East Rutherford 'Sing into the Sunlight' Concert Raises Suicide Awareness

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The fourth annual Sing into the Sunlight concert and festival will again put a spotlight on suicide prevention and awareness, on Saturday, June 11, in East Rutherford.

Faith Banca and Rebecca Cruz organized the first Sing into the Sunlight concert and festival four years ago.
Faith Banca and Rebecca Cruz organized the first Sing into the Sunlight concert and festival four years ago. Photo Credit: Joel Brizzi
Pursuing JC perform a cover of "Smooth" at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts in 2014. Photo Credit: Pursuing JC YouTube

The free event will feature performances by GoodWorks, Pursuing JC and Sam Houston, and a variety of food vendors. The festival will also have activities for people of all ages, including arts and crafts, yoga, face painting, volleyball tournaments and more.

There will also be booths, handouts and speakers to inform attendees about suicide, mental illness and how to live happier lives.

The concert and festival was first put on four years ago by Faith Banca and Rebecca Cruz, two East Rutherford freshmen who wanted to draw attention to the growing number of suicides in New Jersey.

"Almost everyone knows someone dealing with a mental illness that could lead to suicidal thoughts, and if not treated, suicide itself," said Banca.

"Nobody wants to talk about suicide, which hides people who are suffering in the dark," added Cruz. "We thought it was important to shine a light on this important issue."

Since the first concert, Banca and Cruz established Into the Sunlight, an organization to raise awareness for suicide prevention and end the stigma of mental illness. The organization has held several other events, including spaghetti dinner and karaoke nights called Dine into the Sunlight.

For more information, visit the group's website or Facebook page. Banca and Cruz are now freshman in college.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death in New Jersey for 24- to 34-year-olds and the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. Each year, nearly 43,000 Americans die by suicide, and many attempts go unreported or untreated.

The event is from 4-9 p.m. at Sesselman Park and bandshell, 282 Carlton Ave.

Sponsors of the event include Executive Liquidation and the East Rutherford Civic Pride Association. To donate or become a sponsor, contact Proceeds from the event go to programs for suicide prevention, mental health awareness and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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