WHAT: A concert to benefit the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation
WHEN: Saturday, July 7, 6 p.m. Music begins at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Salvage Station, 466 Riverside Drive
WHY: In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s September 2017 assault on Puerto Rico, organizers for local social justice activists collective Pop! Ed were reaching out to see what contacts they had doing front-line work in the territory.
Through those efforts, they were introduced to Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Teachers Federation), an educators’ union that went from fighting to protect the right to public education for all young people in the territory to bringing food and supplies to students’ families affected by the storm and battling a local government that was attempting to shut down hundreds of public schools.
“We were moved by the Federación’s ability to respond to crisis, even when it is not the crisis they signed up to fight against,” says Pop! Ed member Jae Slaughter. “Schools being shut down because of climate change-related disasters and schools being shut down by governments are an infringement on [the] right to an education. Because of this, Pop! Ed sees overlap between the work of the Federación and the work that we are moved to do.”
In addition to working to make quality education available for all people, Pop! Ed — which Slaughter says is a nod to the term “popular education,” a practice that became a core strategy of organizing in Latin America in the 1930s — strives to stop human actions that accelerate climate change, thereby resulting in “unnatural disasters.” In order to raise money for the Federación and awareness of their shared efforts, the collective will hold its latest concert event, “Resist! A Benefit to Fight Unnatural Disasters,” Saturday, July 7, at Salvage Station.
“We want to get people critically thinking about climate change. How are we living in unsustainable ways that accelerate climate change, and as a result, create unnatural disasters? How can we resist now, before it’s too late?” Slaughter says. “We hope folks leave with a new lens on the world that makes them want to resist policies, actions and business endeavors that drive unnatural disasters. Right now, we can start by using art to build community and reimagine the new world we want.”
Resist! includes education booths and such children’s activities as disc golf, bubbles, face painting, ice cream for purchase from The Hop and sparklers later in the night. The main attraction will be performances by MCs SIYAH, PR Heavy and Mook!, soul singer-songwriter Jonathan Santos, DJ Dr Hotron Beats and hip-hop ensemble Natural Born Leaders.
“Seeing the parallels of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria, we recognized the connection between the struggle of black and brown folks in the U.S., so we wanted to have black and brown artists playing together, to demonstrate that solidarity on a stage,” Slaughter says. “Music is healing and has the greatest power to bring people together, so we were excited about using this show to do just that. We also feel that black and brown artists deserve to be uplifted in our city because there is huge talent there in these communities, right here in Asheville.”
Resist! A Benefit to Fight Unnatural Disasters takes place Saturday, July 7, at Salvage Station, 466 Riverside Drive. Activities begin at 6 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. $8 advance/$10 day of show. salvagestation.com