Archive | May, 2009

Tags:

[lang_en]Dean of City Council Alderman Burke proclaims Ocasio “El Maestro”[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

On Wednesday, May 13, the City Council of Chicago expressed its gratitude to Alderman Billy Ocasio for 16 years of service to Chicago. Council members from across the political spectrum – from diverse ethnic and racial communities – individually stood up to acknowledge Ocasio’s tireless work and unparallel legacy. They spoke about his leadership in such issues as housing, community development, community empowerment, education, human rights, and human relations. Through a myriad of personal anecdotes, they shared the ways in which Ocasio has made an indelible mark in the city’s political and social landscape. City Clerk Miguel Del Valle’s reading of a powerful and concise resolution dedicated to him best captured the spirit of homage. A standing ovation followed.

Mayor Daley spoke of the many contributions of Ocasio and highlighted their close friendship. The most moving and unexpected gesture came from Alderman Burke, who is the Dean of the City Council. Burke began by stating that he echoed all of the previous comments, but that he wanted to make a final point. He recalled how many years ago, Billy Ocasio had introduced him to the Puerto Rican figure, Pedro Albizu Campos, who had been a principled advocate of the Irish freedom struggle. Burke noted that the Puerto Rican people affectionately and respectfully called Albizu Campos – “El Maestro.” He concluded by proclaiming Ocasio “El Maestro” of the City Council. For the second time, the entire chamber stood to its feet and gave Ocasio a standing ovation.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

[lang_en]Governor Pat Quinn Names Alderman Billy Ocasio Senior Advisor[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

Governor Pat Quinn announced Alderman Billy Ocasio would join his administration as a senior advisor. In his position Ocasio will work closely with Governor Quinn on an array of important social justice issues that impact communities throughout the state.

“I look forward to working with Billy Ocasio,” said Governor Quinn. “All of Illinois will be well-served by his valuable experience in public policy and deep dedication to helping working families.”

Alderman Ocasio has served Chicago’s 26th Ward for over 16 years. In January 1993, Alderman Ocasio was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to complete the unexpired term of Luis V. Gutierrez, who was elected to Congress that previous fall. Prior to that appointment, Alderman Ocasio worked at various non-profit, community-based agencies including ASPIRA and LUCHA, organizations with long established roots in the community. Here he developed his skills and education in the fields of affordable housing, youth programs, and economic development.  Alderman Ocasio also serves as the chairman of the Chicago City Council Committee on Human Relations.
“I welcome the opportunity to join Governor Quinn’s Administration,” said Alderman Ocasio. “He is dedicated to opening up Illinois government to all the people and I am happy to join him in that reform effort.”

From the moment he was first appointed, Alderman Ocasio’s priority has been the well-being of his community. He has fought for and secured new schools and educational facilities for our community; He created and implemented a 26th Ward housing development strategy that established a solid base of quality, mixed-income housing that encourages diversity and benefits all segments of our community. He was instrumental in the development of the Elston/Logan/Western commercial district that has brought much-needed jobs and services to our residents. And it has been his unwavering dedication to his people that helped establish a “pedacito de patria” here in Humboldt Park.

While Alderman Ocasio will join the Governor’s staff in early June, and will be conducting much of his business in Springfield, he and his family will continue to call Humboldt Park their home.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]Humboldt Park Calls for Summer without Violence: Over 400 participate in Walk For Peace[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

On Saturday May 9, over 400 people took part in the 14th Annual Walk For Peace in Humboldt Park. Beginning at Roberto Clemente High School and concluding at the Humboldt Park Boat House, participants called for a summer without violence. Sponsored by the Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO) and La Capilla del Barrio, this year’s peace walk drew participants from various CeaseFire communities throughout the city and residents of Humboldt Park.

Also present was youth from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s (PRCC) after-school program the Barrio Arts, Culture and Communications Academy (BACCA). In preparation for the event, and in conjunction with their underage drinking prevention campaign, BACCA youth engaged in a discussion about the connection between alcohol abuse and violence. During the walk they disseminated postcards-created and designed through BACCA-with messages against underage drinking.

