Successful Community Summit at Clemente HS
Sentido Pesame a la Familia Torres

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center Board of Directors, Staff and clients expresses it's sincere condolences to Carlos Alberto Torres and family on the recent passing of their mother, Norma Torres. Please accept our heartfelt condolences at this most difficult time.

Support IPRAC, Buy Tickets to 4th Annual Navi-Jazz



Venue: Roberto Clemente H.S. Auditorium 1147 N. Western Ave.

Date: Friday, December 7, 2012

Time: 7:00 pm

Tickets: $15.00


Over the course of his illustrious career, bassist John Benitez has performed with some of the finest musicians in the world including Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, and Chucho Valdez. He received the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance for Roy Hargove's "Habana" as well as a nomination for David Sanchez' "Obsession". John Benitez will be celebrating the Chicago release of his new album, Purpose, alongside Manuel Valera, Tom Guarna, and Francis Benitez


To purchase tickets, click here.

Read the Gozamos interview here

Navi Arts Fest a Huge Success!


Over 30 local artisans participated in the 4th annual Navi Arts Fest held on Saturday December 1st and Sunday December 2nd at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. These local artists displayed a variety of their work which was made available to the public for sale for the holiday season. Hundreds of area residents brought their families and loved ones to buy holiday gifts, enjoy Puerto Rican culture and participate in making their own holiday gifts. 


Those in attendance on Saturday participated in a parranda which begun at IPRAC and culminated at the Casita de Don Pedro were a ceremony was held commemorating World Aids day. On Sunday, attendees enjoyed delicious Puerto Rican food and were entertained by a Bombazo performed by Africaribe.

Centro Infantil Children's Art a Smash Success


On December 1 and 2 Centro Infantil Consuelo Lee Corretjer had their First Children's Art Exhibition Fundraiser at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC) as part of Navi-Arts 2012.

Our children (ages 15 months to 5 years old) were happy and proud of their work. Parents and family members were very impressed as they entered the gallery, and teachers received positive comments. Thanks to all parents for their participation and supporting our program.

Send a Message of Love and Support to Oscar for the Holiday Season


Imprisoned since 1981, Oscar López Rivera is the longest-held political prisoner in the history of Puerto Rico and Latin America, and among the longest-held political prisoners in the US. He is a caring community organizer; a creative, self-taught artist; a voracious reader; a brilliant thinker. More importantly, he is a father and grandfather who has watched while his daughter and granddaughter grew up from behind bars. On Three Kings Day, 2013, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, he will turn 70. His release from prison is supported by numerous world leaders, as well as religious and political leaders from across the theological and political spectrum in Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rican people as a whole.

In this holy season of love and reconciliation, we ask all who love justice and freedom to write to Oscar. It is past time to bring Oscar home.

Oscar López Rivera 
FCI Terre Haute 
PO Box 33 
Terre Haute, IN 
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Guided tours of IPRAC and the surrounding Paseo Boricua community will be available at IPRAC with Eduardo Arocho serving as a docent.  If you're interested in arranging a tour for your organization, school or church, please contact IPRAC at 773-486-8345. 

Puerto Rican Cultural Center
2739-41 W. Division St
Chicago, Illinois 60622
P 773-342-8023
F 773-342-6609
Available at  IPRAC
"Don Oscar" Coffee, Paseo Boricua Edition 


Café Don Oscar can be purchased for $5.99 at:


IPRAC: 3015 W. Division St., 773-486-8345 
Oscar Present at ASA Conference in Puerto Rico


Cointelpro 101 was shown at the American Studies Association national conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico last week. Claude Marks was joined by Akinyele Umoja of Georgia State University and Lucy Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican independentista and former political prisoner. 
The focus "Cointelpro then and now" touched on issues of US colonialism and political prisoners. A similar program was also held in the Puerto Rican community, where Claude was joined by both Lucy and Alicia Rodriguez. That discussion made both historical and current connections between the Puerto Rican struggle to end US Colonialism and other struggles to end US imperialism.
Wayne State Sorority Says Free Oscar!
Community activist and niece of Oscar Lopez-Rivera, Lourdes Lugo spoke yesterday at Wayne State University in a Parranda themed event sponsored by Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority , Inc, Beta Omega Chapter. After a viewing of 'For those who struggle', she presented to a group of about 50 students in El Salon de Nuestra Cultura and spoke on the current state of the Free Oscar Lopez campaign and what each person can do could do to help. Lourdes also revealed her personal experiences having to visit Oscar while incarcerated for the past 31 years and the tireless efforts to muster support for his release.  


Try using stories, recent events, or examples of how your organization has made an impact to your cause and community. Include materials from the news, area experts, supporters or people that have been touched by your work.Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Avelino Gonzalez Claudio will be returning to Puerto Rico this Thursday December 6th, 2012 to complete the remainder for his sentence, afterwards, he will be completing his probation time.

Avelino will be arriving at   2pm to El Areopuerto Luis Munoz Marin (Luis Munoz Marin Air port) and will be welcomed back to his homeland by a group of people.



