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[lang_en]Paseo Boricua Again Leaves Deep Impressions in New York City [/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos

From small and concentrated exiled communities of tobacco workers to entire, scattered metropolises defined by our presence, the people of Borinquen in the US – the Puerto Rican Diaspora – have transformed the concept of a “homeland.” In the Diaspora our most sacred symbol was created: the Puerto Rican flag on December 22, 1895. During that month, 113 years later, a group of 50 Boricuas, mostly high school and university students, from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) on Paseo Boricua, Chicago visited New York City for the third year in a row to celebrate and honor that history and to make connections with the other side of the Diaspora.
“The realities that we face as a marginalized people are complex. Trips like the one to New York allow us to take steps towards understanding that complexity,” says Erica Granados De La Rosa, 18, a junior at Loyola University.

A Chicago-based Batey Urbano theatrical piece that is making earthquakes in the political and artistic scenes, “Crime Against Humanity,” premiered at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx to nearly 300 spectators. The play is a series of monologues that tearfully and joyfully details the multiple hardships of nearly a dozen of the Puerto Rican political prisoners.
Our Paseo Boricua group also visited the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, the oldest and most prestigious Puerto Rican archival and library institution in the country. PACHS also participated in a Three Kings Day workshop at the Museo del Barrio, the only Latina/o-focused art museum in the city.

As ambassadors of the Paseo Boricua community, students of PACHS developed an increased sense of pride in their school. Shouts of “Albizu Campos!” filled the streets, subways wherever the students went. They returned to Chicago with a newfound interest in creative cultural expression and will be working on a youth poetry compilation called the “Paseo Boricua Renaissance.”

This trip was also the first time that a coalition of Boricua and Latina/o university students from Chicago met with Puerto Rican student organizations in New York. The new university student coalition, M.L.I, met with members of Acción Boricua at Columbia University for a dialogue of student issues and a way to solidify a Diaspora student network. One of the members Raúl “Rulis” Serrano, 18, who is a freshman at Northeastern Illinois University commented that, “It helped me see education as not only a key to success but a way to understand social injustices.”

For our final day we participated in an annual event in honor of the Puerto Rican flag, as special guests of the influential Bronx politician Assemblyman José Rivera, which also happens to be around his birthday. The event takes place in the grand auditorium of Hostos Community College, an institution birthed and maintained from the struggle of the Puerto Rican community in the 1960’s and the 1970’s. With the carnivalesque sounds of the trumpets and panderetas, the celebration showcased multiple Puerto Rican forms of music.

“I believe the New York trip was important because… I was given the chance to learn about my history and my culture…” says Jessie Fuentes, 17, a senior at PACHS. “The trip was a real eye opener. The many young people [on the trip were] so well rounded and passionate about their community and education…” says Serrano.[/lang_en]

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[lang_en]DePaul’s Steans Center and P.R.C.C. Partnership Honored by Illinois Campus Compact’s Carter Award $15,000 to address critical health, social and culture issues[/lang_en]

Posted on 05 January 2009 by alejandro

[lang_en]

A seven-year collaboration between DePaul and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) in Humboldt Park earned top honors from Illinois Campus Compact when it was named winner of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation Award.
The Irwin W. Steans Center for the community-based Service Learning and the PRCC will share the award’s  $15,000 purse and continue addressing jointly critical health, social and cultural issues affecting Puerto Rican and Latino communities. “The creation and maintenance of a true partnership between a university and a community is an exercise in listening, planning and mutual respect,” says Howard Rosing, Steans’ executive director. That approach was validated by a selection committee of higher education, business, government and community leaders who recognized the beneficial relationship it sustained as they reviewed applications from 14 Illinois Campus Compact members vying for the prestigious Carter Award.

Illinois Campus Compact consists of 42 universities, colleges and their presidents, who are highly committed to service-learning and civic engagement. It’s the state’s affiliate for a national coalition of more than 1,100 institutions that put these values into action.[/lang_en]

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