Archive | Solidarity

From Division Street “Riots” ‘66 to the founding of UIC LARES ‘75

Posted on 07 March 2016 by Kevin Garcia

Ian Torres, Latino Cultural Center Student Educator

The Union for Puerto Rican Students (UPRS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) kicked off the 22nd annual Pa’Lante conference on Monday, April 11 with a panel on the 1966 Division Street “riots” and the formation of the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES) program at UIC in 1975. The invited panelists included Linda Coronado, forScreenshot 2016-06-08 11.52.00mer recruiter and advisor for LARES and former commissioner of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Latino Affairs under the Harold Washington administration; José E. Lopez, executive director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and professo
r at UIC, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) and Columbia College; and Michael Rodriguez- Muñiz, Provost’s Postdoctoral Scho
lar at the University of Chicago. Michael Rodriguez-Muñiz provided a historical overview of the riots and the relationship between politics and students in the 1960s. Linda Coronado spoke about the activism that organized the Mexican community, in particular in Pilsen and NEIU, and how organizing strategies led to the creation of Benito Juarez and Roberto Clemente high schools and LARES. Professor José E. Lopez discussed the ways Mexican and Puerto Rican communities cooperated to create the Rafael Cintron Latino Cultural Center and LARES at UIC. All three panelists emphasized the intersectionality of community organizing, the urgency for developing programs in higher education for Mexican and Puerto Rican students in the late 60s and 70s and highlighted the importance of the development of the Latino/a consciousness through unity among Lati
no/a and other cultures. On Wednesday, April 13th the conference continued with poet, writer and educator Rich Villar. Mr. Villar spoke about his experience as a Puerto Rican poet in the United States and how writing shaped his eScreenshot 2016-06-08 11.51.48xperiences and life. He presented work from his book, Comprehending Forever, and examined Puerto Rican literature as a form of resistance. On Friday, April 15th the 22nd Annual Pa’lante Conference came to a close with Dr. Yarimar Bonilla, Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Her presentation touched on the current fiscal crisis in the island and the statehood party in Puerto Rico. Through her research she looks at similar cases in the Caribbean and Latin America and their effects. The 22nd annual Pa’Lante conference was organized by UIC students and members of the student organization Union for Puerto Rican Students together with the UIC Chancellor’s Committee on the Statues of Latinos (CCSL), LARES, the UIC Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center (RCOLCC), the Latin American and Latino Studies Program (LALS) and the PRCC.

Comments (0)

E ola, e ola, e ola n? kini e!* Kekuni Blaisdell

Posted on 06 February 2016 by Kevin Garcia

by L. Alejandro Molina,

National Boricua Human Rights Network The National Boricua Human Rights Network and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center extend their deepest condolences on the passing of Dr. Richard “Kekuni” Blaisdell, exemplary educator, historian and visionary activist in the struggle for Hawaiian Independence. I was privileged to coordinate Ka Ho’okolokolonui K?naka Maoli – Peoples’ International Tribunal Hawai’i 1993 of which Dr. Richard “Kekuni” Blaisdell was the convenor. He later visited Chicago with a contingent of Kanaka Maoli (indigenous Hawaians), which were the Honorary Marshals in the 1994 Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.41.36 Peoples Parade. Over the course of twelve days in August 1993, the United States and the state of Hawai’i were put on trial for crimes against the original people of Hawai’i, the K?naka Maoli, by the People’s International Tribunal Hawai’i. This panel of international judges was convened to hear charges of genocide, ethnocide, the taking of the Hawaiian sovereign government and the destruction of its environment. Kekuni was deeply committed to the struggle of the Puerto Rican people for independence and in support of freedom for Puerto Rican political prisoners. Kekuni was an unforgettable man who strove to meet his historical responsibility at an extraordinary moment in the struggle for Hawaiian independence- the centennial commemoration of the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1993. We first met at the 1992 International TriScreenshot 2016-06-08 10.41.43bunal of Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in San Francisco entitled “USA on Trial”, as part of the resistance against the quincentennial celebrations of the Columbian Expedition. During the Tribunal, the representatives of the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement testified before a panel of international jurists on their struggles- culturally, environmentally and and politically. The Tribunal also heard from other freedom struggles in the US, in particular the Puerto Rican. We developed a long and fruitful relationship based on solidarity, helping the Hawaiian contingent at the 1993 UN Human Rights Conference in Vienna, Austria, and then helping to coordinate the Peoples International Tribunal. Along the way, we began to discuss the possibility of uniting representatives of the island/nations invaded by the US in 1898. Several meetings of the “1998 Working Group” took place in Chicago and Hawaii, and a possible book was planned, but events, capacity and priorities changed and so did our collective plans. *All Hawai’i Stand Together

