Archive | February, 2012

Chicago’s Puerto Rican Community Makes History: IPRAC becomes a Museum In The Park

Posted on 19 February 2012 by alejandro

cheap cialis online

70″ />

(Chicago Park District Board of Commission)

 

(Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture)

 

– Wednesday, February 8th marks a new benchmark for Puerto Rican Chicago. On that date the Chicago Park District Board voted unanimously to designate IPRAC as a Museum In The Park. This momentous event caps off nearly 10 years of struggle by community leaders to establish IPRAC as a Museum In The Park. IPRAC now becomes the only museum in the United States exclusively dedicated to the artistic and cultural expressions of the Puerto Rican community; and joins the exclusive domain of such museums as the Museum of Science and Industry, the DuSable Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Ray Vázquez, Chairman of the Board of IPRAC, in expressing his gratitude to the board of commissioners of the Chicago Park District, stated: “This is a historic day for Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, but more importantly, it speaks to Chicago’s commitment to diversity. Today, all of Chicago should celebrate this momentous occasion.” There are many people who need to be thanked, too many to name here, but a special thanks must go out to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Pat Quinn, State Representative Cynthia Soto, Billy Ocasio and Carmen Lonstein. Without their efforts, this historic moment would not have been possible. A celebratory event will take place in the near future for community residents to partake in a celebration of IPRAC’s recent achievement and the major milestone it represents for the Humboldt Park residents and the Puerto Rican community.

3015 W. Division St. • www.IPRAC.ORG • www.Facebook.com/IPRAC

Comments (0)

Norwegian American Hospital Sees Significant Increase In Patient Satisfaction Scores

Posted on 19 February 2012 by alejandro

height=”181″ />

Since becoming President and CEO in October 2010, Mr. José R. Sánchez has made it his commitment to improve the quality of care provided to patients at Norwegian American Hospital. Recently, this commitment was confirmed with an overwhelming increase in its patient satisfaction scores.

The scores are compiled from the hospital’s NRC Picker Patient Satisfaction Survey data. The most recent results compared the 2010 data, to data from the first nine months of 2011 – January through September. Every area of the survey showed significant increases, and in some cases, a 20-percent increase was seen over the previous year.
Some of the highlights from the survey include: Percent of patients highly satisfied – In 2010, it was 42 percent, and in 2011, it went to 69.2 percent; patients who would definitely recommend Norwegian American Hospital to friends and family – In 2010, the score was 41 percent, then in 2011 it increased to 63.4 percent; and percent of doctors who always communicated well – In 2010, the hospital was at 64 percent, then in 2011, the percent went up to 71.6 percent.

“These results prove that all of the work that we have been doing since October 2010 has made a marked difference in the satisfaction of our patients and their general feelings about the quality of care that they receive, while they are at Norwegian American Hospital, said José R. Sánchez, President and CEO of Norwegian American Hospital. “It is because of our institution’s tireless effort and dedication to quality and patient safety that our scores have seen the highest increase in recent years.”

Since 1894, when Norwegian immigrants founded Norwegian American Hospital, the hospital has been known for its commitment to quality health care for the entire family. Norwegian American Hospital has consistently proven to be a stabilizing force in the community, all the while maintaining its strong reputation as a family-centered hospital.

With this increase in patient satisfaction scores, Norwegian American Hospital hopes to increase its abundant strengths in the communities it serves by continuing to serve in an urban, safety-net health care setting. Norwegian American Hospital will continue to expand and grow itself to serve the needs of its surrounding communities where many health disparities exists – Humboldt Park actually has one of the highest incidents of diabetes in the United States. Norwegian American Hospital is dedicated to maintaining Humboldt Park’s highest level health care provider.

###
Norwegian American Hospital is an acute care hospital on Chicago’s near northwest side. Norwegian provides high quality and compassionate health care services by partnering with patients, their families, our employees, physicians and the communities we serve. For more information about Norwegian American Hospital, visit www.nahospital.org.

