Archive | 2010

Yo soy boricua: 17ma Fiesta Boricua de Bandera a Bandera

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro

En el año 2003 visité por primera vez la comunidad puertorriqueña en el Paseo Boricua de la calle Division en Chicago. El motivo particular no lo recuerdo, creo que fue para la presentación de un trabajo poético musical con unos compañeros artistas de Puerto Rico.  La fecha exacta tampoco la recuerdo. Sin embargo, lo que recuerdo perfectamente es la impresión que me causó la organización y el trabajo social y cultural  que estaba llevando a cabo el Centro Cultural Juan Antonio Corretjer en la llamada ciudad de los vientos. De entrada me impactó el sentido patriótico con el que se trabajaba cada proyecto, incluyendo los trabajos de índole social y de salud. Quedé maravillado con el grupo de jóvenes que laboraban con tanto afán, hombro con hombro y con un gran orgullo para que los trabajos se llevaran a cabo. Todo eso y mucho más desde una sola plataforma, la de la identidad puertorriqueña. De regreso a la isla me traje en el espíritu ese sentido de trabajo comunitario y de lucha patriótica  de ese grupo de puertorriqueños y puertorriqueñas en Chicago, que para ser honesto, no he tenido la experiencia de verlo, en esa magnitud, en ninguna comunidad de la isla.

Ese impacto me trajo de vuelta, no se si ese mismo año o el próximo, el 2004, esta vez para participar de la Fiesta Boricua de Bandera a Bandera. Posteriormente he visitado en varias ocasiones esta comunidad con motivo de esa Fiesta Boricua. Inclusive, este pasado año escolar 2009 – 2010, vine para trabajar como maestro de Historia de Puerto Rico en la escuela superior Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos. Aún con los contratiempos y las dificultades con el idioma y el choque frontal con un invierno que me congelaba la sangre, la experiencia fue muy buena. Estar todo un año trabajando dentro de esta organización que es el Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño Juan Antonio Corretjer amplió mi primera impresión y me llevó a una profunda reflexión sobre la educación, el trabajo comunitario, el desarrollo social y económico y la lucha por la independencia de nuestra patria. Se abrieron, con esa experiencia, nuevas perspectivas de lucha, nuevas visiones y estrategias y me reafirmé en mi visión de la educación pública de nuestros jóvenes como parte fundamental de los procesos de lucha y liberación de nuestro pueblo.
Dicho ésto, paso al objetivo principal de este artículo  que es hacer un comentario sobre la 17ma Fiesta Boricua, celebrada el pasado 5 de septiembre en la que mi pueblo de Comerío tuvo una participación muy especial que aumentó en grado superlativo mi orgullo de ser comerieño.

En algún momento durante el año escolar, el Sr. José López, artífice e ideólogo de esta comunidad y quien no necesita presentación, me mencionó que este año quería inaugurar una sección dentro de la Fiesta Boricua que se llamaría “Lo mejor de nuestros pueblos” y que invitaría a partir de ese momento y cada año a un pueblo de la isla para  participar de la Fiesta Boricua y traer, precisamente, lo mejor de ese pueblo.

No ha sido pura casualidad que Comerío haya sido elegido para inaugurar esa nueva sección dentro de la fiesta. No obstante, aunque la historia es interesantísima, la falta de tiempo y espacio me impide, amigo lector, contarla en este artículo. Lo que me parece más importante es el hecho que, por las reacciones que he recibido de personas que llevan viniendo a esta actividad año tras año, esta edición número 17 de la Fiesta Boricua ha sido muy especial. Más de una persona me ha expresado que ha sido la mejor de todas.

Dentro del marco de la fiesta se celebraron varios eventos. Entre ellos, la presentación del libro Desde Lares del Lcdo. Carlos Gallizá, figura prominente dentro de la discusión política de la isla de Puerto Rico y el reconocimiento a él como luchador por la independencia. También, se reconoció la presencia del Sr. Florencio Merced, quien ha sido parte importante dentro de esa lucha desde sus años de estudiante en la Universidad de Puerto Rico, como líder estudiantil y presidente de la Federación de Universitarios Pro Independencia (FUPI). También se dio clausura a la exposición del artista puertorriqueño Elizam Escobar, obra que estuvo expuesta en IPRAC por varios meses y de la exposición de fotografías que han aparecido en el semanario Claridad a través de su historia como periódico de la lucha por la independencia de Puerto Rico.

