Things That Matter

Neighbors Raised $60k to Keep this Mariachi Band Family From Being Evicted During the Pandemic

Photo via Cielito Lindo Family Folk Music/Facebook

While the pandemic has negatively impacted a lot of Americans, those who derived their income from in-person industries like food, hospitality, and live entertainment, have been hit the hardest.

Once COVID-19 shut the country down, many household were forced to scramble to make ends meet. And while the government offered some assistance, for many it wasn’t enough.

This predicament was exactly what the Chicago family, the Luceros, were going through.

The Luceros are a Chicago-based Mexican-American family who moonlight as the mariachi band, Cielito Lindo. Around Chicago, the Lucero family was known for their astonishing musical abilities.

Juan and Susie Lucero are parents to a talented team of seven children, all of whom play different musical instruments and have breathtaking singing voices. Diego, Miguel, Antonio, Carlos, Lilia, Maya, and Mateo all have different roles within the band, while Juan is the bandleader.

Before the pandemic, the Lucero family derived the majority of their income from their live performances. They would cover classic favorites like “El Rey” as well as doing mariachi-twists on modern pop hits like Cardi B’s “I Like it Like That”.

But when COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, the Lucero family was no longer allowed to play live events.

All of their performances were canceled. Even their long-standing weekly gig at a local restaurant disappeared. Their income dropped by 40%.

While the Luceros tried to cut corners and make small changes, the reality was, they couldn’t keep up with their bills. By the time Christmas rolled around, they were $18,000 behind on rent. They got an eviction notice.

The family had heard that the government had launched a rent-assistance program, but they couldn’t find many details on how to apply. They were completely lost.

Desperate for help, Juan Lucero reached out to his Facebook friends, asking them if they knew how to apply for government assistance.

But what he got in return was something even better. Their community decided to step up and take action.

“A few of us talked and said, ‘We can’t let them be evicted from their home. There’s just no way,'” their neighbor, Robert Farster, recently told CBS This Morning.

Farster ended up creating a GoFundMe page for the Lucero family. “Our good friends, the Luceros, need help,” he wrote. “Juan, Susy and their seven kids are too proud to ask for it, so as their friends, we’re stepping in.”

Within days, Farster had raised over $60,000, veritably saving the Luceros from eviction.

“It’s like a miracle. We didn’t expect that,” Juan Lucero told This Morning. “It feels like a big warm hug from many people.”

Juan’s wife, Susy Lucreo felt the same way. Despite these divisive times, she felt tons of love and support from her community.

“We feel very much loved and accepted as a Mexican-American family with roots in Guadalajara,” she told This Morning. “And we come together to share that combination of culture, which really is what America is all about–this big melting pot.

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This Chicago Man Used His Wrongful Conviction Settlement Money to Open a Barber College With His Former Prison Guard

Things That Matter

This Chicago Man Used His Wrongful Conviction Settlement Money to Open a Barber College With His Former Prison Guard

Screenshot via YouTube

Some people are dealt a tough hand in life and, for whatever reason, aren’t able to cope with it. They might spiral into bad lifestyles choices or other unhelpful coping mechanisms. However, other people are able to rise above adversity. Like Juan Rivera, a man who spent 20 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.

After he was wrongly convicted of murder, 48-year-old Juan Rivera used his settlement money to open up a barber college with his former prison guard.

Juan Rivera went to jail for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in 1992. Chicago police used unlawful psychological mind games over the course of a four-day interrogation to coerce Rivera to admitting to the crime. The Chicago police also destroyed DNA evidence and lied to the prosecution team. Juan Rivera spent 20 years in Stateville Correctional Center.

While he was in prison, Juan Rivera became friends with prison guard and barbershop coordinator, Bobby Mattison. Mattison knew that some prisoners just needed the right opportunities to make better life choices. After a lot of hard work, Mattison opened up the first licensed barber college in a maximum security prison. Rivera was one of his students.

“We lock them up well, but what do we do to help them get back on their feet?” Mattison told Block Club Chicago. “I see these guys coming in and out. I knew I wanted to do something to help them.

