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Ald. Moreno Hosts Community Meeting on the Pennycuff-Castillo 100 % Affordable Development Proposal

Posted on 10 December 2016 by alejandro

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On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, 1st Ward, hosted a well attended community meeting at the Concord Music Hall to obtain community input regarding an historic, affordable, transit-oriented development proposal for the Logan Square Community. The LGBTQ friendly, mixed-use development, to be named The John Pennycu Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza, would be located at 2031 North Milwaukee Ave, the current site of the Congress Pizzeria.

If approved, the Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation would construct a seven-story, 75-foot, new-construction building which would contain 88 affordable housing units, comprised of 28 studio, 48 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom apartments. It would also contain 2,450 square feet of ground- oor commercial space.

The development would create 150 construction jobs and five permanent jobs. The approximately $23 million development cost would be nanced with a combination of Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds, tax exempt bonds, Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) funds and private funding. The entire building would have a deed restriction, ensuring that all the residential units would be offered to individuals at 60% Area Median Income or below for the next 30 years.

“I am pleased to bring this TIF-funded, 100% a ord- able housing proposal to the Logan Square community, which is in dire need of more a ordable housing options,” said Alderman Moreno. “As you know, my commitment has always been to utilize TIF funds for two reasons: schools and affordable housing. I think this housing development is a great opportunity to bring even more affordability to Logan Square.”

The John Pennycu Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza would be the second LGBTQ-friendly, 100% affordable housing building in the City of Chicago. “This is an historic opportunity in the 1st Ward and for the LGBTQ community,” said Alderman Moreno. “This building would greatly enhance our efforts to provide more affordable housing options to local residents and to accommodate the housing needs of the LGBTQ community.”

The local community organization, the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association (GGNA), is continuing its extensive and thorough review of the proposal, which has also been vetted by the 1st Ward Affordable Housing Task Force, which includes well-known affordable housing organizations such as La Casa Norte, Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) Hispanic Housing Corporation, Bickerdike, Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

A large majority of the residents and community members who attended last night’s meeting expressed enthusiasm and strong support for the proposed development. After the proposal has received final community and aldermanic support, the development plan will be presented to the Chicago Plan Commission for review and approval during the first quarter of 2017.

Editor’s note: John Pennycu and Robert Castillo were born in Logan Square, and they were partners in life as well as in activism. Both were strong advocates for greater equality for Chicago’s LGBTQ communities as well as active supporters of affordable housing in Logan Square. Both Castillo and Pennycu served on the City of Chicago Advisory Council on LGBT Issues and were the first couple to register for the Cook County Domestic Partnership Registry in 2003; they were legally married in 2004. Pennycu was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. He passed away in January 2012, but his legacy and activism in Chicago will forever be memorialized.

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“Su lucha es más heroica que la de Washington”

Posted on 08 December 2016 by alejandro

René Pérez reclama la excarcelación de Oscar López Rivera

jueves, 8 de diciembre de 2016 – 4:00 PM

Por José A. Delgado/El Nuevo Día.

Washington – René Pérez, el residente de Calle 13, afirmó hoy que cada segundo que pasa en la cárcel crece el heroísmo del prisionero político puertorriqueño Oscar LópezRivera.

https://www.facebook.com/residente/videos/1015768255235350/

En un salón del Senado estadounidense, Pérez, la alcaldesa de San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, y el congresista demócrata Luis Gutiérrez (Illinois) lideraron una sesión informativa para abogar por la liberación de López Rivera, en momentos en que le quedan 42 días de trabajo en la Casa Blanca al presidente de EE.UU., Barack Obama.

“Su lucha es más heroica que la de (George) Washington, porque no tuvo que matar a nadie”, indicó Pérez, en su presentación.

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El evento fue organizado por la oficina del senador independiente Bernie Sanders (Vermont), e incluyó a la hija de López Rivera, Clarisa López Ramos, a José López Rivera, hermano del prisionero independentista, los representantes del Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) Luis Vega Ramos y Manuel Natal, y la abogada Jan Susler.

