Hispanic Federation hosts another successful FUERZAFest
Under the theme “Breaking Down Walls”, FUERZAfest returned to New York City for a 12-day run at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center in El Barrio. The festival is a celebration of LGBTQ culture in the Latino community.
FUERZAFest kicked off with the opening of the exhibit “Still Here,” curated by Richard Morales and Sofia Reeser del Rio. In it, queer and Latinx artists explored the history of erasure and marginalization of Latinx-LGBTQI identities and queer art, particularly LGBTQ people of color. Among the diverse array of other offerings was “Remembering the Orlando 49,” a multi-city remembrance celebration that took place on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in honor of the victims and survivors of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy nearly one year ago.
"FUERZAfest was a call to action to the community. We curated our programming with that in mind, showcasing work that could deliver a solid message and could provoke a dialogue at a time when Latino, immigrant and LGBTQ communities feel constantly targeted and threatened,” said Mario Colón, Assistant Vice President of Special Events, Hispanic Federation, and FUERZAfest Director.
At the center of the programming was the festival’s one-act play theater showcase, which touched upon universal race, gender, civil rights issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. The showcase culminated on Sunday, May 21st with the FUERZA Awards, recognizing the brilliance and talent of these queer and Latinx artists. “Seis,” a tribute to the transsexual women murdered in Uruguay between 2012 and 2013 adapted for a New York and international audience, won several awards including Best Play.
Beyond serving as a space to celebrate Latinx pride and culture, FUERZAfest provided a space where artists underscored the important role they play in safeguarding our communities.
“The arts play a critical role in telling stories that are often hidden” said Hispanic Federation President José Calderón. “Many of the performances during FUERZAFest did just that. They really highlighted the precarious position of many LGBTQ in our community. Our hope is that by bringing these issues to light we spark a necessary conversation about what our communities value, who we are, and how we need to stand with one another to fight hate.”
All proceeds of the Festival will benefit Proyecto Somos Orlando (PSO), the Hispanic Federation’s Orlando-based mental health services center, built to serve those affected by the Pulse Tragedy.