Comments (0)

Johnny Tirado Remembered: “We Got This!”

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Kevin Garcia

by Jessie Fuentes,

Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.31.29

National Boricua Human Rights Network As we all know Johnny was an artist, a good cook, and quite comedic, but he was also an activist, educator, partner and father figure to many. Johnny always challenged the people around the Puerto Rican Cultural Center to be better, to reflect and to not forget the greater mission at hand. If you know anything about the PRCC you know we love to get people right into the work – Johnny genuinely cared about the development of new activist and the development of our pedacito de patria. Who remembers how stressed out we would be during a Pancake/Waffle events? Johnny would wave his spatula and say “We got this.” How can we forget Johnny’s fluffy pancakes; outside of wanting Oscar to be free it is why people showed up. I remember being in meetings with Johnny and learning the entire Nuestro Tambo album because he just left rehearsal. His humming, tapping, singing and love for life always made people around him appreciate the work we were doing. His creativity as Michelle would describe, came out of nowhere. He was a perfectionist, he believed that everything we put out had to be our best work and rightfully so. Johnny didn’t just do political work because he believed in the cause rather he believed that a collective group of people can produce REAL change when strategic, careful and thoughtful. Johnny could convince you that you were capable of doing anything because for him all that mattered is what you wanted to do; if you liked it he loved it. Right before Carlos Alberto’s release I remember clearly the feeling of not knowing if we had won the battle, but again Johnny would ensure you that “we got this.” Johnny your presence, activism and support taught us many things – how to appreciate the small victories, how to be patient, how to love our comrades, and how to work hard even when it feels like we have nothing else to give. Your departure teaches us another lesson – that the work we do matters because it is from this work we have built a family, meaningful relationships and a collective passion to work towards a more just world. On behalf of NBHRN, good bye for now companero!

Comments (0)

Carlos Claudio: A New Kind of Judge Justice from the Community, for the Community

