5 Moments From RiseUp AS ONE That Showed Us How to Come Together Right Now

Lead Photo: Photo by David Maris for Univision
Photo by David Maris for Univision
Read more

On the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month, and ahead of next month’s US presidential elections, a powerful call for unity rang out in along the border. The RiseUp As One concert was held in San Diego, but virtually smack-dab on the border with Tijuana.

The star-studded multinational, bilingual, cross-genre concert was not just about the music – there were no shortage of inspiring speeches and reminders to vote. Here’s some of what went down:


Wilmer Valderrama on the American Dream:

Valderrama’s parents emigrated from Venezuela to give him the opportunities they never had, “and now my family and I are living proof that the American Dream can come true,” he said in an introduction to a powerful video about taking back the word ‘immigrant.’

“So, ignore the ignorance of their misguided definition of the word ‘immigrant.’ Listen to me,” Wilmer said. “Listen to everyone’s story, which shows that to be an immigrant is the biggest gift this country or any country can ever have in the world.”


Gael Garcia Bernal’s twist on an infamous speech:

He’s in the middle of promoting his latest film, Desierto, but Gael was on hand at RiseUp As One to share a poem. Sound familiar?

When Mexico sends its people, they are sending their best,
They are sending you, they are sending you!
They are sending people that have lots of virtues, and they are bringing those virtues with them,
They’re bringing hope, they’re bringing an amazing culture, they’re bringing joy.
They are incredible hardworking.
And some, I assume, are not very good fútbol players.


Lupillo Rivera’s tribute to Mexico – and the US

We can’t ignore the setting: this concert happened about as close to the border as you can get. Mexican flag in hand, Lupillo Rivera belted out a rendition of “Mexico Lindo y Querido.”

If the choice seems odd, given the night’s unity theme, take a closer look at the healing and joy Rivera’s powerful performance brought to people from coast to coast:


Lila Downs’ chant: "No to that wall"

Faced with short sets that allowed for only one or two songs, many performers chose to play their most popular hits in their limited time on stage.

Lila Downs debuted a new song, called “The Demagogue,” which she dedicated to an unnamed “bully.” The chorus of her protest song: “No a ese muro.”



The performances and calls for unity made for a powerful event. But one moment that captivated concertgoers was provided by nature. As the sun set on this stretch of border, the picturesque scene did not go unnoticed.