Benjamin Bratt, Peter Bratt, Jeremy Ray Valdez at La Mission's Phoenix Opening
Peter Bratt (left) and Benjamin Bratt, following the screening of their film in Phoenix
I made the 7 p.m. Friday, June 11 showing of La Mission at AMC Arizona Center to catch the appearances of the film's stars Benjamin Bratt and Jeremy Ray Valdez, as well as director Peter Bratt, Benjamin's brother.
The Arizona Center show was dedicated to raising money for local Latino advocacy groups such as Somos America and Puente. Prior to the film's screening the Bratts and Jeremy Ray Valdez -- who in the movie plays Jes, the son of Benjamin Bratt's character Che -- signed autographs for attendees. They took a break while the film was screening and got a bite to eat at Sam's Cafe in the Arizona Center.
Benjamin and Peter Bratt sign autographs before the film starts
From left, Somos America Prez Lydia Guzman, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Benjamin Bratt, state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, and director Peter Bratt
UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta and Benjamin Bratt
Jeremy Ray Valdez grew up and went to school in Tempe
"Our mother is an old time activist," he explained. "And I was personally challenged with, you know, do we cross the boycott or do we honor it? And my mom said, `No, you need to go. Those are our people. They're the ones living under that yoke of oppression.You need to go down and show solidarity with them.'"
He also commented on the drive to strip children born of undocumented parents of their right to citizenship as enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a drive led by our own neo-Nazi hugging state Senator Russell Pearce.
Valdez and the Bratts with Vice-Mayor Michael Nowakowski
"I just read this morning now they're talking about `anchor babies,'" he stated. "They want to go after the unborn...who are innocent beings. That really sickened me to my stomach...For a supposedly Christian nation, we can do better than that. Love thy neighbor. Those are our neighbors. Those are our people."
The group then had to head off for another Q&A round over at Harkins Arizona Mills. The movie is still showing locally, and well worth the price of admission. Check out La Mission's Web site, and my recent interview with Benjamin Bratt for more.
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