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Kevin Garcia

By La Voz staff,

Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.30.34

In 1992, the Illinois State Legislature established the Cook County Judicial Subcircuits. They were created to ensure more diversity on the bench by having judges elected from the different neighborhoods in Chicago. One of those subcircuits is the 6th, a diverse district with a large Latino presence that includes the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, Logan Square, West Town, Hermosa and others. In this subcircuit, an important race has caught the attention of many stakeholders. Carlos Claudio, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico, is the only Latino with a contested race in the 6th subcircuit. He already has the support of the majority of Latino elected officials on Chicago’s North Side. Endorsements include: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Senator Iris Martinez, Representative Luis Arroyo, Sr., Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr., Alderman Roberto Maldonado, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Alderman Ariel Reboyras, Alderman Milly Santiago, and Alderman Gilbert Villegas. Carlos was born and raised on Chicago’s Northwest side, in the Bucktown and Hermosa neighborhoods, and graduated from Kelvyn Park High School. As an undergraduate, Carlos first attended Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he was elected President of the Student Government Association. He then transferred to DePaul University, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. At De- Paul, Carlos was elected president of DePaul’s Alliance for Latin American Empowerment, a student organization that highlighted the importance of diversity in higher education and worked to provide assistance to underserved communities. In addition, he, along with other student activists, was instrumental in the formation of DePaul’s Latino Cultural Center. He went on to earn his juris doctorate at DePaul University College of Law, where he received the Mayor’s Leadership Scholarship and served as the Student Bar Association’s Diversity Representative. Carlos began his career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in one of the busiest courtrooms in Chicago, where he prosecuted countless DUI cases and quickly rose to become first chair, a title given to attorneys who are in charge of their courtrooms. Later, in the State’s Attorney’s Juvenile Abuse and Neglect section, Carlos focused on ensuring the safety and security of children who had been endangered by abusive or negligent parents or guardians. While at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Carlos witnessed first hand the inequities facing so many families coping with the justice system in Cook County. “Growing up I was always drawn to the legal profession. I thought a courtroom was the great equalizer, the one place where no matter what the circumstances, fairness and accountability would always prevail. I believed justice was truly blind. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Too many times we see the inequities that exist in our society manifest themselves in our judicial system,” said Claudio. Knowing that the judicial system was failing his and other communities throughout Cook County, Carlos decided to start his own private practice where he consistently took on pro bono work focused on both civil and criminal matters. Now he is running for judge with the same passion and commitment that he has displayed throughout his career. “Our community has always had to fight for justice. My race is an extension of that. I want to represent and give a voice to the countless people from our neighborhood that feel disenchanted with our judicial system. Because for far too long we have had to endure with a heavy heart the injustice that happens around us. That is why it is important that we elect judges that transcend social biases and are willing to hold themselves to the highest standards while pursuing justice. It is with those values as my guiding principles that I will proudly represent my community,” said Claudio. Carlos lives in Logan Square with his wife Marina, a family physician in private practice on the north side, and their 11-year-old daughter.

Comments (0)

Cobra fuerza Luis Gutiérrez y exige libertad para Puerto Rico

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Kevin Garcia

El demócrata rechazó que la junta de control fiscal sea la solución. El congresista demócrata Luis Gutiérrez envió un mensaje contundente al gobierno federal, donde exigió que libere a la Isla y desfavoreció la creación de una junta federal de control fiscal. Las expresiones fueron vertidas en el hemiciclo de la Cámara de Representantes de Estados Unidos, en un espacio que sirvió a Gutiérrez para expresar su sentir sobre el futuro del País. Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.29.40En su mensaje de poco más de cinco minutos, Gutiérrez habló de varios temas, entre los que se encuentran las leyes de Cabotaje, el sistema de salud, el potencial de desarrolló económico de la isla y la deuda actual del gobierno, cuya cifra asciende a los $69 mil millones en bonos. “Liberen a Puerto Rico para que pueda resolver el problema de su gran deuda sin estar esposada por el Congreso, su distante y desatento amo colonial.Liberen a Puerto Rico para que sus hospitales puedan permanecer abiertos para padres y madres enfermos y sus escuelas permanezcan abiertas para los niños. Nadie debe temer que su casa se queme porque los bomberos no han sido pagados”, expresó el congresista. Además, habló sobre la respuesta del Congreso a la deuda del País y solicitó atención seria para encontrar el camino para que el país “no sea ni absuelto de sus obligaciones ni herido mortalmente por ellas”. Criticó también que “Puerto Rico está siendo asfixiado por la Ley Jones – una ley aprobada aquí en esta sala sin ningún tipo de consulta con el pueblo de Puerto Rico – que dice que, por ley Puerto Rico no puede comparar precios para la mejor oferta de carga”. Según Gutiérrez, el País cuenta con los recursos suficientes para sustentarse de alimentos.”Tenemos que permitir que Puerto Rico pueda crear una economía agrícola que permita que los puertorriqueños puedan alimentarse”, abundó. Sobre la junta de control fiscal aseguró que esta no debería ser una opción para Washington. “Imagínate. Una isla que no puede determinar su propio destino, que tiene que jugar un juego económico con todas las reglas amañadas en contra de ella – ¿cuál es la solución en Washington? Quitarle lo poco que le queda de autonomía y añadir un nuevo nivel de control de Washington sobre la colonia”, añadió. Al final de su mensaje, el congresista recordó que “los problemas de Puerto Rico tomaron mucho tiempo para crearse pero tengo absoluta confianza en la capacidad del pueblo de Puerto Rico a resolverlos”. Tomado de El Vocero.com – 02/11/2016

