San Angeleans band together to support service workers

Citizens create fundraisers for service employees after statewide executive order

By Mbulelo Maqungo
On July 13, 2020

Photo by Cora Bishoppetty:
The 19 Thirty Three Bar sign is illuminated at dusk. The bars in San Angelo have been shut down for a second time due to the governor's executive order.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on June 26 that shut down bars and similar establishments for a second time due to the increasing number of positive coronavirus cases across Texas. In response to this, many San Angelo residents have taken it upon themselves to raise money in different ways for those who have lost their jobs.

One such effort is Jessie Ramón’s Support San Angelo’s Service Industry fundraiser, which raised $1,095 for bartenders and servers in the community.

“We would like to raise funds to support San Angelo’s Service Industry Employees.” Ramón said in the description of his Facebook fundraiser. 

Ramón has lived in San Angelo for 25 years and is also the creator behind the petition to change the name of Robert E. Lee Middle School. 

“I started this fundraiser because most people are interested in the reopening of Texas, specifically the bars,” Ramón said. “I am not affiliated with any bar or restaurant in San Angelo, but I feel we should be supporting these businesses if we truly want a place to go when this is all over.” 

At the closing of his fundraiser, Ramón said he will be working with local establishments to evenly distribute the money amongst their employees. 

Another grassroots fundraiser is San Angelo native Bob Simpson’s “Sounds of San Angelo” album. Simpson, a singer-songwriter in Lubbock, announced his compilation album on June 29 with a post on Facebook.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from this album will be split evenly to benefit those in the local bar scene who are in need during the current shut down, he said. 

“When all the bars shut down the first time, I was a part of a similar project in Lubbock for the music community at the Blue Light Live bar,” Simpson said. “What we did there inspired me to organize something here in my hometown. San Angelo is one of a few cities in Texas to be certified as a Music Friendly Community, thanks to our establishments and musicians here, so this would be a great time to step up and give back to the people who make it all possible.” 

According to the album’s Facebook page, over 50 artists and groups will be providing songs to the compilation.

“In Texas, we have our very own music scene, and that is especially true in West Texas,” Simpson shared. “From blues, jazz, country, or soul, we have a distinctly unique sound and I’m looking forward to people hearing what we are putting together.”

Simpson said the album will only be available digitally at its release, but he is communicating with local businesses to collaborate on a physical album, merchandise and future events. 

“My ultimate goal is for other communities to see what we are doing in times of need and feel inspired to do the same,” Simpson said.

“Sounds of San Angelo” is priced at $25 and is scheduled for a July 17 release.


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