Archive | October, 2008

Bronx “People’s Convention” Votes to Re-Elect José Rivera

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

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For several months, Bronx Democratic Party Chairman José Rivera’s legacy has been slandered by two elected officials who have revealed themselves as self-promoters, with no regard for the truth, or the welfare of the people of the Bronx. These elected officials have been so desperate for the control of the Bronx Democratic Party leadership that they have callously portrayed Jose Rivera as anti-black.

When Assemblyman Rivera voted in favor of gay marriage, Reverend Díaz and Assemblyman Díaz Jr. vowed to take revenge. Long time homophobes, the Díazes, are subjecting Assemblyman José Rivera to callous and racially divisive attacks, discrediting themselves in the process.

For the last three decades Assemblyman José Rivera has worked relentlessly as a street activist for the people of the Bronx struggling for jobs, better housing and social justice. A longtime member of the Carpenters’ Union, Assemblyman Rivera is a champion of the working class. In 1975 he founded the United Tremont Trades, and secured jobs for Latino, African-American and White workers in the Bronx. In 1980, the attention of the entire world focused on the inhumane conditions of the South Bronx, through José Rivera’s now legendary “People’s Convention” on Charlotte Street.

Assemblyman Rivera continues to advocate for every development in the Bronx to be built by our construction trade unions. Yankees Stadium was the most recent development where José Rivera has demonstrated his commitment to union labor by demanding union construction and jobs. His efforts have led to thousands of good paying jobs for people of all races and ethnicities.

Yet a lifetime of service and leadership and solidarity with working people has not immunized José Rivera from the effects of a smear campaign engineered by a group of ruthless elected officials. Despite their attempts to destroy José Rivera’s legacy, on September 28th, at the Utopia Paradise Theatre, Bronx Democrats showed their appreciation for José Rivera’s contributions to the people of the Bronx by arriving by feet, car, train and buses to cast their vote. Despite the lies and media attacks, Bronx Democrats made their voices heard and overwhelmingly voted to re-elect Jose Rivera Chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party.

The same unscrupulous elected officials are now challenging the re-election of José Rivera in court.

For more info: Jasmine Clavasquin at ms.jasminclavasquin@gmail.com.[/lang_es][lang_en]

For several months, Bronx Democratic Party Chairman José Rivera’s legacy has been slandered by two elected officials who have revealed themselves as self-promoters, with no regard for the truth, or the welfare of the people of the Bronx. These elected officials have been so desperate for the control of the Bronx Democratic Party leadership that they have callously portrayed Jose Rivera as anti-black.

When Assemblyman Rivera voted in favor of gay marriage, Reverend Díaz and Assemblyman Díaz Jr. vowed to take revenge. Long time homophobes, the Díazes, are subjecting Assemblyman José Rivera to callous and racially divisive attacks, discrediting themselves in the process.

For the last three decades Assemblyman José Rivera has worked relentlessly as a street activist for the people of the Bronx struggling for jobs, better housing and social justice. A longtime member of the Carpenters’ Union, Assemblyman Rivera is a champion of the working class. In 1975 he founded the United Tremont Trades, and secured jobs for Latino, African-American and White workers in the Bronx. In 1980, the attention of the entire world focused on the inhumane conditions of the South Bronx, through José Rivera’s now legendary “People’s Convention” on Charlotte Street.

Assemblyman Rivera continues to advocate for every development in the Bronx to be built by our construction trade unions. Yankees Stadium was the most recent development where José Rivera has demonstrated his commitment to union labor by demanding union construction and jobs. His efforts have led to thousands of good paying jobs for people of all races and ethnicities.

Yet a lifetime of service and leadership and solidarity with working people has not immunized José Rivera from the effects of a smear campaign engineered by a group of ruthless elected officials. Despite their attempts to destroy José Rivera’s legacy, on September 28th, at the Utopia Paradise Theatre, Bronx Democrats showed their appreciation for José Rivera’s contributions to the people of the Bronx by arriving by feet, car, train and buses to cast their vote. Despite the lies and media attacks, Bronx Democrats made their voices heard and overwhelmingly voted to re-elect Jose Rivera Chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party.

The same unscrupulous elected officials are now challenging the re-election of José Rivera in court.

For more info: Jasmine Clavasquin at ms.jasminclavasquin@gmail.com.[/lang_en]

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Internationally Renown Artist Installs Permanent Mosaic at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

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Internationally recognized artist Manny Vega made a unique visit to Chicago last week to install an original 19-foot mosaic in the courtyard of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC).  Mosaics are one of Puerto Rico’s most fundamental traditional art forms.  The finished mosaic will be on permanent display at IPRAC.

Vega, known for his public art projects in New York City, constructed the mosaic in his New York studio and shipped the piece to Chicago.  It is constructed of granite, marble and slate tiles.  In the center of the mosaic, is a map of Puerto Rico surrounded by symbolic representations of Puerto Rican life and culture.

