Common, KRS One Reverie and More to Perform At The Roses That Grew From Concrete Festival

Santa Ana Unidos students raise their fists while donning #SchoolsNotPrisons T-shirts. Photo Courtesy of Ben Camacho.

Santa Ana Unidos, a nonprofit focused on helping at-risk youth in SanTana, will be hosting a hip-hop festival titled The Roses That Grew From Concrete at OC’s E-Sports Arena August 25th, headlined by KRS-One, Common, Sol Development, Ruby Ibarra and Reverie along with a roster of local artists set to perform with more names yet to be announced. The focus of the event is a one-half $30 benefit concert, one-half free community event aimed at helping dismantle the school to prison pipeline through offering a variety of discussions like a lecture/Q&A with KRS-One, a round-table discussion featuring Reverie, workshops and a hosted cohort of UC’s, CSU’s and community colleges. Both events will involve, showcase and benefit the youth of Santa Ana with the kids even being involved in artist discussions. The funds from the event will benefit Santa Ana Unidos, Roses In the Concrete Community School in Oakland and Santa Ana Music Boosters Foundation. “This event is a platform to identify what is actively keeping kids away from incarceration,” SAU founder Johnathan Hernandez says. “Boxing is one of those, music, concert-going, poetry, the arts, gardening…these are all alternative and effective forms of rehabilitation actively keeping kids away from jail, juvenile hall and prison. That’s why we’ll have artists, educators and organizations present that’re actively helping kids.”

Official flyer for The Roses That Grew From Concrete

The nonprofit’s helped over 500 youth in the city alone, through intervention and prevention programs aimed at helping kids escape the negative narratives surrounding their circumstances. Through their martial arts, holistic health, arts and narrative therapy programs, they’re helping kids go on to college and get involved in their community. The kids they help are the roses in the concrete, demonstrating resiliency (growth) despite the obstacles they face due to their circumstances (the concrete). Youth Ambassador Mario Chavez says “We’re growing through the concrete, we’re trying to break the concrete which is pretty much any social issues that are applying against us and we’re pretty much put down because of this.”

The free community event will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, August 25 with the benefit concert starting at 4:30 p.m. and ending at 11:00 p.m. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through or at the following link. This is just the beginning for these events, with additional concerts planned over the next year in Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento and a return to SanTana, all of which will utilize the artists from each respective community. “The event provides an opportunity and platform for the most impacted youth that don’t believe in themselves,” Hernandez says. “This event is a testament that Santa Ana is a city of hope, not despair.”

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