Concert Outside the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Call to Action, Justice, knowledge is power, Solidarity, We want justice now!

In from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network

I’m so proud to share our newest music video with you.  I’m also writing to share some exciting upcoming plans and to ask for your help in getting the word out.

You may have heard that we held a series of seven concerts last year outside of the Metropolitan Detention Center, an immigrant prison that hides in plain sight in Downtown Los Angeles.  Our goal was to visualize injustice caused by the status quo and to elevate the request for President Obama to take protective action for all immigrants, not just some.

Los Jornaleros del Norte were fortunate to be joined by artists such as Ana Tijoux, La Santa Cecilia, Los Cadetes de Linares, El Gavachillo, Hermanos Hererrra, Voz del Rancho, Mare Advertencia Lirika, Son del Centro, among others.  Our music pierced the walls of the jail, turning inmates and those outside into a common audience. Together, we resisted efforts to divide our community, and we formed a unified voice calling for equality.

Inspired by the actions, several artists pledged their support, and organizers from around the country asked if we could do similar events in their hometowns.  So we decided to launch a new “tour.”  Our next event is now set to start in Adelanto, CA on Sunday, March 29, 2015, with additional artists and dates yet to be announced.

 

The making of this extraordinary video

During one of the Los Angeles shows, a mother arrived with her two children to celebrate her husband’s birthday. She brought balloons, flowers, and love for her jailed loved one to see across the street from the tiny jail cell window. Omar León, lead singer of Los Jornaleros del Norte, approached her to ask why she was there and she shared with him her story.

Omar turned that story into this beautiful song. It serves as testimony that arts and culture enable people who face and struggle against injustice to turn circumstances of oppression into practices of emancipation. “Serenata a un Indocumentado” is not just a song; it is an enduring historical document that tells the world that beautiful acts of love can happen in the face of ugly suffering.

Chant Down the Walls Boys holding posters

Shot by acclaimed film director Alex Rivera on the same day of the President’s speech announcing administrative relief, the video depicts Los Jornaleros, true to their purpose, standing on a corner across the Metropolitan Detention Center, serenading the detainees inside while videos of jornaleras and jornaleros are projected onto its walls.

This is the sentiment and culture of protest, love, resistance, and struggle that we hope the Serenata concerts will replicate across the country. From San Diego to Maricopa County, from Texas to Alabama and beyond, music will serve as a tool to uplift immigrants’ humanity. We will highlight and redress family separation, unjust detention, inhumane incarceration conditions, criminalization of communities of color, and senseless deportations. We will confront dehumanization and unite in song to overcome walls that divide our community into deserving and undeserving, good and bad, winners and losers, “felons and families.”

Can you help us make it happen?

For now, if you watch and share the video on social media, it would really help. And please also consider making a donation of art, time, or money to help resource future events. You can find us on Twitter,Instagram, and Facebook.

With uncertainty in courts and unprecedented hostility in Washington DC, immigrants have no choice but to fight to have our voices heard.  All immigrants deserve equality, and we must continue to imagine- and organize to make possible-  a world without deportations.
In Solidarity,

Pablo Alvarado
Director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)

 

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