Unemployment is at an all-time high in the U.S. as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with more than 30 million affected in the nation. Farmworkers remain essential, yet their working conditions have not changed—despite the threat of the spread of COVID-19. In an effort to provide for farmworkers throughout the U.S., RetroPop Media and iHeartLatino joined forces to develop Altísimo Live!.
Eva Longoria and iHeartLatino Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Enrique Santos will feature the benefit concert, which will feature some of the biggest Latinx artists.
There are an estimated three million farmworkers on the frontlines helping sustain the food supply during the pandemic and more than 50% of the agricultural workforce is comprised of undocumented immigrants. Because of the nature of their work, physical distancing is difficult to abide by as is handwashing and other CDC requirements. They’re also missing required protective gear, including masks.
The event is free but organizers are asking for $5 donations from viewers who can text “Cinco” to 91999 or donate directly to the Farmworkers’ Pandemic Relief Fund. They hope to help raise $3 million to provide care and supplies to farmworkers and their families.
“As the Spanish-language saying goes, ‘un granito de arena’ can make a difference, and in this case, $5 on Cinco de Mayo can add up to a lot,” Santos said in a press release.
The bilingual event kicks off on the concert’s official social pages including Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitter, Periscope, and Twitch simultaneously on Tuesday, May 5th at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET with an interactive livestream tailgating experience followed by a series of continuous performances and interactive Q &As between artists and their fans at 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET.
The long list of celebrities performing includes Maluma, Becky G, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jesse & Joy, A.B. Quintanilla III y Los Kumbia Allstarz, Juanes, Luis Fonsi, Nicky Jam, Maná, Ivy Queen, Los Tigres del Norte, Carlos Vives, and Marc Anthony and others. Additionally, Sofia Vergara, J Balvin, Kate del Castillo, Rosario Dawson, and Alejandro Sanz will make appearances.
In addition to donating, fans can also show support by posting about the event using the hashtags #AltisimoLive, #CincoOnCinco and #SupportFarmworkers. Some of the recipient organizations include Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations, East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, NC Fields, La Cooperativa Campesina de California, LULAC of Puerto Rico, La Union del Pueblo Entero in Texas and more.
Among those affected is a farmworker and activist, Ramona DeLoera, who is now out of a job so she can stay home to take care of her six kids, she shared during a press conference. Her husband can’t work due to injuries, but they lack health insurance—which makes it all the more difficult to get the proper care.
According to Mónica Ramírez, founder of Justice for Migrant Women and co-founder of The Latinx House, farmworkers have been denied basic work benefits for 80 years and this pandemic is only worsening their living conditions.
“As soon as we knew that the crisis was unfolding, I became really alarmed because I know what the conditions are like for farmworker community members both at work and in some of the labor camps where they live,” Ramírez tells Remezcla. “We immediately knew that farmworkers were going to need financial and other basic support in the face of this crisis. We immediately moved into action and started developing the plan around the beginning of March.”
When Ramírez asked a farmworker what she needed most, she said “ánimo.”
That being said, this concert is not only a source of funding for farmworkers but a reminder that they are appreciated. To that end, they’ll have a parade in honor of farmworkers near their workplace to ensure they feel seen.
Tune in to Altísimo Live! on Tuesday, May 5th starting at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET.