Fun, generous and enthusiastic -- this is how friends and family describe Carlos Hernandez Gomez. They will gather this weekend to celebrate his life and honor his memory at the 3rd Annual Concert for Carlos. The beloved political reporter passed away in January 2010 following a year-long battle with colon cancer. His impressive career included several Chicago news outlets: EXTRA Bilingual Newspaper, La Opinion, The Chicago Reporter, WBEZ and CLTV. With his sharp suits and fedoras, Carlos garnered the attention of everyone he met -- instantly befriending those around him.
“He was incredibly welcoming, and had a huge number of friends in very diverse groups,” said Dann Morr, a friend of Carlos who will also perform at this weekend’s event. He and Carlos played in a band together, called The Gear, when they were students at DePaul University.
“His closest friends are involved in organizing this, and know what mattered to him and what he really cared about,” said Randi Belisomo, Carlos’s widow.
One of Carlos’ passions was music, and it continues to be a focus of the event.
“Music made him so happy,” said Randi. “It’s nice to have this venue now where we can go rock out and be happy. This isn’t a sad event. There’s a happy ending in where the proceeds go to, and just a celebration of him."
Carlos’ former band The Gear will perform along with several others- Phil Angotti, System 80 and The Why?- featuring music from rock and roll and British Invasion of the 60s and 70s to 80s pop music. Every year the event brings together a mix of people all with one thing in common: their love for Carlos.
“Carlos cared so much about so many people, and so many people cared so much about him. Having this event every year, friends pay great tribute by continuing his tradition of helping others in charitable work,” said Randi.
The proceeds will go to three different charities, all in honor of Carlos. One of which is the Carlos Hernandez Award in Journalism. It provides recognition and financial assistance to talented undergraduate students who might otherwise be unable to accept unpaid internships in journalism. Daniel Gaitan is the first recipient of this endowed scholarship and will be the evening’s honored guest.
The other two charities inlcude Life Matters Media, which provides information, resources and support for all involved in end of life decision-making, and DePaul’s Carlos Hernandez Gomez Memorial Forum on Policy and Public Service. DePaul’s Department of Political Science and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences will be presenting what they hope will be the first of a series of regular academic forums on issues that impact politics and public service. The first of these, entitled “The 2012 Elections and the Media’s Role in Political Reform,” will take place on October 10, 2012 at DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus.
“We hope people come and help celebrate this guy who was just so influential to so many people in the city. He was a really good friend to a lot of people and we’d love to see as many people as we can come out to celebrate and share stories,” said Dann.
The concert will take place at Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort (2833 N. Sheffield) at 7:00 pm on Saturday, July 21. A $20 donation is asked for, which also includes one raffle ticket.
Watch a clip of The Gear performing The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" at the first Concert for Carlos.
And watch a video of Phil Angotti and friends performing "Song of a Baker" by Small Faces at the first Concert for Carlos.