Comments (0)

Two Peoples, One Struggle

Posted on 19 February 2012 by alejandro

buy cialis online now uk

=”360″ height=”203″ />

On January 14th, Batey Urbano and Existence Is Resistance hosted the Occupied Lands, Scattered Diasporas film series. With 120 individuals from both the Palestinian and Puerto Rican communities, the event was a symbol of solidarity. The Batey Urbano is a space where young people from our community can have meaningful discussions about the work around them.

What struck the Batey collective was how much Puerto Rico and Palestine have in common, and with the support and mentorship of one of Humboldt Park’s hip-hop artist, Lah Tere, Batey was able to understand this harsh reality. Colonialism has been the reality of Palestinians and Puerto Rican communities for decades. The occupation of both lands has resulted in the death of thousands; poverty has become a reality for most, and countless artifacts of culture have been destroyed.

In the struggle for freedom, these harsh conditions have created political movements, activists, and revolutionaries that fighting for a common cause. The documentaries “Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation,” directed by Nana Dankwa and “For Those Who Struggle,” a documentary about the campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who this year will have served his 31st year in federal custody, were shown and invited panelists led a discussion around occupation and what it would take for our lands to be unoccupied.
Batey Urbano is a safe space for all young people, and we strive to be able to provide productive alternatives for them. For more information, visit bateyurbano.net or email bateyurbano@gmail.com.

Jessie FuentesRich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl / Alt + Shift + B)Italic (Ctrl / Alt + Shift + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q)Align Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N)?
Toggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G)Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z)
FormatFormat?
UnderlineAlign Full (Alt + Shift + J)Select text color?
Paste as Plain TextPaste from WordRemove formattingInsert custom characterOutdentIndentUndo (Ctrl + Z)Redo (Ctrl + Y)Help (Alt + Shift + H)

On January 14th, Batey Urbano and Existence Is Resistance hosted the Occupied Lands, Scattered Diasporas film series. With 120 individuals from both the Palestinian and Puerto Rican communities, the event was a symbol of solidarity. The Batey Urbano is a space where young people from our community can have meaningful discussions about the work around them.
What struck the Batey collective was how much Puerto Rico and Palestine have in common, and with the support and mentorship of one of Humboldt Park’s hip-hop artist, Lah Tere, Batey was able to understand this harsh reality. Colonialism has been the reality of Palestinians and Puerto Rican communities for decades. The occupation of both lands has resulted in the death of thousands; poverty has become a reality for most, and countless artifacts of culture have been destroyed.
In the struggle for freedom, these harsh conditions have created political movements, activists, and revolutionaries that fighting for a common cause. The documentaries “Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation,” directed by Nana Dankwa and “For Those Who Struggle,” a documentary about the campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who this year will have served his 31st year in federal custody, were shown and invited panelists led a discussion around occupation and what it would take for our lands to be unoccupied.
Batey Urbano is a safe space for all young people, and we strive to be able to provide productive alternatives for them. For more information, visit bateyurbano.net or email bateyurbano@gmail.com.
Jessie Fuentes
Path:

Comments (0)

“Loíza in Chicago”

Posted on 19 February 2012 by alejandro

buy cialis online

60″ height=”240″ />

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), in partnership with University of Puerto Rico Professor Luis Orlando Casiano, has organized the exhibition: “ Loíza in Chicago”. This exhibition presents ten costumes and masks, as well as photos by Miami-based photographer Tony Arruza that present an overview of the history and contemporary manifestations of the celebration of The Festival of Loíza, an annual celebration held in Puerto Rico.

The Festival of Loíza is one of the oldest festivals held in Puerto Rico. Its roots dates back to 12th century Spanish Christian traditions combined with African Yoruba symbolism, which evolved into a modern ritual. Over time, the Vejigante festivals have become part of Puerto Rico’s native folklore culture celebrated not only in Loíza, but in towns and cities, such as, Hatillo and Ponce.

