Archive | April, 2008

April 2008

Posted on 19 April 2008 by admin

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Lolita, You May Cry Now

Posted on 12 April 2008 by admin

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Barrio Arts, Culture and Communication Academy

Posted on 12 April 2008 by admin

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Boricua en la Luna por Juan Antonio Corretjer

Posted on 06 April 2008 by admin

Desde las ondas del mar
que son besos a su orilla,
una mujer de Aguadilla
vino a New York a cantar
pero no sólo a llorar
un largo llanto y morir.
De ese llanto yo nací
como en la lluvia una fiera.
Y vivo en la larga espera
de cobrar lo que perdí.

Por un cielo que se hacia
más feo que mas más volaba
a Nueva York se acercaba
un peón de Las Marías.
Con la esperanza, decía,
de un largo día volver.
Pero antes me hizo nacer
y de tanto trabajar
se quedó sin regresar:
reventó en un taller.

De una lágrima soy hijo
y soy hijo del sudor
y fue mi abuelo el amor
único en mi regocijo
del recuerdo siempre fijo
en aquel cristal de llanto
como quimera en el canto
de un Puerto Rico de ensueño
y yo soy puertorriqueño,
sin ná, pero sin quebranto.

Y el echón que me desmienta
que se ande muy derecho
no sea en lo más estrecho
de un zaguán pagua la afrenta.
Pues según alguien me cuenta:
dicen que la luna as una
sea del mar o sea montuna.
Y así le grito al villano:
yo sería boricano
aunque naciera en la luna.

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Learning and Leading Through the Legacy of Puerto Rican Women: International Women’s Day Celebrated on Paseo Boricua

Posted on 05 April 2008 by admin

Lourdes Lugo, Director of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, emceeing the eventJodene Velázquez

On March 9, before a crowd of over 100, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) organized a multifaceted International Women’s Day celebration that was intergenerational, educational, and of symbolic importance for our community.

The event began with opening comments by the Director of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, Lourdes Lugo, who passionately conveyed the historical role of Puerto Rican women in the independence movement. As part of the “100×35” campaign, Lugo also spoke on the example of national poet and leader Juan Antonio Corretjer, who supported the women’s liberation struggle in Puerto Rico, which at his time was very uncommon. Her comments were followed by a brief, but informative presentation by the coordinator of the National Boricua Human Rights Network, Michelle Morales. Morales spoke on the issue of incarceration, as specifically experienced by the female Puerto Rican political prisoners during which they suffered blatant human rights violations. Some of the audience members were visibly impacted by their story of hardship, but even more so by their unbreakable love of freedom.

The program continued with a courageous presentation by the students of the Lolita Lebrón Family Learning Center describing a project they engaged in through their Women’s History course. The project, which touched on stereotypes women face on a regular basis. A member of Batey Urbano’s coordinating collective, Janeida Rivera, stressed the need to include LGBTQ realities in the discourse of feminism, which she argued must combat not only sexism, but also heterosexism and homophobia.

Along with presentations, the IWD event also featured several cultural acts, the first of which was several scenes from the new play, “Crime Against Humanity.” These scenes, preformed by young Boricua women, brought further to life the experiences described by Michelle Morales.

Another highlight was the hilarious and entertaining performance by local Puerto Rican poet, Johanny Vazquez Paz. She recited works from her new book, Old Streetwise Poems, which is a collection of poems based on her migration to the US and her experience living in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. In addition, Judy Diaz recited two poems by Juan Antonio Corretjer as homage to his centennial and commitment to the women’s struggle.

The final portion of the Sunday morning event was a walk to the Adalberto Methodist Church. At the church, Emma Lozano, president of Centro Sin Fronteras, gave a powerful account about the deep solidarity between Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, particularly as expressed by the longstanding relationship between activists from the PRCC and CSF. Following her, all present were moved by sincere words of Flor Crisostomo, who is currently living in sanctuary at the church because of the broken immigration laws of the US. Crisostomo, who has picked up the torch after Elvira Arellano was deported last August, provided a touching account of her experience as an undocumented indigenous woman and the impact of NAFTA on Mexico. She concluded her comments to a standing ovation by all present.

International Women’s Day on Paseo Boricua proved to be a historic moment for participants and the organizers who hope to continue to make this community event part of the annual events in our community.

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New Developments in the UIUC and PRCC Partnership Graduate Program

Posted on 05 April 2008 by admin

UIUC GSLIS volunteerAfter considerable preparation, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s Andrés Figueroa Cordero Library & Community Information and Technology Center has opened its doors! Students, teachers and parents from the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School (PACHS), and the Family Learning Center can now make use of the collection, which is being staffed by students from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) Community Informatics program.

