For the second time in as many holiday seasons, Boston punks Rebuilder have launched unique fundraising event geared at supporting MALDEF, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Last year, the band dropped an EP that included a cover of Elvis Costello’s classic “Radio, Radio.” This year? It’s limited-run merch!
If you hadn’t noticed, the rights of many groups in this country, particularly those who were born with a skin pigment darker than “light beige,” have been under continuously escalating attack. This is an issue that strikes incredibly close to home for the Rebuilder clan; drummer Brandon Phillips is African-American, and co-frontman Sal Medrano and his brother Diego of Seattle-turned-Philly trio Ramona are first-generation Latin American immigrants. Here’s part of the band’s official statement about this project (the full version of which appears on their Facebook page here):
Sometimes it feels like the world, and more specifically our country, is moving backwards… We romanticize eras of our nation’s existence that institutionalized racism, sexism, bigotry, religious hatred, and homophobia – on the basis of making our country ‘great’ again. Our government is actively tearing down systems that attempt to provide care and protection for its citizens – on the basis of them being flawed. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world, locking up a disproportionate amount of black and brown people – on the basis of ‘law and order’ and ‘keeping our communities safe’. We hold immigrants in contempt, refusing to recognize that the only people that didn’t immigrate to this land were wiped out en masse by white Europeans, and are still oppressed to this day. We continue to vote against our own best interests – on the basis of hate and fear of different ways of living. People who look different, act different, or worship a different god. These are certainly not new problems, but the political and social landscape of our country looks a hell of a lot different than it did just a few years ago. (I choose the pronoun ‘we’ because like it or not, we’re all in this together. However dissociated ‘we’ may feel from ‘them’, or however much you feel the people in power that ‘they’ elected do not represent you, these are our fellow citizens, and however diametrically opposed to their views you may be, they’ve got a voice. and so do we.)
The TL/DR version of the full statement is that the band have printed up matching tote bags and long-sleeve T-shirts adorned in the same “Defend P.O.C Punk” mantra (pictured above), and all proceeds will be donated straight to MALDEF. Check out the gear options here, and help defend people of color both inside and outside the punk community!