Supporting Boyle Heights Mariachis During the Economic and Health Crisis

On May 8th, the mariachis of Boyle Heights held a relief concert to raise funds after many have been unable to work due to COVID-19 restrictions and inability to receive financial assistance like unemployment.

This event was hosted by the former Defend Boyle Heights, now part of the Los Angeles chapter of UNDM. This concert was hosted in Boyle Heights at the well-known Mariachi Plaza. The plaza was covered in posters made by the mariachis. Written on the stage was “Support the Mariachis!” and activists held up a banner stating, “Where there is oppression, there is resistance! We are mariachis, we are of the people!”

Mariachis are deep cultural figures of Chicano culture and they are often restricted from receiving government benefits. The government restrictions have severely hurt their ability to provide for their families as they once had, mariachis even speaking out against local non-profits that have only taken advantage of them. One mariachi, Ismael, mentioning that although these non-profits were taking donations for mariachis, these donations have only been shared among the favorites and the majority has not received anything.

From this, the mariachis were able to raise over $5000 in donations and even more in the following days with the support of the community. UNDM continues to support this work and collaborate with the Mariachis to ensure that they not only have a roofs over their heads, but are able to continue sharing their beautiful art with the community.