Archive | March, 2015

Parent University at Clemente High School Opens its Doors

Posted on 27 March 2015 by alejandro

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March 26, 2015 marked the grand opening of the Parent University at Clemente High School, something the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) and the Community as a Campus initiative (CAAC) have been working on bringing to fruition for quite some time now. A new concept in education, the Parent University at Clemente in Humboldt Park is the very first of its kind, serving as a model for other programs with similar objectives. As the Master of Ceremonies of today’s grand kickoff, Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Dr. Shaun Jackson introduced a video showing Parent University participants hard at work, followed by speeches by Professor José E. Lopez and CEO of Chicago Public Schools Ms. Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

Also addressing the media and the crowd in attendance were Jose Rico of United Way, Sybil Madison Boyd of the Digital Youth Network at De Paul University, and Matthew Summy of Comcast, all important partners working in collaboration with CPS, the PRCC, and the Parent University at Clemente. Also presiding over the event was Clemente principal Marcey Sorenson, without whom the Parent University at Clemente would not be able to function.

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In attendance were such noted guests as Amy Rule, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, Alderman Roberto Maldonado, former Alderman Billy Ocasio, as well as over a hundred community partners, participants, and guests. As the speeches concluded guests were given intimate tours of each Parent University classroom, with each classroom spotlighting a particular Parent University course. Among the courses presented were Erie House’s manufacturing bridge program, Grace media’s digital video mini-course, a culinary arts mini-course, and an African drumming mini-course.

In addition, as the inauguration of the very first Parent University in the city was getting set to begin, guests were served delicious hors d’oeuvres made by Clemente students participating in Clemente’s amazing culinary arts program. While guests tasted the delicacies made by Clemente students, they were also treated to a feast of the eyes. In addition to the beautifully presented photos of Safe Passage parent participants, Puerto Rican art from the Center for Puerto Rican Studies from the Hunter College art collection was on display.

As the very first program of it’s kind, Humboldt Park’s Clemente Community Academy’s Parent University is a remarkable model. Married to the Safe Passage Program at Clemente and Wells High schools, and founded on the concept of community as a campus and in tandem with the Parent Popular Initiative, it is sure to be a model followed by other educational institutions and community organizations across Chicago and beyond.

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By Michael Kurshan Emmer, Safe Passage staff, PRCC

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Posted on 27 March 2015 by alejandro





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Puerto Rican Cultural Center Recognized with “AT&T INVESTING IN ILLINOIS AWARD”

Posted on 27 March 2015 by alejandro

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Chicago, IL March 16, 2015 – AT&T Illinois today announced the Puerto Rican Cultural Center is the winner of an “AT&T Investing in Illinois Award.” The Puerto Rican Cultural Center receives public recognition and a contribution of $2,500.00 from AT&T to be used for the  Consuelo Lee Corretjer Day Care Center which supports 50 children.

“In a digital world and an Internet economy, AT&T is helping consumers and businesses move forward by delivering wired and wireless broadband solutions.  We’re also helping the communities we serve move forward through corporate contributions to Illinois non-profit groups and programs that are making a difference locally,” said Sylvia Aldrete, AT&T External Affairs Manager.Illinois State Representative Cynthia Soto nominated the organization for the recognition from AT&T Illinois.

The AT&T Investing in Illinois Awards provide resources and recognition to organizations and programs that are improving lives in their communities and the state by advancing education, economic growth, new technologies and other essential community services.

By Sylvia Aldrete, AT&T External Affairs Manager

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Introducing the CPS Interdisciplinary Latino and Latin American Studies Curriculum

Posted on 25 March 2015 by alejandro

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Please join CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Chicago Public Schools for a reception to introduce the CPS Interdisciplinary Latino and Latin American Studies Curriculum.

• National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
3015 W. Division St. Chicago Il. 60622
• Friday, April 30th,  2015   – 6pm
Please send your RSVP to Karen Coleman
Phone: 773-553-2043

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Help Us Bring Oscar López Home!

Posted on 25 March 2015 by alejandro

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Help Us Bring Oscar López Home!

 Saturday, May 30th, 2015  
West Harlem • El Barrio
(Buses leaving Chicago May 29th.)


Who is Oscar López Rivera?

Now age 72, Oscar López Rivera is the longest-held political prisoner in Puerto Rican history. He was charged with seditious conspiracy -– the same charge for which Nelson Mandela was imprisoned – for his participation in Puerto Rico’s independence movement. He was never accused of hurting anyone or participating in any violent crime — only of fighting for his country to be free.

Who supports Oscar’s freedom?

International human rights leaders such as Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and others; Puerto Ricans across the political and religious spectrum, including Puerto Rico’s Governor and Resident Commissioner, the Archbishop of San Juan; and tens of thousands who have signed letters for his release

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Bomba as We Know It. – BUYA Live!

Posted on 24 March 2015 by alejandro

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Bomba has been at the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago for many decades dedicating cultural spaces for its presentation, education and community engagement. The exciting history of bomba particularly written and celebrated in our streets, community centers, and events by bomberas/os from all walks of life has served to frame a process of healing and to communicate the histories of perseverance of our community.

Buya is a Chicago-based ensemble that aims to preserve and advance Bomba, Puerto Ri- co’s oldest surviving African-rooted tradition. Buya means ‘good spirit’ in Taino, the language spoken among Puerto Rico’s indigenous population, and the group strives to embody this idea while sharing the tradition through concerts, workshops, and community engagement. This includes artistic dialogue with historians and performers from Puerto Rico, and collaborative work with various Chicago-based groups such as Jarochicanos (Mexico), Laruni Hati (Belize), and Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company (Hai?ti). The ensemble celebrated its fifth anniversary this past November, but members of Bomba con Buya have been committed to studying and sharing the Bomba tradition for more than twenty years.