Cerca de 90 personas – incluidos asesores de miembros del Congreso-, asistieron a la sesión informativa.

El grupo de oradores se reuniría después con el senador Sanders.

López Rivera, de 73 años, ya ha cumplido 35 años y seis meses de cárcel. El prisionero independentista, quien fue miembro de las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), ha estado más tiempo en prisión que Nelson Mandela, recordó Residente.

El evento tiene lugar en momentos en que cerca de 110,000 personas han suscrito una petición en la Casa Blanca en respaldo a la solicitud de clemencia que presentó López Rivera ante el Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos.

La Casa Blanca dijo la semana pasada que la solicitud sigue en manos del Departamento de Justicia, aunque el presidente Obama no tiene que esperar por ninguna recomendación ni consultar a nadie para otorgarle clemencia a López Rivera.

“El presidente Obama puede hacer lo que le dé la gana. Puede firmar la clemencia esta misma tarde. Esta es una decisión política, no es una decisión legal”, dijo la abogada Susler.

http://www.elnuevodia.com/noticias/politica/nota/suluchaesmasheroicaqueladewashington-2270332/

 

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10th Annual Paseo Boricua Parranda

Posted on 08 December 2016 by alejandro

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JOIN US THIS YEAR AT PASEO BORICUA’S PARRANDA!!!!!!!! Bring your instruments, family, friends and join us we take a parranda down Division street to our local businesses! LET US ALL COME TOGETHER BE HAPPY, SING LOUD AND CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!

MEET AT: TERESA ROLDAN SENIOR APARTMENTS| 1154 n. CAMPBELL (DIVISION/CAMPBELL) @ 4PM

END: LA BRUQUENA RESTAURANT| 2726 w. DIVISION

FOLLOWED BY PARRANDA & BOMBAZO @ AFRICARIBE

More infor please call 312-532-2602

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA IN OBAMA’s HOUSE!

Posted on 22 November 2016 by alejandro

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October 9 in Washington, DC. in front of the White House-a freedom clamor from a multitude for Oscar Lopez Rivera’s unconditional release -made an infinite mark in history. It is an event where “Oscar estuvo en la casa de Obama.” If we were to measure the energy level of the people that attended the event, it was over 2,000 volts. Everyone’s faces were radiant.

There were many speakers from all walks of life and representing all political ideologies, a norm for Oscar who has become the moral power to unify forces. The event was organized by a coalition in Puerto Rico, and the mobilization came from the diaspora. There were ecumenical figures that did the convocation. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, NY State representative Adriano Espalliat, Speaker of NYC Council Melissa Mark Viverito, candidate for governor in Puerto Rico, Maria de Lourdes Santiago, San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz spoke.

Cornel West sent a recorded message, Rene Perez (El Residente de Calle 13) spoke and the cultural performances by: Danny Rivera, Roy Brown and Tito Auger and others interpreted Juan Antonio Corretjer’s songs. Danny Rivera resonated with the public when he sang “Tu Pueblo es mi pueblo.”

A high point of the rally was Oscar’s family coming onto the stage. Mercedes (Oscar’s oldest sister) and Zenaida (sister), Babbi (niece), Lourdes (niece) and Clarisa (Oscar’s only daughter), could not wipe the grins of their faces as they watched thousands rally in solidarity to Lafayette Park, in front of the White House were the rally took place.

New York City mobilized 11 buses and a caravan of cars from different parts of the city with the help of Melissa Mark Viverito, who urged union workers from construction, maintenance, hotel, education and health trades. We are forever indebted to her leadership and their solidarity. We made our entry by marching through the street of DC through the White House into Lafayette Park with 40 body size images of Oscar chanting “Pres. Obama listen to me, we want OSCAR LOPEZ FREE!”

We were also in the presence of former Puerto Rican political prisoners like Luis Rosa, Ricardo Jimenez, Edwin Cortes (given presidential clemency by Pres. Bill Clinton) and Felix Rosa, all that have been relentless in the campaign to Free Oscar.