The peace walk also coincided with a fundraiser for the Roberto Clemente Robotics Team, one of the top robotics teams in the City. In a show of support the PRCC made a $200 contribution to the school, emphasizing that programs like BACCA and the robotics team provide positive alternatives for youth, helping to reduce urban violence and making the walk for peace a reality.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]La Voz Celebrates 5th Anniversary on Paseo Boricua[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

Over 200 people crowded Paseo Boricua’s La Estancia to celebrate La Voz del Paseo Boricua’s 5th anniversary. On April 25, local community leaders and residents gathered to support the work of La Voz and to pay homage to the La Voz Top Ten of 2008. In a spirit of Puerto Rican pride and affirmation, each of the Top Ten received a special commemorative plaque. Ald. Ocasio, one of the event’s honorees, was surprised by a large birthday cake that featured the Paseo Boricua flags.

The evening’s highlight was an impassioned speech by Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, who was named La Voz’s 2008 Person of the Year. Reflecting on his 22-city tour, Gutiérrez discussed the historic transformation currently underway throughout the country, signaling the key presence of Puerto Ricans within the immigration movement, as well as the growing unity between Catholics and Protestants. Gutiérrez stressed the importance of the political Latino agenda to the broader cause of social justice. Gutiérrez was given a portrait drawn by Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar López-Rivera.

La Voz would like to acknowledge its many supporters and readers, who have given us reason to continue publishing this newspaper. An infinite thanks to our community.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]Boricua PRIDE Sponsors IPRAC Fundraiser[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

One evening over dinner on Paseo Boricua, Marilyn Morales and Ruben D. Feliciano talked about the important contributions that the Boricua LGBTQ community has had in the development and advancement of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago.  For many years, these contributions had been unknown or underestimated. It spoke to the need to form a group composed of dedicated LGBTQ Puerto Rican professionals, which could fundraise and create awareness of Puerto Rican-driven initiatives in this community. Fresh in their minds was the important role that they had played in ensuring the successful re-election of Senator Iris Y. Martinez and how members of the Puerto Rican/Latina LGBTQ community rallied to support this effort.  Thus, the impetus for the creation of Boricua PRIDE was born.

One of the first tasks was to seek support from other LGBTQ Boricuas and discuss the idea. After several meetings, conversations, and phone calls to friends and supporters, a collective was formed and the buzz around the barrio was – Boricua PRIDE had been formed.  One of the first major initiatives that the group identified was the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC). What better way to collectively show their pride as Boricuas and LGBTQ than to play a pivotal role in the fundraising campaign underway to open an institute dedicated to Puerto Rican culture.

On May 7, this LGBTQ collective held its first event and officially came out as Boricua PRIDE. The effort to raise funds for IPRAC was received with overwhelming support from both the LGBTQ community and its allies at Tumbao Bar & Grill, which proudly displayed both the Puerto Rican and LGBTQ PRIDE flags in front of the business. Over two hundred people came to Tumbao and shared with Boricua PRIDE. The evening was filled with Bomba music and dance showcased by AfriCaribe, a dance presentation by Andy Cruz from the ensemble Soneros del Swing, spoken word from C.C. Carter and Janeida Rivera, a presentation on Boricua PRIDE co-chair by Liz Millan and some brief words of support from Pablo Medina from the Board of Directors of IPRAC, and Alderman Billy Ocasio, 26th Ward. There was also a silent auction, food provided by Tumbao Bar & Grill and open dance.

Boricua PRIDE would like to thank everyone that came out and supported for this effort. Members of the Boricua PRIDE collective are: Liz Millan, Ruben D. Feliciano, Marilyn Morales, Hilda Frontany and Jorge Felix. For more info, email: boricuapridechicago@hotmail.com.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]Life is Short, Laugh Hard! Comedians Help Raise Funds for El Rincon Clinic[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

New York actor/comedian Rich Ramirez and the Mikey O Comedy Crew recently teamed up to headline “El Show Latino” to raise funds for El Rincon Community Clinic. On April 23, Ramirez joined 11 other talented local comedians and presented a variety of sketches that included musical numbers, situational sequences and some stand up comedy. The show honored all things Puerto Rican and celebrates Puerto Rican Pride.