“This mosaic is a reflection of all the things that make us who we are – the music, the culture even the nature,” says Vega.  “I am honored to have my work become a part of the rich history of the Chicago Puerto Rican community.”

IPRAC hosted on-site workshops and visits from youth and schoolchildren of the community during the installation.  Students from neighboring Roberto Clemente Community Academy’s Radio/Television Program filmed the installation as part of a documentary about IPRAC and its historic location in the former Humboldt Park Stable.

The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC) is an arts and educational institution devoted to the promotion, integration and advancement of Puerto Rican arts and culture.  IPRAC has been bringing visual arts and exhibition programming and arts education workshops to the community since 2001 and is nearing the completion of the interior renovation of the historic Humboldt Park Stables.  Once open, IPRAC will be the only museum in the nation dedicated to Puerto Rican arts and culture.  The museum will be home to a permanent collection of works created exclusively by Puerto Rican artists and will offer a year-round exhibition program, an oral histories program, a lecture series, educational workshops, a film series, an annual fine arts and crafts festival, art instruction and performing arts presentations.[/lang_en]

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Honoring a History of Struggle: Puerto Rican Cultural Center Unveils New Cultural Expressions

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

[lang_en]Days before the 15th Annual Fiesta Boricua, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) unveiled two news additions to the cultural landscape of Paseo Boricua. These cultural expressions, a mural and sculpture, add to the uniqueness of Paseo Boricua, nuestro “pedacito de patria.”

Renowned Puerto Rican artists Pablo Marcano and Rosana Vazquez Medina presented their newest mural in Humboldt Park to over 100 people. The mural is found at the new annex of the PRCC (2700 W. Haddon). The mural, which is composed of several parts, features colorful renditions of Juan Antonio Corretjer and Lolita Lebrón; two important 20th century figures in Puerto Rico. These figures represent the legacy of struggle and resistance that characterize the PRCC’s community work. This is not the first local mural created by Marcano. He is the artist responsible for the mosaic mural of Roberto Clemente that adorns the outside of Roberto Clemente High School (1147 N. Western Ave).

Along with the mural, the PRCC unveiled a five-foot tall bust of Juan Antonio Corretjer. The extremely talented Puerto Rican artist, Juan Nuñez, designed the impressive sculpture. It is an exact replica of the original work found in the entrance of the mountainous town of Ciales, the birthplace of Corretjer. In Chicago, the bust currently resides in the first floor of Bickerdike’s La Estancia Building (on the corner of Division and California).

These works were created to commemorate the Centennial of Juan Antonio Corretjer and 35th anniversary of the founding of the PRCC. In honor of a history that continues to be made, these artistic productions affirm Corretjer’s famous assertion: “Yo sería Borincano, aunque naciera en la luna.”[/lang_en]

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140 Years Later, The Struggle Continues: The Anniversary of ‘El Grito de Lares’ Celebrated on Paseo Boricua

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

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Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos

Exactly 140 years ago, on September 23, 1868, the beginnings of a national Puerto Rican identity emerged with a sudden act of revolt in the town of Lares against the Spanish colonial authority. The date also marks the third anniversary of the FBI assassination of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, an advocate and leader of the independence movement and the 40th anniversary of a major Vietnam War act of protest in Lares. On this 140th anniversary of “El Grito de Lares,” the Puerto Rican community of Humboldt Park came together to commemorate these important historical events.

Although the revolt lasted but a few days, it changed the relationship between Puerto Rico and Spain. Slavery was abolished in 1873, one of the priorities of the revolution. El Grito also sent a dramatic message to the world that there were a unique people that lived on the island of Puerto Rico. Due to the significance of the revolt in the creation of who we are and our national symbols, (the original Puerto Rican flag, modeled after the Dominican flag, was created by Mariana Bracetti for the revolt), an event was held at the Batey Urbano community youth space on Paseo Boricua. The event included an art exhibition of the two remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners, Oscar López Rivera and Carlos Alberto Torres, poetry from the youth of the Batey Urbano and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS), and a historical overview of the revolt and the Vietnam War protest presented by José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. In addition, Jan Susler from the People’s Law Office provided an update on the assassination of Ojeda Ríos, which was condemned all over the world, including by the Puerto Rican government.[/lang_en]

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PRFAA Director Visits Paseo Boricua

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

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Days before Fiesta Boricua, Attorney Flavio Cumpiano, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), in company of Maddi Elga Amill, Midwest PRFAA Regio nal Director in Chicago, met with local Puerto Rican elected officials, leaders and activists of Illinois. Cumpiano had the opportunity to visit Paseo Boricua and enjoy the 15th annual Fiesta Boricua.

