Carlos Aguilar Joins Chorus of Immigrants Praising DACA | Chaz’s Journal

“Part of a professional film critic’s job entails attending international festivals, something that’s virtually out of the question for me without real risks,” wrote Aguilar. “In the grand scheme of injustices, not being able to travel abroad is minuscule, but for the field I’m now a part of, it’s truly limiting. I’ve yet to attend such renowned festivals as Toronto or Cannes, and there’s no certainty that I’d be able to in the new future. Fortunately, thanks to multiple initiatives like those established by Rotten Tomatoes and Chaz Ebert [thank you Carlos for the mention, you were a hardworking delightful addition to the program] that aim to include diverse critics at major events through financial assistance, I’ve experienced the Sundance Film Festival and a variety of regional festivals across the country that have served as platforms to network, land assignments and grow within this segment of the film world.”

Aguilar’s impassioned endorsement of DACA, which the Supreme Court rescued last month from Trump’s efforts to end it, are echoed in “To Carry On: An Anthem of the American Immigrant Experience,” a new song launched today to accompany America’s July 4th festivities. Produced by New York-based iconic actor and teacher Mark Ethan Toporek, the song is performed by 12 young immigrants–some of them DACA recipients–as well as first-generation Americans. The video is dedicated to the more than 27,000 “Dreamers” who have been frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The nine singers and three musicians live in California, Texas, Georgia, and New York, and hail from countries including Mexico, China, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Haiti. 

Mark Toporek, the son of Holocaust survivors, contacted organizations that connect and protect DACA recipients, seeking young immigrant singers. Mr. Toporek selected a dozen artists. Working from a musical arrangement by Mario Gullo, the performers recorded their parts in their homes, and Adam Grannick edited them into the video. He was assisted by two primary groups:

1. Nosotros is the oldest Latinx arts advocacy organization in the U.S., founded in 1970 by Hollywood legend Ricardo Montalbán. It gives rising talent the platform and tools necessary to succeed in the entertainment industry while enhancing the image of the Latinx community in media. 

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