ABOUT Pedro Hidalgo


Pedro Hidalgo was born in Santiago de Cuba with a visual disability that rendered him legally blind. As a young child, he struggled through Catholic School and was able to do fairly well before he was removed into a slower-moving class so that he could keep up with the pace.


At age 10, he, along with his mother, migrated to New York City and the United States, seeking medical attention for his condition. After a medical evaluation, he was placed in a school for the blind, where he was able to grow, learn, and adapt to the new reality and was taught really to do well in his future. 


Hidalgo graduated from the Institute in 1969 and went on to college. He attended Long Island University and graduated from Syracuse University in upstate New York, completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science and Latin American Studies.


In the ensuing years, he worked in social services in Syracuse, also in San Francisco, California, and New York City. Later on, he became an official Spanish and English court interpreter in the Manhattan Supreme Court Criminal Division of New York. After that, he also worked for the city and county of San Francisco for a good many years as an employment development counselor, where he was able to help many people in the acquisition of jobs and careers and the ability to build self-confidence. 


Throughout his life, Hidalgo has pursued artistic endeavors in theater and photography. In both, he has been able to achieve a certain amount of success as an actor, and he has done some work on stage, on television, and in film. As a photographer, he has sold and exhibited his work in museums and other venues. Photography has been one of the best therapies of his life. Looking through the viewfinder of a camera, he was able to isolate a scene where he was able to concentrate on individual objects in the scene. This allowed him to see more colors and shapes in the world.


As a result of this effort, his work was admitted to several art exhibits in San Francisco City Hall Gallery and in the Berkeley Art Museum in Berkeley, California. Likewise, Hidalgo’s work, as well as the work of other visually impaired and blind photographers, has been the topic of radio programs and university forums with audience participation at the University of California at Berkeley.

As an advocate for people with disabilities, he served on the Performers with Disabilities Committee, sponsored by SAG-AFTRA, where he participated in setting policy for producers and disabled actors; serving the San Francisco Mayor’s Committee on Disabilities, he helped identify the needs of the disabled community and provide services.

Furthermore, he has also worked with Mayor Willie Brown and others to draft legislation and policies which created opportunities for people with disabilities. Apart from that, he has worked to secure job protections and rights for disabled employees and employers.


Through the work that he has done, he has done his best to inspire others to have faith in themselves, to have the ability in their pursuits, and to gain confidence no matter what their obstacles and circumstances may be.