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OLA’s 2018 Pachanga Viva La Mujer! To Celebrate Women

Anastasia Lennon

On Friday, April 6, Bay Street Theater and OLA (Organización Latino-Americana) will present Pachanga 2018: Viva La Mujer!, an evening of live music and dancing to celebrate the non-profit organization and its mission, as well as women and the #MeToo movement that began last fall. Formally, Pachanga is a music genre that can be traced back to Cuba, though more colloquially the term is used to denote "a party" or dance that includes many lively performers.

The Pachanga, or big party, starts at 7 p.m. and features live performances from Mambo Loco, an Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Latin Jazz group, and Mila Tina (Carolina Fuentes), a solo percussionist and drummer. Both acts are returning, as they performed at last year's Pachanga.

Ms. Fuentes, an alumnus of Westhampton Beach High School, is especially connected to the message of the evening (Viva la Mujer; long live the woman) as she is a survivor of sexual assault. The message of female empowerment is ostensible not just in Fuentes' music and performance style, but on her social media pages as well. Beneath some of her photos one can read the hashtags #girlpower, #womeninspiringwomen, and #womenempowerment (just to name a few).

"Being an immigrant myself, I make it a priority to support the immigrant community every way I can," shares Fuentes. "Minerva Perez, the Executive Director of OLA, is the epitome of a strong woman. She's a fearless, tireless leader. I am so inspired by her strength and determination and the passion which she defends the right of others."

This past fall and winter, OLA has focused primarily on advocating for better transportation services, improved access to mental health workshops for families affected by anxiety and depression, and better communication with the local police departments through live language translation. Friday's event is an opportunity for OLA to bring awareness to #MeToo/#YoTambien and continue its mission of informing, empowering, and celebrating the Latina and Hispanic women in the local community.

"Those in the immigrant community often suffer impossible barriers to reporting crimes. Carolina's use of music, movement and raw rhythm transforms pain into pure joy and a life force of epic proportions," noted Minerva Perez, the Executive Director of OLA of Eastern Long Island. "This Pachanga is dedicated to those who have been able to find their strength and those still struggling who rely on all of us to listen and to honor their experiences so that their healing can begin."

"My show is all about empowering women and Minerva Perez is a shining example of what it means to be an empowered woman. It's not about power for the sake of power, but instead, it's power for the sake of protecting and defending others and the community and context in which we live," added Mila Tina.

The event takes place at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online. The party ends at 11 p.m.

"OLA's 2018 Pachanga: Viva La Mujer! is an event that is very popular with Latinos and Non Latinos. While Mambo Loco is a featured band and favorite for salsa dancers, we are putting emphasis on the powerful and transcendent rhythmic percussion of Carolina in Mila Tina," says Perez. "She is a Chilean powerhouse who will fill Bay Street with video and soundscapes that will be remembered for a long time."

OLA of Eastern Long Island is a not-for-profit that was founded in 2002. As an organization, it is committed to promoting social, economic, cultural, and educational development within Long Island's East End Latino and Hispanic communities.

Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, please visit www.olaofeasternlongisland.org.

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