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Charlottesville Friends Organize a Benefit Concert for Immigrant Causes

Posted: Updated: Jul 09, 2018 09:49 AM
IX Park concert goers IX Park concert goers
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

After hearing reports of children being separated from their parents at the border, Rachel Gendreau and a group of her friends decided to do their part to make change. On Sunday July 8, the group hosted Harmonia, an outdoor event with live music, food, and fun to support migrant children and their families.

Gendreau said, "We are just friends that decided to, on a whim to, literally two weeks ago, throw a benefit concert because the time was now."

Other people quickly joined their cause.

Johnny Tenney, an attendee, said, “To support other people, that's our purpose as Americans is to support other people that's why we're here in this country and we've lost so much sight of that.”

The concert benefit raised money for two Charlottesville organizations aimed to help immigrants, as well as a one national advocate.

Gendreau said, “We wanted to do something that was going to directly address that but also bring money and support to the migrant and immigrant communities in Charlottesville.”

And for many attendees, the event goes beyond spreading awareness.

Gendreau said, “I feel a real connection and a real personal pressing need to do something and be involved. They're our neighbors.”

They said it couldn't have come at better time.

Priscilla Mendenhall, the co-convener of the Charlottesville Area Immigrant Resources and Advocacy Coalition, said, “And what I'm seeing now personally is the dismantling of everything that I've ever worked for.”

Community members engaged with various organizations who were recruiting new advocates to their causes.

“I think this kind of event, particularly in a place like Charlottesville, which is a fairly small community, brings awareness of the issue to people in an immediate way. People are here with their kids, how can it not resonate with them?”

All of the musicians at Sunday night's concert performed pro bono and IX Park staff plans to donate 30 percent of the revenue to be split evenly between the benefiting organizations, which are The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, Creciendo Juntos, and Sin Barreras Charlottesville. Attendees and others were also able to donate money to these charities before and during the event.

So far, the event has raised more than $4,300.