El sábado 4, víspera de la Fiesta Boricua, se celebró la Misa Jíbara, que incorpora a su ceremonia religiosa elementos de la cultura puertorriqueña a través de la música típica y la trova del país, dirigida por el Reverendo Padre Raúl Berríos quien llegó con la delegación comerieña. Fue un acto muy hermoso, espiritual y profundo que creó en el espacio del patio interior de IPRAC una comunión de hermanos y un lazo de unión y solidaridad entre los líderes y feligreses de varias parroquias católicas de la ciudad de Chicago junto con las demás personas que allí nos encontrábamos.

Inmediatamente después de la misa se celebró la Noche Puertorriqueña, una gala espectacular que reunió a más de cuatrocientas personas en una noche de cultura y orgullo patrio en el patio exterior del Instituto Puertorriqueño de Arte y Cultura (IPRAC, por su sigla en inglés). En ese espacio fueron reconocidos y homenajeados Carmen H. Lonstein, abogada y miembro de uno de los bufetes más prestigiosos de Chicago y comerieña, y el  alcalde de nuestro pueblo de Comerío, soberanista y puertorriqueñista sin que le tiemble la mano, el Honorable José A. Santiago. El alcalde, por su parte, leyó una hermosa proclama declarando al Sr. José López hijo adoptivo de Comerío. También leyó una proclama similar reconociendo a Josefina Rodríguez (Fifo), además de reconocer a otras personas de la comunidad. El grupo de artistas que vino de Comerío deleitó al público con excelentes interpretaciones.

Ya dejé expuesto anteriormente las impresiones sobre la fiesta del domingo, la Fiesta de Bandera a Bandera. Permítame, amigo lector, hacer un poco de alarde. Mi pueblo de Comerío, mi delegación comerieña, hizo una presentación artística de primera. El Ballet Folklórico de Comerío, El Grupo Ecos de Borinquen con Miguel Santiago Díaz, el Grupo Yes, Papo Cocote y la increíble Tuna Trovera, dieron cátedra sobre lo que es cultura, puertorriqueñidad, solidaridad y patriotismo.

Me consta el sacrificio extraordinario que con lleva la celebración de estas fiestas boricuas en el Paseo Boricua de Chicago. El costo económico es impresionante; conseguir todo ese dinero requiere un esfuerzo monumental. El esfuerzo físico para la organización y la consecución de la fiesta es incalculable. Para la delegación comerieña el esfuerzo y el sacrificio  ronda por el mismo camino, trascendió, como para el Centro Cultural Juan Antonio Corretjer, todos los esfuerzos posibles. Estoy absolutamente convencido que para ambos el esfuerzo, el sacrificio y el sudor ha valido la pena.

Espero que la comunidad puertorriqueña en Chicago sepa valorar ese esfuerzo, que sepan aquilatar en su justa medida el trabajo y el sacrificio de los organizadores de la Fiesta Boricua. Me consta que mi gente de Comerío regresaron extremadamente complacidos y contentos, agradecidos y orgullosos por haber participado en esta Fiesta Boricua de Bandera a Bandera, que es una sola bandera, la puertorriqueña. Se sienten inmensamente orgullosos de haber participado y de ser el primer pueblo de nuestra nación puertorriqueña que trajo a nuestros hermanos y hermanas, compatriotas en Chicago, lo mejor de su pueblo.

En lo que a mi se refiere, me inspira este Centro Cultural Juan Antonio Corretjer de Chicago, me inspira mi gente de Comerío, me motiva su orgullo y dedicación y su expresión patriótica de corazón amigo y solidario y ambos, el Centro y mi pueblo, me hacen sentir un orgullo sin límites para decir a pecho abierto: Yo soy boricua.

(a Raymond (RJ), Matt, Juan,Juanita, Carlos, Zoraida, Marisol, Elías, Rubén, Brenda,Gustavo,Jonathan, Judy y Vidia, particularmente, por el afecto, pero más por la solidaridad y el apoyo y a todos los maestros y compañeros de PACHS)

Por Carlos quiles

Para ver mas retratos Click: 17ma Fiesta Boricua 2010

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The 2nd annual Navi-Jazz Fundraising Concert presents none other than master trumpet player-Maestro Luis “Perico” Ortiz.