The Loiza Vejigante costumes and masks are brightly colored, bat-like forms that cover the entire body. Used in processions and ceremonies throughout the island, Vejigantes, link its people to Spanish and African origins. For this exhibition, the PRAA has focused on Vejigantes of Loíza, in order to focus on one region where Christian and African traditions have merged.
The feast day of St. James the Greater Apostle observed every July 12, marks the beginning of the festival season in Puerto Rico. Historically, Vejigante is a demon-like character that dances in the festival parades. The term Vejigante derives from the word vejiga (bladder) and gigante (giant) because cow bladders were blown up and painted for use in the processions. In the 12th century, St. James, patron saint of Spain, was believed to have led a Spanish militia to win a battle over the Moors. The Vejigante represented the Moors. By the 17th century it was typical to see processions in Spain in which Vejigantes, or masked demons, walked the streets in an effort to scare people into going to church. The tradition came to Puerto Rico with the Spanish Conquest and evolved with African influence.

This exhibition is the PRAA’s first program in its new location in a formerly vacant firehouse, located at Milwaukee and Central Park Avenue. We invite everyone to visit us at one of Chicago’s newest leading Latino/Puerto Rican cultural facility.

The PRAA expresses its gratitude to Professor Luis Orlando Casiano Torres of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, for his essay contribution for the exhibit catalog and expertise as a costume maker. We also thank famed mask-maker artisan Raul Ayala for his craftsmanship in the making of the vejigante masks for the exhibition.
The PRAA is grateful to the Chicago Community Trust, Illinois Arts Council and City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events for their support. Special thanks to AfriCaribe, Aspira of Illinois, Southwest Airlines, Wintrust Community Banks, LISC: Logan Square New Communities Program, Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The exhibition will travel to the South Shore and Douglas Park Cultural Centers, as part of PRAA’s Chicago Park District’s Arts Partners in Residence Program.

Comments (0)

Boricuascape

Posted on 19 February 2012 by alejandro

canadian viagra

My great-grandfather, Marcos Burgos Santiago, died at the age of ninety-nine. His funeral, as my cousin Denise recalled, was larger than life. It seemed as if the entire town came to pay their respects to the oldest man that they knew. He had never lived anywhere else but in Juncos, Puerto Rico, in the same barrio, just like his parents before him. His house, once made up of dirt floors and a tin roof, now serves a new generation of family residing comfortably behind concrete walls. I remember still how he would show me, with pride, a missing part of his finger, chopped off from a machete while he worked harvesting sugarcane. In a way, he was showcasing how much the land was bounded to him and to the extent in which it left its mark.

Though he lived what many would call a long and full life, one thing haunts me. Born at the turn of the 20th century, Don Marcos resided completely under the rule of the United States. Almost one hundred years of life and he never knew what it meant to live in freedom. He knew love, being married to my great-grandmother for nearly seventy years. He knew pain, having comforted his six-year-old daughter, as she lay in her death bed, waiting for his return from the fields so as to pass finally into oblivion. But not freedom. Even worse, nor did his parents, who lived under Spanish rule, or their parents before them. Five-hundred-years have passed and Puerto Rico remains a colony, property of another country with a government that does not nor is expected to have our interests or our feelings in mind. Even the most ardent pro-statehooder acknowledges this. The same for some populares, if you catch them in a bar on a warm Saturday evening. Five. Hundred. Years.

There was more for Don Marcos to care about, of course, than some nebulous and abstract concepts like freedom, self-determination, and a representative democracy that shares a stage among a league of nations. He had to feed his family (made increasingly difficult by the guzzling-up of arable land by corporate greed that transformed the island into a sugar monopoly).
He had to ensure a formal education for his children (who were taught that Spanish was a primitive language and that their forefather was George Washington). His severed finger was a life-long indicator of his endurance and hard-work. But such a scar dug deeper than it appeared to be. It cloaked the entire island. The ugly and disgusting scar of colonialism.
Like millions of others, Don Marcos’ son left the barrio for the fields of New Jersey and then to the decaying Chicago metropolis, to make a new life with his wife and children. None ever returned to live among the yellow flamboyan trees and probably never will. But we should shed no more tears. Although the island is of a far spatial and temporal distance, it is an undeniable spiritual center of our existence. Our beloved Zion.

