Amnesty International and YWCA team up to host annual Jamnesty Benefit Concert

Hailey Howe

At a time when immigrant security in the U.S. is threatened, UT students will team up with Austin’s Young Women’s Christian Association to raise money and awareness for local immigrant mental health with the upcoming Jamnesty Benefit Concert on April 7.

The annual Jamnesty Benefit Concert will be held at Cherrywood Coffeehouse by the UT chapter of Amnesty International, an organization which raises awareness of human rights issues. The concert’s proceeds will go toward the YWCA, which will use the money to provide free and low-cost mental health services to Austin immigrants. The event will include concerts and performances from local Austin artists, in addition to a silent auction, memorabilia sales and letter writing campaigns.

Alisa Hernandez, a sociology senior and the president of the UT chapter of Amnesty International, said supporting immigrant mental health is especially important to the UT members of Amnesty International because many of their peers are a part of the immigrant community.

“Since we’re the UT chapter of Amnesty International, a lot of our work has been focused on undocumented UT students and the immigrant community at UT,” Hernandez said.

In previous years, the Jamnesty Benefit Concert was hosted on campus. Hernandez explained that the concert had been moved to the Cherrywood Coffeehouse because this year’s fundraiser aims to help Austin at large.

“We decided to move it more into the Austin community, since we’re donating all the proceeds to an Austin organization, so we thought it’d be (more fitting) to have it off campus this year,” Hernandez said.

Lillian Mauldin, a nutrition freshman and the social media coordinator for UT’s chapter of Amnesty International, has been working to put the event together for a long time, and she expressed her excitement that Amnesty International will be working alongside YWCA for the cause.

“My favorite part (about being a member of Amnesty international) is educating myself more and having the opportunity to learn alongside the other members about current events and different opinions and meeting a lot of interesting people,” Mauldin said. 

Angela Jo Touza-Medina, executive director of YWCA Greater Austin, said that the organization hopes to make Austin a more accepting and nurturing place for people of
 all backgrounds.

“We’re on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women, and we do that by promoting the health and safety of women and girls, their economic empowerment and
advancement and racial justice and civil rights through a variety of programming,” Medina said. 

The event will also have sales of other items, such as T-shirts and totes, in addition to petitions and letter-writing campaigns for the benefit of the YWCA. 

“I think it’s going to be really exciting to see (the concert) play out and to see (the YWCA) succeed in their efforts,” Mauldin said.