Ruben Torres on Love Thy Neighbor Movement & San Diego’s Diversity
Last week Rapzilla introduced Christian music pioneer Ruben Torres as someone who quietly made an impact for the kingdom behind the scenes. This week, we’ll introduce you to the Ruben Torres who has stepped out to be a leader and a voice in the community for EVERYBODY.
Over the years Torres has taken countless entertainers under his wing to help them create and magnify their gifts. However, there is something else that Ruben holds dear to his heart – making a difference in his hometown.
Fast forward to 2010 and Torres along with pastors and community leaders formed the Love Thy Neighbor Movement.
A friend of Torres had been deported to Mexico and he and a few others were trying to think of ways to help him and his family. Rather than seek any financial help, the man asked that they gather toys and gifts for the children of San Diego and the neighboring Tijuana, Mexico.
“It became something, where we were getting packages sent in from Arizona, Texas, Vegas, and people, were coming down from L.A. to be a part of this thing in San Diego,” said Torres.
Over the years, Love Thy Neighbor has also held clothing drives, provided meals and shelter, and worked with the local government and agencies to think of creative and meaningful solutions to impact the community.
“To inspire, empower and bring value to the community around us. We are focused on launching community programming, events, and initiatives that will provide education, resources, tooling and opportunities to the underserved members of the community,” reads part of the mission statement.
Most recently, Torres and his team have started to create big group events. On August 27, they held the Peace Gathering in the parking lot of the San Diego Padres’ Qualcomm Stadium.
The event was created in about five weeks and was birthed out of the recent tension in San Diego when two police officers were shot and killed in response to the recent deaths of African Americans by police.
“It became one of those things where I started putting out a lot of videos where I was kind of mentioning stuff that was going on in the community about how the Black people of the community were being treated and how we can improve relations with the cops,” he said.
He continued, “We need to do something.”
The event was thought out and immediately put into action over the course of five weeks.
“God’s hand moved and we managed to get 2,500 people in so little time.”
There were people from L.A., Las Vegas, Tijuana, and others who drive eight hours just to be there.
Torres coordinated the event to have many special guests and speakers including one of the mayors, city council, celebrities, and the San Diego police department, who did a helicopter flyover.
“No one was coached into saying anything. Everyone spoke about their faith and their love for Jesus,” shared Torres.
Two of the speakers were Christian emcee King DAV$D, and P.O.D.’s Sonny Sandoval, whom Torres says is “Truly anointed.”
Sonny has his own organization called The Whosoever’s, which reflects many of Love Thy Neighbor’s mission, but focuses primarily on youth to make a positive impact.
Many artists in Christian rock have worked alongside Sonny to spread the message of Jesus to the youth including Brian “Head” Welch, Lacey Sturm, and Islander’s Mikey Carvajal.
Perhaps guys like Torres and Sandoval have a passion and a real sense of community because of the diversity of San Diego itself.
While New York City is known as the melting pot of the world, San Diego may very well be the melting pan, especially when it comes to music.
According to Statistical Atlas, the White population only makes up about 44% of its residents. The Hispanic population is 29%, while Black and Asian people along with others of mixed race take up a nice chunk of the total. The diversity in is people leads to an assortment of creativity amongst different cultures.
“San Diego is a place where everything crosses over. like P.O.D., hip-hop, reggae, and rock. Knowing Southern California culture. All that stuff bleeds itself. Gangsta rap into reggae, Cumbia music, and reggaeton, people into reggae are into ska, ska into punk. It’s a weird mix of stuff,” admitted Torres.
In comparing the city to L.A., he said up north they are more cutthroat. In San Diego “a lot of the bands are supportive of one another and the scene just all mixed in. There’s enough to go around for everybody.”
And there lies the sort of ongoing motto for Ruben Torres’ career, “there’s enough to go around for EVERYBODY.” As a rapper, he wanted to push a message to “everybody.” As the VP of Rescue Records, he wanted to help “everybody” cultivate their sound, and as a leader for Love Thy Neighbor, he wants to help “everybody” in the community.
Being a servant like Jesus has been at the forefront of Ruben Torres’ life. If Jesus had enough to go around for everybody, so can we.