Archive | October, 2012


Greater Humboldt Park Diabetes Empowerment Center/72 Block by Block Announces Diabetes State of the Community Forum

Posted on 25 October 2012 by alejandro

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On Wednesday November 14th, Humboldt Park residents will come together for a unique event to improve the health of our community. In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Day, we will hold the first Diabetes State of the Community Forum at Rebaño Compañerismo Church at 2435 W. Division Street (Paseo Boricua) from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm. Organized by the Humboldt Park Block-by-Block Diabetes Study, this event will convene over 250 residents and leaders to learn some of the findings of this major NIH-sponsored study. The morning will begin with a Youth Empowerment Diabetes Summit that will bring together high school and college students from the Chicago area.

The Youth Summit will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will consist of two parts. The first part will be an educational presentation about the causes and problems of diabetes. For the second part, the students will break into workgroups to discuss specific things they can do to help themselves, their families, and their communities to prevent and controls diabetes.
At 11:00 a.m. will begin the Block-by-Block Report to the Community. This will be the first public opportunity to review the preliminary data from the Block-By-Block study, and to learn about the challenges and opportunities in addressing the growing problem of diabetes in Humboldt Park. The program will feature a panel presentation by Block-By-Block study participants. The forum will also be a celebration of the community’s accomplishments in the five years since the 2007 Summit on Diabetes and Latino Health Care, and a call to further action and organizing.

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Puerto Rican Agenda Release Historic Research On State of the Puerto Rican Community in Metro-Chicago:Tackles Gentrification, Education, Housing, Health, Youth and Justice Issues

Posted on 25 October 2012 by alejandro

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For the first time ever, a grassroots driven research project headed by two Puerto Rican scholars, Dr. Ralph Cintron of UIC and Dr. Maura Toro of ISU will examine the changing demographics of the metropolitan Chicago Puerto Rican community as well as its social and political implications. This research project tackles the major issues confronting the Puerto Rican community and posits policy changes to assure a better future. The Puerto Rican Agenda is an ad hoc committee which meets on a monthly basis to chart the course and undertake important efforts to stabilize Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. For more than a decade, this group of Puerto Rican community leaders has been involved in initiating, supporting and implementing efforts which have produced some startling results including but not limited to the following:

• A community of Wellness initiative which has harnessed more than 15 million dollars in the past five years in the area of health, particularly in those that disporptiontionaly affect the Puerto Rican community such as asthma, aids, diabetes and obesity.
• The Community as a Campus concept which seeks to harness the community’s social capital to improve the quality of education in the schools of the greater Humboldt Park community, particularly Roberto Clemente High School and its feeder schools, which has already produced some important results including the designation of Clemente High School as the first non-selective enrollment wall-to-wall IB high school in the world. As well an invitation by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation to submit a proposal for a planning grant that would initiate the three institutes of the Campus plan.
• The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture as the only museum in the United States dedicated to the expression of Puerto Rican arts and culture and recently designated as the City of Chicago’s 11th Museum in the Park.
• The articulation of a community-wide proposal to the state, including the local legislators, which has resulted in over 30 million dollars in capital funding for diverse institutions in the community.

The Agenda has announced the following processes in launching this seminal study:
• A breakfast meeting of the Agenda with the north side Latino elected officials to discuss policy recommendations to be held at Norwegian American Hospital on Friday November 9th.
• A Puerto Rican leadership summit to be held on Saturday December 1st. Time and location TBD. During this summit, copies of the study will be made available as well as a discussion around the issues raised in the study about the future of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community.
• A press conference will be held in Springfield, Illinois during the Veto session to articulate the policy goals from the study.

The Puerto Rican Agenda is sure that this research study will not only elucidate the Puerto Rican reality of Chicago but also provide perspectives for the future of our diasporic community.

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A Response to Huffington Post Yellow Journalism

Posted on 25 October 2012 by alejandro


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In an August 27th letter that appeared in the Huffington Post, Matt Farmer wrote extensively on his search for the paper trail within CPS documenting how this decision was made, and heavily criticized the decision to make Clemente an International Baccalaureate school. The insinuation that Clemente High School is not deserving of the designation as an International Baccalaureate is devoid of any facts or contextual framework of the educational vision that the Greater Humboldt Park community has been developing for the past three years under the rubric of the Community as a Campus. In this plan, Clemente and it’s satellite schools are organized:

• to create an aligned curriculum across all area schools

• to create a community-wide network of support is created for students, parents and educators.

