It’s been well over a month since Hurricane Maria crippled the island of Puerto Rico and local leaders of Latinx-central groups such as the New York Capital Region Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NYCRHCC) and Albany Latin Festival Association (ALFA) have lined up a series of events–running through the beginning of 2018–in support of the island citizens. The event series includes a stacked concert at The Egg in Albany on Friday Oct. 27 at 7:30 PM.
Friday’s event is supported by a community coalition–known as the Puerto Rico Relief Team–which includes groups such as 100 Hispanic Women Capital District, City of Albany Poverty Reduction Initiative, BOCES, and LaSalle Institute as well as the Red Cross.
The group has already been active in their aid efforts since the hurricane touched ground, collecting five trips worth of necessary items to send to Puerto Rico with the National Guard.
“The idea for the show came about right after the hurricane,” said Laudelina Martinez, president of the NYCRHCC. “This looks like it’s going to be a very long recovery. There was a lot of devastation and not a lot of communication.”
Today, only 33 percent of the island has electricity, 77 percent have access to water and nearly 4,000 people remain in shelters.
All proceeds from Friday night’s show will go straight to the island by way of Centro Civico, a dual-language community not-for-profit.
“Whatever is collected goes to the relief efforts that work through local organizations of Puerto Rico, going to children’s groups and social services. We have a lot of partners on the island providing people to people support,” Martinez told The Alt.
The concert will feature local Afro-Caribe and Latinx talents like Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde and Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra as well as the tropical salsa sounds of Orquesta Sabor Caribe and Latin pop from Bronte Roman.
“Music has always been a powerful tool of bringing people together; a powerful tool for social justice and Puerto Ricans and the Puerto Rican history is filled with using music as a tool healing,” Asili said. “… It seemed natural that we would come together as musicians to do just that.”
The artist has also organized a separate aid project called ¡Viva Puerto Rico! –a 20-track compilation of previously released material from an expansive palette of artists. From locals like Taina Asili (including a remix of her track “Sofrito” by Public Enemy’s DJ Johnny Juice) and Katani to punk’s Downtown Boys, indie rock’s Hurray for the Riff Raff, and hip-hop’s Talib Kweli amongst others. All proceeds from the compilation’s purchase will go directly to the most vulnerable communities.
In addition to the musical talents, attendees can enjoy a spread of appetizers from Albany’s Salsa Latina restaurant and take some snapshots at the photo booth, provided by Fundabilities. There will also be a demonstration table on site, portraying the use of jerrycans— portable water decontamination units–and self-generating power units that are used in aide efforts.
“The Latinx community has been very responsive,” event organizer and leader of ALFA Pedro Diaz said. “I would hope more people are interested in the diverse genres represented in the concert.”
There are still a number of events following Friday night’s show, including a fundraising event at Levels Banquet Hall in Albany on Nov. 11 and a solidarity demonstration in Troy’s Monument Square on Nov. 19.
“We’ll continue to be involved and to remember Puerto Rico. What we’ve tried to do is bring direct help to the communities and [make] people conscious of the 3.5 million citizens there,” Martinez said.
Additional reporting by Erin Pflaumer