My name is Daniel Hernandez Jr and I’m honored to represent the 2nd Legislative District in the Arizona State House. My district is special and is all of Santa Cruz County, Green Valley, Sahuarita, and South Tucson. I served from 2011 to 2019 on the Sunnyside School Board and during that time helped open a K-8 Fine Arts Magnet school.
I recently had the joy of visiting the Pesidio School in Tucson which spent an entire week with their students from Kindergarten to 12th grade integrating Art into their work. Presidio like many schools across Arizona knows the value and importance of Art so they partnered with Sandy Hook Promise, a group started after the Sandy Hook shootings, to focus on how art can bring a community together and heal.
I got to sit with kindergartners and read a book called Only One You. I visited with 4th graders who had the chance to paint rocks for a Friendship river and I joined them and made my own rock pictured here. These students all were being shown art as a way to express themselves but also to help combat social isolation. I also talked to highschool students about how they mentored and helped their younger peers create kindness cards that were given to someone who had shown you kindness.
Using art to spread kindness and friendship reminded me why I first ran for office for the School Board. I was lucky to have been exposed to art from a young age including going to the Plays and Opera as field trips in middle school and learning how to play the violin for Mariachi. Now 9 years later I’m serving as a legislator and am disappointed to see that art is often referred to as an “extra” or as a luxury. Art is vital to the future for our young people in Arizona. I’m committed to keep working to ensure all children have access to Art in this state. It was instrumental to who I am today and I know that all children deserve to discover art and its power on their own.
Together we can fight to ensure to protect arts funding for not just our school children but for all Arizonans. If we work together I know we can not just protect the current funding but expand it in the future. Education is a lifelong process and we all deserve to have access. I’m always happy to sit and chat with arts advocates, attend events, or occasionally (and very poorly) paint rocks. I can be reached at email@example.com