• to harness the social capital of the community to provide a seamless academic pipeline of services that will link pre-schools and elementary schools to a high school hub and higher education institutions.

• to provide opportunities for early engagement of learners in pre-schools and full day kindergartens, programatic options at the elementary and high school levels to include STEM, Montessori, Fine Arts and Culture, Dual Language, Culinary Arts and Dual Enrollment programs that build on classroom learning which are aligned with rigorous state standards and outcomes.

• to provide wrap around social services to all learners by community based agencies, and post-secondary preparation to include pathways into health, teaching, engineering and technology, urban agriculture and retention services from our College and University partners.
The community has been working with CPS for over a year and a half to make this plan a reality. The designation of Clemente as an International Baccalaureate is a response to the communities efforts to create quality education.

Had Matt Farmer and the Huffington Post covered the press conference on June 21, 2012, where the designation was announced, it would have noticed that all sectors of the community were represented and that they were all in support of the designation of Clemente as an International Baccalaureate and the adoption of the IB standards as the framework the Community as a Campus would be articulated through.
Matt Farmer and the Huffington Post should have made an effort to contact community stakeholders to learn about the process that has taken place and is responsible for Clemente being designated as an International Baccalaureate High School, instead of making assumptions based on politically motivated forms of yellow journalism. Had they done so, they would have found an abundance of work taking place throughout the community to transform the schools in the Humboldt Park community to ensure they’re preparing its residents for the jobs of the 21st century and is informed by the challenges of the informational age in a way that does not call for further spending of taxpayer dollars, but rather a different way of allocating already existing social capital and monetary resources.

What’s missing from this attempt to understand how this decision was reached?
At no point did Mr. Farmer or the Huffington Post reach out to members of the community to see what was going on or to get their perspective. Had they done so, they would have found an extensive community driven process that has formulated an educational vision to transform Clemente, its feeder schools and the surrounding community.
On June 18th of 2011, a community-wide summit attended by over 300 people was held to discuss the Community as a Campus concept. All the key community stakeholders were present that day as the concept was rolled out, its three institutes were explained and the floor was opened for dialogue amongst those in attendance on the concept, its implications and its implementation.
Its important to note that Principal Marcey Sorensen was in attendance that day, after only being the principal for one week, and that despite the invitation, not one teacher from Clemente high school was in attendance on that day.

The Community as a Campus is a plan written by the people who best know and are most affected by the problems of the communities low performing schools, the area residents. No one is better suited to make the decisions that will determine the educational outcomes of the Humboldt Park community better than it’s residents. These are the people who have engaged in the work around this plan, which has lead to the announcement that Clemente High School will become the first non-selective enrollment IB school in the world. This way, all children and their families will be the beneficiaries of the schools in the community.
We firmly believe that Clemente’s designation as an International Baccalaureate school and the Community as a Campus concept will provide the mechanism for the greater Humboldt Park community to become active participants in driving the necessary changes our schools, children and families need and deserve.

by Julio Urrutia

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Senator Durbin at IPRAC Meets with Community Leaders

Posted on 24 October 2012 by alejandro


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On Wednesday September 26, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), held a luncheon meeting with several community leaders including Paul Roldan (Hispanic Housing), Jose Sanchez (Norwegian American Hospital), Ofelia Navarro (Spanish Coalition for Housing, Sol Flores (Casa Norte), Tim Eagin (Norwegian Foundation), Rev. Wilfredo DeJesus (New Life Covenant Ministries), Ray Vazquez (IPRAC), Billy Ocasio (IPRAC), Velia Soto (Erie Charter School) and Marcey Sorensen (Roberto Clemente High School). Alderman Roberto Maldonado welcomed the Senator to the 26th ward and State Representative Cynthia Soto welcomed him to the 4th District. Ray Vazquez, President of the Board of Directors of IPRAC, not only welcomed the Senator to IPRAC, but thanked him for his support and noted that this was the second visit that the Senator had made to the Institute. On behalf of IPRAC, Jose E. Lopez, Executive Director, presented the Senator with a poster of the Institute as well as a commemorative piece of IPRAC’s permanent installation Veveviejo by artist Antonio Martorell.