Rich Ramirez, a native Puerto Rican himself entertained the crowd with his own brand of observational comedy reviewing his life as a Puerto Rican (that appears to be of Indian descent) living in NYC.

The entire evening was organized and produced by Mike Oquendo of Mikey O Comedy Productions. All the proceeds from the evening went to benefit El Rincon Community Clinic a substance abuse treatment center that has served the Humboldt Park Community for over 37 years.

“This was our first fundraiser and I think it went very well thanks to all the talented comedians who gave of their time to support us and their community,” remarked Hilda Frontany, who sits on the Board of Directors of El Rincon. Executive Director Rolando Correa commented that the proceeds would help the organization better service children and families who are indirectly affected by the disease of substance use and abuse.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]Paseo Boricua’s Very Own Bike Shop Opens: Ciclo Urbano[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

José Luis Rodríguez

In the early evening of Friday, May 1, amidst a cool spring breeze, West Town Bikes made its ground-breaking move to Paseo Boricua by launching Ciclo Urbano, a new retail endeavor and youth program in partnership with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center – Juan Antonio Corretjer and the Division Street Business Development Association (DSBDA). Hundreds of people participated in a procession from West Town Bikes previous location on North Avenue to its new home on the southeast corner of Division and Campbell.

The procession, which was led by the marching band Mucca Pazza and comprised of community residents, both young and old, some on bikes, others walking carrying banners and waving Puerto Rican flags, made its way south down Campbell Street to yet another gathering of community residents anxiously awaiting the parade. Samuel Vega, of the Batey Urbano Collective, served as the DJ, mixing Puerto Rican rhythms welcoming the new business to Paseo Boricua.

There was a short program with Reverend Freddy Santiago of Rebaño Church leading the invocation. Speakers included Marisol Morales, Associate Director of the Stean Center at DePaul University; Eduardo Arocho, Executive Director of DSBDA; Alex Wilson, Executive Director of West Town Bikes and José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Each spoke on the importance of this new business to Paseo Boricua and the plans to launch new programs that focus on culture, health and wellness, community building, environmental responsibility, and affordable transportation alternatives.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]“El Gallito” Gutiérrez concludes 21-City Family Unity Tour Gives Rousing speech at rally in McCormick [/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

On Saturday, May 9, U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) concluded the first phase of a national effort to document the harm caused to U.S. citizens in the absence of a comprehensive immigration reform, in a rally held at the McCormick Place. Over 2,000 people were present to see “El Gallito” speak.

The rally called on President Barack Obama to act on his campaign promise to carryout immigration reform, recalling his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In his speech, Obama declared: “Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child.”

Joining Congressman Gutiérrez at the event where many prominent figures including Sen. Roland Burris, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Freddy Santiago, Rev. Lynette Santiago, Rev. Shanahan, Rev. Wilfredo de Jesús, State Rep. Susana Mendoza, Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, Ald. Billy Ocasio, Ald. Manny Flores, Ald. Danny Solis, immigrant rights activists Juan Salgado, Josh Hoyt, Emma Lozano and labor leader Tom Belanoff.

In his passionate and insightful speech, Gutiérrez referenced several times Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” drawing on important lessons of the Civil Rights struggle for justice. The Congressman concluded with the following appeal: “Though we have only just passed the first 100 days of the Obama administration, it is the 11th hour for our immigrant community, and there is no time to waste.”[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

[lang_en]Fijate– Bikes, Yuppies, and Internet bochinche[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos

“I am going to have a VERY hard time being at the Ciclo Urbano event if the No Se Vende people are talking about wanting white people to get the hell out in front of my children and waving Puerto Rican flags in our faces, ” wrote a new resident of Humboldt Park in an e-mail to the head of West Town Bikes on April 23.

Thus began a comedic fiasco well deserving of the title given to this commentary, but here is some background information first.

Humboldt Park, in the last few years, is a community where homes, full of memories, are bulldozed and gutted, where families are pushed away by ridiculous increases in rent and harassment by greedy developers and city inspectors, and age-old murals are covered-up.

