Concert in the Park Builds Awareness for Border Issues

Photo courtesy of ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Performances in the Borderlands brings the community together to bridge politics and arts and bring about a discussion on various issues women of color to Hispanic people face.
Photo courtesy of ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

The moon’s light shone in through the clouds onto Civic Space Park as local Phoenix residents and ASU students gathered to attend a free concert in the shadow of the city.

The concert was of Entre Mujeres presented by ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts’ initiatives, Performance in the Borderlands and Entre Nosotros. But the opening acts of the concert was presented by ASU students aiming to give a message to the community.

One of the bands that performed last night was Under the Sol, a trio of ASU students: Transborder studies senior Deborah Robles, psychology senior Isaac Garcia and construction management sophomore Luis Garcia.

Robles works with the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, specifically with undocumented youth. While working with the youth she says she sees that they are oppressed and have no voice, so through her music she hopes to raise awareness of their troubles.

“We’re trying to send music that unifies people,” Robles says. “Music transcends all borders, it’s an easier way to get the message across.”

At the concert Robles sung about how, “We don’t want to fight no more,” a message of equal human rights.

Isaac Garcia, one of the guitarists, also wishes to give the voice to those who are rarely heard.

“We need to raise awareness,” Garcia says. “You got to be preaching in a way.”

Two hip-hop artists Franco Habre and Alex Soto with the respective stage alias’, MCs Bronze Candidate and Liaizon, performed music as the duo Shining Soul with original beats and lyrics about wanting no borders and the freedom of movement for all peoples Habre says.

Through their lyrics they denounced the militarization of the borders be it border between the United States and Mexico or the borders of South Phoenix and the rest of the community.

“In our community there has been mass perpetration of violence via racist laws such as SB 1070,” says Habre.

Physical borders wasn’t the only issue that was addressed that night. The borders against women were represented through performance.

A local Phoenix performance artist, Kate Saunders, acted out two events. The first was of her experiences with shaving the side of her head, and the second was of separating families through policing of people in the state.

“I want to bring about what we are holding onto and what we are letting go,” Saunders says.

Her first piece about shaving the side of her head is about letting go of the expectations of femininity Saunders says.

Psychology junior Ashanti Webster performed a spoken word poem titled, “Society’s Beautiful Prison.”

The poem was about how society makes women wear makeup and not be okay with themselves physically.

Webster says that the piece came from personal experience and urged the crowd not to give in to society’s expectations.

“Find your own beauty before succumbing to these images,” Webster says.

Females, Webster says, shouldn’t have to change for the media or the images of women magazines portray.

Mary Stephens, an instructor at the Herberger School of Film, Dance and Theatre produced the concert and represented Performance in the Borderlands.

Stephens says that the concert coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month. The Performance in the Borderlands initiative puts on some type of event every year for Hispanic Heritage Month, and this year it was a concert.

“This event is very unique,” Stephens says. “It’s to celebrate voices of women of color. These are awesome voices not heard, talking about topics not heard.”

Many of the performances were in Spanish with a few being in English. Stephens says speaking Spanish can be seen as a threat and that night speaking Spanish was a good way to present language in a positive way to the public.

Performance in the Borderlands strives to bring up dialogue about cultural borders of many different types Stephens says.

Entre Nosotros another sponsor of the concert, based at ASU West, is a group that gets together with the main goal of generating conversations about what it means to be Chicana in Phoenix Ilana Luna, assistant professor of Latin American Studies says.

Many of the performers also said that they wish to create a dialogue about the problems the unheard are dealing with through borders. And that night in the park the unheard received a voice from each performance.

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