After five years of performing and touring, Buya a Chicago-based bomba ensemble has recorded its first album, “Buya Live.” The album captures Buya’s innovative yet traditional approach to bomba along with the ensemble’s infectious live performance. Buya is pleased to announce its new album “Buya Live” with a release concert at the legendary House of Blues in Chicago at the end of March 2015. This historical event for the entire Puerto Rican community celebrates the imaginative, hardworking and inspiring group and their extraor- dinary journey years in the making, one that has been highlighted in Windy City Live, B96 radio and recently with exciting performances at Cumbiazazo, Trinity United Church, Mr. Browns among others. For more information, please visit:

Brenda Torres Figueroa, Art Teacher, PACHS

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Posted on 24 March 2015 by alejandro

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SAVE THE DATE April 25, 2015, Bronx, NY.

• As of Jan 1, 2015, more than 4.8 million Puerto Ricans live in the United States and about 3.6 million in Puerto Rico. This means that there are more than 1 million Puerto Ricans in the Diaspora than on the island of Puerto Rico. This population constitutes the second largest Latino group in the U.S. What challenges and possibilities does this reality present for us as Puerto Ricans in the age of the diaspora?

• April 21st, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos. What sense can we make of this historical figure who some consider the national conscience of Puerto Rico?

• On May 29, 2015, Oscar Lopez Rivera will have served 34 years in prison. He has become an emblematic figure for the entire Puerto Rican people—los de aqui y los de alla. What lessons can we draw from the campaign to free Oscar Lopez Rivera and its connection with our Diasporic reality and the life of Pedro Albizu Campos? It is interesting to note the Oscar Lopez Rivera was a community organizer in Chicago’s Puerto Rico community before he went to prison. A son of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Oscar was charged with seditious conspiracy, the same charge meted out to Pedro Albizu Campos in 1936. Thenarrative used against Pedro Albizu Campos since that time has been that he fomented division and dissent. However, today, Oscar—who carries the charge given to Albizu—has become the unifying figure of the Puerto Rican people despite their political differences. Unresolved and emergent challenges face the Puerto Rican diaspora and the broader Puerto Rican nation. These challenges span political, economic, cultural, and spatial issues, which are inextricably linked to the meaning of Puerto Rican identity and community. Fifty years after the death of Pedro Albizu Campos and fifteen years into the 21st century, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and the National Boricua Human Rights Network extend an invitation to participate in a critical conversatorio about our contemporary reality and how to begin to elaborate a progressive national agenda for the Puerto Rican diaspora using some of the lessons learned from the campaign to free Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Key themes of discussion will include:

• Re-imagining our Puerto Rican identity
• Fortifying our historical barrios and institutions
• Renewing connections between and across the Diaspora and Puerto Rico
• Creating spaces of solidarity with other Latinos/as groups and communities across the Americas.

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New Tax Season Special Enrollment Period!

Posted on 24 March 2015 by alejandro

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While the Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period has come to an end, there are still options! The federal government announced a new Special Enrollment Period for tax season, from March 15 to April 30, 2015. This was done so that people who were un- aware or didn’t understand the implications of the individual Shared Responsibility Payment can enroll in 2015 health coverage through

Individuals are eligible for Special Enrollment Period through if they: Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace for 2015; Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014; and Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Re- sponsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.

There are also life-changing events (e.g. marriage, divorce, moving out of state, changing jobs) that may qualify you for a special enrollment period. Additionally, Medicaid enroll- ment period is open all year around! If you’re uninsured or confused about your healthcare options, visit our offices and we’ll gladly help you. Our services are offered free of charge in English and Spanish! Call us today to make an appointment at 773-227-7794 or 773-661-907.

By Geniz Hernandez-Rosado, PRCC Affordable Care Act staff

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CICLO URBANO is Expanding This Spring

Posted on 24 March 2015 by alejandro

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Ciclo Urbano is a full service Bike Shop that has expanded their show room at the Paseo Boricua Business Center (2459 W Division St.). This expansion will allow Ciclo room to display over 80 used/refurbished bikes, as well as, new model bikes for sale each with the same warranty and 60 days of free adjustments and tune-ups valued at $75.00. Several new apprentices who have gone through West Town Bikes Youth Programs will now be starting as Bicycle Mechanics this Spring. They are Deorey, Hector and Max, in addition to the return of Anthony Cruz as a full time Senior Mechanic. All have great customer service skills and are talented mechanics that speak Spanish and English. Ciclo Urbano was opened in 2009 and since then has been one of the most successful new businesses on Paseo Boricua.

New Spring hours are: M-Th 11:00am to 7:00pm
F-Sat 11:00am to 6:00pm – Sun 11:00am to 5:00pm

For more information visit: or call 773-772-4870.

By Eduardo Arocho, Executive Director, DSBDA

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Batey After School Program Flourishes

Posted on 24 March 2015 by alejandro

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The Puerto Rican Cultural Center is delighted to present the Batey Urbano after school program for high school aged students in the Humboldt Park community and surrounding neighborhoods. The purpose of the after school program is to improve the academic performance of youth from Clemente Community Academy and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School and help them orient themselves towards a better future. Batey Urbano provides a safe and educational space where youth can do their homework with assistance from tutor mentors, and with access to computers and the internet. With tutoring focused on math, spanish, english, and essay writing, (3 P.M. to 6 P.M. Monday-Friday) as well as yoga, the student participants are en- couraged to become self-actualized learners with increased engagement in their educational process. With the collaboration of the local restaurants Cafe? Colao and Nelly’s, students are offered delicious food daily. Batey Urbano would like to welcome high school students to come study with us and to bring friends along to take advantage of this excellent program!

By Christian Roldan

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