In conjunction with the opening, students are working in other areas within the community, including three projects in collaboration with PACHS. Michael Maranda is helping the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) group create a database with info about different agencies that serve the SEL needs of PACHS students; Migdalia Galarza is assisting Michelle Torrise with a hydroponics program within the existing urban agriculture and community gardening project; and John Vincler is teaching research skills to high school students so that they can create an exhibit on Puerto Rico’s past at the Newberry Library (on Walton Street between Clark and Dearborn). GSLIS students are also working on several other projects with community organizations. Moustafa Ayad is developing and teaching a journalism course with the Barrio Arts, Culture and Communications Academy (BACCA); Lucas Alvarez is providing research and technology consulting for Vida/SIDA; and Nick Curotto is creating a children’s literacy program in conjunction with the PRCC Childcare and Family Learning Center. All of these activities are part of a graduate course, Community Informatics Corps taught by Professor Ann Bishop.
To learn more about these projects or to volunteer with any one of them, please stop by the library at 2703 W. Division Street, 1st Floor (Vida/SIDA building), on Tuesday 3:00-8:00 p.m., Thursday 3:00-5:00 p.m. or Saturday 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

For more information about Community Informatics and GSLIS, visit the PRCC Library when it is open or go to the following websites:,

Nick Curotto is a first year student at GSLIS and is working as a graduate assistant for the Community Informatics Initiative.

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Write to the Prisoners

Posted on 05 April 2008 by admin

escribale a los patriotas

Carlos Alberto Torres, #88976-024
BD: 19 de septiembre de 1952
FCI Pekin, Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5000 , Pekin, IL 61555

Oscar López Rivera, #87651-024
BD: 6 de enero de 1943
FCI Terre Haute, P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

Avelino González Claudio, #09873-000
Northern Correctional Institution
287 Bilton Road, POB 665
Somers, CT 06071

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Puerto Rican patriot Carlos Alberto Torres transferred to FCI Pekin

Posted on 05 April 2008 by admin

Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torrres with grandniecePuerto Rican Political Prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution at Pekin, Illinois, approximately 2 1/2 hours away from Chicago. Carlos has communicated with the Network and indicated that he is in the process of settling in and has received much help from old and new friends. More news about the transfer will follow.

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You just want to take Oscar with you…

Posted on 05 April 2008 by admin

by Sammy Vega

Ed. Note: Crime Against Humanity actor Samuel Vega was recently able to visit Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera. The play is based on a series of extensive interviews with the Puerto Rican political prisoners excarcerated by President Clinton in 1999. What follows is a short reflection.
I get to the prison. As I walk toward the entrance guards from the watch tower make sure nothing looks suspicious. All the while I hope that nothing stops this historical visit from taking place. After all it took 4 hours to get there. We get in. Registering and metal detection takes 10 minutes. It’s 10:05 A.M. When we got into the visiting room I noticed the clock was thirty minutes ahead marking 10:35 A.M. Apparently this is done to shorten people’s visits. We are assigned a seat. As I looked around the visiting room Black and Latino men sharing smiles with their visiting families filled the room. The little girls wrestling with their father dressed in his khaki uniform was hard to bear.

Doors open and out comes Oscar. Just like in the pictures except he might have dyed his hair grey. I don’t know if I was seeing things but Oscar had a little limp when he walked, a cool limp. That caught me off guard. Oscar’s coolness didn’t end there. I introduced myself and we began talking about the play, Crime Against Humanity. He laughed when I told him I recited his monologue because we look nothing alike. He was amazed to hear that the shows have been so successful that unfortunately people have had to stand up because they are so packed. He was glad that people are learning about his story through theatre.

After several hours of getting to know Oscar and hearing him joke around with us, visiting hours were just about over. You want to just take Oscar with you but you can’t. It was tough to just leave and go back to wondering what Oscar is doing at this moment. For three hours I knew what he was doing. He was sitting down talking to me and telling me his life’s story as he sipped on a cup of coffee. The complete article is available at:

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Lolita Lebrón convokes 100 Women for Puerto Rican Independence

Posted on 05 April 2008 by admin

100 MujeresPuerto Rico: National Heroine Lolita Lebrón convoked 100 women, on International Women’s Day, to support of Puerto Rican independence. Hundreds turned out for the march, Saturday, March 8. Photo taken following the event. Inset picture of the centenarian Puerto Rican patriot Isabel Rosado who also made her her presence felt.

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