The newest member of the Board of Directors will be able to tell you how to get to the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice.
Emilio Delgado, who is Luis the Fix-It Man on “Sesame Street,” has joined the community activist center, educational bridge, and dedicated safe-space located in Princeton.
Before playing the longest running role for a Mexican American in a television series on the award-winning PBS children’s program, Delgado began his life in Calexico, California, and spent his early childhood living across the border in Mexicali, Mexico, according to a statement provided by the Bayard Rustin Center.
He began his career in the Emmy Award winning “Canción de la Raza” and has since, in his over 50 years of acting, appeared everywhere from “Lou Grant” to “Law & Order”.
He has served as artistic director of the Barrio Theatre Ensemble of East Los Angeles.
At the same time he has fought for Chicano rights and social and racial justice on many different platforms stemming from his early days with the United Farm Workers supporting Cesar Chavez, and protesting against the Vietnam War, according to the statement.
Delgado is a recipient of the Impact Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has been honored numerous times by the National Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in his home of New York City they celebrated him on “Emilio Delgado Day” on Oct. 15.
He has done charity work with numerous organizations including the Alphabet Rockers, Project Sunshine, 52nd Street Project and Head Start, according to the statement.
“I am so very inspired by the mission and community building of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice and how the diversity and cooperation that ‘Sesame Street’ built is now being carried forth into the future by the good works of the BRCSJ,” he said in the statement.
The announcement was made during the center’s virtual broadcast, the Social Justice Power Hour, which has aired on their Facebook page every weeknight from 7-8 p.m. since the pandemic began.
Although the center lost its physical space, it continues to serve the community on a local and national level by offering focused programming, diverse events, outreach and advocacy concentrated on civics, community activism, and cultural instruction and appreciation aligned with the center’s vision to educate, enlighten and empower, according to the statement. These offerings are predominantly virtual at the moment, but the center hopes to open its doors once more in early 2022 to once again provide a welcoming safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth and diverse families as well as offer in-person counseling, resources and enriching events and programs.
Other members of the board include Dr. Peniel Joseph, Black power scholar, author and founding director of the Center for the Study of Race & Democracy at the University of Texas at Austin; Michelle Elizabeth Brown, LGBTQIA activist from Detroit; Coalition for Peace Action’s Rev. Bob Moore; transgender crusader Erin Worrell; Clarion River Group founder and union organizer David Sailer; Maplewood’s first openly gay Mayor Dean Dafis; activist street theater performer Glen Pannell (aka “Mike Hot-Pence”); BRCSJ Community Outreach Coordinator and queer education pioneer Carol Watchler; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Haydon; Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Attorney Wey-Wey Kwok; and Ex Officio Member, Chief Activist Robt Seda-Schreiber.
“Emilio is an extraordinary addition to our Board of Directors at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. His representation as Luis allowed so many kids to see themselves reflected back from their TVs for the first time and taught so many of us so much about Latin culture and language. His belief in our mission and support of our greater community is just a continuation of the care & love he’s shown through his career and his personal activism and we are proud to journey with him further on this inspirational path,” Seda-Schreiber said in the statement.
To learn more about the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, visit www.rustincenter.org.