Archive | January, 2009


[lang_en]2008 La Voz Del Paseo Boricua Person Of The Year[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro


Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez

For his visionary leadership carried out in words and deeds as exemplified in the following:

• During the annual fundraiser gala for Claridad, the newspaper of the Puerto Rica Nation – where he engaged Puerto Rico’s legendary artist Antonio Martorell in a historic conversation on “The Politics of Art and the Art of Politics,” demonstrating his skillful oratory and his profound sense of Puerto Ricaness.

• In the helping to design an innovative approach to the immigration quagmire by enlisting citizens to petition for their undocumented partners, family members and friends.

• In the working out a compromise for the workers of Republic Windows through which they were able to get back, wages as well as to provide a Christmas meal and gifts for each worker and his/her family.

Runner Ups:

Wilfredo de Jesus

• For his national prophetic voice in making comprehensive reform a national agenda issue for evangelical Christians, as well as for his national promise as a Latino leader demonstrated by his selection as one of 15 Latinos to serve as advisers to President-Elect Obama.

• For building one of the largest Puerto Rican/ Latino churches in Chicago, which has put out a welcoming for the hurting.

Freddy Santiago

• For his courage in hosting the largest “Familia Unidas – Yá Basta” gathering in his church Rebaño, and for making the church much more accessible to the surrounding community.

• For his leadership in speaking out on important issues impacting the Latino community such as education, health and youth services.

Alderman Billy Ocasio

For his many heroic stands on behalf of our community manifested recently in the following:

• For being the only Alderman to oppose the City’s budget which hit the working class the hardest.

• For the creation of a summer leadership youth institute to instill a sense of values, responsibility and cultural awareness to our youth.

Mildred Amador

• For her consistency and perseverance in producing a documentary about the flags of Paseo Boricua, titled, “Flags of Steel.” This project will inform future generations about the story behind the creation of our monuments to the Puerto Rican Flag.

Alberto Carrero

• For his many years of service to Banco Popular and for transforming it into a Peoples Bank in our community and his leadership in the capital campaign to build our national museum, the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC).

Maddi Elga Amil

• For her deep-seated commitment to the development of Paseo Boricua as exhibited in her instrumental role in moving the office of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration from Downtown to our barrio. And also maintaining and expanding the only Puerto Rican bookstore on Paseo Boricua.

Efrain Vargas

• For having the vision and the practice that created Bickerdike’s “La Estancia Housing Complex” on Division and California with its “Garita” like façade reminiscent of our Viejo San Juan, as well as his longstanding efforts to build affordable housing in our community

Michelle Morales

•For her uncompromising advocacy for the human rights for the Puerto Rican people through the National Boricua Human Rights Network as an organization actively supporting the release of the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and the clean – up of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Nereida Áviles

• For her untiring work as supervisor of Humboldt Park, which has transformed the park into a true people’s park by making it welcoming, accessible and culturally vibrant.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]Fresh off of its New York premier and East Coast tour the fiercely innovative play Crime Against Humanity returns to Chicago![/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]After performing to over 5000 people throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Crime Against Humanity returns to its home venue in Chicago. The play has been featured in venues throughout the Midwest, the East Coast, and Puerto Rico. Crime Against Humanity, a National Boricua Human Rights Network and Teatro Batey Urbano production, begins a second Chicago run Friday February 6 at Batey Urbano (2620 W. Division) and will run every Friday and Saturday at 7pm throughout the month of February.  The play will also kick of its Midwest tour in March and is scheduled to return to New York, Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, Boston and Hartford for monthly runs in 2009.

The cast and crew of Crime against Humanity would like to truly thank every person that helped make 2008 east coast tour a success. We were happy to see so many people come out to the production at Hostos Center for Arts and Culture in the Bronx New York, Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia, La Paloma Sabanera in Hartford, Lawrence Community Works in Lawrence MA, St. Andrew’s Coffee Shop in Boston, and The Freedom School in Albany.

