Things That Matter

Lady Gaga Pledged To Fund 162 Classrooms In Dayton, El Paso And Gilroy Following Horrific Mass Shootings

Our community is still reeling after the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, Gilroy, California and El Paso, Texas. In these assaults, far-right fanatics aimed their hate at places where migrants and Latinx folk gathered in a direct attack on our public safety. After these violations, public anxieties have been put on high alert. With attacks happening at stores, festivals and out in the streets, it seems like no place is safe anymore. This anxiety is only made worse with the upcoming return to school for millions of children across the nation. 

The communities of Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy especially have reason to be unnerved but there is some good news coming their way thanks to the generosity of one of the world’s biggest stars.  

Lady Gaga has announced that her charitable foundation will “fully fund” 162 classrooms in the three assaulted communities. 

Facebook / Lady Gaga

On August 9th, the Oscar winner made a post to her Facebook account to share her generous plan. In the post, Gaga states that her Born This Way Foundation will partner with DonorsChoose.org in order to fully fund essentials for classrooms in the three impacted communities. Thanks to the help of these foundations, 14 classrooms in Dayton, 125 classrooms in El Paso, and 23 classrooms in Gilroy will get the help and support they need to welcome students back for the 2019/2020 school year. 

Gaga shared her sympathies for the affected communities. In the note addressed to Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy, the artist wrote:

“My heart goes out to those who were taken from us too soon and to their families, loved ones, and communities who are left to grieve. Everyone has the right to laws that make them feel safe in their communities. In this moment, I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope. Hope that we are there for each other and for ourselves.”

The signer also spoke to what will be needed to recover from these tragedies. 

Twitter / @thehill

Lady Gaga has long been an advocate for mental health awareness. In her 2019 Grammy’s acceptance speech, the singer spoke candidly about recognizing when someone needs help and getting that help without worrying about the stigma associated with mental illness. So, it makes sense that she would include a focus on mental health in her statement. 

“Surviving and recovering from these tragedies also means prioritizing your mental health and checking in on your loved ones,” the pop star wrote. “If you’re struggling, please be brave and tell a trusted someone. Don’t be scared to ask for help, I beg you. If you see a loved one struggling, please be brave and reach out, remind them it’s ok to not be ok, and listen to them. We cannot turn away from ourselves. We cannot turn away from our loved ones. We need each other. Don’t turn away.”

Mental illness is not a trigger for these tragedies but they are a result. Survivors of mass shootings are inflicted with anxiety and depression. Survivor’s guilt has also been credited for suicides after these assaults. As Gaga says in her post, we have to take care of ourselves and each other in the aftermath of these catastrophes. 

Though hearts are still heavy, El Paso citizens were uplifted by this news. 

Facebook / Lady Gaga

As a comment pointed out, a return to school is a return to normalcy for these students, teachers, and administrators. Being able to return back to class may seem like a small act but it is a reminder to these citizens that life goes on after tragedy and they will move on past this pain. Acts of kindness like the one offered by Lady Gaga will help the community get back to normal after such a life-altering event and that means a lot. 

While responses to Gaga’s philanthropy have generally been positive, many expressed frustration over the government’s lack of help in the communities impacted by mass shootings.

Twitter / @jonbaltz @TPhantom84

There’s a lot of frustration aimed at the government after these tragedies. The failure to pass comprehensive gun reform is only one reason why the public criticizes their representative after these tragedies. Another is the lack of support that these communities see the following mass shootings.

Many families have to resort to Go Fund Me’s in order to bury or cremate their lost family members. The mental impact of these assaults is also ignored by the government. If the people who represent us do nothing to solve gun violence, the least they can do is to do something to clean up after these violent attacks. Either way, something has to happen and — though it’s much appreciated — it shouldn’t be handled solely by the generosity of celebrities. 

Chiquis And Becky G Release Video For Spanish-Language Version Of Dolly Parton’s Hit Song ‘Jolene’

Entertainment

Chiquis And Becky G Release Video For Spanish-Language Version Of Dolly Parton’s Hit Song ‘Jolene’

ChiquisOnline / YouTube

Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is arguably one of the most iconic songs in American music. We have all heard bits and pieces of the song growing up because it is just that iconic. After almost 50 years, “Jolene” has another Spanish-language cover brought to us by Becky G and Chiquis.

Spanish-speaking country music fans have a new cover to celebrate.

Becky G and Chiquis have released the music video for their Spanish-language cover of the American classic song “Jolene.” Originally released by Dolly Parton in 1973, “Jolene” is one of those songs that have become a timeless classic of American music.

Country music is quickly becoming a favorite genre in the Latino community. There has been a 25 percent increase in Latino support of country music. When you consider how many Latinos live in the south in states like Texas, it kind of makes sense.

Rolling Stone magazine claimed that it was the first Spanish-language cover of the song.

The magazine got called out on Twitter after claiming that this was the first Spanish-language cover of “Jolene.” The cover by regional Mexican music divas Becky G and Chiquis is good but it is not the first.

The first Spanish-language cover of “Jolene” is by Las Chicas del Can.

The Dominican group recorded “Youlin” in 1985 and the merengue take on the song is really fun to listen to. The version from the girl group is a very different take and feel on the song as compared to Becky G and Chiquis. The two songs are very different and both are very fun to listen to.

