Million Plates Campaign for the Arts


Thank you. Thank you, T Bone, thank you Quincy, so much, for being here to support this incredible campaign. Malissa, as head of the Arts Council, has done anextraordinary job with Bill Turner, Karen Skelton and really everybody on the Arts Council, to promote this Million Plate Campaign.
What’s this about? It’s about everything that T Bone talked about, Quincy talked about. It’s about getting arts into the schools. It’s about being creative, because we all know the budget problems that are affecting not just this state but every state and country across the world. And so this is a creative way of saying OK, we want arts, we believe in the arts, we’ve got to have the arts. This is a way so many kids learn in our society today. It activates the right side of the brain, it activates the left side of the brain and it makes somebody feel accomplished, creative, useful and as though they matter.
So how do we do that? We can do it simply by buying a license plate for our car. We can do it that simply. That will take us from last to first. That will put $40 million minimum into our arts budget. That will enable kids to learn how to play a musical instrument, to draw on a canvas, to paint a mural, to become a costume designer, to become a poet, to become an artist to make a living. And most important, to see themselves as a value to this society that we live in.
That’s a really simple way of making a difference. And every single person who drives a car — and there are more people in the state of California that drive cars, there are more cars on the road than in any place in the world. Imagine, we have 38 million people here. If we sell a million of these — and as Malissa said, they’re tax deductible — we can change the face of arts in our state. And if we do it, think about what that will say to the entire country.
I drive with an Arts license plate, my kids drive with an Arts license plate, my husband drives with an Arts license plate. Everybody in this state can drive with an Arts license plate and we can change the way kids learn. It’s that simple.
So I want to thank all of you for being here, for supporting this campaign, really for believing so fundamentally in this program. I’m a big believer that every single one of us is an artist, every single one of us. And you know, just telling somebody that their life is a piece of art, that they can create the life that they want. That they don’t have to be Picasso or Chuck Arnoldi but they can be an artist. They don’t have to be T Bone or Quincy Jones but they can still be an artist. They don’t have to act like Valerie Harper but they can still be an artist.
And maybe they can do all of that in their own way and maybe do more. Every single one of us is born with a canvas and it’s our lives. Every single one of us can create a masterpiece that’s our life. And I’ve been blessed to be able to write. I take my little shots at poetry. My husband is an artist; he’s done art on this movie set, this incredible studio. He does art at home. He’s an accomplished painter, a pen and ink drawer and an artist. A lot of people don’t know that about him but he is.
And it’s an incredible talent, it’s a way of expressing yourself that you don’t get in other ways in school. And so many kids learn in different ways; they don’t learn traditionally. And by having the arts in our schools it makes them see themselves as a student and it makes them see themselves as someone who can accomplish great things.
So I want to thank all of you. I want to thank you all for singing and starting this off in an incredible way. (Applause) As Quincy said, probably none of us could go a day without music. And every time I hear music in my house I start to move and my kids say, “Please don’t do that. It’s so embarrassing.” (Laughter) But I think, you know, when you move it makes you feel incredible. And when you see great art and when you can actually produce it yourself, you feel so accomplished.
So I want to thank you for being here once again, Malissa, Bill, Karen, Carl, everybody who has been involved in putting this together, everybody who’s on the council — thank you for believing in this campaign. I said to Malissa and to Bill and to Karen, “We need to sell a million license plates by January 1st.”
And they’re like, “That’s not possible.”
I said, “Yes, it is possible.” As Quincy said, we are the most creative, innovative state in the United States of America. We are the capital of entertainment and of creativity. We can do this and we can start next year in the number one position. If we’re in last today there is no doubt in my mind that by January 1st we can be first. (Applause)
So everybody who has a Twitter account, Twitter this. Everybody who has a Facebook and has so many friends on their Facebook, put it out there. Ask your friends to put it out there. Ask everybody you know whose kid is getting their driver’s license and is getting a car. Put it out there. If you know anybody who has a rent-a-car business, ask them to put license plates on every single one of their rental cars. And if you know the Governor, ask him to get it on all the cars that are for the state.(Laughter) I just thought of that right now. (Laughter) I’m going to hear about that later. But he’s going to Sacramento, I’m going home, so probably by the time he remembers I said that he’ll have calmed down. (Laughter)
Anyway, I have the great pleasure of being somebody who gets to introduce our next speaker, who is a living example of how important the arts are in our schools. Princeton Parker is 16 years old and he’s going to speak about the importance of arts to every young person in this state and probably in this country. And he also happens to be a reverend; he has his own ministry. And he speaks from his heart about the importance of speaking, about the importance of being creative, about the importance of letting each child who is in school have a creative outlet.
So it is my pleasure to introduce the Reverend Princeton Parker from Hamilton High School. (Applause)