We are confident that with our radio interviews, news coverage, printed articles and internet promotion we reached millions of people. Through this production we hoped to contribute like so many before us to the freedom of our political prisoners and in turn the freedom of our nation. The play is just one tool in that struggle.

We thank every the press, and all of the organizations that spread the word to their list serves and contact lists, as well as thank every individual that passed out flyers printed and placed posters. Also, we thank those that housed us, fed us and shared their homes, and their spaces with us and all those who attended our performances, some leaving a few dollars, others giving hundreds. We greatly appreciate every person that organized a performance in his or her city or town. Thank you to the venues and all of those that gave their time to make sure our tour was a success.

As we head toward 2009 we should remember that this year will mark the 10th anniversary of freedom for 11 of our former political prisoners. We hope the play is just one of many tools that will help us reflect on that victory and will help us focus on the great challenge ahead. We are asking that in the spirit of this historic year we find ways to remember and activate people in the spirit of justice, equality and freedom for our remaining political prisoners.

As part of our national campaign to free the remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners we are asking that April 4, which is the 29th anniversary of their capture, be a day of commemoration. We would like organizations, individuals, and communities to hold an event in the spirit of resistance against US colonialism in Puerto Rico and for the release of the remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners. On behalf of the Crime Against Humanity’s cast and crew we hope to see yet another successful year toward the freedom of our prisoners.

For those interested, contact National Boricua Human Rights Network:

About Crime Against Humanity
Crime Against Humanity is a play based on the real life experiences of fourteen Puerto Rican political prisoners who spent more than two decades in prisons for seditious conspiracy—two of whom are still incarcerated. The play brings us into the U.S. prison system, focusing on the politically motivated use of isolation, selective punishment, sensory deprivation and disproportionate sentences. Written by poet and activist Michael A. Reyes Benavides and former Puerto Rican political prisoner Luis Rosa, the play confronts the physical and mental torture these prisoners endured for more than 27 years. It is a National Boricua Human Rights Network and Teatro Batey Urbano production.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]Yá Básta Campaign Launched in New York: Local Religious, Political and Civic Leaders Discuss Efforts to Stop Separation of Families[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro


On Saturday, December 13, a delegation from Chicago which included the Rev. Wilfredo de Jesus, Pastor of New Life Covenant Church, Alderman Billy Ocasio, Chairman of the Chicago City Council Human Relations Committee, Emma Lozano, President of Centro Sin Fronteras, and José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, met with distinguished elected officials and clergy from New York and New Jersey.

The purpose of this meeting, which was hosted by Assemblyman José Rivera at Hostos Community College, was to discuss the campaign to stop the raids, deportations and separation of families due to broken US immigration laws. During this historic gathering, the Chicago delegation presented the model developed by Congressman Luis Gutierrez. The model includes hosting in local churches town hall meetings focused on immigration reform and enlisting US citizens to petition for their undocumented loved ones. These petitions are to be presented to President Elect Barack Obama by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to remind him of his commitment to address the issue of immigration reform within the first 100 days of his administration.

The following prominent clergy, lay leaders and elected officials participated actively in the event: Bishop Dr. Hector Bonano, Bishop D. Timothy Burkett, Rev. Michael Carrion, Rev. Daniel Delgado, Chaplain Ray Fraticelli, Rev. N. J. L’ Heureux Jr., Rev. Ephraim Rivera, Rev. Miguel Rivera, Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, Rev. Joshua Rodriguez, Bishop Angelo Rosario, and Rev. Gabriel Salguero. Local elected officials included State Assemblyman Peter Rivera, Maria Rodriguez, Representative of Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro, and Melissa Mark Viverito, District 8 Councilwoman. Civic leaders included Jasmine Calvasquin, Daniel Figueroa III Esq, Ralph Morales, Charles Orvall, Dion Powell, and Joel Ray Rivera.

