El Ritmo Fronterizo Fest is a free virtual concert put together by La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) featuring Rio Grande Valley musicians. The community advocates are using music to celebrate and call on Congress to deliver citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants. The event includes local acts like Carmen Castillo, Fantastico, Yruama, and L@s Skagaler@s. Trucha touched base with LUPE Organizer, event host, and member of the Skags, Marco Lopez to get more insight on the event.
“We are trying to host it to promote the bands and to promote a cultural event since we’ve been having a bunch of attacks by everything. Aside from COVID we have politicians and police departments talking badly about immigrants so we wanted to make something positive that would highlight our community rather than make us feel like trash,” stated Lopez.
He refers to the actions of the La Joya Police Department earlier this summer when they published a “public health announcement” regarding immigrant families assisted by Catholic Charities whom they accused of spreading COVID-19 and causing a public health threat. This was followed by Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez who declared a local state of disaster because of the release of asylum seekers in the McAllen area, the incapacity of local non governmental organizations to handle the influx and the rising COVID-19 infection rates locally.
These dog whistles for anti-immigrant sentiments and xenophobic talking points feed into the larger state narrative created by officials like Greg Abbott. He continues to blame immigrants for the COVID-19 public health crisis that his administration failed to prevent from spreading. Anna Sanchez, LUPE Digital Organizer and cohost of the event discussed how the scapegoating of immigrants has been a repeated strategy throughout history in her previous editorial for Trucha.
To tune out these ideas, the concert will bring together Rio Grande Valley voices and beats that make you sing, dance, skag, and zapatear to the border rhythm. The line up includes the Roma ISD Mariachi, Little Wind, and Frontera Wave, a Lo-Fi Tex-Mex project of Charlie Vela that will get ya grooving. After that the Norteño accordion rifts of Nuevo Mando will have you dancing the night away.
In addition to the celebration, LUPE is asking participants to take action and to support, “the We are Home Campaign that would make a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people that includes DACA, DPS recipients and essential workers,” states Sanchez. The campaign is demanding the Biden Administration to follow through on the President’s promise for a humane immigration reform in the next 100 days. The push comes as a major opportunity for immigration reform through the budget reconciliation process shows potential. That is definitely a point of celebration for many.
“We’re so accustomed at LUPE to be protesting, organizing and making calls to action all the time that this event was a more relaxed kind of event. We wanted to make it live but because of the variant that is really bad right now and the cases are up we just didn’t want to put people at risk. So we are trying to do this digital concert and hoping it comes out good,” states Lopez. We know it will be a great time! Support local music and message your Congressperson to act on a pathway to citizenship for all while you watch the live stream of the concert right here!