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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Local Turkish-American immigrant uses entertainment connections to raise money for earthquake victims

Local Turkish-American immigrant uses entertainment connections to raise money for earthquake victims

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Over the past 20 years, Ata Bahadir has built a life and a name in the local Albuquerque community after his family emigrated from Turkey.

His grandparents came to New Mexico first, then his family.

“Most of us don’t speak English or even know what’s going on around us,” Bahadir said. “It’s definitely different customs, different lifestyles, different environments, you know different religions, everything is different.”

Recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have devastated his hometown.

“My parents, my uncle, everyone in my family — the cities they grew up in were all razed,” Bahadir said. “All the buildings where they grew up, the buildings where I was born and raised. We lost probably 40 plus extended family, relatives, old friends overnight.”

Including his uncle’s wife, Elcin, who was visiting her mother in Turkey when the quake struck, without success. She has lived in Albuquerque for more than 20 years, working at a local day care center and having two teenage children in high school.

“It’s really scary and not even your worst enemy wants to go through that,” Bahadir said.

Bahadir entered the local Albuquerque nightlife scene in 2017 and has since opened two small businesses: “Mr. AfterHours Presents,” which books DJs and other entertainment for local clubs, and “Casa Cocktails,” a mobile bartending company , which also sells home cocktail boxes.

The relationships he supported through these businesses are supporting him now.

So far, DJs, headliners and even locals visiting the downtown club have stepped up to raise about $10,000 for Bahadir’s hometown.

“It’s also thrilling for me that the entire Albuquerque nightlife community has supported me and helped me a lot. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Bahadir said.

You can donate to the GoFundMe page here.

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