It is difficult to get students to the theatre. DISD school buses are costly for the district. But by taking the effort to partner with Larry Duncan, the President, Board of Trustees of the Dallas County Schools, and LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), Jesse Tafalla Jr. was able to arrange for school buses to transport students of all grades to see a play at the Cara Mia theatre for free.

Jesse is the longest serving board member of the Cara Mia Theater (he started serving in 2007). He calls it a ‘Social Justice’ theatre which addresses themes like Deferred Action and the Latino experience. Before the play, the students were spoken to about leadership, social justice, and the importance of voting.

He is very proud of Cara Mia and its ability to “tell our story.” He says “kids need to see more brown faces on the stage.”

This is just 1 example of how Jesse’s civic engagement with elected officials helps bring about positive change in our community. He encourages more people to learn and engage with their local representatives. He helps his siblings by highlighting ballots for them, noting which leaders have which positions. He motivates them to vote not by saying “We need to change the world” but by saying “If you don’t vote, I’ll tell mom!”

Jesse’s parents, late Jesse Tafalla Sr., and Nellie Tafalla have also been strong pioneers for the Latino community in North Texas. Jesse Sr. helped establish the Dallas Mexican American Historical League (DMAHL) and was instrumental with the creation the Latino Cultural Center. Nellie has been involved with women’s issues for some time and once served as the president of the Mexican American Business and Professional Women’s Association (MABP&W).

Jesse Tafalla Jr. is currently Dallas County Commissioner Hon. Theresa Daniel’s appointee for the Dallas County Historical Commission, former president of the Dallas LULAC Rainbow Council, the first LGBT chapter within that organization, City of Dallas Councilwomen Hon. Monica Alonso’s appointee to the Fair Park South Dallas Trust Fund Board, a member of Tejano Democrats & Stonewall Democrats, and a member of the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC) where he lobbies for increasing funding of the Arts. He says he could be in a meeting 5 days a week…”If I’m not in a meeting, I feel like I’m wasting my time.”