Thursday, February 28, 2008

Texas, here we come! Sen. Cedillo and Si Se Puede Cambiar Artists to join forces for Obama

I'm pasting the United for Obama press release below:

8:40 AM - MEDIA ADVISORY: Obama Viral Video Artists Travel to Houston

Feb. 28, 2008

Latino/Asian American Artists Behind "Si Se Puede Cambiar" Arrive Tomorrow

HOUSTON, TX – The artists behind the viral music video "Si Se Puede Cambiar" (Yes We Can Change) will fly to Houston, TX this weekend to volunteer for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign. "Si Se Puede Cambiar" has now been posted to the internet with English, Vietnamese, and Korean subtitles, where it has been viewed more than 80,000 times in six days.

Singer/songwriter Andres Useche (30), an immigrant from Colombia whose father lives in Houston, will arrive in Texas on Saturday morning. He will volunteer on Latino outreach with California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo, who makes a cameo in Useche's video.

Useche said of his new hit song, "I felt disillusioned and powerless for many years as I watched our government fail us. But Obama's message awakened me. While volunteering for him, I experienced the spirit of renewed enthusiasm that has touched so many people, and this inspired me to write the song."

The opening words of the song — "For too long we have been sleeping, but we have been afraid to dream" — came to Useche while door-knocking in East Los Angeles with film director Eric Byler (36). The two began shooting the music video two days later on Super Tuesday, while Useche was still memorizing the lyrics. Byler, best known for South by Southwest award-winners CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES and AMERICANESE, said his favorite thing about the video is the volunteerism it captures. "We are a team that includes some talented artists, but more importantly we are a group of citizens who feel a responsibility to help move this country forward."

Byler and Annabel Park (39) fly to Houston on Friday morning from Baltimore, MD. Both are Asian American filmmakers who work closely with Latinos on the immigration issue. Park and Byler are co-directors of 9500 LIBERTY, an on-going series popular on YouTube documenting the politicization of the immigration issue in Northern Virginia. 9500 LIBERTY has generated 394,000 hits since October, including 132,000 for a video in which Park compares the Latino immigration experience to her own.

"The obstacles facing the Latino community today mirror my own immigration experience as a Korean American," said Park, who moved with her family to Houston at the age of nine. Tomorrow's return to Houston will be her first in two decades.

Park and Byler began their latest YouTube series, "United For Obama," on January 14th in Las Vegas, NV. The series chronicles road-trips, canvassing, and in-language phone calls (over 20,000 to Virginia from cities around the nation) on behalf of Sen. Obama. The videos include such celebrities as Kal Penn, Kelly Hu, Kerry Washington, and Tatyana Ali. But their most popular video by far is Useche's moving ballad.

Useche joined "United For Obama" after coming across their videos on the internet. "The internet has been a crucial component in this movement, and in our case in particular," Park said. "YouTube and Facebook have allowed us to collaborate with volunteers from around the country."

"Marching into the Light" by Andres Useche