The Governor and First Lady joined the California Arts Council, the Creative Coalition, prominent individuals from the entertainment industry and arts advocates to launch the Million Plates Campaign for the Arts.


Thank you, First Lady. Please allow me to calm down a minute. The First Lady of California just introduced me. (Laughter)
On Grand Avenue in the city of Los Angeles, California, sits the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a hall that is noted as not only one of the most sophisticatedly crafted performance halls in terms of acoustics and performance but it is also known as an architectural landmark across the world. On Hollywood Boulevard five different theaters can be found where a plethora of arts are displayed year round. In the city of San Diego the Museum of Photographic Art is located, where the history of photography through time is chronicled in that museum, one of the only institutions of its kind.
Though only a few examples, these buildings represent the fact that no matter where you go in California there is a building where arts is either represented or displayed. That is evidence of the fact that California is a state of vision and it is a state that lives and thrives through the arts. California is number one in culture, we are number one in diversity, we are number one in terms of what we give to our country as a state. Yet it is a shame that we sit dead last in the amount of funding that we have for arts education.
I’ve discovered personally that beauty is created when vision meets initiative and dreams become possibilities when imagination is fostered by arts education. I’ve had the opportunity firsthand to see what arts education does to students. I’ve seen it take inner-city youth with only church choir experience and I’ve seen it expose them to things like sheet music and expose them to music in different languages and music of other cultures. I’ve seen arts education take students who grew up with sheet music their entire lives and I’ve seen it transform them by teaching them how to find their inner voice through things like song writing and improvisation. I’ve watched as arts education took students who were afraid to be their true selves, turn them into social butterflies by introducing them to a diverse environment created by the arts.
Arts education teaches, yes, the arts. But it also instills in students principles for living, like networking, balancing between what one wants to do and what they have to do. It also teaches them that when you are passionate about something it makes you pursue it with diligence, tenacity and persistence.
Well, in my own life arts education has been the driving force behind my educational career. In elementary school I had the opportunity to begin singing in the choir. Not only that but I was offered the opportunity to be one of the stars in our Black History Program where they also gave me an opportunity to utilize my gift of preaching. It was in middle school that my choir teacher sat down with me after school and taught me my first chords on the piano, because he somehow knew that one day I would be playing piano with the Hamilton High School Jazz Ensemble A at the Monterey Jazz Festival. (Applause) He knew that I would be able to stand today and say that I’ve had the privilege to play for people like Mr. Tom Hanks, the White House senior advisor and both the Monterey and Reno Jazz Festival.
Then when I got to high school I was exposed to different genres of music. I was exposed to having the opportunity to travel and perform and even to record a CD. They allowed me to nurture myself in three areas; playing piano, drums and voice and pursue everything that I wanted to do. For me, arts education brought me opportunity, exposure. But it also took the God-given talents that I had and turned them into artistic gifts that I can use for the rest of my life.
I often say that history is not the story of the dead; it is the record of the living. So when the children of today have become the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, what will we look back at the year 2010, California in the year 2010? What will we say California has written in its page in history regarding the arts? Will we be able to look back at the Arts Initiative and say a sincere thank you for contributing to the beauty of California by providing instruments, programs, teachers and facilities? Or will we look back and mourn with melancholy, because it was California in the year 2010 that did not support, that caused the death of the arts?
As I close, I leave you with the most important thing that arts education taught me. It taught me that I don’t have to apologize for being different. Being different is not a defect or a disadvantage. It is, in fact, a virtue with which I can change the world. For fitting in does not mean that we conform to the social norm of what seems cool or accepted but fitting in means that we use the distinct qualities that are within each of us to complete the puzzle of life and the world around us.
