Quinceañeras are coming-of-age parties that mark adulthood in Latino communities. And though some dismiss the celebrations as frilly, expensive, and old fashioned, the parties have become tools in our current political climate. In Texas, for example, 15 teenagers threw a quinceañera to protest a draconian law that aimed to shut down sanctuary cities (generally defined as those that do not turn over undocumented immigrants to immigration officials). And now, a January 28 quinceañera-themed party in Highland Park, Los Angeles will raise money for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients.
Both groups have recently seen their lives upended by the Trump Administration. On September 5, President Donald Trump ended the DACA program, giving a select number of undocumented immigrants a short time to renew their permits, which keeps them from deportation and allows them to work. A federal judge later blocked the Trump Administration from ending the program. Now, recipients are rushing to refile applications, because they don’t know if the renewal process will come to a close.
Meanwhile, for months, Trump has also ended TPS – a protection afforded to those who fled natural disasters and war – for several countries, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, and Sudan. Beneficiaries currently have a short period of time to reapply for the program, which will allow them to remain in the country for several months before they’re expected to leave.
Given the burdensome fees for these renewal applications, some won’t be able to file in time. But through Solidarity for Sanctuary: Quince Night, Alexis Chavez and Johan Moreno hope to ease the stress for Los Angeles recipients. “It was August of 2017, Johan and I were discussing how much fun quinceañeras were back in the day,” Chavez told Los Angeles Magazine. “We both share this experience because of our Mexican-American culture. The same day, we also brought up the issue of the DACA repeal affecting undocumented youth in Los Angeles. We were concerned and felt responsible to take action because we did not know what the future held for our undocumented friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers.”
Joining forces with a few collaborators, including Councilman Gil Cedillo, the quince will raised money for the LA chapter of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) – which pays for renewal fees and provides resources to all DACA and TPS recipients.
The party – which will feature Omar Apollo, Brainstory, Temporex, and more – is part of Solidarity for Sanctuary, a series of concerts that raise money for low-income communities that need immigration assistance. Music manager Doris Muñoz, the founder of Mija Management, started the initiative. Tickets are on sale for $12 (buy here) or if you can’t make it, donate here.