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(UPDATE) Breaking: Ozomatli to Jump ‘Tío Bernie’ into the Barrio at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School

Venue update as of Nov. 15, 2019:

[dropcap size=big]N[/dropcap]early two decades after getting the electricity cut-off during their performance and the drums beaten out of them by the LAPD at the 2000 DNC protests, Ozomatli is back for another political concert, only this time, they are supporting a candidate trying to make it into this year’s DNC. We spoke with Ozomatli about their support for candidate Bernie Sanders, his rising popularity among Latinos, and the significance of Salazar Park in East L.A., the historic venue where they will perform on November 16th. 

The Grammy award-winning Latino group from East L.A., playing hip-hop doused in salsa and shredded with rock, are widely known and respected for their artistry, their activism, and for maintaining a strong presence within communities. This is their second time performing for the Presidential Candidate. Four years ago they performed at USC Coliseum and Uli Bella of the group tells L.A. Taco,  “The Burn that happened last time, with how it all went down with Hillary as the candidate, it kind of left a bad taste in our mouth.” 

In his second run for the Presidency, this time around the Senator from Vermont is working hard to build up his “Barrio Cred” and the Latino community is feeling it. In this year’s presidential campaign, Sander’s is actively courting his potential Latin-American voters and leads the democrats with 39 percent of their support in California according to recent polls. Bernie has also collected more money from the Latinx community by as much as four to five times compared to Warren and Biden, the other two front runners for the Democratic nomination. 

With Ozomatli having his back again and holding his rally at Salazar Park, Bernie Sanders is shooting for another notch of Barrio Cred on to his political cinto pitiado.

More and more Latinos feel like Sanders is their compa’ even calling him “Tío Bernie.” He’s attracting the endorsements of popular Latina figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cardi B, and the Puerto Rican Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz. With Ozomatli having his back again and holding his rally at Salazar Park, Bernie Sanders is shooting for another notch of Barrio Cred on to his political cinto pitiado.

L.A. Taco: Why Bernie?

Raul: We’re down with the old man. We as a group we check in with each other about these kinds of things and we decided that his campaign was totally in line with what we are doing. [We] have someone who has a general sentiment that we agree with, which is the idea that we should all have access to education and medical benefits relatively easily, that we should have a society in mind that’s trying to provide opportunities for everybody.” 

Uli adds, “The thing with Bernie, he hasn’t changed his story from day one. He’s been that guy that’s waved that flag since day one and I think a lot of people are barely coming around to it now.” 

That would be some good Onion shit right there. Like ‘Bernie Sanders Gets Jumped Into the Avenue Because He Wants That Barrio Cred.’ For me it’s just being able to do something for a candidate that I feel is in line with what’s the right thing to do.

L.A. Taco: Who picked Salazar Park as a location? 

Raul: We didn’t pick it, but we’re down with it. I think it’s important for people to know that those struggles have some resonance still.  

This year’s rally will be at Salazar Park, known historically as the climax of the Chicano Moratorium Movement on September 17, 1970. With 20,000 to 30,000 Chicanos in attendance from all over the country, LAPD and the Fire Department attacked the peaceful marchers resulting in mass panic and the death of Brown Beret Lyn Ward, Angel Díaz, and KMEX reporter Ruben Salazar, for whom the park is now named (it was formerly known as Laguna Park). This event is also credited for crippling the Chicano Movement.  

L.A. Taco: Are you trying to give Bernie more Barrio Cred? 

Uli: I don’t think us playing for Bernie is going to give him instant Barrio Cred. Like fuck it, get him jumped into the Avenue (laughing). That would be some good Onion shit right there. Like ‘Bernie Sanders Gets Jumped Into the Avenue Because He Wants That Barrio Cred.’ For me it’s just being able to do something for a candidate that I feel is in line with what’s the right thing to do.

Raul: A campaign looks for these kinds of endorsements to get some kind of legitimacy in the neighborhood, and that’s fine. I think for us what we’re trying to do, whether you’re into this man or not, is for people to show up. 

Realize that you have this man coming to Salazar Park.

The event will take place at 3864 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023 on November 16th. Doors open at 10:30 AM and the event starts at noon. For more information, visit here.

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