The annual Chicago 5 Lives Fundraiser hosted by Rainbow Railroad is proud to return this year with “When I Am Free”, a benefit concert offering attendees a premier evening of classical music from esteemed young musicians. Hosts will include U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky and Chicago Reader publisher Tracy Baim.
The concert will be held on Friday December 3rd from 7:30-9pm at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre and will also be livestreamed. Tickets are $100 and all proceeds go directly to Rainbow Railroad to support its mission to assist LGBTQI+ refugees fleeing persecution. The Chicago 5 Lives Campaign will aim to raise $50,000 – enough to move five additional people to safety. Purchase via Eventbrite.
“Although the persecution of LGBTQI+ people worldwide is tragic and epidemic, ‘When I Am Free” is all about hope – especially the hope that is Rainbow Railroad. Primarily through music, the concert will convey what cannot easily be expressed in words: the journey from anguish and fear to freedom and hope,” said Bruce Koff, vice chair of the Rainbow Railroad board of directors.
“I am proud to stand with Rainbow Railroad and support their vital work to help LGBTQI+ people fleeing horrific situations around the world,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Working together, we can support the people who simply want to live freely as themselves, a right many take for granted here in the United States.”
Of particular interest at this year’s concert is the premiere of an exciting original piece by local composer Carlos Jaquez Gonzalez. Gonzalez composed the piece for two singers based on interviews he did with two gay Egyptian men who fled Egypt together with the help of Rainbow Railroad, and then subsequently fell in love. They are still together today. Gonzalez recently unveiled another groundbreaking work called, “Immigrant Mass,” a multimedia music film that uses the verbatim testimony of immigrants who experienced detention in the U.S. Other musicians include Venezuelan violinists Gabriela Lara and Julimar Gonzalez, both students of the revered Almita Vamos, named a distinguished teacher by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This promises to be an evening of exceptional artistry for an exceptional cause. To those that cannot make the evening, the organizers encourage people to participate in the campaign by donating directly to the Chicago 5 Lives Campaign.
About Rainbow Railroad
Rainbow Railroad is a North American non-profit organization headquartered in Toronto and New York that helps LGBTQI+ people seek safe haven from state-led violence and persecution in countries where homosexuality and diverse expressions of gender identity are criminalized. The organization is a community driven response to mitigate the impacts of global persecution directed towards LGBTQI+ people. Since 2006, the organization has helped thousands of people cross borders to safety. Rainbow Railroad is a registered Canadian charity and 501(c)(3) organization in the United States. To get on board with Rainbow Railroad and help save LGBTQI+ lives, visit www.rainbowrailroad.org.