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro


RESERVE YOUR TICKET BY CALLING (773) 486-8345 OR (773) 227-7794

RESERVE YOUR TICKET BY CALLING (773) 486-8345 OR (773) 227-7794

Luis \”Perico\” Ortíz – El Día Que Me Quieras (Live)

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El programa cultural “En Ruta Por” televisa al Barrio Boricua de Chicago y las 17ma Fiesta Boricua

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro

“En Ruta Por…” (Canal 13-TV) de Puerto Rico resalta 17ma Fiesta
Boricua y comunidad en serie sobre Boricua’s en Chicago.

Comenzando el martes 21 de septiembre, y durante sus próximo 5 programas, “En Ruta Por…”- Canal 13-TV de Puerto Rico se enfocará toda su programación resaltando la 17ma Fiesta Boricua y la comunidad puertorriqueña de Chicago en general.

Esta es la primera vez que un programa de televisión en Puerto Rico sea dedicado a una comunidad puertorriqueña en los Estados Unidos. Dicha programación coincidio con el inicio del nuevo concepto que caracterizirá a las Fiesta Boricua – “Lo Mejor de Nuestro Pueblos”. Este año fue Comerío en Chicago.Al conocer de esa iniciativa, durante la celebracion del 30 festival de la música jíbara en Comerío, los productores de “En Ruta Por…” decidieron acompañar la comitiva comerieña que viajara a Chicago para grabar dicha programación.

La comunidad Boricua de Chicago se debería sentir sumamente orgullosa de este logro. Ya que en Puerto Rico se le está dando a conocer, a nuestros hermanas/os, lo mejor de Chicago.

Para ver Programa “En Ruta Por Chicago”:En Ruta Por…Chicago

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Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez and Chicago District Manager / Post Master USPS Gloria E. Tyson Unveil Julia De Burgos Stamp at IPRAC

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro

Over 150 people joined the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC) as it hosted the official unveiling of a new US stamp honoring renowned Puerto Rican poet, Julia de Burgos on Friday, September 24.

An award-winning writer, poet and journalist, Julia de Burgos takes her place among honorees in the Postal Service’s Literary Arts series along with several other distinguished Latina/o writers.

The Postal Service honors Julia de Burgos as a revolutionary writer, thinker, and activist who wrote more than 200 poems probing issues of love, feminism, as well as political and personal freedom. Julia de Burgos’ groundbreaking works urged women, minorities and the poor to defy social conventions and find their own true selves.

The event featured a film on the life of Julia de Burgos followed by wel
coming remarks by IPRAC’s Board of Director President Ray Vázquez. Dean of Students at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School Judy Díaz and Program Director of Batey Urbano Jessie Fuentes recited two of Julia de Burgos’ most famous poems, “Ay, Ay de la Grifa Negra” and “A Julia de Burgos.” Chicago District Manager / Post Master USPS Gloria E. Tyson  spoke about the importance of Julia De Burgos, the Latino employees at the USPS, as well as the overall important of Latina/os in the United States.

The guest speaker of the event was Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez who highlighted the pain, suffering and promise of Julia de Burgos, as well as the lessons that Latinos could draw from her life. The Congressman was given a rousing ovation upon finishing his powerful and inspiring remarks.

The unveiled stamp will now become a part of IPRAC’s permanent
collection.

Jonathan Rivera

To see more photos click:IPRAC co-sponsors Humboldt Park Premeire of Julia de Burgos Stamp with USPS

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Artist/Filmmaker Josué Pellot takes an Inside Look into the Puerto Rican Transgender Community in “I am the Queen”

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro

“I the Queen,” a documentary directed and produced by Josué Pellot and Henrique Cirne-Lima, takes a look at the often unobserved life of Chicago’s Puerto Rican transgendered community.  In this film, Pellot and Cirne-Lima document the Cacique Pageant, the first annual transgendered pageant held in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community. The film exposes the restructuring of the family unit experienced by pageant participants who are often distanced from their biological family but who find kinship among those facing similar experiences in the Puerto Rican transgendered community.

La Voz: Why did you choose to name your
documentary “I am the Queen”?

Josue Pellot: The title comes from Ginger (The pageant coordinator). At some point during a meeting she had with the girls she says “I am the queen”.

La Voz:  What message do you want your viewers to get?

Josue Pellot: We didn’t aim towards a specific message. I do think there are a few things the viewer can take from the film.

La Voz:  Can you name some?