An ad-hoc coordinating committee was created to plan a January 10th, 2009 town hall meeting in New York, similar to one carried out in Chicago. Furthermore, the committee will strategize future work.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]Innovative After School Program Showcases Talents of Humboldt Park Youth Provides Alternatives through Arts, Culture, Technology and Community[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en] Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos

Rare is the opportunity to honor the academic and creative achievements of youth outside of school. On December 19, such a celebration took place on Paseo Boricua for the culmination of the second cycle of the Barrio Arts, Culture, and Communication Academy (BACCA). BACCA is an innovative after school program developed by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) in collaboration with the Capilla del Barrio Community Chapel and funding from the Bethany United Hospital Fund. BACCA served, for eight-weeks, 18 high school-age youth, mostly from Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) and other Humboldt Park-area schools.

BACCA addresses the high drop-out/push-out rates in the Humboldt Park community that, as a result, most mainstream media outlets portray as a wild jungle overridden by dangerous and uneducated youth. Therefore, BACCA seeks to integrate community, culture, and alternative media to empower youth to be agents of change and inspiration in their community. The program also seeks to develop the assets that youth already have but are rarely acknowledged in standard educational programs and schools. The different classes that exist are Radio, Multimedia (a combination of graphic design and photography), Skateboarding, and Participatory Democracy. Participants are able to choose which of these classes they would like to join, with the latter class being taken by all students.

On December 19, BACCA hosted an event to showcase the application of BACCA’s vision through the different programs. Attended by over 60 youth, parents, and community residents, it was some of the participants’ first time speaking and presenting to an audience. The Participatory Democracy students read poetry and stories that addressed their thoughts and experiences on the issue of gentrification/displacement of longtime residents from Humboldt Park due to rising rents and expensive housing development. The class is a civic engagement piece that seeks to redefine community and youth organizing.  Marilyn Pérez, 17, a junior at PACHS received loud applause for her piece that exclaimed, “The reason we fight for this community is because it’s unique and lively/ Like no other/ Paseo Boricua/ A place I would never want to see die/A place if it gets destroyed I would suffer and cry…”

The Multimedia class, which produced a full-colored book of their work, discussed the subject of identity through graphic design, photography, and poetry. The themes of community, family, culture, and adolescence served as an inspiration for their dynamic works of art and creativity. The class also produced a small video documentary about BACCA with student interviews and a CD that included the work of the different BACCA classes.

Probably the most unlikely class for an after school program was Skateboarding, which presented many artistic creations. Reclaiming community history is an important concept of BACCA, and skateboarding as an increasingly popular form of inner-city youth recreation is a part of that. Skateboarding and Hip-Hop are almost forgotten pieces of Puerto Rican history in the diaspora. The class researched and discussed that history as well as designed their very own skateboards. A huge, colorful timeline created by the students was displayed at the event.

The last class to present was Radio, which showcased their skills in ProTools and other voice recording software with clips of insightful testimonials and interviews about alternative schools, gentrification, and personal triumphs.

At the end of the successful event, which included catering by Nellie’s Puerto Rican Restaurant, the audience filled-out comment cards that will be used for a program evaluation being conducted by Dr. Michele Kelley of the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health.

“I hope that they could take what they learn from BACCA and be able to go out into the world and be critical of the other works that they see in photography, radio, and film…and how they can be the ones to tie media to their communities,” said Samuel J. Vega, who was a student in BACCA’s first cycle and is now a university student of media at Northeastern Illinois University.