Arts education gives each student a voice. And when we, as the state of California, allow these creative voices to ring out with freedom and purpose, when we support dreams with substance, when we encourage children that imaginations can quickly become possibilities, when we foster the freedom of creativity with arts education, it is then and only then, Californians, that we will reap not only the benefit of a beautiful California but we will reap the benefits of making history. For arts education doesn’t just teach a child; it shapes a citizen.
Thank you and God bless. Bless you for your support. (Applause)
Now at this time I have the very auspicious privilege and I am extremely pleasured to be able to stand and introduce our next speaker. Every initiative needs a leader. Dr. Martin Luther King headed the Civil Rights initiative; Gandhi headed the peace in India initiative. As a matter of fact, Coach Phil Jackson headed the Lakers’ Win the Championship initiative. (Applause) We are privileged as a state, we are privileged as an arts community, to have this very ostentatious man be the spearhead to this initiative. He is not just a supporter of education but he is a supporter of the arts and an artist himself. We know him as someone who pursued arts in the acting field but as his wife began to share with us moments ago, he’s also an avid painter, one who would paint on movie sets and one who is a collector of paintings and photographs. We are so honored to have him. And on behalf of children and the arts community I say to him today, thank you for sanctioning this initiative and we are forever indebted to you.
Would you help me at this time welcome the one and only, our fearless Terminator, the Honorable Governor of the state of California, the arts capital of the world, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Applause)
Well, thank you very much, Princeton, for the wonderful introduction. What a reverend. I mean, I just love waking up in the morning with this kind of a speech. You are very, very talented. Now I understand why you are this outstanding reverend. And I love your watch. (Laughter) Where did you get it? I mean, I thought that I have big watches but yours is bigger. That is unbelievable. Thank you so much for your great, great enthusiasm, for the wonderful speech and also being such a great example for kids and for education, for the arts and all that. So thank you.
I also want to say thank you very much for Maria for being here today and being such an extraordinary first lady. (Applause) And also for Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, an in-law — an in-law. She is the chair of the Arts Council, of course and does an extraordinary job. Let’s give her a big hand also for her great, great work. (Applause) And it’s wonderful to have Quincy Jones here, who is a legend. I mean, what a great, great talent, talking about arts. (Applause) Thank you for coming here. I know you are ready to go off on this long trip and all this but it’s great to have you here to be part of this great celebration. And T Bone Burnett, thank you very much. Where is T Bone? Right here. Thank you so much for your kind words and wonderful words to support the arts. It’s terrific to have you here. And Azure Antoinette — where is Azure? Oh, right here, OK. Thank you so much. Let’s give her also a big, big hand for her big support. (Applause) And the  list goes on and on.
Now, I know we are celebrating here today the Million License Plate initiative but before we continue celebrating I have some bad news. This is one of my jobs, to talk about those kind of things. But you know, we have had some terrible tragedies in the law enforcement family just recently. We lost three CHP officers who were killed in the line of duty while protecting each one of us.
Officer Justin McGrory of Victorville was killed yesterday when he was hit by a vehicle while making a traffic stop.
Officer Brett Oswald from Atascadero died yesterday after being hit by a vehicle — all just yesterday.
And Officer Philip Ortiz of Valencia died last week from injuries sustained during a traffic stop.
And in June we also lost Officer Thomas Coleman of Fontana during a vehicle chase.
And in May, CHP pilot Dan Benavides of Indio, whose plane crashed and we lost him also.
So those are terrible, terrible losses that underscore what a dangerous job the CHP and law enforcement in general, has 24 hours a day.
We happen to be here at Fox Studio in Hollywood and Los Angeles where we create always action heroes on the screen, on the big screen. But I think one should never confuse the action heroes that are on the screen with the CHP and with law enforcement action heroes. Those are the true action heroes. Let’s give them a big hand for the great, great work that they are doing. (Applause)
And I also want to mention their families. They send those officers to work every day and they never know if they ever will see them again. So just think about that. So I want you to know that we recognize those CHP officers and law enforcement officers and for the great sacrifice that they are making. We are grateful. And I just want to say to their wives and to their children and to their parents that we grieve with them. I grieve with you and we, the state of California, grieves with you and we thank you. And we will never forget and you always will be in our prayers.