It is in this current reality that West Town Bikes, which is a mostly white-owned and frequented bike shop in Humboldt Park, decided to open-up a shop on Paseo Boricua. And with surprise of some, all this took place with the strong support of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC). Why, you must be thinking, would an organization like the PRCC, which has been a leader in promoting and maintaining a Boricua cultural and business corridor along Division Street, facilitate this business’ arrival here?

Well, one of the answers is because Puerto Ricans bike too! Puerto Ricans in Humboldt Park also have huge health disparities, which has pushed-up the rates of diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The PRCC also has programs like CO-OP Humboldt Park and Muévete, which work on the issues of health, including promoting physical activity. And most importantly, it is because being pro-Puerto Rican does not mean being anti-white or anti-new resident.

Those Paseo Boricua flags are gates of welcoming and gates of dialogue. West Town bikes respects what the Puerto Rican community has worked so hard to create on Division Street and decided to join the dialogue with its new shop, Ciclo Urbano. They also planned to celebrate this new relationship by organizing a large procession from their old location with the PRCC’s Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! Campaign (HPNSV). However, not all new residents, including the one who sent the e-mail, is as respectful or understanding of all this.

The e-mail’s author (who I will call “angry neighbor,” since her personal identity is insignificant, but her actions are representative of a greater problem) also complained that HPNSV practices “reverse racism” and has a “nationalist platform.” The angry neighbor made it a point to proudly claim that she was white, despite the fact she is “half Hispanic” (her words), as a way to connect with the head of West Town Bikes. To sum it up, the e-mail’s tone was along the lines of “we need to do something about these Puerto Ricans.” West Town Bikes did not buy it, and we all enjoyed a procession on May 1 that involved over 200 people.

Sadly, divisive tactics like those of angry neighbor is something that will only further destroy all the work that people have put into developing Paseo Boricua. There is an ever-present sense of “yuppie isolationism,” where many angry new residents, longing for another Bucktown, seek to replace Paseo Boricua with their own visions of community instead of working with the existing community.

In the “city of neighborhoods” – a slogan that emerges from a horrendous history of racism and urban segregation – one can explore the world in only a few miles and a few minutes. In this global city one can find Pilsen, where México lurks in old Czech architecture and Bronzeville, the historic center of the “Black Metropolis.” One could also hear the loud sounds of Café Colao coffee brewing behind its counter, snapping its customers back to la isla.

Once I gave a tour of this community to a group of young basketball players from Puerto Rico, who never stepped foot outside the island. While I explained the meaning of some murals and pointed to the iron emblems detailing symbols of Boricua culture on the light poles, I overheard whispers of excitement: “Wow, I feel like I’m in Puerto Rico. I feel like I’m home.”

The communities that I mentioned suffer from stains of ghettoization, places where people of color were forced to occupy, but are beginning to experience cultural and economic rebirth – development from the vision of its longtime residents. Sadly, Chicago, like most U.S. cities, is on a path of Disneyland cookie-cutter dreams– a metropolis of Lincoln and Wicker Parks for miles and miles. Like Pilsen and Bronzeville, Paseo Boricua and all of Humboldt Park, is in the path of the slow-moving bulldozer called gentrification. Our destruction will only please people like the angry neighbor and that is why we cannot let it happen anymore.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Tags:

[lang_en]Boricua among top candidates for US Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, Federal Judge from New York[/lang_en]

Posted on 25 May 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

Sonia Sotomayor, a Federal judge on the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, born to Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx, is among the top candidates under consideration for the vacancy in the US Supreme Court.

Sotomayor, who will turn 55 next month, became the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a U.S. Circuit Court, studied at Princeton and earned her law degree from Yale in 1979. She began her career as an assistant district attorney, trying a wide range of criminal cases under longtime district attorney Robert Morgenthau. She entered private practice in 1984, and a supervisor there recommended six years later that she apply for a vacated federal seat.

President George Bush nominated Sotomayor in 1991 for the U.S. District Court, and she was confirmed the following year. In March 1995, her injunction against replacement players helped end the Major League Baseball strike. Two years later, President Clinton nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, the seat she would vacate if she were to be nominated and confirmed to replace Souter.[/lang_en]

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

RELATED SITES