Southern Poverty Law Center releases music to empower immigrants to fight for their rights

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Latin Grammy-winning band Flor De Toloache have released a song that aims to help prevent human rights abuses by conveying important information about the rights immigrants can exercise when interacting with law enforcement and immigration authorities.

The single, El corrido de David y Goliat, out now on Chulo Records, is the first release of the Immigrant Songs Initiative. It is available on all digital streaming platforms and for sale on iTunes and streaming on Spotify.

The song is a corrido, a popular narrative music genre about oppression, the daily life of peasants and other socially relevant topics. Many corrido stories relate to the lives of people living near the border, who deal with fear and abuse on an everyday basis. One of the goals of the project is to reach people who may not have access to modern media where legal information is commonly dispersed, which is why the song is being played on broadcast radio and distributed to regions with high immigrant populations.

“Knowledge is power – the power to remain free and safe,” said Mary Bauer, director of the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project. “This incredible song by Flor de Toloache has the potential to empower a lot of immigrants in a creative way. We’ve seen too many cases where immigration officials have illegally and unfairly apprehended immigrants, disregarding their basic human rights. The more people know about their rights, the better.”

The effort includes a video to share the broader message of the Immigrant Songs Project. It provides a further understanding of the legal abuse suffered by many immigrants and refugees across the border. The concept was developed with creative support from Wing – the multicultural unit of Grey.

“Driving awareness and providing accurate information in a relevant, non-intrusive way – via Corrido songs – allows us to reach this audience in ways that are culturally relevant for them. The more people hear the song, the more we’ve helped everyone understand their rights. We’re strategically providing them with the right information for how to seek help if they encounter abusive situations with law enforcement,” Pepe Aguilar, chief creative officer at Wing told The Drum.

New York-based Flor De Toloache band members hail from countries as varied as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy, and the United States. The band won a Latin Grammy Award in 2017 for Best Ranchero / Mariachi Album for Las Caras Lindas.

The song’s release comes a day after the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Immigration Law Center, and the law firm of Sherrard, Roe, Voigt & Harbison filed a lawsuit on behalf of workers detained during an April 2018 immigration raid at an East Tennessee meat processing plant. During the raid the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained approximately 100 Latino workers, violating their rights against illegal seizures and to equal protection under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.

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