Archive | February, 2008

February 2008

Posted on 19 February 2008 by admin

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Preview of Crime Against Humanity a Huge Success

Posted on 03 February 2008 by admin

On Saturday, January 26, 2008, Michael Reyes of the Batey Urbano and the National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) sponsored a sneak preview of six scenes of the play “Crime Against Humanity,” a play about the time spent in prison by the Puerto Rican political prisoners, to community members and individuals involved in the theater/drama/art industry. The evening proved to be an enormous success, with over 70 persons attending the preview. Six complete scenes of the play were unveiled, and elicited laughs, tears and intense emotions from the audience. The actors, all in their late teens and early 20’s, were applauded for their efforts. The evening closed with José E. López, Executive Director of the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center and brother to Oscar López Rivera, giving an incredibly moving speech about how much the development of this play meant to him and his family. March 3, 2008 will premiere the full play of 27 scenes at the Batey Urbano.

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My Three King’s Day Gift by Karina Valentin

Posted on 03 February 2008 by admin

Last month, I visited (along with Laura Ruth Johnson who is a frequent visiting companion) my Abuelo Oscar, at USP Terre Haute. As we drove towards Terre Haute, Indiana at 5:30 am, Laura and I talked about our past visits to Abuelo Oscar. I did not see Abuelo this past year because on the two occasions I was supposed to visit him over the summer, he was placed on lockdown. I was very excited to see him. During our visit, we talked about international news such as Benazir Bhutto and the national presidential elections, as well as my school life, and my Christmas gifts. Laura and I were mesmerized by Abuelo’s uncontrollable laughter as he recounted stories of his younger years in Chicago. He painted such a vivid portrait of life in Humboldt Park in the 70s. Though there are often hardships to endure when visiting someone dear in prison, every time I visit Abuelo Oscar it is an enriching experience.

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La Capilla del Barrio Celebrates Oscar López 65th Birthday

Posted on 03 February 2008 by admin

On Sunday, January 6, 2008, La Capilla del Barrio celebrated its annual Three Kings Day service in a special way. This year’s Three Kings Day service was dedicated to Oscar López Rivera, who was born on January 6. The congregation celebrated this occasion by singing Las Mañanitas, letting Oscar know that he was not alone on this historic moment in his life. Rev. Walter Coleman of Adalberto United Methodist Church led the sermon and that called for unity among Puerto Ricans and Mexicans against the separation of families through this country’s broken immigration laws.

Invited guests included Centro Sin Fronteras, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and the National Boricua Human Rights Network. La Capilla’s worship team provided music along with Frank Dí­az of the Chicago Salsa Musicians Workshop. Alicia Rodrí­guez was the special guest; she is a former Puerto Rican political prisoner who was released in 1999, along with ten others, after serving almost 20 years in prison.

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US Government Forced to Postpone NY Grand Jury Hearing Indefinitely

Posted on 03 February 2008 by admin

As almost one dozen cities in the US and Puerto Rico prepared for another round of protest actions for the February 1st grand jury hearing date at the Brooklyn Federal Court House, the lawyers for the subpoenaed activists were informed that the case was postponed indefinitely. The subpoenas have not been dropped. It is a victory for our community that the FBI does not have a case and public opinion makers see this grand jury as an instrument of political internment and harassment. It gives the legal team more time to prepare their motions, and less time allotted to the “life of the grand jury”. Whatever the motives of the FBI, rest assured that the grand jury resistance movement is ready to continue to resist, organize and educate.

Chicago Chapter sponsors solidarity Picket
at Federal Plaza
Over a hundred people, convoked by the National Boricua Human Rights Network, turned out in the cold and pouring rain in Chicago on Thursday, January 10, at the Federal Plaza to condemn the recent subpoenas of three young Puerto Rican activists by a Federal Grand Jury. The subpoenas, returnable on January 11, 2008 in Brooklyn, New York, are part of what the US government is alleging is a “terrorist” investigation of the Macheteros, a pro-independence, clandestine organization. The three young activists, Tania Frontera, a graphic designer, Christopher Torres, a social worker, and Julio Pabón Jr., producer and director, are involved in different movements for social justice as well as the Puerto Rican independence movement, in New York City. Michelle Morales, NBHRN coordinator, activist Héctor Rivera and attorney Jan Susler of the Peoples’ Law Office spoke at the rally.

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Upcoming Election: Will the Puerto Rican/Latino community lose its voice?

Posted on 03 February 2008 by admin

With Election Day approaching, leaders of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community convened a press conference to express Puerto Rican unity and show support for North Side Puerto Rican/Latino elected officials. Eighty well-known educators, lawyers, executive directors, activists, business people, artists and residents in positions of leadership, who have dedicated themselves to improving the quality of life in the Puerto Rican community, signed the “Papeleta de la Unidad Boricua” (Puerto Rican Unity Ballot) to set an example for Latino/as in the community to come together to take part in this important and historical political process.

Despite the real possibility of losing an elected position, the central theme of the January 15 press conference at La Casa Puertorriqueña (1237 N. California) was not only of hope and optimism, but coming together to take an active role for progress. “We need to take action now. We should mobilize with the same spirit with which we have moved in the past. This relates to our future and we will respond to this challenge as a united community,” said Eliud Medina Sr., executive director of the Near Northwest Neighborhood Network. While the “Papeleta” urges voters to support all the Latino Northside incumbent, it focuses on those facing challengers. The Northside incumbents include: Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (4th), State Sen. William “Willie” Delgado (2nd), State Sen. Iris Y. Martinez (20th), State Rep. Cynthia Soto (4th), State Rep. Maria “Toni” Berrios (39th), State Rep. Luis Arroyo (3rd), Comm. Joseph Berrios as well as Ward Committeemen: Ald. Manny Flores (1st), Comm. Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th), Rey Colon (35th).

Marisol Morales, of the Puerto Rican agenda, a cohort of Humboldt Park’s prominent leaders, and one of those who signed the ballot, spoke on the history of solidarity that has been forged between Latinos in Chicago especially with the Mexican community and expressed her confidence in Mexican/Puerto Rican unity in this pivotal point in time. The President of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Xavier Nogueras, stated, “This is the moment to be united! There is a possibility of losing our Senatorial seat in the north of Chicago, which will result in losing the highest-ranking Latina in the state. This would be such a loss for the Puerto Rican and Latino community in general.”

For the last 20 years Latinos in Chicago have struggled to establish programs and institutions that address the needs of the Latino community. Community leaders argue that Puerto Rican and Latino incumbents know the issues faced by Latino constituents and have maintained an open ear to the public, often speaking on the community’s behalf in order to protect what has been established.

For these leaders, February 5 voters will decide if they are interested in continuing community building efforts or not after the long struggle to attain access to educational institutions, healthcare, cultural spaces and Latino representation in state and federal government has been accomplished.

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