Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County will be hosting its first-ever fundraising event on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Five Night Club.

“At this event, we will be honoring the victims of the Orlando shootings from last summer. That’s why we decided to call the event ‘The Heroes of Orlando,’ Baltazar De Anda-Santana, co-founder and the director at Orgullo Latinx LGBT+, tells Madison365. “We want to make sure those 49 people that died that night one year ago are honored. We want to keep reminding people that this is not a safe place still for the LGBT+ community and we still need to continue to put the word out and we still need people to know that we are here.”

Orgullo Latinx LGBT+’s mission is to build a safe, ethnically equitable and just place for the Latinx LGBT+ community in Dane County where the LGBT+ community can thrive. This initiative’s vision consists in engaging the community to cultivate a safe environment for the LGBT+ Latinx community.

According to a 2013 report by the UCLA Williams Institute, an estimated 1.4 million Latino adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. While research has shown that a majority of Latinos support same-sex marriage, norms and beliefs and support for the gay community vary widely among the Latino population.

The VIP sponsors for Saturday night’s event include Wisconsin Financial Services, LLC, the Latino Health Council, MMG Law, LLC
and the Latino Professionals Association. General sponsors include the Vera Court Neighborhood Center, Inc., UNIDOS, FIVE NightClub, Cuco’s Mexican Restaurant and Outreach LGBT Community Center.

“The event was created with the idea that we need to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting so that we never forget,” De Anda-Santana says. “We are going to have a line-up of different performers and everybody is coming to perform for free to raise money for us. We will have two Latina leaders who will be singing live – (UNIDOS Executive Director) Veronica Lazo and sister. And there is going to be a very special surprise at the event that I can’t divulge.

“[Alderpersons] Shiva Bidar and Julia Arata-Fratta will be speaking at the event and showing their support as politicians,” adds De Anda-Santana. “Then, we’ll be recognizing the winner of the LGBT+ Community Hero Scholarship.”

(L-r) Veronica Lazo, Christian Merino, Diego Campoverde-Cisneros, and Baltazar de Anda-Santana lead an Orgullo Latinx rally in Madison for the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting last summer.

Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County was created last year to support and enhance the lives of the Latinx LGBT+ community in the Madison area and beyond. The group focuses on educating, sharing resources, and promoting the community on LGBT issues. Organizers say they started the group when they realized there was a need for cultural understanding on a larger scale.

“We are all volunteers right now, but one of the things that we will be working on is becoming own non-profit. I think we need to do that to have a stronger place in the community,” De Anda-Santana says. “It’s important that people know about the immigrant community and the LGBT+ community. If we don’t make noise, who else is going to make noise for us?”

Fresh off his recent biking for 24 straight hours in support of refugees and immigrants, De Anda Santana will be doing a 150-mile ride tomorrow to create awareness of Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ and to invite people to Saturday night’s event. That’s going to make for a long Saturday day and night for De Anda-Santana.

“It’s going to be a crazy long day for me,” he smiles. “I’m going to bike 150 miles all day, come home and shower and get myself together, and then be up all night at the event until 2 a.m. But it’s going to be a lot of fun and, hopefully, a lot of people will come out to the event. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County will be hosting its first-ever fundraising event on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Five Night Club, 5 Applegate Court. Doors will open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door. If you can’t make it to the event, but still want to contribute to Orgullo Latinx LGBT+, click here.