People from all walks of life came from more than 30 cities from north to south of the east coast to the midwest and California. Not to mention all those who came from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

A special humanitarian moment was when the whole Lopez Rivera family was on stage, Oscar’s youngest brother, Jose E. Lopez spoke so eloquently about the family’s desire for 35 years to bring him home. He related anecdotes of the trials and tribulations and Oscar’s enduring strength that transcended the prison bars to the family. During this moment that Jose spoke, the thousands in the park quieted down to hear the love and pain of the family, which made not only Oscar’s family cry on stage, but also many in the audience. Oscar, we captured the many tears of the audience that were touched by the your family. At that moment, we all put ourselves in Oscar’s family’s shoes and felt the pain, but also the strength. Empathy is so humbling.

Clarisa commented that she felt overwhelmed and happy to see so many people that traveled across US from different state lines to support her father’s release. If all who attended got on board to work the campaign in the next 105 days (the number of days Obama has left in office), we can become a force to be reckoned and secure Oscar’s release.

We called it a “mission accomplished” in the crunch time of only 5 weeks. Imagine if we had a year to plan it. We were decolonized in this process especially when we felt the unity that Oscar promotes and freedom clamor he represents. We waited to hear from Oscar on this important day, as we are sure he felt all that energy and love. Again, we will record in our collective memory, the day Oscar was in Pres. Obama’s house. We reiterate, “Pres. Obama with a stroke of your pen, FREE Oscar, NOW!”

By Ana M. Lopez, NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

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Juntos por el voto boricua y la liberacion de Oscar Lopez: Gutierrez, Soto y Suarez

Posted on 21 November 2016 by alejandro

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En Orlando, FL

El congresista Luis Gutierrez y el candidato al Congreso por el 9no distrito de Florida Darren Soto hicieron un reclamo conjunto a favor de la movilizacion electoral de los boricuas y la excarcelacio?n del prisionero politico Oscar Lopez Rivera.

Los democratas boricuas Gutierrez y Soto encabezaron un grupo de funcionarios electos y li?deres comunitarios en Orlando, como parte de una convocatoria de la Agenda Nacional Puertorriquena (NPRA, por sus siglas en ingles).

Un juez extendio hasta el martes proximo – 18 de octubre-, la fecha ultima para los electores en EE.UU. inscribirse y poder votar el 8 de noviembre en las elecciones presidenciales y legislativas de EE.UU.

En los proximos comicios, los electores boricuas del estado, que son aproximadamente 500,000, podria decidir el ganador de la contienda presidencial en Florida, que puede decidir quien sera el proximo inquilino o inquilina de la Casa Blanca.

Convicto principalmente de sedicion, por sus vinculos con las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN), Lopez Rivera, de 73 anos, ha cumplido 35 anos y cuatro meses en prisiones estadounidenses.

“Oscar Lopez Rivera no debe permanecer en la carcel ni un dia mas. Mientras su salud empeora entre las cuatro paredes de una celda, es otro dia de Accion de Gracias, otra Navidad mas que su familia se sienta sin su presencia en la mesa. El precio que ha pagado ya ha sido demasiado alto. Por eso es importante que los boricuas hagan sentir su voz y que hagan contar con su voto en las urnas,” indico el congresista Gutierrez.

El domingo, Gutierrez fue tambien uno de los oradores de una manifestacion frente a la Casa Blanca que conto ademas con la participacion de la hija de Lopez Rivera, Clarisa.

“Vamos a pedir desde la ciudad de Orlando, donde viven miles de boricuas, que trabajan y votan, que se cumpla el pedido de todos los vivimos en la isla y fuera de ella: ya es tiempo que Oscar regrese a casa. Esperamos que Obama escuche el reclamo de los puertorriquenos de la diaspora y le conceda la libertad a Oscar antes que cumpla su termino presidencial,” senalo, por su parte, Darren Soto, actual senador estatal y favorito para ser elegido en noviembre por el distrito 9 de Florida y convertirse en el primer congresista de origen boricua elegido por su estado.