Either way, fans of country and regional Mexican music are here for this.

The music video is an animated rollercoaster with Becky G and Chiquis playing tough mujeres doing their thing. The music video is set up like a comic book because we all know that the most amazing superhero stories are comic books. Tbh, these two looked perfect in their tough acting roles.

If you want to listen to the original “Jolene,” here it is.

Truly, this will probably remain one of the greatest American classics of all time.

READ: Becky G Performs Tribute To Selena At San Antonio Concert

Conciencia Collective Is Bringing Together Artists To Tackle The Real Issues

Entertainment

Conciencia Collective Is Bringing Together Artists To Tackle The Real Issues

goyocqt / rafapabonmusic / Instagram

Conciencia Collective is bringing together some of the biggest names in entertainment to tackle some of the biggest issues. The Black Lives Matter protests have led to some long-needed change to police in Black and brown community. Afro-Latinos have been in the fight against the police brutality mixed with the anti-Blackness from fellow Latinos. On June 26, three Afro-Latinos will discuss the movement and the need to ensure that Black Lives Matter.

Check out the discussion today on YouTube, Conciencia’s Facebook, or mitú’s Facebook.

The death of George Floyd has ignited a fight for Black lives that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Thousands of people have been protesting against police brutality and are demanding a change to policing in the U.S. The protests have been ongoing for weeks and they are creating change. States and cities across the country have started to reduce funding for police departments. Congresspeople and senators are calling for a federal change to policing in the U.S. through legislation.

Major corporations have joined social media solidarity in support of Black Lives Matter. People are now holding those corporations accountable. Protesters want to see these same corporations follow through and offer resources to help in the fight.

Gloria “Goyo” Martínez, the Afro-Colombian singer, will be there to discuss the movement in Latin America.

The singer from ChocQuibTown wrote an open letter addressing the death of George Floyd. She did not hold back when she talked about the racism she was seeing from people in Latin America in the face of the violence.

“The great reality is that there is no racial equality in the United States or Latin America,” Goyo wrote. “I saw many comments, hundreds of people normalizing the subject saying, ‘But this also happens to white people,’ ‘But black people are criminals,’ ‘Maybe if they dressed like normal people,’ ‘They’re just hurt’ or ‘You are the racists by posting messages that only produce more pain.'”

Goyo is a big proponent of education leading the way to an anti-racist and more accepting future.

“It’s clear to me that ethno-education (or cultural and intercultural education) is the path to becoming antiracists. Learning about other cultures is important for understanding the context in which we are living,” Goyo says. “There are Afro-Latinxs, who because of a lack of education on this subject, don’t know their history, nor do they identify as Afros until they leave their countries and are discriminated for being Latinxs and for being Black. If many Afro-Latinxs are unaware, imagine a white/mixed music industry making decisions based on misguided marketing studies, which exclude and stereotype based on skin color. In Latin America, there aren’t real statistics on the Afro population. Knowing the situation that more than 100 million Black people live in would help in understanding the issue, there is a lot of history and many organizations have been working on racism. Today continue to raise their voices. Continuing to speak openly would help industries not to reinforce racist stereotypes, to continue to close the doors that are opened thanks to talent.”

Rafa Pabón is another voice on the panel this week.

The trapero is calling for a unity in the Latino community to fight against the racism that is plaguing every aspect of society. Pabón wants to know that protesters and BLM supporters are not backing down from fighting against racism.

“It is important that we mobilize and use our voices. We cannot normalize this kind of situation. Racism is inhuman and I have never understood it. We have to fight together against institutional racism,” Pabón says. “There is still so much to do, Floyd is one of so many cases, we cannot stop fighting for justice.”

Sociologist Aurora Vergara-Figueroa will be the moderator of the event.

Aurora Vergara Figueroa is the director of the Afrodiasporic Studies Center (Centro de Estudios Afrodiaspóricos) at Icesi University in Cali, Colombia. The Afro-Colombian scholar holds a Ph.D. from the Sociology Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She concentrated on the sociological study of Afro-Colombians deracinated from the Colombian Pacific coast and the long durée of land dispossession in the world-system. Recipient of the LASA/OXFAM America 2014 Martin Diskin Dissertation Award, Vergara-Figueroa develops research on the Afrodiasporic feminist movement in Colombia. Vergara-Figueroa is currently working with Doctor Carmen Cosme Puntiel on a co-edited volume tentatively titled: Challenging Enslavement: Black Women’s Strategies of Resistance in Nueva Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, Brazil, and Cuba 1550-1900.

Her main research interests are Feminist Critique, African Diaspora Studies, Sociological Theory, Critical Race Theory, Political Economy, Political Sociology, and Comparative Historical Sociology.

We are Conciencia Collective, an alliance against racial and social injustice conscious of the need to create long-lasting and impactful changes. Comprising of +35 executives from the Latin music industry including activists, journalists, managers, publicists, lawyers, directors, on-air talent, and content creators who came together in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement to create awareness about racial and social injustice with the intention to educate our colleagues, artists, and peers of influence in order to gain their advocacy. Our ongoing initiatives also focus on the many issues affecting our Latin community.

READ: Model Joan Smalls Is Donating Half Of Her Salary To Black Lives Matter