Josue Pellot: I wouldn’t assign a specific message to the film but do think it has a good message about family and community support. It also highlights Vida Sida’s beauty pageant as an event that promotes tolerance and helps shape the the community.

La Voz: What is your objective in creating this documentary?

Josue Pellot: The project began to develop when I found a flyer regarding the 2009 pageant. My first thought was “wow, we have a Puerto Rican, Transgendered, beauty pageant for Humboldt Park youths!?” It was so specific and progressive that I wanted to know more about it. So the objective was to make the film in a way that the viewers could get a sense of what we experienced making the documentary.

La Voz: As an artist, why is it important to cross borders?

Josue Pellot: More important than crossing borders is the differences between each side. I believe you should understand these differences before you go from one end to the other.

La Voz: What types of venues has “I am the Queen” been shown @ and when will the next showing be?

Josue Pellot: We’ve had one public showing at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. And will show at the Queer Film Festival in Puerto Rico, Oct. 8. Besides this we are waiting to hear back from a few film festivals and still applying to others.

Interview by Jonathan Rivera

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Fiesta Boricua Connects Chicago’s Puerto Rican Community to Island Roots: The town of Comerío joins festivities through music, art and sacred traditions

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro


Luis Padial

Father Raúl Morales Berrios stood before a crowd of over 250 parishioners who gathered in the courtyard of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture. His sermon was sung using improvised verses as the unmistakable sounds of the Puerto Rican cuatro guitar pierced the evening air.  This was no ordinary religious ceremony, it was a Misa Jíbara – deep from the mountains of Puerto Rico and it served to kickoff one of the most unforgettable weekends for Chicago’s Puerto Rican community.

For the past 17 years Fiesta Boricua has been a staple of Chicago’s summer festivals. Every September thousands gather under the magnificent steel flags on Division Street to experience the best of Puerto Rico’s music, food and traditions.  This year, its organizers incorporated a new dimension to this diverse cultural experience.  Under the theme “Lo mejor de nuestros pueblos” – “The best of our towns,” the festival incorporated a series of events to showcase the finest cultural elements of one of the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico. The first pueblo featured was Comerío, a beautiful city located in the heart of Puerto Rico’s central mountains.  Over 200 Comerío residents flew into Chicago to take part in the weekend celebration.
The weekend began with Misa Jíbara, one of Comerío’s oldest and most cherished traditions. A Catholic Mass infused with musical and cultural elements of Puerto Rico, Misa Jíbara is a celebration of faith, inspiration and culture, combining the Spanish language, folk music and deeply rooted Puerto Rican traditions to produce a beautiful Catholic liturgy. Parishioners from both Comerío and Chicago witnessed a stunning service during which prayers were harmonized to the tune of Jíbaro music and the priest improvised the sermon in song.

Following the mass, attendees joined hundreds of other Chicago residents for Noche Jíbara, a gala celebration at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture. The celebration was also dedicated to the city of Comerío and included the finest music, customs and artistry of the mountain town. Guests enjoyed traditional musical performances by some of Comerío’s most skilled musicians and dancers including numerous troubadours, who interpreted decimas, an improvised musical composition born of a tradition that dates back to Medieval Spain. The Mayor of Comerío, the Honorable Josian Santiago, was on hand and praised the event as the beginning of a new era in collaboration between the cities of Chicago and Comerío.
Even after an event-filled night the fun was not over.

The next day thousands of residents from across Chicago converged on Paseo Boricua to enjoy a day of music, food and art at Fiesta Boricua. The delegation from Comerío took the stage and delighted the audience with a series of rousing performances that lasted throughout the night.

The “Lo mejor de nuestros pueblos” initiative was truly a tremendous success bringing an authentic Puerto Rican cultural experience to the heart of Chicago. We look forward to this fun-filled event next year!

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IN SOLIDARITY – Does locking people up create a truly safe community?

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro


Marisol Rodriguez

As an educator I see a recurrent problem that troubles me deeply—Youth, specifically young men, missing school to appear at court; Youth, specifically young men, missing out on an education because they are locked up. Can the intelligent, likable young man that sits at his desk, ready to learn, really be such a menace to society? Such a threat to our community’s safety?

Many politicians are quick to campaign on the promise that by locking up the “bad guys” they will keep our community safe. It’s not uncommon to hear our elected officials tell us we will be safer because the blue light just went up on our block, or because there are more police patrolling our streets. Are we really safer or are drug exchanges just pushed to another block that doesn’t have a blue light and what we have are more police readily available to harass our youth on our streets?