For more information, visit PRFAA-Midwest (2511 W. Division) or call 773-365-0071.[/lang_en]

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Community Forum Explores Issues in Health Care for Young Mothers and Their Children

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

Before an audience of 100 university and high school students, public health professionals, community leaders and residents, UIC School of Public Health graduate Dr. Jennifer Hebert-Beirne presented findings of her collaborative study with the Family Learning Center. She identified several issues that adolescent mothers face as they attempt to navigate the health care system for their children.

Alderman Billy Ocasio welcomed everyone to the October 7th event, held at La Estancia at California and Division. UIC Dean Paul Brandt-Rauf spoke of the importance of making research useful to communities, and this was affirmed by PRCC Executive Director Jose Lopez who reminded us of the role of the Militant Observer in using research to facilitate positive social change and personal freedom.  Lolita Lopez, MPH, a community member and Research Associate at the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition and Veronica Crespo-Rich, Director of the Family Learning Center, provided context in describing the lives of adolescent mothers. They elaborated on personal and system-level reasons why young mothers may experience challenges in accessing quality health care for their children.

Dr. Michele Kelley, who was an advisor for the study, concluded that while we need to address racial and ethnic health inequities in access to quality care, we can’t just depend on the system to change; and young women can be helped to become advocates for themselves, their families and their community through culturally sensitive health literacy and advocacy programs that put them in the center of community health improvement. State Representative Cynthia Soto thanked everyone and promised to continue fighting for quality health care for the entire community.

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Documenting “Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story” An Interview with New Films Production’s Gloricelly Franceschi Marisol Rodríguez

Posted on 28 October 2008 by alejandro

Marisol Rodríguez

Last month WTTW11 premiered “Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story,” a documentary about the struggles Puerto Ricans faced during their settlement in Chicago. Produced by married couple Antonio and Gloricelly Franceschi, “Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story,” uses interviews and news footage to present a first-of-its-kind chronological story of Chicago Boricuas.

The documentary begins with the Spanish American War of 1898 and the annexation of Puerto Rico as a United States territory and ends in present-day. At one point Antonio and Gloricelly considered centering the film on the 1966 Chicago riots, but decided to broaden the scope in order to include more historical context.

While conducting interviews with numerous Chicago Puerto Ricans for their documentary, Antonio and Gloricelly began to see a common thread connecting the experiences of these individuals—discrimination and poor quality of living.

Gloricelly, who moved to Chicago from Coamo, Puerto Rico in 1982, said she shares an affinity with the experiences of many of the interviewees, especially when they spoke of the trauma of leaving a familiar life in Puerto Rico for a new and strange one in the United States.
Gloricelly and her family settled near Foster and Ashland avenues, in the area known as the Andersonville. Her husband Antonio, who has family roots in Villalba, Puerto Rico, was born in Chicago and raised in the neighborhoods of Bucktown, Wicker Park and Logan Square.

Despite balancing parental and film-making responsibilities, Gloricelly said she and Antonio had relatively little difficulties in working on “Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story.”

“We really complement each other,” Gloricelly said. “Where [Antonio’s] weak, I’m strong and where I’m weak [Antonio’s] strong.”

In addition the couple shared a similar mission in their documentary making, which added to their personal relationship. “We have a passion to educate through the medium and I think that’s what makes us closer as a couple,” Gloricelly said.
The first project Antonio and Gloricelly worked on together was a public service announcement on AIDS. In 1998 they collaborated on “Siempre Caliente,” a television show on Latino popular culture.
Now that they have completed “Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story,” the couple is considering future projects.

Gloricelly mentioned a possible venture which stems from an idea the couple has had for many years– a television show called “Latinos on the move.” The program would highlight Latino professionals who are committed to promoting a healthy work environment and being active in their community.

In addition to “Latinos on the move,” Gloricelly said the translation of “Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story” is also in the works.

According to Gloricelly, Daniel Soles, Senior Vice President and Chief Television Content Officer of WTTW, is interested in producing a Spanish-language version of the documentary which would air on WTTW’s Spanish language television network, V-me.

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Banco Popular’s Richard Carrion Awarded 2008 Paseo Boricua “Walk of Fame”

Posted on 17 October 2008 by alejandro

Each year, Alderman Ocasio and the organizers of Fiesta Boricua (Bandera a Bandera) recognize the contributions of an important figure of the Puerto Rican community. This public recognition comes in the form of a bronze Paseo Boricua “Walk of Fame” medallion. Past honorees include musical icons Lucecita Benítez, Eddie Palmieri, and Willy Colón, as well as local political and community figures Congressman Luis Gutiérrez and Elías Díaz y Pérez. This year’s “Walk of Fame” honoree is Richard Carrion, the President and CEO of Banco Popular. On September 15, at Coco’s Restaurant (2723 W. Division) Alderman Ocasio and many community leaders and members honored Carrion with his very own Paseo Boricua “Walk of Fame” medallion, as a token of appreciation for his longstanding commitment to Paseo Boricua’s economic development and for his widespread promotion of Puerto Rican culture and identity.

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