For more information on BACCA, please contact: 773-342-8023.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]2008 Top Ten Events In Humboldt Park[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro


• 100 x 35 campaign

• Premiere of Flag of Steel

• 30th Peoples Parade

• Crime Against Humanity Play

• Premiere of Nothing Like the Holiday

• 15th Annual Fiesta Boricua

• 20th Anniversary Vida/SIDA

• Premiere of Chicago’s Puerto Rican Story

• Casa Puertorriqueña Presidential Election

• Petition Drive for a Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Rebaño Church.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]La Voz Welcomes New Office Sen. “Willie” Delgado on Paseo Boricua Grand Opening On Three Kings Day Tues. Jan. 6, 2009, 2pm[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]On Three Kings Day (January 6), Senator William “Willie” Delgado will open his office on Paseo Boricua (2708 W. Division St.). This important development will facilitate the community’s access to the State Senate and State Government. Since his election to the Senate, Delgado has wanted a more direct linkage to his old constituents, people he originally represented as State Representative.

He clearly understands the importance of connecting the people directly to government – a practice which has always distinguished him. In connection with this move Delgado states, “For me it is an honor to be on Paseo Boricua – between the two flags. I hope to share with the community and, in particular, with the temple – The Puerto Rican Cultural Center Juan Antonio Corretjer. And, thus, to help to continue promoting our culture and raising our flag high. This will allow me to be among the businesses, neighbors and agencies more intimately. I hope to serve as your legislator.”

La Voz del Paseo Boricua warmly welcomes our Senator to Paseo Boricua. Senator Delgado now joins our other extremely committed  elected officials like Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, State Representative Cynthia Soto and Alderman Billy Ocasio who have made Division St. their place of work.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]Paseo Boricua Again Leaves Deep Impressions in New York City [/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos

From small and concentrated exiled communities of tobacco workers to entire, scattered metropolises defined by our presence, the people of Borinquen in the US – the Puerto Rican Diaspora – have transformed the concept of a “homeland.” In the Diaspora our most sacred symbol was created: the Puerto Rican flag on December 22, 1895. During that month, 113 years later, a group of 50 Boricuas, mostly high school and university students, from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) on Paseo Boricua, Chicago visited New York City for the third year in a row to celebrate and honor that history and to make connections with the other side of the Diaspora.
“The realities that we face as a marginalized people are complex. Trips like the one to New York allow us to take steps towards understanding that complexity,” says Erica Granados De La Rosa, 18, a junior at Loyola University.

A Chicago-based Batey Urbano theatrical piece that is making earthquakes in the political and artistic scenes, “Crime Against Humanity,” premiered at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx to nearly 300 spectators. The play is a series of monologues that tearfully and joyfully details the multiple hardships of nearly a dozen of the Puerto Rican political prisoners.
Our Paseo Boricua group also visited the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, the oldest and most prestigious Puerto Rican archival and library institution in the country. PACHS also participated in a Three Kings Day workshop at the Museo del Barrio, the only Latina/o-focused art museum in the city.

As ambassadors of the Paseo Boricua community, students of PACHS developed an increased sense of pride in their school. Shouts of “Albizu Campos!” filled the streets, subways wherever the students went. They returned to Chicago with a newfound interest in creative cultural expression and will be working on a youth poetry compilation called the “Paseo Boricua Renaissance.”

This trip was also the first time that a coalition of Boricua and Latina/o university students from Chicago met with Puerto Rican student organizations in New York. The new university student coalition, M.L.I, met with members of Acción Boricua at Columbia University for a dialogue of student issues and a way to solidify a Diaspora student network. One of the members Raúl “Rulis” Serrano, 18, who is a freshman at Northeastern Illinois University commented that, “It helped me see education as not only a key to success but a way to understand social injustices.”

For our final day we participated in an annual event in honor of the Puerto Rican flag, as special guests of the influential Bronx politician Assemblyman José Rivera, which also happens to be around his birthday. The event takes place in the grand auditorium of Hostos Community College, an institution birthed and maintained from the struggle of the Puerto Rican community in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. With the carnivalesque sounds of the trumpets and panderetas, the celebration showcased multiple Puerto Rican forms of music.

