A weekly volunteer meeting at El Centro in 2009
A weekly volunteer meeting at El Centro in 2009

El Centro Cultural de México Given 60 Day Extension

El Centro Cultural de México, the community space in downtown Santa Ana that was originally to be vacated from its current location six days from now, has received a 60-day extension from the property owning and management company Broadway Improvement Inc. The organization, which offers numerous free dance, music, education and arts classes was originally alerted of the extension the day after a June 28 weekly volunteer meeting open to the public. Members of El Centro wanted to see the extension in writing before announcing it; today the official announcement was received in the mail at the group's P.O. Box address.

A signed letter dated June 30 from

David L. Williams

, Secretary Treasurer of Broadway Improvement, stated that an extension would be granted on the conditions that rent for the next two months be paid accordingly, keys be turned in on or before the required date to vacate the premises, and the space be left in "broom clean condition." Addressed to the "Board of Directors," it ends,"There will be no right to holdover beyond the extension of the Thirty Day Notice to Quit the Premises dated June 9, 2011."

The new date for El Centro to clear out, given this most recent development, is September 14. "A sixty-day extension would not be considered a victory for us," says SAUSD teacher and Centro volunteer Benjamín Vázquez. Although Vazquez says it was the decent thing to do, he adds, "we as volunteers of El Centro and Santa Ana feel the city can do much more to find a permanent place." The organization still has not found a new space.

Much of the story of the Centro saga has centered around that fact that it will soon be without a space. What exactly is being pushed out? "It has more of an impact when listed," Vázquez says. "We have guitar, son jarocho, zumba, danza azteca, ballet folklorico, belly dance, yoga, salsa, cumbia, danzón, flamenco, educarte (art for Kids), Barrio Writers, adult education, philosophy circle, self defense, SAPO (mural project), Barrio Actors Guild, jewelry making and a rock band classes." That's about 20 classes in all, son!

Jose Luis Gallo of La Causa Films was on hand at the aforementioned community volunteer meeting to record testimonials of those present. The resulting YouTube video above shows various people talking about what the Centro has meant to them personally and why it's of vital importance to the community.

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