Additional Statementsby Senator Barbara Boxer
Posted on 2014-01-16
BOXER. Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to join me in
honoring the life of Jose Montoya, a husband, father, professor,
activist, artist, and poet. Jose Montoya passed away on September 25,
2013. He was 81 years old.
Jose Montoya was born in Escobosa, NM and grew up in the farm towns of California's Central Valley. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War before earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the California College of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from California State University, Sacramento.
Cognizant of the plight of farm workers because of his own experience picking grapes as a boy in the fields of Delano and Fowler, Jose Montoya became an advocate for the rights of farmworkers. In 1969, Mr. Montoya co-founded the Rebel Chicano Art Front--later known as the Royal Chicano Air Force--a highly influential collaboration of artists who worked alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to generate public awareness of the struggles of migrant farmworkers.
Mr. Montoya also touched the lives of thousands of students during his 27-year tenure as a professor of art, photography, and education at California State University, Sacramento, where he created the Barrio Art Program. Designed to provide students with hands-on experience working with communities in the arts, this program continues to serve as a model for arts-based service learning programs at [[Page S436]] other universities. In addition to his contributions as an artist, activist, and educator, Montoya was an accomplished poet who was selected as the city of Sacramento's Poet Laureate in 2002.
Jose Montoya's legacy was eloquently summarized by his son Richard in an op-ed written for The Sacramento Bee: ``Jose Montoya was a cultural front liner and first responder. A doer. A creator who brought levity, defiance and satirical wit to the bloody fields of the San Joaquin as well as to the frigid halls of academe, all the way to the State Capitol and beyond.'' He is survived by his wife, Juanita Jue, along with eight children, 19 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones, and my thoughts and prayers are with them. We are indebted to him for his dedication to social justice and his immeasurable contributions to the community and our society.