Comments (0)

The Puerto Rican Agenda keeps pressure on CHA to address lack of Latino equity and representation

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Kevin Garcia

by Cristina Pacione Zayas,

Puerto Rican Agenda As a follow up to the November convening with CHA CEO Eugene Jones, over 30 Puerto Rican Agenda members, Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Milagros Santiago continued to press the second largest public housing authority in the United States for concrete steps and a timeline to remedy the dismal Latino participation rates and representation in all facets of the entity last Saturday, February 6. The discussion comes on the heels of an unprecedented turnout for a community hearing earlier on the week with over 200 stakeholders regarding the future of Lathrop Homes and will lead up to a historic City Council hearing next Wednesday, February 17, on the “Keeping the Promise” ordinance ensuring greater accountability and transparency in the CHA. In addition to discussing strategies to address the affordable Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.17.34housing crisis, Agenda members were briefed on the upcoming Local School Council (LSC) elections on April 13 and 14, 2016 and the importance of a significant community turnout. LSCs are sitebased school management teams comprised of locally elected parents, community members, and teachers charged with principal selection and evaluation and approving the school budget and improvement plan. Lastly, the Agenda secured commitments from community leaders to mobilize the base to attend an upcoming charla/forum on Friday, March 4, 2016 at ASPIRA High School (2989 N. Milwaukee) starting at 7:00 p.m. with Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Chicago Puerto Rican elected officials on Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Crisis; -Campaign to release the longest held Political Prisoner in the history of Latin America- US relations, Oscar López Rivera; -National Puerto Rican Agenda; and -2016 Democratic National Convention.

Comments (0)

COMMUNITY AS A CAMPUS YOUTH QUEST FOR EMPOWERMENT (CAACYQE) AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM LAUNCHING AT BATEY URBANO MARCH 2016!

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Kevin Garcia

Screenshot 2016-06-08 10.07.44

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center is excited to launch a new After School Program at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30PM – 5:30PM beginning March 1, 2016. CAACYQE will provide education on teen pregnancy, HIV/STI prevention, as well as academic support and tutoring, participation in service learning/civic engagement, service learning project assistance and gift card incentives for program completion. Participant Requirements: Male and Female students must live on Chicago’s North West Side (Humboldt Park – Target Area) or attend a Humboldt Park high school. Be between the ages of 14-18. Parental Consent Pre and Post teen pregnancy prevention knowledge, based on All4You! Curriculum as a basis for the program evaluation. For more information contact: Janeida Rivera, CAACYQE Program Corrdinator at janeidar@prcc-chgo.org or 312-536-6565.

Comments (0)

ALL OF PUERTO RICO’S GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES UNITE TO CALL ON OBAMA: “FREE OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA NOW!”