The most destructive effect of these “safety” initiatives is more people in our community are being incarcerated. It’s become very easy (and convenient) for our political leaders to equate success with the number of “criminals” they send to prison. In an extremely dehumanizing process the “criminals” are sent off to jail in a far away, isolated place at which point, for the self-righteous leader, they become “out of sight, out of mind.”

But for our community and communities of color throughout the nation it is our loved ones – fathers, sons, cousins, brothers, uncles and students – who are out of sight (out of reach), but never ever out of mind.

In a country that prides itself on “liberty and justice for all,” why are more citizens incarcerated here than in any other country in the world? In a country where “all men are created equal” why are black men six times more likely to be locked up than whites and Latinos almost three times as likely? (source: www.burnsinstitute.org)

These are questions we all need to take time to reflect upon. These are questions we must take to our community leaders.

Recently a group of local community members (a group I was a part of) discussed this grave issue facing our community and brainstormed on how we can work to address it. We talked about educating our community on their legal rights when dealing with the police; documenting how our youth are affected by police harassment and their experiences in jail through testimonials; and interviewing police on their practices.

We have been successful in carrying out at least one of our ideas with the help and organizing initiative of the ¡Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! campaign in collaboration with Lawyers from the First Defense Legal Aid and Professor Xavier Perez of Saint Xavier University. On September 18 a free educational workshop “Policing Practices and Gentrification” was held at Batey Urbano. Discussion centered on the connection between gentrification and police practices as well as identifying what rights we have when in police custody.

In a short time Chicago will choose a new mayor and as that moment approaches, I encourage you to ask yourself just one thing before you choose a candidate: “Is this going to be the leader that will lock my brother up and throw away the key? Or is this the leader who will open doors to resources and opportunities my community needs to be self-empowered and truly safe?”

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Norwegian American Hospital Appoints First Puerto Rican/ Latino to Head Major Hospital in Chicago Area

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro

Effective October 4, 2010 Norwegian American Hospital will have a new Chief Executive Officer: José R. Sanchez has accepted an offer by the hospital’s Board of Trustees to become the new president and CEO.

José R. Sanchez brings a 30+ year-career as a healthcare executive to Norwegian American Hospital. He is currently Senior Vice President of Generations +/ Northern Manhattan Health Network, one of the largest health care networks in the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. The network, for which José also serves as CEO, includes two acute care hospitals, three large ambulatory centers and close to 20 community–based health centers located in Manhattan and the Bronx.

José is committed to finding collaborative and innovated solutions to the healthcare challenges of urban communities. Nine years ago, he created the Urban Health Conference, an annual national forum that brings more than 300 network health providers together to explore and develop solutions to the healthcare challenges in urban areas.

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“Everyone Matters”: An Art Exhibit Celebrating Personal Healing and Empowerment, Opening October 8th at IPRAC

Posted on 04 October 2010 by alejandro

“Everyone Matters” showcases the artwork by over 50 Humboldt Park community residents sharing personal messages of resilience and positive life choices. The exhibit reflects personal journeys towards healing, where art becomes a tool for personal empowerment and healing. “Everyone Matters” brings together seven community organizations, art therapists and teaching artists to disseminate stories of personal growth relevant to the Chicago Latino community.

“Everyone Matters” will open with a community reception Friday October 8th from 5:30 to 8:30PM. The exhibit will remain open till Saturday October 30th at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture located 3015 West Division Street, Chicago. Exhibit gallery hours are Monday, Tuesdays, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10:30AM to 6:30PM.
Free admission and parking for the entire family.

“Everyone Matters” is presented by the Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF) of the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness and is a collaboration between Association House of Chicago, Casa Central, La Casa Norte, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Erie Family Health Center, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, and the Norwegian American Hospital.

“Everyone Matters” also counts with the collaboration of Erasing the Distance, IPRAC, Vocalo 89.5FM and WBEZ Radio West Side Bureau. Everyone Matters is made possible through the financial support of the Chicago Children’s Center for Behavioral Health, LISC Chicago and The Norwegian American Hospital.

For more information about “Everyone Matters” and the work of the Behavioral Health Task Force (BHTF) of the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness email Juana Ballesteros at juanaballesteros@hotmail.com .

