May 27, 2015

Screenshot from Lights On music video

For the past year, through its involvement in The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, ACTA has supported the efforts of Boyle Heights-based artists in a collective community-based songwriting process, engaging local residents, youth, and activists in an inclusive dialogue around the needs of their community.  This music video, Lights On, presents the results of several of these ACTA-organized collective songwriting workshops led by Grammy Award-winning artists Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores.  The song brings attention to issues of equitable school funding within the Los Angeles School District.  Through its verses, Lights On calls for greater accountability and increased parent and student involvement throughout the state’s new school funding process, the Local Control Funding Formula.  The music video was filmed in late January of this year and features numerous Boyle Heights artists that have been identified as cultural treasures through ACTA’s involvement.  Since filming, the song has been performed live on numerous occasions and has become a powerful tool in this fight.

On May 26,2015, the Boyle Heights-based band Cuicani performed Lights On in front of the Los Angeles Unified School District during a key hearing to identify the district’s spending priorities for the upcoming year.