Posted on 02 January 2016 by Kevin Garcia

translation by L. Alejandro Molina,

Screenshot 2016-06-08 09.58.51

Gubernatorial candidates for the various political parties in Puerto Rico, as well as the independent candidates, united to call on the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to release political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who tomorrow- Three Kings Day – marks his 73rd birthday. Manuel Cidre (independent), Alexandra Lágaro (independent), David Bernier (PPD), Pedro Pierluisi (PNP), Ricardo Rosselló (PNP), María de Lourdes Santiago (PIP) and Rafael Bernabe (PPT), joined their voices in a video produced by the not-for-profit film corporation Caserío Films, to send a direct message to Obama, and in English. The video was filmed yesterday at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño by filmmaker Tito Román Rivera, with the help of Alvin Couto and Karla Victoria Pesquera. “We did it as part of the campaign for the release of Oscar López, which we hope will get stronger this year before Obama leaves office. It’s a way to show that this is a call by the people in a unitary act that transcends the political question. It has become a matter of human rights” explained Román Rivera. “We know that Obama has the power. That with a single piece of paper he could sign and grant Oscar’s release. If he’s pardoned several criminals and the Cuban political prisoners, we don’t understand why he hasn’t yet taken the time to release Oscar when his release has become a call throughout the world,” added the director of the documentary ‘El Antillano.’” Román Rivera emphasized that all the candidates were willing to take part in the video and had no qualms with the proposed message. “Each one gave it his/her own color, form, but came out well. Some had commitments which prevented them from showing up, like Pierluisi, who was out of the country, but they did what they could with their cell phones. They all cooperated, were very accessible, and delivered a message of unity,” the producer explained. According to the filmmaker, this act demonstrates that politicians can transcend party lines and unite with a will to achieve an objective. “It’s a cause for hope for us as a people and that is precisely what Oscar represents,” he noted. In the video the candidates appear interspersed, saying the following message was translated into Spanish: “Today I want to urge president Barack Obama to consider the case of the political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. Oscar has been serving a sentence for the last 34 years in federal prison in the United States. Longer than that other patriot Nelson Mandela, whose freedom you once vehemently demanded. I want to add my voice to the thousands of people in Puerto Rico who are asking you, president Obama, to liberate Oscar López Rivera. We are sure that he will abide by the law and be able to share with his loved ones during the rest of his life. The people of Puerto Rico have clamored for his release by presidential pardon, and we expect you will extend it before Oscar reaches his 73rd birthday on January 6th , 2016. I urge president Obama to consider Oscar López’ case. While I don’t condone his actions, it is the ripe time to take action. Exercise your presidential power to set free Oscar López Rivera. It is time for Oscar to come home. Listen to our voices and liberate Oscar as soon as possible. President Obama, do the right thing. Release Oscar López Rivera. Let justice be finally done. We want Oscar home. We want Oscar home.” The video, which includes no credits for recording, editing or production, ends with a call for people to make their own videos and share them on social media with the hashtag #ObamaFreeOscar

Comments (0)

#FREEOSCARLOPEZ TWEET REACHES UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS!