Por su parte, el abogado republicano Anthony Suarez, primer legislador estatal electo de origen puertorriqueno en el estado y presidente de la Puerto Rican Bar Association de Florida, recordo que desde 1999 reclamo la excarcelacion de Lopez Rivera. “Creo que el juez abuso de su discrecion judicial. Lo castigo por sus ideales, una violacion a la Primera Enmienda de nuestra Constitucion. Otro en su lugar, hubiese recibido una sentencia mucho menor de lo que se le impuso,” agrego Suarez.

La conferencia de prensa se realizo en el medio del bufete del licenciado Suarez, y canto con la participacion de docenas de activistas y lideres comunitarios del centro de la Florida.

Jose E. Lopez, hermano de Oscar, cerro la conferencia haciendo entrega del reciente publicado libro de Oscar Lopez Rivera, a la activista Zoraida Andino Rios, al lider sindical Jimmy Torres Velez, al Lic. Anthony Suarez, y a Darren Soto y el Cong. Luis V. Gutierrez.

Los congregados se llevaron carteles alusivos a la campana que se hace en tres estados: Florida, Ohio y Pennsilvania, “We Vote to Free Oscar Lo?pez Rivera.”

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Ceiba Award Gala – NMPRAC. Honoring Lin-Manuel Miranda & Antonio Martorell / Sept. 22 2016

Posted on 21 November 2016 by alejandro

“I AM HUMBLE, BEYOND HUMBLE, BEYOND HUMBOLDT PARK!” – Lin Manuel – Miranda

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HISTORY WAS MADE AT THE NATIONAL PUERTO RICAN MUSEUM!

The smell of lechon (pork) filled the air as it slowly cooked in an outdoor pit for everyone to see. Traditional Puerto Rican music enchanted the ears of the 600+ people who attended the sold out event to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture’s (NMPRAC) 3rd Annual Gala, Raices: A Celebration of our Roots.

NMPRAC’s home at the beautiful historic Humboldt Park stables on the corner of Division and Sacramento hosted this exciting evening as people were immersed in Puerto Rican art, culture, cuisine and music. It was “El Campo” meets “Hollywood” as the red carpet, theatre lighting, Puerto Rican artists and musicians playing Bomba and Plena music, transformed the parking lot into a gala atmosphere. Local legend John Roeser and Roeser’s Bakery created an ornate 3-foot cake replica of the Ceiba Award, which awed the crowd as they entered the main gallery of the museum, it was a piece of edible art.

WGNs, Ana Belaval, was the always-entertaining Mistress of Ceremonies for the third year in a row, and Segundo Ruiz Belvis’s performance dedicated to the awardees motivated both Miranda and Martorell to get up and dance, wowing the crowd.

Anne Pramaggiore, CEO of ComEd and the gala’s presenting sponsor, delivered remarks expressing their on-going commitment to NMPRAC as the rst sponsor to ever partner with the museum 15 years ago. Jose R. Sanchez, Gala Co-Chair and CEO of Norwegian American Hospital expressed his enthusiasm with the opportunity to conceptualize and coordinate several muse- um partnerships that will continue to foster mutually-benecial relationships between the hospital and the community for years to come.

NMPRAC’s CEO, Billy Ocasio, introduced a trailer documentary based on the life of the 2016 Ceiba Award recipient, legendary Artist, Antonio Martorell. is was followed by e Miracle Center’s excellent performance of a medley of Hamilton songs, which got the crowd to give these students a standing ovation.

Ocasio then presented the 2016 Ceiba Award to creative genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda. As both recipients expressed their sincere appreciation of being honored by receiving the coveted 2016 Ceiba Award, both Martorell and Miranda called on President Obama to release Oscar Lopez Rivera, making this a highlight of their speeches.