Now let’s go on to something more pleasant, which is to talk about the Arts Council, the great work that they are doing and also celebrating this Million License Plate initiative here. As the reverend was saying just earlier, that yes, I’m an artist. And my wife mentioned that I’m an artist and I paint, I draw. As a matter of fact, every Christmas card for my kids and for my wife, Mother’s Day cards and anniversary cards and all of those things, I draw and I paint. I would rather write but I can’t write. I’m a bad writer, I can tell you. But I paint; that’s how I express myself.
And I only am able to do that because when I grew up in Austria we had twice a week arts classes. One day was drawing and another day was painting — watercolors, acrylics, oils and so on and so forth. And also, once a month there was an opera singer or some kind of a performer coming into our school and singing and performing. We had concerts there and all this, so we were exposed to the arts all the time.
And because of that, I benefitted. As a matter of fact, I took art so seriously that I started sculpting my body and created a Mr. Universe body. (Laughter) Think about that. I learned about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and Rodin and all those sculptors and I said, “Why don’t I try to do this with dumbbells and barbells and machines and sculpt my own body?” So that’s also art, or doing movies or paintings and all of those things.
The bottom line is that, as I have always said, I was very fortunate that I grew up in Austria and had a great education and had arts. And when I, of course, came over here and I saw that there was a lack of those things, I got involved, if it is with After-School Programs or promoting physical fitness and becoming the chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, or starting After School Programs where we can teach about sports and fitness and arts. And so this is just an extension of that.
And I think that there is no secret that the state of California, right along with all the other states and all the other countries around the world, we have a budget crisis. This year again, just like last year and the year before, we have a huge budget deficit. Two years ago it was $20 billion, last year it was $60 billion, this year it’s again $20 billion. That means $20 billion less money is coming in to the state and therefore cuts have to be made in programs. And of course education is suffering because of it, our prisons, law enforcement, health care, service to the most vulnerable citizens, everything is suffering because of it.
But California, as you have heard, we are not just any state. We don’t just sit back and wait for the economy to come back. What we do is we create action. We started a Job Creation initiative and passed laws up there. And one of those things that we are doing, for instance, right now, is coming up with a creative way of funding arts. We don’t want to wait just for something to happen; we want to create that action.
I think this is a brilliant idea and I want to give my wife Maria credit for that, because she came up with that idea a while back. (Applause) And then Malissa started spreading that and then everyone got involved and now the whole arts community and actors and musicians and studios and agencies and everyone got involved.
And so I just want to again also say thank to Fox Studio for having us here today and being so enthusiastic about this idea and for all other studios to get involved and agencies and everyone. And I want to thank the business community, the business leaders and musicians and I want to thank also this wonderful choir for singing here when we came in here. Let’s give them again a big, big hand. (Applause)
And as Maria was saying, there are so many vehicles in the state of California. As a matter of fact, there are 33 million vehicles, registered vehicles. Think about it. If just 10 percent would just buy those license plates, how much money arts would have in the state of California. And this is great, the arts program that we have here. People will apply for grant money and they will check it out exactly, if they have a legitimate program and then they will hand out his money, not just to schools but to various different foundations and organizations.
So I think the world of this. This is exactly what we need to do. Government alone cannot solve all the problems but with the public, private and nonprofit organizations all working together, that’s how we can solve the problem.
So thank you very much, all of you, for being here today. And now I would like to bring out our next speaker, which is — Malissa is back again, right? Malissa is back again. Come on out here. Let’s give her a big hand for the great, great work she’s doing. She has been a great, great leader for the Arts Council. Thank you very much. (Applause)