It was through Mattison that Rivera began to change his attitude and outlook on life. When Rivera left prison, the city of Chicago awarded him $20 million in a wrongful conviction suit. Rivera knew exactly what he was going to do with the settlement money: give back to his community.

Together, Rivera and Mattison founded Legacy Barber College. Legacy Barber College recruits students from inner-city Chicago who are in danger of getting caught up in a life of crime. The barber college partners with high schools, community colleges, and career day fairs to show kids that “they can find a good career even if college isn’t an option.”

“This started, believe it or not, in prison,” Juan Rivera said. “I saw a need. We want to help the less fortunate. Because once they get out, they usually have nothing to fall back on.”

Legacy Barber College’s 32 current enrollees are also college or high school students. At the school, students can earn their barber’s license, but they also learn “financial literacy, customer service and running a business.”

But Legacy Barber College’s services aren’t limited to teaching. They also, naturally, give haircuts. “We want the community to know it’s theirs, not mine,” Juan Rivera said. “We want people to feel welcome and comfortable taking their kids and family here.”

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Show Mom How Much You Love Her With These Sweet Mother’s Day Gifts

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Show Mom How Much You Love Her With These Sweet Mother’s Day Gifts

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Mother’s Day is just one of the days in the year when we show our mom how much we love her. She gave us life and isn’t shy about reminding us. Why not make this day a little special with a nice gift? Here’s a little guide to get you started. Use code momdaywam2021 for a discount on all of your mom merch!

Love You Mom Mug | $14.99 – $17.99

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There was nothing more dreadful than not being able to find something. You just knew that when you asked your mom for help that it came with a lot of strings attached. The mere idea of mom searching and finding it sent us into a wild frenzy trying to find it before she got to the room.

This mug is the perfect reminder of those mildly scary moments of missing remotes and socks. Now, as an adult, you can all look back and laugh because it isn’t that scary anymore, right? 😨

Nadie Me Ayuda En Esta Casa | $24.99

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You can’t forget this absolute classic. This shirt is one of the most relatable gifts you can give your mother. She is always doing everything for everyone and no one wants to help. This shirt will show that you acknowledge that you don’t do enough and appreciate just how hard she works.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can stay not helping. Let this be the start of you changing some of your own practices and helping your mom around the house. it is never too late.

Mom, Ma, Ama, Madre, Mujer Mug | $19.99

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A nice little mug with mom in all the ways we say it is just a nice addition to your mom’s coffee mug collection. It will definitely bring a smile to her face every time she sees it because it just shows how much you are thinking of her.

Pregúntale A Tu Papá Tee | $24.99 – $26.99

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How many times have you heard your mom say this? It is never when you need to find something because dad never knows where to find stuff. That is just a cold hard fact about life in a Latino household. This was always posed to you when you asked mom to go to a sleepover or anything that required approval.

This will not only make your mom laugh, but dad will chuckle as well. After all, he knows that his word is only as good as his vieja will let it be. Lol.

Best Amá Ever Mug | $14.99 – $17.99

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Let your mom brag all the time, any time. This mug is perfect for her to take to work so that everyone in her office sees that she is, indeed, the best amá ever. I’m sure that people will think that their mom is the best but you know that your mom is the best. This will soon be the ultimate status symbol.

Quiero Nietos Unisex Tee | $24.99 – $27.99

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We all know that mom (and dad) can’t wait to have nietos to spoil endlessly. This shirt will give them a physical way to constantly remind you that they can’t wait for those little ones. You might regret giving her a shirt that she can wear every time you go to visit her but she will love it. Maybe it is just a quick laugh but we all know that she will wear it to manifest her nietos.

Esta Casa No Es Hotel Poster | $16.99 – $19.99

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Help your mom decorate the house with her own sense of humor. The poster will give your mom a reference to point to when people ask her for too much. Like, learn the house. Find your own towels. Get your own juice. Room service and hotel-level work is not happening in this house. You got legs, arms, and claim to be a grown up.

Happy anniversary to all of the mothers, abuelas, tías, and mother figures in the world.

READ: Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Like A Proud Mom As Daughter Natalia Announces She’s Going To USC

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