The exquisite night was concluded by Puerto Rico’s multi-award winning Jazz Artist, Humberto Ramirez, per- forming with a 16-piece band all made possible by Ventana Al Jazz and Puerto Rican Tourism.This historic evening would not have been possible without the support of NMPRAC’s Board of Directors, Sta , Sponsors and supporters and family – thank you for your ongoing commitment and dedication in preserving and promoting Puerto Rican art and culture.

For information on the NMPRAC please visit us at nmprac.org

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Vida/SIDA at the 2016 US Conference on AIDS

Posted on 21 November 2016 by alejandro

Puerto Rican delegation urges: Release of Oscar Lo?pez Rivera and Protests PROMESA

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The Puerto Rican Cultural Center sent several representatives from Vida/SIDA to the 2016 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) held at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida from September 15-18th, 2016. This marks the 20th anniversary of the conference and a unique and exciting time to be a part of the ght against the epidemic. The PRCC delegation took part in this educational and collaborative convergence of several diverse forces in the national HIV/ AIDS community. In fact, the theme of “convergence” was featured heavily through promotional materials and two large plenary sessions featuring prominent speakers such as Dr. David Ho and MSNBC political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry. They spoke of converging quantitative and qualitative research methods, biomedical and behavioral approaches, prevention and treatment of the disease.

In addition to the larger plenary sessions, attendees participated in a number of seminars, roundtables, workshops and poster presentations. There was also an exhibition hall where PRCC-Vida/SIDA had a booth along with several other USCA conference partners, government agencies, community-based organizations, pharmaceutical companies and many others.

On the Final day of the conference, a large plenary luncheon took place in which the topic of the economic crisis in Puerto Rico and its effect on HIV prevention services was presented to a gathering of hundreds of conference attendees. A comprehensive discussion led by Jose Joaquin Mulinelli-Rodriguez of Coai, Inc., Dr. Carlos E. Rodriguez-Diaz from the University of Puerto Rico and Dra. Adriana Garriga-Lopez from Columbia University detailed multi-faceted approaches to address the multi-faceted crisis on the island.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic was summarized epidemiologically and socioeconomically and contextualized for the crowd.

The Puerto Rican delegation was one of the largest in attendance at USCA and this luncheon served as a crucial platform to advocate for the rights and dignity of the people on the island. While the attendees learned about HIV prevalence rates and a lack of prevention or treatment services, they also received a comprehensive examination of the current political, economic and social status of Puerto Rico with the United States.

The panelists demonstrated how the recent passage of the PROMESA Bill, which establishes an appointed (not elected) oversight board on the island essentially nullifies the right of Puerto Ricans to fight for their economic well-being. The speakers also mentioned the continued imprisonment of Oscar Lopez Rivera and the fight to free him after three and half decades despite calls from multiple Nobel Peace Prize winners as well as an international coalition of human rights, religious, labor, and business leaders. The ongoing injustice of Oscar’s incarceration in addition to the aforementioned geopolitically and economically calculated policy decisions by the U.S. government were used to help elucidate the several factors at play in the crisis in Puerto Rico on a large national stage.

by Ahmed Chaundry, PRCC Prevention Project

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Sign the Petition: FREE OSCAR!

Posted on 11 November 2016 by alejandro

wepeopleoscar
 We are asking all organizations, communities, unions, churches, activists, political parties- to CALL ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS to sign this petition and spread the word- this is a time-sensitive request!
We must try to achieve the signing of 100,000 signatures by December 11, 2016.
No matter how many petitions you have signed- SIGN THIS ONLINE PETITION and get everyone else to do the same. Do not let anyone tell you they have signed petitions or letters before- this is the one that will be highlighted.