The Governor and First Lady joined the California Arts Council, the Creative Coalition, prominent individuals from the entertainment industry and arts advocates to launch the Million Plates Campaign for the Arts.


Thank you, Arnold. You’re a genius. We’re going to introduce our next speaker, our final speaker. And I just wanted to let all of you know that the great California painter Wayne Thiebaud designed this plate. He’s a great contemporary artist, world-renowned. (Applause)
To end today’s program we have a special guest. She is Azure Antoinette, a passionate advocate for poetry and art and the artistic director of Get Lit-Words Ignite, a highly successful team literacy program that brings poetry to young people. (Applause)
Good morning. Before I get started I just wanted to say that it’s so essential that we continue to have rallies such as this and press conferences and continue to keep talking. As a young poet myself, as a Los Angeles artist, it takes a lot of support. It takes a lot of people believing in you, such as Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Quincy Jones to make beautiful music.
That person for me was my executive director of Get Lit, Diane Luby Lane. She took a chance on me four years ago and I have been blessed to work with young people. None as dynamic as Princeton here — I was ready to just get up and just run up on stage. I didn’t even know what I was going to do when I got up here but I was ready. (Laughter) I was like, “Yes, give me the plate. I’ll take it now. I’ll have five.”
So I just want to say that it takes support. Artists, we are not easy people and it is difficult to keep us on schedule and on task but she has — Diane has willingly put up with my antics and — you know, if it’s not metaphor enough, I don’t want to be held and I’m like, “I can’t, there’s not enough vibration right now.”
But we appreciate this and if you guys can go out and support this by buying the plates — let’s really turn this around and show everyone, show the country, the state that this is. So before I wanted to say that to everyone and now I’ll get started with the poem, so thank you.
It’s not about the dwelling; it never has been.
For me, I pray more often than not that I will get to stay a poet for at least another week.
I was taught that you should do what you love and only that.
So I could stand up here and talk to you about per capita in New York versus here,
But we have enough dialogue about that, about what isn’t going right.
Pointing the finger is not the way that this country got independence.
It is not the way that California has continued to persevere in the constant changing face of adversity.
So like I said, I pray, sometimes twice a day, that this state will help me stay a poet,
Will help him stay a dancer,
Will help them stay a choir,
Will help her, assist her in auditioning for that silver-screen role of a lifetime.
You have to have faith,
And mustard seed size will do.
Trust that nothing worth having has ever been easy.
So yes to recession,
Yes to budget,
Yes to layoffs,
Yes to heartbreak,
Yes to all of those things.
It does no good to exist in a place where reality isn’t present.
But also recall the scent of creativity.
Remember that people from all over the world come here to get a fresh start.
And it is simple and constant.
We all drive.
We can all afford to upgrade to an automobile plate that looks a lot like this one behind me.
I’ll do it myself if it will increase my chances, if it will increase the budget for the arts and for the youth.
See, we should all take the breath that it takes to complain,
Hold that in your lungs,
And keep it there until that breath turns to an air of change.
Thank you. (Applause)
I’d like to introduce Bill Turner, the vice chairman of the California Arts Council and Karen Skelton, the co-chair of this Million Plate Campaign. (Applause)
We have a special gift we want to present to the Governor and the First Lady. This one is for you. (Applause)
And we’d like to invite all of the partners and ambassadors in this campaign up to the stage for a photo op. And we’d like to recognize Lula Washington, who is here as well and invite her up as well. (Applause) And Valerie.
We can get the plate at, which is the URL behind me. You can also get them at the local DMVs. Culver City, West Hollywood and Santa Monica have them in stock right now, so you can get them today. And you can order them online and it’s very easy, $50, $35 of which comes to the Arts Council.

Total Views: 321 ,

Google Search

Custom Search

1 Bakersfield