NewsCovering Kern County


K.W.E.S.I holds inaugural benefit concert to raise funds for detained migrants

Posted at 11:22 PM, Dec 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-08 02:22:46-05

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Mill Creek Church, in downtown Bakersfield, is hosting Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants or K.W.E.S.I, for their first-ever benefit concert.

The goal of the concert is to raise money for the organization to bond out all migrants detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Center.

Martha Jimenez is one of the many volunteers that visit detainees at the detention center regularly.

"I am an immigrant myself and I have a passion for immigration," said Jimenez. "I know what they are going through, violence, gangs, climate change and they need to migrate to change to save their children."

Jimenez says she understands the difficulty of becoming a citizen.

"We can not turn away, we have to open our eyes and help our fellow man," Jimenez said. "I am a Christian and I am doing the Christian thing. I am trying to do something."

Tonight's benefit concert will have four different alternative rock bands, traditional dancers, food and education on how the community can help currently detained migrants.

The mission of tonight is to raise $100,000 to help pay the bonds of hundreds currently detained at Mesa Verde.

"Mesa Verde does not detain criminals, it detains immigrants and we are against all immigration detention," said Jannie Parent, the coordinator for KEWSI. "As a community, this isn't who we are, and we are a welcoming community, Bakersfield welcomes immigrants."

Parent says they have also provided artwork that shares stories of migrants, which organizers say will spark conversations with attendees.

KWESI says that they will continue to hosts events similar to the benefit concert in the future. If you would like to learn more about the organization be sure to follow this link.