By: Fredwill Hernandez
Annabella Bastida, Executive Director, COFEM, along with her peers, joined Salsa Prince Luis Enrique, Xavier “El Cheyo” Carillo, members of Banda La Maravillosa, and pianist Luis Herman Miranda, among others, who briefly greeted Los Angeles during a press conference held this morning Friday – Oct. 14th, at La Placita Olvera [Street], Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles [Ca], in anticipation of Sunday’s [Oct. 16th] #VIP Concert presented by COFEM.
During the press conference each artist in attendance thanked the press and briefly spoke on why they chose to be part of the #VIP Concert and COFEM’s mission to bring awareness and get people [Latinos] involved.
“I recently celebrated my 18th birthday, and I feel like we are not aware, pay attention or make it a priority, of what’s happening around us in this country, we just live our lives without [really] noticing what is happening. I think we should make a difference, without mentioning anyone by name, but I don’t think many of us really would like it if that X candidate were to get elected, if we don’t want that to happen, we need to unite and make a difference. Us as Mexicans [Latinos] in this country, I feel our voice is not heard and our presence is not felt, therefore we should and need to unite, to have our voices heard and make our presence felt,” explained Xavier Carillo known artistically as “El Cheyo” [Carrillo].
Executives from The Council of Mexican Federations [known in Spanish as COFEM], an organization which empowers immigrant communities to be full participants in the social, political, economic, and cultural life of the United States and their home country, spoke about their mission and the importance of uniting Latinos through music, in this case the #VIP Concert taking place this Sun. – Oct. 16th at the Shrine Auditorium [LA], and reiterated the importance of getting Latinos to register and to vote during the upcoming elections to be held on Tues. – November 8th.
“We are doing this concert because we need to unify voices towards the election on Nov. 8th, we have had marches and manifestation rallies and this time we have invited artist/s to come put their voices for the people, we think “we dance today, tomorrow we vote,” in Spanish “hoy bailamos y mañana votamos,” which is our slogan and it’s important for us because the people need to know this year and these elections are real [real] important,” eloquently explained Francisco Moreno, Communituies Director, COFEM. “The concert [this event] is an artistic manifestation geared towards civic participation. What we want is families to come, enjoy themselves and urge [or invite] others to vote. We anticipate a couple of well known elected officials, like LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti, and not only distinguished guests from the City but from the State level will attend and speak on the importance of this movement. We have also partnered along with Nuestra Familia Vota [Spanish for Our Family Votes] so people who come to the [concert] event on Sunday will have the chance upon entering or exiting to register to vote, and we anticipate on registering 1,000 new voters.”
The #VIP Concert is a major civic event to honor the contributions and voting power of immigrants across this country. All the participating performers are encouraging their Latino public to register and vote, and are committed to the immigrant struggle or has a personal immigrant connection. Take [Luis] Enrique, who emigrated from his native Nicaragua in 1978 and was undocumented for 10 years, and eventually naturalized under the amnesty program.
As to the importance of being part of this Enrique stated, “I feel first and most an obligation to vote and take part in the social/political issues in this great nation. As an American citizen is my duty and my right to voice my opinion thru my vote and most importantly serve as one that some of my Latino brothers and sisters can not take part on. The Latino vote is extremely important, especially in this coming elections. I urge all of our Latino communities to go out and register so than in November our presence can be felt in the decision making for the future of our children and generations to come. Do not let the confusion and the hate blind your views. We are a power house, we are a majority not a minority, we are a huge part in the work force of this country.”