However, we have not only extended the boundaries of an ethno-cultural nation located on the island, but in some ways, constructed a parallel national experience. It is too difficult for those, like Don Marcos, who never left, to fully and deeply connect with the poetry of Pedro Pietri, or the prose of Nicholasa Mohr, or some of the plays of Jose Rivera. We are diaspora people with our own distinctiveness. More importantly, we inhabit lands that we call our own.

A little over a month ago, I asked a close friend to explore with me the Puerto Rican communities of Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn, places, like El Barrio in Manhattan, where her own grandparents migrated to. As we traveled through locations with street-signs marking “Avenue of Puerto Rico” and “Borinquen Place” we soon realized that the eroding murals depicting urban jibaros and palm trees spoke to a Golden Age long dislodged from reality.
With the exception of a few cars blasting reggaeton and rows of housing projects that reflect our state-sponsored ghettoization, this side of Brooklyn was visibly absent of a once bustling Puerto Rican enclave. Although the street was teeming with young, white “hipsters” visiting store-front art galleries, it was as if we were metaphysically stranded in a desert. The life we were seeking did not exist but in our memories, so nothing around us stimulated our senses. We longed for a place we could call home.

Mari and I both have homes, though, and in historic Puerto Rican communities too; the South Bronx and Humboldt Park, respectively. Just as my family could travel outside of their small town and experience the landscape of their nation, the possibility also exists in the diaspora. Similar to the Black, Chicana/o, and Native American experiences, while we have settled in clusters in diverse and disparate areas throughout the U.S., we have an opportunity to witness our communities and to share our histories and struggles. This is how we develop(ed) a collective identity and potentially find a forum from which we seek solutions to our ills.

Moreover, such a dynamic expands the “va y ven” paradigm that conceptualizes a multi-linear route between U.S. cities and towns towards and from the island. I propose to you that there simultaneously exist, especially in settlement and occupation patterns, a movement between the diaspora enclaves. Unfortunately, not so much in terms of dialogue and community-building efforts.

Many times we speak of “our people” as some amorphous tangled body living in the air. Though we are not all inhabiting rigid geographic areas, there are numerous locations, such as in Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Chicago, where we have constructed community for generations; where our artistic and political expressions have blossomed. The areas, oftentimes left to us in disarray, have also been loci of a decolonization process, because in them we have exhibited what was denied to us on the island, denied from Don Marcos: self-determination.
But colonialism stalks us wherever we lay our feet, this time in the form of gentrification that rips away the freedom for self-dewfinition and self-reliance. We must begin then to imagine ourselves as conducting a distinct national experience rooted, like my great-grandfather’s hands, in land. Subsequently, we will realize our immense responsibility to each other in composing a country-wide challenge to the most alarming and destructive force facing us today.

In other words, displacement in Graham Avenue in Bushwhick should be just as important to Clark Avenue in Cleveland or Park Street in Hartford, because they all inhabit a vast Boricuascape. Without such a vision and action-plan, our descendants too may lament over a burden that should have been kept from them long ago.

Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos

Comments (0)

Give Me El Gran Combo or Give Me DEAFness – 50th Year Anniversary Interview with Rafael Ithier

Posted on 19 February 2012 by alejandro

buy cialis

While we all have our favorite musicians: past, present and futuristic; baby, I was made to El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico’s music. While many musical talents are worth mentioning, to me, none are more deserving than thee. I hereby exercise my First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech to wit: “El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico as a whole and each individual member, past and present, are phenomenon’s in their field.” Since 1962, this group of Salsa Gods has been touring the world enticing all ears and teaching the world that Salsa genre is timeless, distinguished, classy, well-formed as well as exceptionally lyricfied. Their songs are magically conformed to everyday Latin life-expressions. It’s internationally identifiable; just read some of their song titles below:

– El Matrimonio
(Matrimony)
– La Receta de Amor
(Love’s recipe)
– Sin Salsa no Hay Paraiso
(Aint’ no paradise without Salsa)
– Me Liberé
(I’m liberated!)
– Jala Jala
(Pull-Pull)

Rafael Ithier, who will turn 86 years of age this year, was first seduced by music at the tender age of 8. His first job at age 8, was as a guitarist for a group named “Conjunto Lucerito” in which he earned a quarter per gig. While his dream was to be a baseball player, the economic hardship at home and the death of his father, forced him to continue earning a living as a musician.
Today he stands a legend. As so, he remains a serene, pleasing and sympathetic humble man. So humble in fact, that when you hear my interview, the tone is that of one catching up with a family member.
Rafael was born in “La Perla” of Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1926, born to Nicolas and Merida Ithier. Rafa’s first influence was his father, a guitarist. Another great influence was his uncle Salvador, also a guitarist and a vocalist for a group named “Trio Borinquen” de Rafael Hernández Marín. It would seem as though, as many Puerto Ricans in similar times, he was forced to work rather than pursue an education. Lucky for us, he did not pursue an education in commercial business administration, as he once wished; instead, right after his military career, he took his hunger for business and talent for music and took his steps into what culminated in the empire we know today to be “El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.”
While speaking to him, I realized how the most monumental moments in each of our lives start with one instant. Rafa’s moment came right after he was discharged from the military; he sought out his buddies (Cortijo y su Combo) to reunite and celebrate his return. At the time they were at a radio station doing a show, they pulled him in to perform and that’s how, in a nutshell, his road to El Gran Combo began.
While Rafa attributes much of his success to his experience as a band member, among others, to “Cortijo y su Combo” it goes without saying that his longevity has proved successful. Similarly, to date he has upheld and continues to infect all members with a professional expectation and demeanor that entails responsibility on the part of all members as well as timeliness and seriousness for the art. He explained to me that he instilled in each member to look at the group for what it is, “a job,” and it’s to be taken serious. He mentioned that pleasures and business should never be mixed. Obviously, this explains El Gran Combo’s long-term success.

 

Interview:

Transcription:
(M/Madeline) (R/Rafael)