Posted on 02 January 2016 by Kevin Garcia

By L. Alejandro Molina,

National Boricua Human Rights Network 7.5 MILLION ESTIMATED USERS were reached with the message #freeoscarlopez on Wed, January 6th, 2016, the 73rd birthday of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. The National Boricua Human Rights Network, along with its allies: Puerto Rican elected officials-led by Congress Luis V. Gutiérrez and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and other members of the NYC Council, Florida State Senator Darren Soto; the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, the National Puerto Rican Parade, Chicago’s Puerto Rican Agenda, Latino Justice and prominent blog Latino Rebels followed by La Respuesta as well as activists from El Puente. Cultural and entertainment mega-stars René Pérez (Residente of Calle 13) and Tego Calderón also tweeted as did Puerto Rican artists Miguel Luciano, poet Willie Pedomo and filmmakers Tito Roman Rivera, director of “El Antillano” and Esau Mélendez, director of “Immigrant Nation”. In Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, former governor Anibal Screenshot 2016-06-08 09.57.31Acevedo Vila, the Puerto Rican Popular Democratic Party (PPD) the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) chapters in different cities (in Puerto Rico) and their youth organization, as well as the Puerto Rican Working Peoples Party, its youth section, and the Hostosiano Independence Movement and its youth organization, Amnesty International (Puerto Rico Chapter), Claridad, the newspaper of the independence movement followed by United Methodist Bishop Rafael Moreno, Johanna Rosaly and Radio Isla Sur. In addition, Rene González of the Cuban Five, the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the Anti-War Committee, well-known LGBTQ activist Pedro Julio Serrano, compañeros(as) from different movements such as the Palestinian and Black Liberation Movement and Native American movement, the Nation of Islam (Chicago) and former political prisoners. Overall, tweets emanated from 36 countries and 43 US cities. Oscar, a Bronze Star decorated Vietnam Veteran was never charged or convicted of a violent crime, yet has served 12 years in solitary confinement and 34 years total for the the charge of seditious conspiracy. The Archbishop of Puerto Rico, 6 Nobel Laureates, 6 Presidents of Latin America, all three major political tendencies in Puerto Rico, the last 4 governors of Puerto Rico and 6 members of Congress have called for his release. This call to action on January 6th, 2016, his birthday and Three King’s Day, also included the hashtags #obamafreeoscar and #regalopaoscar, comes as Pres. Barack Obama enters his last year in office and Oscar enters his 35th year of imprisonment- the longest-held political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico’s century long plus struggle for independence. On January 6th, in one voice, we demanded, RELEASE OSCAR NOW, 34 YEARS IS TOO MUCH! Throughout this year, across the US, in Puerto Rico and internationally, let us join together- across boundaries, frontiers, dividing lines and confines of all kinds- and continue the journey begun on May 30th, 2015 in Harlem, New York, speaking in, “One Voice for Oscar”.

Comments (0)

Acknowledging El Día de los Reyes

Posted on 02 January 2016 by Kevin Garcia

by Spanish AP Class,

Screenshot 2016-06-08 09.17.02Roberto Clemente Community Academy Often we stop to celebrate or participate in traditions and holidays, but… sometimes without knowing exactly why. “What is El Día de los Reyes?” “Why is it celebrated?” “And … how?” These are all questions asked by Clemente´s AP Spanish Language and Culture students. Exploring the history and culture of “Three Kings’ Day,” students learned that, in addition to the many people who celebrate Christmas, there are also people who celebrate the day when three kings (or wise men) named Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India – after learning of the birth of a new King – arrived to his manger where he was born, to bring him gifts. In recognition of this special day and as in the case with many holidays, there is often more than one way to celebrate. It was learned that children leave a treat for the 3 Wise Men and hay for their camels (kind of like leaving cookies for Santa) for their long journey. In return, small gifts may be left for the children. Adults spend time with friends and family and share a Rosca de Reyes, similar to a large fruitcake but in the shape of a crown. Baked inside this Rosca are anywhere from one to four baby dolls, symbolic of the baby Jesus. Screenshot 2016-06-08 09.17.09Tradition says that whoever gets the piece with the baby inside has to host a party on February 2nd. Both quite confused and fascinated by this tradition, Clemente students wanted to experience this custom first hand… and that’s exactly what they did. Students were provided the opportunity to partake in a Rosca de Reyes, gathering around it first to simply get a good look at what it looks like…and it looked just as described … a crown fit for a king! Anxious to cut the slices, afterward each student received a piece of bread…one by one…with anticipation and excitement for seeing if the baby was baked into their piece! “I ate rosca when I was younger, traditionally. It’s been years and so it reminded me of my childhood,” shared senior Armanni Varela. Students enjoyed having this opportunity to learn about this special day, taste a new pastry in class, and most importantly to learn that two of their classmates now have to – instead of hosting a party – bring a treat for the class on February 2nd! Senior Jocelyn Ramirez-Arreola expressed, “I had tried rosca before, but I didn’t know what it was for until now. My piece had the baby in it and so now I have to think about what treat I want to bring!” “We used to eat rosca in elementary school and they’d also give us some candy in a shoe. So it brought back memories. Even though we celebrated, I wasn’t really sure what the baby meant, especially since I never got it in my piece of bread.” Kyle Rodriguez. Sorry you never got the baby, Kyle! Better luck, next year!

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

RELATED SITES