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Chicago Newspapers Publish Deceitful Attacks Against Luis Gutiérrez and Billy Ocasio

Posted on 07 May 2010 by alejandro

billy-luis

During the first week of March, prominent Chicago media outlets, namely the Tribune and Sun-Times, published negative news stories, columns, editorials, and political cartoons about Luis Gutierrez and his family. These reports focused on a range of issues, including Gutierrez’s place of residence, the FBI’s questioning of him, the role he played in securing his daughter’s employment in a state position, and his daughter’s participation in a 26th Ward affordable housing program.

One set of commentaries pertains to Gutierrez’s residence outside of his Congressional District. While Gutierrez, like many other members of Congress, lives outside of the Congressional District he represents, his commitment to the 4th District is unwavering. Gutierrez was raised in this District, and he resided within its boundaries for nearly fifty years. Moreover, Gutierrez’s constant community outreach efforts make him a strongly felt presence and continually heighten his awareness of his constituents’ needs and concerns.

Another story focuses on the FBI’s questioning of Gutierrez about his relationship with a real estate developer. Since all of Gutierrez’s dealings with this developer were entirely legal, the most interesting thing to note about this story is that it includes a quotation from Elida Cruz. Some readers of La Voz might recognize this as the name of a contributor to the campaign against the Puerto Rican Cultural Center spearheaded by the FBI and the creators of the libelous newspaper, El Pito. It is no coincidence that Elida Cruz would be linked to both of these stories. The FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) has a long history of attempting to defame Gutierrez, and the current story about Gutierrez’s squarely legal relationship with a real estate developer should be understood as a part of this history.

The two stories about Gutierrez’s daughter, Omaira Figueroa, highlight her job with the state and her participation in a 26th Ward affordable housing program. Figueroa’s previous job experiences as a legislative aid and as an assistant sergeant-at-arms for the City Council justly earned her a position with Illinois Commerce Commission. In terms of the 26th Ward affordable housing program through which Figueroa purchased a condo in 2008, the income for her family of three allowed her to qualify alongside other participants in a program that former Alderman Billy Ocasio created to provide working families in the Humboldt Park area with the opportunity to purchase condos that they might not otherwise be able to afford. Rather than criticize a family that fairly participated in this program, we should celebrate the presence of a young professional family in a neighborhood that too often loses its longstanding residents. What these negative stories ignore is the remarkable number of affordable housing initiatives spearheaded by Billy Ocasio to keep longstanding residents in the Humboldt Park community. These include the La Estancia Apartments built by Bickerdike, the Teresa Roldán Apartments built by Hispanic Housing, the Single Mothers Housing created by LUCHA, as well as the creation of affordable townhouses for families. Each of these programs took shape under the leadership of former Alderman Billy Ocasio. No other alderman in Chicago has as strong a record of providing affordable housing initiatives.

Together, these reports should be viewed as part of a larger, longstanding effort to discredit Luis Gutierrez. Remember that in 1995 the Chicago Sun-Times, in conjunction with the FBI, destroyed one of the most successful Chicago school reform efforts in history at Roberto Clemente high school. Their false reports about Clemente in 1995 waged countless malicious attacks against many of the same figures targeted in the recent stories described above, namely Billy Ocasio and Luis Gutierrez. For more than fifteen years the FBI has conspired with the Chicago Sun-Times to vilify Gutierrez for his strong positions on controversial issues, such as Puerto Rico’s political status and immigration reform.

Gutierrez has lived outside of his district for more than two years, the FBI questioning primarily took place two years ago, his daughter entered her state job more than five years ago, and that same daughter purchased a condo through an affordable housing program nearly two years ago. None of this is current news, so why would these newspapers publish a barrage of negative stories about Gutierrez now? These stories are running just as Gutierrez has become an increasingly prominent critic of Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation and immigration reform advocate. The juxtaposition of Gutierrez’s outspoken advocacy for immigrants’ rights with the Tribune’s and Sun-Times’ slanderous, anachronistic stories about him, suggests that these media outlets are more interested in furthering a particular political agenda than disseminating important news to their readers. Instead expending so much energy in their attempts to undermine Gutierrez’s credibility, these newspapers should have worked to provide more coverage of the May 1 immigrants’ rights demonstration in which thousands of Chicagoans exercised their collective democratic voice to demand the reform of a failed, discriminatory policy.

by Jonathan Rosa


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