Victor Valle knew he had to do something.
Earlier this month, when President Trump announced his plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the piece of Obama-era legislation that extends certain legal protections to high-achieving undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as children, Valle rallied his friends and colleagues in the local music scene to put their heads together and take action.
Valle manages several Bay Artists -- including rapper Jay Stone and indie rock band Abbot Kinney -- at his company, Counter Culture Group, and works in marketing for the concert promoter Live Nation. (Full disclosure: he's also on the board of directors of The Bay Bridged, a KQED Arts affiliate.) His call for musicians to donate their time for a DACA fundraiser circulated quickly on Twitter, and within a week he put together a two-part party series, Dance for DACA, which takes place on Sept. 28 at Starline Social Club in Oakland and Sept. 29 at Standard Deviant Brewing in San Francisco.
Valle was born to Mexican parents in Los Angeles and grew up with undocumented friends and neighbors. When he heard about Trump's DACA repeal, he immediately thought of people in his community who would be personally affected. “The idea of ICE going into my hood, going to my hometown and separating families infuriates me," says Valle. “If we want to talk about how we can separate folks, how we can put certain folks in categories, how we can make certain communities scared for their well-being even more so than they have been the past five or ten years -- that’s exactly what [Trump is] doing.”
With the Dance for DACA parties, Valle sought to create a benefit that would address the issue on a local and national level. Half of the proceeds from both parties benefit United We Dream, a youth-led nonprofit that advocates for immigrant rights and works with DACA recipients. The other fifty percent of proceeds from the San Francisco party will go to the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network; Oakland's event is giving its other half to East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, a non-profit that offers legal assistance to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers escaping violence.
Many of the artists on the lineup for Dance for DACA come from immigrant backgrounds themselves. Chulita Vinyl Club, who are playing both parties, are a group of Latina and Chicana DJs specializing in oldies; electronic producer BISARIA's parents are from India; Arumi, another DJ-producer known for her dreamy remixes, is of Japanese and Korean descent.
“Minorities have worked extremely hard to earn respect in this country and now that we’ve made a name for ourselves in every corner in every industry, the DACA repeal and travel ban only serve to undermine that kind of progress," says BISARIA, who's playing the San Francisco show on Friday. "Putting on a fundraiser like this is a way to show this is not something we’re gonna let slide, especially as people from immigrant backgrounds."
After announcing the initial DACA repeal, on Sept. 5, Trump tweeted that lawmakers have six months to "legalize DACA" or else he'll revisit the issue. Today, Republicans put forth a proposal for a conservative reform to the program called the SUCEED Act.
Valle is hopeful that there is still time for activists and lawmakers to mobilize around the issue and protect Dreamers and immigrant families at risk of deportation.
"It’s always been about family. How do we make it better for our loved ones, for people we care about, for the generation after us?"