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Montrealer brings together Colombian artists for song in solidarity with protesters back home

·2 min read
Montrealer brings together Colombian artists for song in solidarity with protesters back home
Carmen Ruiz brought together more than 70 Montreal artists from Colombia to show their solidarity with the people fighting for life, justice and freedom in their home country. (Submitted by Carmen Ruiz - image credit)
Carmen Ruiz brought together more than 70 Montreal artists from Colombia to show their solidarity with the people fighting for life, justice and freedom in their home country. (Submitted by Carmen Ruiz - image credit)

More than 70 Montreal artists originally from Colombia came together to create a song and music video entitled El Grito that they hope will bring awareness to the mass protests demanding reforms in Colombia.

El Grito means "a cry" in Spanish. For the artists that participated in this collective project, the song signifies a cry of resistance, a cry for freedom and a cry of strength for the Colombian people who are fed up with the state of their country.

Originally from Cali, the epicentre of the protests, Carmen Ruiz felt a lot of anguish and anxiety about being so far away from home during this time of upheaval.

She wanted to find a way that she could help from afar.

"I was in my dance studio one day and I decided that I needed to do something about what was happening," she said.

"I contacted about 15 Colombian artists in Montreal that I knew and it had a snowball effect."

Submitted by Carmen Ruiz
Submitted by Carmen Ruiz

At the end of April, mass protests began in Colombia against President Iván Duque's tax reform bill. Protesters argued it would mostly affect the middle class and the poorest people, whose financial situation worsened during the pandemic.

After four days of protests across the country, the Colombian president withdrew the proposed tax reform, but the demonstrations only amplified. Protesters started to express their discontent for other issues in the country, such as lack of education and opportunity, structural inequality and health care.

Police brutality was added to the list of demands for change, as international human rights organizations denounced a violent response by law enforcement to the demonstrations.

The demonstrations continued up until this week. But organizers said their fight for social and economic improvements would continue, and that protests may still resume.

A message of hope

Carmen tells CBC's Our Montreal that she and the other artists want to send people a message of hope and strength with their song.

"We deserve a change and every community and culture in the world deserves a chance to have peace and a society that is not so violent," she said.

All the money that this collective creation makes will be sent to Colombia to support grassroots organizations that are fighting for freedom, equality, opportunities and more.

The music video for El Grito was posted to YouTube, and the song is streaming on Bandcamp. It will also be available on Spotify next week.

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