#RiseUpAsOne: We Can Build Bridges, Not Walls

Univision and Fusion hosted a star-studded concert on the U.S.-Mexican border to promote tolerance and unity.

Singer Andra Day performs onstage at the Univision- and Fusion-hosted RiseUp as One concert at Cross Border Xpress on Oct. 15, 2016, in San Diego.
Singer Andra Day performs onstage at the Univision- and Fusion-hosted RiseUp as One concert at Cross Border Xpress on Oct. 15, 2016, in San Diego. Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Univision

What would happen if we decided to build bridges, not walls? We’d be able to stand together—dare I say, “Rise up as one”?

Together, Univision, Fusion and Sprint teamed up to create a space for that to happen, and the RiseUp as One concert was born. People gathered at the Cross Border Express in San Diego Saturday for a star-studded showcase of artists who not only are favorites but also use their voices to bring unity.

One by one, artists, including San Diego native Andra Day, Puerto Rican rapper Residente, Latin pop star Becky G, Spanish singers Miguel Bosé and Alejandro Sanz, Colombian artists Carlos Vives and the very popular Juanes, and many more hit the stage to sing (there was also a special appearance by actor Wilmer Valderrama) and let the crowd of over 15,000 beautiful people know that it’s their time to use their voice in this country. With Election Day quickly approaching, we all know the importance of the minority vote.

Jorge Ramos and Alejandra Espinoza hosted the free concert, and it was broadcast and streamed live in both English and Spanish on Fusion and Univision, encouraging viewers everywhere to come together.

“I can’t accept that racism and discrimination is the only way to relate to each other,” Ramos said to the exuberant crowd.

The show opened with Los Tigres del Norte, and its lead singer, Jorge Hernández, wasted no time expressing pride in Mexico by donning a Mexican flag. He also made a huge statement: “There are 27 million Latinos with the right to vote. If we all vote, we have immense power.”

The evening continued down this very powerful path as each artist expressed the importance of using his or her voice.

PBS’ America ReFramed host Natasha Del Torro may have made the boldest statement of the night: “There’s a lot of hateful rhetoric out there around immigrants. Let me tell you, it’s a bunch of [bulls–t].”

The crowd absolutely roared at the statement, and it was clear Del Torro wasn’t alone. Actor Gael García Bernal flipped a certain GOP presidential nominee’s racist quote, instead saying, “When Mexico sends people, they are sending the best.”

And the gathering continued when Lila Downs sang her diss track, “The Demagogue,” and the lyrics seemed all too real: “There’s a blue eyed devil man/Thinks he’s king of the world/He’s a bully, a salesman/ Selling fear and hate.”

The Root got a chance to float around the event to ask people what they do individually to inspire us all to #RiseUpAsOne, and the responses were not only golden but also pointers for action items we could all do to help us rise up. Check out the responses on our Instagram account and peep our short chat with Wilmer Valderrama.

Watch “How Can We Rise Up as One?”:

Danielle Young, The Root’s social-content producer, is pretty, witty, girly and worldly. One who likes to party but comes home early. Boldly telling stories with heart, sass and humor. Prince once called her “excellence.” Follow her on Twitter.