The Senator engaged the community leaders in a lively dialogue about many issues including housing, particularly the question of foreclosures, health, community services and education.
Nellies Restaurant donated the excellent Puerto Rican food that was eaten during the luncheon.

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Posted on 24 October 2012 by alejandro













Uno de los líderes de la agrupación Calle 13, Eduardo Cabra,  asistió al evento en que se presentó el medallón con el nombre de la banda, que formará parte del Paseo de la Fama de la comunidad puertorriqueña de Humboldt Park, en Chicago.

El músico estuvo acompañado de su hermana Milena Pérez Joglar, pues su hermano René Pérez no pudo asistir a la actividad del pasado domingo por compromisos previos en Argentina. Visitante y Milena recibieron la distinción ante miles de boricuas radicados en esta ciudad, donde se celebró la décimanovena edición de la “Fiesta boricua”. La placa con el nombre de Calle 13 se colocará en la acera de la Calle División. En el paseo existen más de 12 placas que resaltan a figuras como Roberto Clemente y Willie Colón. Eduardo Cabra dijo que se sentía “dichoso de ser honrado” en la ciudad y, precisamente, en el barrio puertorriqueño de Humboldt Park, sitio de la mayor concentración de residentes boricuas.

“Vamos a compartir el espacio con muchas personas súper importantes. Es un honor demasiado grande que al nombre de Calle 13 se le hayan abierto las puertas en este barrio puertorriqueño, y que los puertorriqueños le den la bienvenida a la propuesta de Calle 13”,  dijo el músico en entrevista con EFE. “Es súper importante y súper emocionante para la familia completa”, afirmó el artista. “Es demasiado para nosotros y no me lo esperaba y que sea reconocido por puertorriqueños que llevan mucho tiempo acá”, agregó Visitante. El diseño de lo que será una placa permanente fue entregado a Visitante por José López, el director ejecutivo del Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño Corretjer, el Consejal Roberto Maldonado y la Rep. Estatal Cynthia Soto.

En la ceremonia también estuvieron el alcalde de Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, y el representante demócrata Luis Gutiérrez.

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Comunidades derrotan gasoducto Punto final con la cancelación de solicitud de permiso de Vía Verde

Posted on 24 October 2012 by alejandro








San Juan – “Hay momentos para defenderse y protestar ante las amenazas. Pero también hay momentos para reconocer cuando el poder del pueblo triunfa. Esta la ganamos con dignidad”.
Así reaccionó Arturo Massol Deyá luego de que el ingeniero Josué Colón, director interino de la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE), firmara públicamente una carta en la que se le notifica el retiro de la solicitud depermiso de construcción de Vía Verde que aun se encuentra bajo laconsideración del Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército de los Estados Unidos.
“Estamos solicitando formalmente hoy (jueves) que retire todo análisis y todo esfuerzo en el desarrollo y permisología del uso de tubería para llevar gas”,informó el también ingeniero José Ortiz, presidente de la Junta de Gobiernode la AEE.

Por su parte, Alexis Massol González, co fundador de Casa Pueblo, expresó desde Adjuntas su sentir ante lo que se considera como la estocada final del proyecto de tubería que abarcaría 92 millas, impactando 13 municipios de la Isla. “Es una victoria que trasciende porque el proceso fue uno de educación y de aprendizaje para el pueblo de Puerto Rico y sus sectores. La victoria nos enseña que podemos transformar la realidad por más poderoso que sea el adversario”, compartió. “Otra lección es para el gobierno. Se acabó el manejo de un gobierno dictatorial y opresor contra el pueblo. Es lección de que tiene que contar con la democracia participativa. La democracia de promesas de cada 4 años se acabó. Este es el poder revocatorio que tiene el pueblo y hoy tenemos un ejemplo. La democracia es de todos los días”, advirtió.

En agosto de 2010 el Gobernador Luis Fortuño dió a conocer la intención de construir el gasoducto del norte a un costo que más tarde llegaría hasta los $800 millones, según cifras oficiales.
“De los $800 millones, se botaron unos $80 en diseño, expropiaciones, publicidad y cabilderos. Sin embargo la lucha que dimos las comunidades impidió que muchos millones más se fueran por el abismo. Recordemos que no había gas para operar el tubo, que era el absurdo en todo”, finalizó Massol Deyá.

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