M: ¿Qué consejo le daría usted a los artistas salseros jóvenes para llegar a la grandeza de El Gran Combo?
R: Bueno, que sean responsables, que sean disciplinados, que huyan de los vicios y las drogas y que se respeten a ellos mismos para que puedan respetar a los demás, verdad? Porque si uno no se respeta a uno mismo, no puedes respetar a los demás; esto está demás pa’ decirlo. Lo ve? Y que se dediquen a eso, si se van a dedicar.
M: En su opinión profesional como director de El Gran Combo, ¿cómo es que han podido llegar ustedes a poder celebrar 50 años de aniversario, qué ha sido “la caña”, verdad, lo más esencial de un grupo salsero para poder llegar a esta larga trayectoria de 50 años?
R: Bueno, como te dije, nosotros hemos sido bastante responsables, yo pienso, que nosotros hemos tenido la dicha, verdad, de tener una serie de cooperación de los medios de comunicación que han sido muy cooperadores con nosotros. Y pienso que eso también ayuda, porque eso hace falta la promoción. Y nosotros, pues yo pienso, hemos sido bastante responsables. No somos ni estamos locos, ni se nos sube a la cabeza que, ¿cómo se dice?, que somos grandes estrellas. Sabemos que tenemos que trabajar con responsabilidad y yo creo que esos han sido los motivos, las razones por la cuales hemos sido tan disciplinados. No permitimos vicios aquí que sean exagerados ni cosas de drogas; eso no se permite en El Gran Combo. Pienso que ése ha sido el motivo y razón por lo cual El Gran Combo ha durado tanto.M: ¿Qué ha sido lo más difícil de ser el director de El Gra
Combo?
R: Bueno, lo más difícil ha sido, sobre todo, naturalmente, tratar de bregar con doce o trece caracteres diferente, verdad? Y crearles conciencia de que nosotros, todos, tenemos un propósito. “YO NO SOY EL GRAN COMBO, EL GRAN COMBO SOMOS TODOS NOSOTROS.”
El mismo empeño que yo pongo, tienen que ponerlo todos. Y la misma responsabilidad que yo tengo, tienen que tenerla todos. Y, tú sabes, cuando vienen nuevos, pues vienen con problemas de resabios y costumbres que traen de otros sitios, y esas cosas. Bueno, coordinar todo eso al extremo de que ellos entiendan y hayan creado conciencia, yo creo que lo han logrado. Saben que nosotros tenemos una responsabilidad, tú sabes, porque somos El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. Que nos miran como un símbolo, nos miran como unos representantes, una representación de Puerto Rico. Es una responsabilidad adicional para tocar más. O tocar bien o tocar mal, lo que sea. Y yo creo que ya los muchachos, a la edad que tenemos nosotros, pues ya sabemos y hemos creado conciencia de que eso es muy importante, y que eso hay que hacerlo y hacerlo bien. Todo bien que hagamos, pues nos va a beneficiar, y todo mal que hagamos, pues nos va a hacer daño. Yo creo que ya los muchachos tienen conciencia de todo eso. Y por eso yo creo que tú ves que no tenemos problemas en ese aspecto de decir que aquí no hay mucho resabio, ni muchas malas mañas, ni malas costumbres; porque somos responsables de que todo lo bueno que hagamos nos va a seguir beneficiando. El grupo está consciente de eso.
M: Que le puedes decir a su publico quien se preocupa que las futuras generaciones dentro de la salsa pierdan la humildez y sus fundamientos?.
R: Pienso que hay buenos muchachos, verdad, que están haciendo buena música, que quizás no tengan la promoción que tuvimos nosotros, porque ahora el asunto de la radio y la televisión se hace mas difícil. Y hay buenos artistas que si tuvieran quizás, la oportunidad de que los promovieran como nos promovieron a nosotros tantos años atrás, pues los ayudaría mucho, tú sabes. Pero, pienso que también hay muchos muchachos de éstos, muchachos jóvenes, verdad, que quizás no estén preparados para, como digo yo, recibir un aplauso. Se le da un aplauso y “pierden la tabla” como digo yo, verdad. Y entonces quizás no están preparados para eso; los aplauden dos veces y se le llena la cabeza de humo, y una serie de cosas que a la larga les hace daño. ¿Tú entiendes?
M: Exacto.
R: Pero cosas buenas, y talentos buenos hay de sobra, ¿tú endientes? Y yo pienso, verdad, que si se dedicaran de lleno a ésto y se olvidaran de los nombres de las posiciones que yo soy “number one,” y yo me como la gente viva y esas cosas y demás, pues van a llegar, porque talento tienen. Y es cuestión de que entiendan que esto es un trabajo, que esto es un negocio, que esto, mientras más accesible y humilde uno sea, pues más la gente te va a querer y más te va a admirar, ¿lo ves? Y entonces, pues… ¡Esto es mucha responsabilidad! Cuando vean que hay que empezar a las diez, es empezar a las 10, no empiezas a las 11. Y los vicios, tienen que eliminarlos, los vicios se acabaron. Eso es lo que rompe los paradigmas de las situaciones. Pero, yo creo que hay buen talento, si se empeñan pueden lograrlo, quizás no logren 50 años, pero yo pienso que vas a ver cosas dentro de 4 o 5 años, de mucha, mucha fuerza.

Mádeline Rodríguez

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

RELATED SITES