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Against the Control Board

Posted on 04 August 2016 by Kevin Garcia

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Two new initiatives announced last week look good as a starting point for the indispensable unity the Puerto Rican people need in these crucial moments of our history. In the long run, it is impossible to predict their reach, but these processes that pursue unity of purpose and common and concerted action toward a goal are always positive, as our previous experiences have shown, in the struggle to oust the United States Navy, first from Culebra and then from Vieques, and more recently in the popular efforts to paralyze the projects to build the gas pipelines from the south and the north of Puerto Rico. That is why at CLARIDAD we welcome these two new and urgent fronts of struggle, which aspire to motorize the widest will of the Puerto Rican people, in Puerto Rico as well as in the Puerto Rican diaspora in the United States, to achieve the broadest political and human rights for our people. The new Coalition for the Freedom of our political prisoner Oscar López Rivera is an embracing attempt to unite all efforts toward this goal, maximizing the collective voice of the Puerto Rican people, here and there, so that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, hears our demand and, before his presidential term expires in January of 2017, orders the release of the patriot who has already served 35 years in prison in the United States. The work of the Coalition, whose spokesperson is the former Secretary of State of Puerto Rico and the distinguished environmental activist, engineer Ingrid Vila Biaggi, and which includes a full spectrum of organizations and personalities that represent the political, human rights, civic, labor, environmentalist, religious, artisticcultural sectors, as well as several exgovernors of Puerto Rico and every gubernatorial candidate, proposes to converge in a great mass act under the theme Free Oscar López Now: The Event, to take place on October 9 in the U.S. capitol, Washington, D.C. It is extraordinary that Oscar hasn’t been released yet, when all his compañeros and compañeras have been released and are fully integrated as productive and exemplary citizens in their respective communities in Puerto Rico and the United States. It seems as if the government of the United States wanted to dump on Oscar all the hate they feel over the fact that even after 118 years of colonialism, the Puerto Rican people haven’t assimilated or gotten scared, and keep resisting and fighting the aggressions and intentions of the most powerful empire in the world. That is why this new Coalition is necessary, to reinforce the struggle until Obama listens to us and he gives us Oscar so we can bring him home. The other front of struggle opened last Saturday, with the convening of the First People’s Assembly against the Fiscal Control Board, at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, under the theme “to fight and disobey,” a demand that thousands of Puerto Ricans came to, representing the broadest sectors of Puerto Rican society. According to Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, ex-president of the Bar Association of Puerto Rico and one of the conveners of the event, the purpose was to present a plan of action and approve a declaration of purpose to direct the strategies to follow to fight the so-called Board, an openly colonial organism imposed by the United States Congress, with powers to make decisions over and above the elected government of Puerto Rico, and whose principal objective will be to assure the payment of debt to the vulture investors before offering essential services to the people. The first strategy of the recently created group, which again unites Puerto Ricans from the Island and those in the diaspora, will be a demonstration in front of the federal court in Hato Rey on the day the United States Senate considers the measure, which is expected to take place in the next few days. Both new efforts of mobilization and action are extremely important and necessary, given the crucial moment our country is living. We must then set ourselves with the best of wills so that the organizers and leaders guarantee every group and sector the maximum representation and democracy. Thus, even with our diversity, we will be able to achieve the proposed objectives. Obama needs to listen to us hard so that he finally releases Oscar. The United States government and the members of the Fiscal Control Board need to feel our rejection most vehemently to this new colonial maneuver which favors the powerful and which is contrary to the best interests of our people.

Originally published in Claridad on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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During 38th Puerto Rican Peoples Parade: Nancy Franco Maldonado’s life Celebrated- Orlando Victims Commemorated- Oscar López Rivera’s Freedom Demanded

Posted on 04 August 2016 by Kevin Garcia

Thousands of people gathered on Paseo Boricua on Saturday, June 18, 2016 to celebrate the life of our very own Nancy Franco Maldonado- who posthoumously served as the 2016 Grand Marshal; to remember the victims of the Orlando, Florida massacre under the slogan “Con Orgullo y Duelo”; to commemorate the 50th Anniverary of the Division Street Riots of 1966. The Parade was led by Ald. Roberto Maldonado and Nancy’s family, and included a large contingent of people in solidarity with those massacred in Orlando and demanding the release of Oscar López Rivera.

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