“I believe the New York trip was important because… I was given the chance to learn about my history and my culture…” says Jessie Fuentes, 17, a senior at PACHS. “The trip was a real eye opener. The many young people [on the trip were] so well rounded and passionate about their community and education…” says Serrano.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]3rd Annual Street Lighting Ceremony Brightens Hearts on Paseo Boricua Local Heroes Honored by Alderman Ocasio[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro


by Jonathan Rivera

On the brutally cold evening of December 11, Alderman Billy Ocasio (26th Ward) was joined by community residents and leaders to celebrate the 3rd Annual Paseo Boricua Street Lighting Ceremony.

In past years, the ceremony took place in Humboldt Park on the corner Division and California. This year, the ceremony was held in front of the one and only Lily’s Record Shop (2733 W. Division). This was done to honor Carmen Martínez (owner of Lily’s Record Shop) for her commitment towards Paseo Boricua. Along with Carmen Martínez, another Paseo Boricua resident was honored as well. His name is José Rivera, an employee of the Division Street Business Development Association (DSBDA) who is responsible for maintaining Paseo Boricua clean and inviting. This humble man “has been a custodian of our street for the past year and nobody takes notice of him; I’m so happy my Alderman is honoring him,” remarked community resident, Doña Wilfrida.

Once Ocasio finished honoring Carmen Martínez and José Rivera, the moment arrived to transform Paseo Boricua into our version of the Magnificent Mile. After taking a moment to admire the beautiful lights, the crowd embraced one another as Alderman Ocasio invited all the children present to attend the Three Kings Day Winter Festival on Paseo Boricua, which includes a parade and toy give away to be held on Tuesday, January 6, 2009.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]2nd Annual ¡Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! Parranda on Paseo Boricua[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro


Humboldt Park community residents gathered at Batey Urbano (2620 W. Division) to prepare for one of Puerto Rico’s most cherished cultural traditions. This tradition, which has taken place for over a century in Puerto Rico, has finally made its way onto the streets of the chilly Windy City.

Despite the wicked wind, nearly 100 people came out to participate in the 2nd annual ¡Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! Parranda on Paseo Boricua on December 20. The sounds of panderetas, tamboriles, güiros, maracas and palitos unleashed into the eardrums of everyone on Paseo Boricua.

The Parranda visited Paseo Boricua businesses such as Café Colao, La Bruquena, Yauco Liquors, Latin American, Lily’s Record Shop, La Plena, Luquillo Barbershop, and Papa’s Cache. It ended at the Teresa Roldán Apartments on Paseo Boricua, where the building residents and all who participated in retaining the holiday spirit were welcomed to dance, sing, drink hot chocolate, play dominoes, and eat a delicious Puerto Rican meal. All in all, old man winter could not ruin our Caribbean ritual as it turns out that the spiritual warmth inside of all Puerto Ricans proved more powerful. Organized by the ¡Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! campaign, which is a project of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, with support from Alderman Billy Ocasio (26th Ward) the parranda was yet another example of how important it is to maintain our culture as we fight against gentrification and in the process, keep our traditions strong for future generations.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]DePaul’s Steans Center and P.R.C.C. Partnership Honored by Illinois Campus Compact’s Carter Award $15,000 to address critical health, social and culture issues[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro


A seven-year collaboration between DePaul and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) in Humboldt Park earned top honors from Illinois Campus Compact when it was named winner of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation Award.
The Irwin W. Steans Center for the community-based Service Learning and the PRCC will share the award’s  $15,000 purse and continue addressing jointly critical health, social and cultural issues affecting Puerto Rican and Latino communities. “The creation and maintenance of a true partnership between a university and a community is an exercise in listening, planning and mutual respect,” says Howard Rosing, Steans’ executive director. That approach was validated by a selection committee of higher education, business, government and community leaders who recognized the beneficial relationship it sustained as they reviewed applications from 14 Illinois Campus Compact members vying for the prestigious Carter Award.

Illinois Campus Compact consists of 42 universities, colleges and their presidents, who are highly committed to service-learning and civic engagement. It’s the state’s affiliate for a national coalition of more than 1,100 institutions that put these values into action.[/lang_en]

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