One evening over dinner on Paseo Boricua, Marilyn Morales and Ruben D. Feliciano talked about the important contributions that the Boricua LGBTQ community has had in the development and advancement of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. For many years, these contributions had been unknown or underestimated. It spoke to the need to form a group composed of dedicated LGBTQ Puerto Rican professionals, which could fundraise and create awareness of Puerto Rican-driven initiatives in this community. Fresh in their minds was the important role that they had played in ensuring the successful re-election of Senator Iris Y. Martinez and how members of the Puerto Rican/Latina LGBTQ community rallied to support this effort. Thus, the impetus for the creation of Boricua PRIDE was born.
One of the first tasks was to seek support from other LGBTQ Boricuas and discuss the idea. After several meetings, conversations, and phone calls to friends and supporters, a collective was formed and the buzz around the barrio was – Boricua PRIDE had been formed. One of the first major initiatives that the group identified was the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC). What better way to collectively show their pride as Boricuas and LGBTQ than to play a pivotal role in the fundraising campaign underway to open an institute dedicated to Puerto Rican culture.
On May 7, this LGBTQ collective held its first event and officially came out as Boricua PRIDE. The effort to raise funds for IPRAC was received with overwhelming support from both the LGBTQ community and its allies at Tumbao Bar & Grill, which proudly displayed both the Puerto Rican and LGBTQ PRIDE flags in front of the business. Over two hundred people came to Tumbao and shared with Boricua PRIDE. The evening was filled with Bomba music and dance showcased by AfriCaribe, a dance presentation by Andy Cruz from the ensemble Soneros del Swing, spoken word from C.C. Carter and Janeida Rivera, a presentation on Boricua PRIDE co-chair by Liz Millan and some brief words of support from Pablo Medina from the Board of Directors of IPRAC, and Alderman Billy Ocasio, 26th Ward. There was also a silent auction, food provided by Tumbao Bar & Grill and open dance.
Boricua PRIDE would like to thank everyone that came out and supported for this effort. Members of the Boricua PRIDE collective are: Liz Millan, Ruben D. Feliciano, Marilyn Morales, Hilda Frontany and Jorge Felix. For more info, email: email@example.com.[/lang_en]