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Home / Culture and Society / Arts / Concert for America with Tina Fey, Chita Rivera, Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald, Patrick Wilson, Brian Stokes Mitchell
Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Concert for America, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell perform at 'Concert for America,' The Great Hall, Cooper Union, June 30 (Monica Simoes)

Concert for America with Tina Fey, Chita Rivera, Idina Menzel, Audra McDonald, Patrick Wilson, Brian Stokes Mitchell

On Saturday, June 30, 2018 there were over 700 protests across the U.S. Individuals in cities in every state protested the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Though the policy has been rescinded, the fallout – hardship, abuse, and misery – continues. Stress and outrage are informing the lives of migrant parents and children, aid workers, attorneys, the ACLU, and U.S. citizens informed of this humanitarian crisis.

Many have donated to help non-profit groups directly administering aid to families on the border. Many others took to the streets, exercising their rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. And they voiced their opinions to their servants – their elected officials, who, they hope, will hear and do something besides being laissez-faire in the midst of inhumanity.

Thus, our faith remains that our public servants will acknowledge Americans’ “zero tolerance” for the administration’s disorganization, negligence, and human rights violations. Assuredly, Americans view abuses effected by the separation of children and families as intolerable.

Audra McDonald, The Great Hall, Cooper Union, Concert For America
Audra McDonald backstage at ‘Concert For America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Monica Simoes)

The message is loud and clear: Senators and Representatives are on notice about how Americans feel about this crisis. If a news organizations censors information about it, that omission violates citizens’ rights to a free and unadulterated, non-partisan press. And speaking of freedoms, redressing grievances is a right U.S. citizens cannot take for granted. To exercise that right we need to insure our democracy stays solid. Thus, when our freedoms come under attack by any political force or adversarial foreign power (i.e. through cyber warfare), U.S. citizens can protest non-violently by law.

On Saturday they did. And they will continue to exercise their freedoms, peacefully through protest and through the arts.

Concerts and rallies took place after the protests. One such event was a Concert For America hosted by Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley. It took place at a symbolic venue, the Great Hall at Cooper Union, where, as Tina Fey reminded us, Abraham Lincoln spoke.

Tina Fey, Concert For America, The Great Hall, Cooper Union Seth Rudetsky, James Wesley, Concert For America, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Tina Fey at ‘Concert For America,’ hosted by Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, The Great Hall, Cooper Union, June 30 (Monica Simoes)

Performers and speakers included Idina Menzel, Chita Rivera, Mandy Gonzalez, Olga Merediz, Lisa Mordente, Patrick Wilson, Audra McDonald, Shaina Taub, Tina Fey, Andrea Martin, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jorge Avila, Jeremy Jordan, and Keala Settle. You can experience the whole event when the Concert for America is broadcast on Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 9 pm E.Tvia Facebook Live and at the Concerts for America website, where you may also donate to help four organizations helping families and children (see the last paragraph for the organizations).

Andrea Martin, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Andrea Martin told a story about her Armenian roots at ‘Concert for America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union, June 30 (Monica Simoes)

The amazing, uplifting concert features celebrities and representatives from the front lines of our southern border and elsewhere. With songs of personal meaning and with comedy and commentary, these caring individuals took time out of their impossibly busy schedules to shine a light on the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Jeremy Jordan, Concert for America, Seth Rudetsky, James Wesley, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Jeremy Jordan performs at ‘Concert for America,’ hosted by Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley at The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Carole Di Tosti)

Since Rudetsky and Wesley debuted their Concerts for America on January 20, 2017, they have toured the country with eclectic talent lineups. All the concerts benefit five national organizations that fight for civil, human, and environmental rights. The hosts created and organized these programs in association with Your Kids, Our Kids and with the generous support of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Olga Merediz, Concert for America, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Olga Merediz performs in ‘Concert for America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union, June 30 (Monica Simoes)

When Rudetsky and Wesley discovered what was happening to families on the southern border, friends suggested they put up another Concert for America. Even though they had only 10 days, they were able to organize it to coincide with the national day of protest on June 30. They texted performers who said YES! and pulled together to create a truly joyful and poignant show that the audience will never forget.

Patrick Wilson, The Great Hall, Cooper Union, Concert for America
Patrick Wilson backstage at ‘Concert for America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Carole Di Tosti)

Various celebrities sang brilliantly and spoke about being steadfast, determined, and hopeful. Other speakers gave eyewitness accounts of problems created by family separation. Attorneys from the Texas ACLU and NYALU and representatives from Al Otro Lado, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the ACLU Foundation of Texas spoke powerfully. Representatives also came from the Florence Project.

Idina Menzel, Concert For America, Great Hall, Cooper Union, June 30
Idina Menzel performs at ‘Concert For America,’ June 30 at The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Monica Simoes)

 

Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Concert for America, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell perform at ‘Concert for America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union, June 30 (Monica Simoes)

 

Keala Settle, 'Concert for America,' The Great Hall, Cooper Union'
Keala Settle, ‘Concert for America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Monica Simoes)

 

Lisa Mordente, Chita Rivera, Andrea Martin, Concert for America, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
(L to R): Lisa Mordente, Chita Rivera, Andrea Martin backstage at ‘Concert for America,’ The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Carole Di Tosti)

 

Seth Rudetsky, Concert for America, James Wesley, The Great Hall, Cooper Union
Seth Rudetsky at the piano, ‘Concert for America,’ hosted by Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, The Great Hall, Cooper Union (Monica Simoes)

Tune in on Sunday July 8, 2018 to be a part of a very special concert and to donate at ConcertsforAmerica.com. Any contribution makes a difference and it has the added benefit of letting you know you have a heart for these children.

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