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How Hip-Hop Could Help Save San Miguel’s Disenfranchised Youth

Periodico atencion 01-03-2019

By Guadalupe Apoderado

San Miguel de Allende is undergoing a massive economic and social transformation that is changing the city’s identity. Each day there are more golf courses, condominiums, and five-star restaurants and fewer opportunities and places where Sanmiguelenses can express themselves.

Thanks to the booming tourism industry, money pours into the center of town each weekend while young people from the periphery suffer from drug addiction, violence, and lack of opportunities. Instead of receiving support, these young people are victims of police violence. However, it would be naive to say that they’re all simple victims. Many of the city’s most violent neighborhoods are terrorized by local gang members, but this is a result of a social and economic development that excludes young people and promotes inequality. A similar context gave rise to hip-hop music.

During the 1970s, New York City underwent similar changes. The World Trade Center was under construction, and the city was experiencing an economic boom, while the black and brown borough of the Bronx was steeped in poverty and violence. Without hope for a better future, young people turned to the streets, and rival gangs went to war with one another, leaving a trail of blood. Amid so much violence and poverty, a new culture promoting peace and self-expression emerged, namely hip-hop. The rise of hip-hop led New York gang members to give up violence. Through rap, break dancing, and graffiti art, they earned the respect of their communities. Block parties brought people together, and gang rivalries faded away. It was during these years that the violence in New York dramatically decreased and the city underwent a radical cultural change.

Taking its cue from New York City’s history, Ranchero Pandillero is a new program at the Center for Adolescents of San Miguel de Allende (CASA) with the objective of promoting peace, music, and art for Sanmiguelense youth through hip-hop. Inspired by how New York City’s disenfranchised youth found a way out of destructive violence through this art form, Ranchero Pandillero hopes to offer San Miguel’s youth an alternative to gangs, crime, and jail and a life tragically cut short by drugs or violence. One of its newest successes was 2018’s Hip-Hop for Peace Festival.

For the Ranchero Pandillero team, peace is not just a dream but an attainable goal, and 2018’s Hip-Hop for Peace Festival was a firm step towards accomplishing that goal.

If you are interested in visiting our recording studio, art room, and the rest of Ranchero Pandillero’s program, visit us at Santa Julia Street 15, colonia Santa Julia, or contact us at rancheropandillero@casa.org.mx, at 154 6090, or through our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/rancheropandillero/

 

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