Latino showcase fundraises for health care organization

As part of the month-long Latino Heritage Celebration, the Organization of Latino American Students joined forces with the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students last week to host their annual benefit showcase to raise money for La Clínica del Pueblo.

Senior Krystal Warner, president of OLAS, and senior Elizabeth Acevedo, a slam poet, served as masters of ceremonies at the showcase, which about 35 people attended.

The annual benefit showcase, which was held in the Jack Morton Auditorium, had been formerly used to raise money for the Whitman Foundation, which supports those who have AIDS. Warner said OLAS decided this year to give to La Clinica del Pueblo, which is a much smaller health care organization and closer to the Latino community.

“We wanted to make sure someone from our community benefited as well,” she said.

One of the main acts of the night came from OLAS member Amanda Nazario, who performed two poems. The first one she presented was dedicated to her charitable work and her belief that love is the greatest healing power of all, she said.

“If there’s one thing I believe firmly in, it’s the healing power of love,” she said.

Special guests Ponti Del Mercado and Zuli Russi entertained the audience with a traditional Argentinean tango, and Zack Hindin motivated the crowd with his rendition of Carlos Varela’s “Una Palabra.” Hindin, who worked for seven years as a professional performer, sang the Spanish song despite Spanish not being his first language.

He asked for help from the audience by asking them to do a “Latin scream” to cover the imperfections of his performance, motivating the audience to be a part of the show.

Aisha Nakagawa-Schafer moved the audience with her mastery of the violin, which she has been playing since she was 5 years old. She played two Brazilian pieces, including “Black Orpheus” with the help of beatboxer Matt Wilson, a sophomore.

Other performances included three of GW’s a cappella groups – The Sirens, GW Troubadours and The GW Pitches. The Philippine Cultural Society presented the traditional Filipino dance known as Tinikling. Wilson had an individual act and performed an improvised piece, including a tribute to Michael Jackson.

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