Richmond unites for ‘Benefit Concert’ to end domestic violence

Richmond unites for ‘Benefit Concert’ to end domestic violence
Performace Cancion Sin Miedo-Song Without Fear (Photo courtesy of The Latina Center).

By Kathy Chouteau

A coalition of community leaders united to end domestic violence is behind a free, bilingual “¡Ya Basta! y Sin Miedo/Enough is Enough! Benefit Concert” set to take the stage at the Richmond Civic Center Plaza Sat., Sept. 30, from 2-5 p.m.

The City of Richmond—led by Councilmember Soheila Bana—will partner with The Latina Center, artists, community leaders, survivors and other advocates to host the Benefit Concert, featuring music, dance performances and more. The overriding aim of the special event is to raise public awareness and eradicate domestic violence against women and girls, as well as gender-based harm.

Organizers of the Benefit Concert have unified against domestic and gender violence as their occurrence rates in Richmond and beyond are soaring. One in three women worldwide have encountered physical or sexual violence primarily by an intimate partner, according to the United Nations, with the pandemic further instigating occurrences. António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, has called this situation a “shadow pandemic.”

A highlight of the special event—which organizers tout as featuring musical and dance performances by notable local artists—will include a Bay Area adaptation of the song “Cancion Sin Miedo/Song Without Fear,” originally written and performed by Vivir Quintana. Composed by Quintana as a tribute to Mexican mothers who lost their daughters to femicide, the song also calls for the end of all gender violence, per organizers.

Executive Director of The Latina Center Miriam Wong enlisted Richmond artist Gabriela Shiroma to create a Bay Area version of the song alongside Latina artists, community leaders, survivors and their supporters. The song collaborators recorded a local version that demands the end of domestic and gender violence; a group of more than 50 people will perform it publicly for the first time at the Sept. 30 event. It will also include a performance by East Bay Center for the Performing Arts’ “Son de la Tierra.” Check out a video of an abbreviated version of the powerful song here.

Wong shared that The Latina Center has supported the recovery and empowerment of women and youth who experience domestic violence for two decades. She said they recognize violence as a social epidemic affecting everyone and believes that we must “work together for change and to create a society of anti-violence.”

The City of Richmond will make a public commitment at the event to partner with community organizations including The Latina Center, the Family Justice Center and others with the aim of eliminating violence against women and girls. Councilmember Soheila Bana said that the City is collaborating across departments and with others “to create and implement policy changes this fall that make Richmond a safer place for women, girls and everyone.”

Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez, District Attorney Diana Becton, County Supervisor John Gioia and representatives from the offices of Congressman John Garamendi and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks will attend the Benefit Concert in support of its mission.

In August, a Richmond Art Contest was held for Richmond residents of all ages calling for art highlighting the need to end violence against women and girls. The winner and finalists will be announced and awarded checks at the event, while the winner’s art will be featured on posters and possibly elsewhere throughout Richmond during October, Domestic Violence Awareness month.