In Orlando, thousands of concertgoers gathered at the Amway Center for the 2023 Salsa Festival, singing along to notable artists like Willie Colón, Ray Ruiz, El Gran Combo … and AARP! The festival, with its rhythmic beats and dynamic atmosphere, was the perfect backdrop for AARP Florida to debut our brand-new initiative – “Sights and Sounds of Heritage” – and engage guests on one of our most important topics, protecting Social Security.
But first, what is the “Sights and Sounds of Heritage” initiative? This program is another way AARP connects to our diverse portfolio of Floridians, with events that promote a sense of community, preserve cultural values and expressions, and empower guests to participate in more multicultural activities.
And what better place to start than engaging Latin-loving fans at the Orlando Salsa Festival!
AARP Florida was lucky enough to take the stage figuratively and literally, assembling its own live music ensemble to play salsa tunes that got the crowd moving before the concert even began. But, our Spanish-language songs had a bit of a twist – the lyrics were all about protecting Social Security!
“In the Hispanic community, AARP sometimes encounters older adults that may have language barriers or are unsure of how and/or when to apply for Social Security,” explains Ingrid Collins, Program Management Director for AARP. “They are experiencing the same concerns of non-Hispanic older adults who rely on this income to help cover living expenses and pay bills. So, it’s important to engage all voices and communities in AARP’s advocacy efforts towards preserving Social Security.”
Our lyrics were simple: “Social Security, I earned it. Please don’t touch my Social Security.” Between the blasts of trumpets, beat of the drums and vocal talent of our musicians, attendees were immediately encouraged to stop by to sing, dance, and learn all about protecting their hard-earned benefits! Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with our AARP Orlando volunteers, by playing a Plinko game for a prize, and taking selfies with posterized renditions of their favorite legendary salsa stars: Héctor Lavoe, Celia Cruz, La Lupe and Tito Puente. It was a magical balance between entertaining, educating and activating the community.
“I was blown away by the energy at the AARP booth,” explains Yazmin Alfonso, Associate State Director of Outreach at AARP Orlando. “The music brought me back to being in Puerto Rico with my family dancing and singing in the night away. The entire event was a strong reminder of how connected the Hispanic community is in Central Florida, and I was honored to be a part of it.”
“AARP was not just there to talk to the community about Social Security,” agrees Ingrid. “We were there because we’re part of this vibrant community. It was like having a huge house party, and the whole neighborhood showed up to hear our message!”
To learn more about how AARP is fighting to protect your Social Security, visit our Social Security Resource Center.
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