Published May 4th, 2020 at 6:01 PM
A Kansas City agency is helping organize a virtual music festival on Cinco De Mayo that will provide aid to farmworkers across the United States.
An artistic effort to support farmworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic quickly blossomed into a star-studded live stream festival, which airs Tuesday. In three weeks, Altísimo Live! producers and collaborators booked more than 60 Latinx and Hispanic celebrities.
Viewers can watch at noon on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Periscope and Twitch. Donations can be made online through the Altísimo Live! Website, directly through the fundraising page or through text by typing CINCO to 91999.
“It’s very rare that we have Latinos coming together to produce the star power in both English and Spanish,” said David Chavez, CEO of INGEÑUITY in Kansas City. “We have Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans… There’s a beauty about that. When there is a need, Latinos come together and I haven’t had any artist tell me, ‘I don’t want to do it’.”
Manny Ruiz, the event’s co-creator and CEO of RetroPop Media, said an event like this is unprecedented in terms of scale and caliber of acts from across the Latino community.
“We hope to make history on Cinco de Mayo,” Ruiz said. “This is an endeavor of incredible heart for an incredible cause. We know that our farmworkers are often overlooked (and) this is the time to change it.”
The event boasts musicians, activists and celebrities such as Dolores Huerta, J Balvin, Marc Anthony, A.B. Quintanilla, Los Lobos and Eva Longoria, to name a few. The concert is free, but proceeds by way of donations will go to the Farmworkers Pandemic Relief Fund.
Other event partners include iHeartLatino, CIEN+, The Latinx House, PEOPLE en Español, Hispanics in Philanthropy, Justice for Migrant Women, Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Justice for Migrant Women.
The funds raised will help provide basic essentials, such as food, formula and diapers, as well as medical supplies. The money will also provide emergency cash assistance for rent, utilities and medical expenses. A portion of that will be used to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the workers.
Farmworkers will be sharing their stories through video diaries on living through COVID-19 and through discussions with celebrities. Letting them tell their own stories for an event that supports them was important to Monica Ramirez, founder and president of Justice for Migrant Women.
“Farmworkers are powerful. We’re not a helpless or a hopeless community so I wanted to make sure that was reflected in the program,” Ramirez said.
This effort is personal for her. Her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents worked in the fields. She’s the first in her family who didn’t “travel the migrant stream.”
During a recent visit, Ramirez asked farmworkers what they need. One woman responded with one word: “Animo.”
Translated that means courage or motivation.
“For those of us who are from the farmworker community, myself included, we feel a huge sense of urgency to try to move as quickly as we can, to provide basic relief to the farmworker community and to ensure that we put as many measures in place to keep (them) from getting sick,” Ramirez said in a press briefing. “Farmworkers are the heart of our food supply chain. Farmworkers nourish our nation.”