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One Year Later: Voces Fuertes Still Singing for Justice

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A chorus sings at the 2018 Voces Fuertes Concert

[2018 Voces Fuertes performance]

One year ago this week, the powerful voices and instruments of Berkeley area youth resonated in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, all for a good cause: Migrant Clinicians Network. The benefit concert was organized by Voces Fuertes, a then-newly formed group of young Berkeley-area musicians looking to make an impact on social justice issues they care about. A year later, the group, led by Ruby Chan Frey, Grace Connallon, Dakota Dry, Marina Hoffman, and Sylvia Ettinger, is still working together, finding time to organize a second concert in between school, music, theater, and film rehearsals and projects, extracurricular activities, and plenty of other responsibilities.

“We’re juniors -- these are very tumultuous times, with college applications and SATs coming up -- and those things make it really hard to plan and organize a large-scale event,” explained Chan Frey, who co-founded Voces Fuertes. Nonetheless, the group thinks it’s important to continue. “We have a lot of momentum from the first concert that people were really excited about.”

The upcoming concert, tentatively scheduled for late February, will benefit the Social Justice Collaborative, a Bay Area nonprofit providing vital immigration legal services to California's immigrant communities since 2012.

“Politics are so crazy right now -- it’s changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up,” admitted Chan Frey. In the last year, the core organizers have watched immigration policy and the political environment get ever more complicated and contentious, further pushing the group to want to act to support the rights of refugees and other migrants who are trying to reach the US.

“I think we are all a lot more aware of how this isn’t really a political issue -- it’s a human rights issue,” Chan Frey said.  She is studying race, policy, and law as a pathway offered at her high school, and intends to pursue social justice and advocacy law in college.  “It’s affected by politics, as pretty much everything in our society is. But it’s really the same issue we’ve had for a long time, which is that the government mistreats those who don’t look like them, and doesn’t give them the basic human dignity they deserve.”

Visit the Voces Fuertes website, where you can keep up-to-date on their next concert, learn more about the co-organizers, and watch last year’s concert benefiting MCN in its entirety.

About Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust
The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, as described in Public Law 214, is a non-profit organization created in 2004 to promote the participation and creation of jobs on the island in the global knowledge economy by promoting investment and financing of research and development of science and technology. By investing in technology research and commercialization, the Trust serves as a catalyst for job creation and retention of highly skilled and often bilingual island residents. He is also responsible for Puerto Rico's public policy for science, technology, research.


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