Students and community members speak at 3rd annual People’s State of the Union

David Little talks about why it’s important to come to community events like these. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

Culture, pride, fake news and more were discussed at the 3rd annual People’s State of the Union last Thursday. The event was put on by Slow Theatre at the 1078 Art Gallery on 1710 Park Ave.

Aidee Speech Copy
Aidee is presenting her speech to the whole crowd. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

Each speaker had the opportunity to share stories that were personal to them and information that would have a positive impact on their community.

Alondra Adame, an undergraduate at Chico State who is currently applying for her masters degree in English, was the first of the five speakers.

Adame started the event speaking about her Chicanx culture.

“Something I want you to know is what Chicanx means to me,” she said. “Chicanx feels so much better than Mexican-American. That hyphen in the middle feels so separate, so distant. The same way some Chicanxs feel from both identities.”

Vice Mayor and Chico City Counsel member Alex Brown, who received two undergraduate degrees and a masters degree in Social work from Chico State, was the next to speak.

“Perhaps most difficultly and most importantly, challenge yourself, to look at your limitations, to become familiar with your own relationship to scarcity and resistance,” Brown said. “We all have one, where in your world do you apply the most judgement or create the most distance? How can you begin to close that gap?”

Aidee Orejel has over 10 years of experience working in social services, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Chico State, is a community educator for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico and visits all the junior high schools and high schools in Butte County to teach about relationship abuse and healthy relationships.

“I have a voice,” Orejel said. “From my experience, those considered to be living at risk, that kind of a lifestyle, they have little to zero opportunities to use their voice and be heard. I mean they can use their mouth and tell you their story, but they’re not heard.”

Chico native, and fourth generation journalist, David Little, also spoke at the event. He focused on the state of news and its credibility in our world today.

“(Of the) concern that the corporate media is controlling our country,” Little said, “you hear statistics like five owners control 80 percent of what is said on TV, on radio and newspapers. Now that I’m out of the industry I can speak freely about it. Here’s something I want you to know. I was never once told by the owner of a newspaper what to put in that newspaper. Not one time.”

Panel of speakers copy
Panel of speakers taking turns explaining why they came tonight. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The final speaker, Hillary Tellesen, works for a nonprofit organization that brings alternative energy technology to under-served communities, and is a contributor to the Chico Theatre community where she is an actress and a playwright.

Tellesen talked about facing the unknown and taking a leadership role.

“I wanted to be seen, yes, I wanted to contribute, but I didn’t want to be in charge,” she said. “You see, I didn’t see anyone in charge that looked familiar. Again, there was that big dark cloud full of stuff that I don’t know. There are two places in my life where I’ve taken leadership roles. One was in theatre… and the other was in my work.”

At the end of the event audience members were allowed to ask the speakers questions and they had a chance to talk with them one-on-one.

Gordy Papalias can be reached at [email protected] or Twitter @GordonPapalias.