Community leaders and activists hosted the first reading of Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill, the new memoir by Congressman Luis Gutiérrez on Saturday, Sept 28, at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.
The Congressman and his daughter, Omaira, read excerpts from the book to a capacity filled gallery with more than 200 people present including some of Chicago’s most prominent movers and shakers, such as Ald. Ed Burke, Ald. Danny Solis, Ald. Joe “Proco” Moreno, State Rep. Cynthia Soto, Josh Hoyt, Carmen Velázquez, Emma Lozano, Rev. Coleman, Marvin Garcia, Maria Pesquiera, Celina Roldan, and Nancy Aardema, among others.
The new memoir is published by W.W. Norton & Company, and will be available in bookstores on October 7 and available for pre-order online at wwnorton.com and by major booksellers including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Nearly 150 books were purchased and signed that day, the proceeds of which will benefit the programs of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Signed copies of the book are still available, please contact Alejandro Luis Molina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Books are $35.
The Congressman was received with a warm and resounding standing ovation by those present after an introduction by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center Executive Director, José E. López.
Gutierrez’ memoir recounts his political awakening and ongoing efforts as a national leader in the fight for immigrants’ rights. He writes of his formative years in both Chicago and Puerto Rico as he struggled with issues of language, ethnicity, and class. He also writes of his battles with the Chicago Democratic machine, the inspiration he drew from working alongside the late Mayor Harold Washington, and how he has become the steadfast champion of the rights of immigrants and working people in the House of Representatives.
Still Dreaming has drawn early praise from reviewers. Kirkus Reviews called it “funny, feisty and heartfelt,” and Booklist called it “engaging.” The powerful and insightful reviews included the following: Senator Bill Bradley’s recommendation is on the book jacket, saying, “Read Still Dreaming and you’ll feel better about America.” Novelists Julia Alvárez and Helena María Viramontes, columnists Juan Williams and Juan González and Senate majority leader Harry Reid have also enthusiastically recommended the book.