San Juan- Renowned international specialists in Human Rights will meet in San Juan from December 7 to 10, 2012, in the Summit on Human Rights, in the Emilio S. Belaval Theater of the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón [Sacred Heart University], in Santurce. The Summit is aimed at familiarizing the public with the current Human Rights situation in the world and in Puerto Rico, and pointing out the intimate relationship between the topic and the case of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. This year commemorates the 64th anniversary of the approval of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.  


Among the participants in the Summit on Human Rights are Monsignor Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, former senator Piedad Córdova Díaz, of the Movimiento Marcha Patriótica and of Colombians for Peace; sociology professor Ms. Riham Barghouti, co-founder of Adalah-NY (Justice-NY), and attorney Lamis J. Deek of Al-Awda-NY (Return-NY), both involved in defending the human rights of Palestinians and the Arab community. Bishop Federico José Pagura, Bishop Emeritus of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina, founder of that country's Human Rights Movement and co-president of the World Council of Churches, who will give the keynote address on the Situation of Human Rights in Latin America.  


Francis A. Boyle, renowned constitutionalist, professor of international law and expert on human rights, will present at the Summit, as will U.S. attorneys Soffiyah Elijah, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Harvard School of Law, attorney Alexander Abder, and Jan Susler and Michael Deutsch of the People's Law Office in Chicago.


U.S. Congressional Representative Luis Gutiérrez, the Archbishop of San Juan Roberto González Nieves and maestro Antonio Martorell are some of the Puerto Rican presenters, as well as former political prisoners Alejandrina Torres and Carlos Alberto Torres, mother and son, who will offer testimony about the abusive conditions, isolation and physical and emotional torture in prison. 

Other attorneys will participate, including Wilma Reverón Collazo, Olga Sanabria, Josie Pantoja, Linda Backiel, William Ramírez, José Juan Nazario and Fermín Arraiza Navas.


The organizers of the Summit, which will be held at the Emilio S. Belaval Theater at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón [Sacred Heart University], are the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Bar Association, the Nilita Vientós Gastón Foundation, and the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, in collaboration with other organizations in Puerto Rico, New York and Chicago. The event is dedicated to attorney Juan Santiago Nieves, unconditional defender of Human Rights, who recently passed away; and to Oscar López Rivera, Puerto Rican political prisoner who has been held for more than 31 years in U.S. prisons.


Participants at the Summit will hear a videotaped greeting from Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976. 


"The Summit on Human Rights is an ambitious effort covering the widest discussion and diffusion of the current state of human rights in the world and in our Country," said Dr. Luis Nieves Falcón, president of the Nilita Vientós Foundation and activist in the campaign for the release of the Puerto Rican political prisoners. "It is conceived in the principle articulated by compañero Oscar that every effort for his release should be framed in a context and process which educates for the freedom of the Homeland and in order to achieve social justice." 

A collaboration of Vida Bella Ensemble

and En Las Tablas Performing 


The Science of Women

(Hazardous When Latina)



Four Latinas take the audience of a journey that explodes the typical run-of-the-mill stereotypes of what it means to be Latina.  Poetic, funny, and poignant the women navigate love, sex, aging, and power. The audience will understand why it is a science and art to love women!


Friday, December 7 * 7:30pm

En Las Tablas Performing Arts

4111 W. Armitage Ave.



$5 Donation

PRCC Program Updates



"Taking charge of our future" 


On Saturday, December 3, 2012 The Puerto Rican Agenda, in partnership with the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago held a community summit to present a research study entitled "60 Years of Migration: Puerto Ricans in Chicagoland". The Summit, which took place at Roberto Clemente High School, had over 150 community leaders and youth in attendance. The report that was presented is the first to concentrate on the state of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. The summit presented the study to key stakeholders with the purpose of gearing up the public for a larger community summit to come in the spring. The study provides a profile of the Puerto Rican population in Chicago that will help Puerto Rican and Latino elected officials address the needs of the community.


In the spring and summer of 2011 selected members of The Puerto Rican Agenda drew up a research plan that would zero in on different aspects of community life: housing, economic development, education, health, youth and justice, culture, and the non-profit sector.  The research team secured funding from the Chicago Community Trust, LISC Chicago, and the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 


"Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation".

World AIDS Day Vigil and Parranda


On Saturday December 1st, 2012 the Puerto Rican Cultural Center commemorated World AIDS Day and remembered all those individuals who have passed from AIDS and who live with HIV/AIDS with a Vigil and Parranda.  The event started at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture where the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Bechara Choucair, and PRCC's Executive Director, Jose Lopez, addressed the community. Jose Lopez reminded the community that everyone has a "God-given right to their sexuality", while the Commissioner made mention of the health disparities that exist in HIV infections and AIDS related deaths and the importance of working to change that.


On this day we aren't only remembering those who have died, but we also celebrate life in the midst of this disease that has taken so many of our loved ones.  In an effort to bring a festive feel to this important day we were joined by Humboldt Park No Se Vende's Annual Holiday Parranda and enjoyed music, singing and dancing.


Accompanied by music and song the participants made their way down Division street to La Casita de Don Pedro where the traditional World AIDS Day altar was displayed. Members of Vida/SIDA's youth program, Generation L, spoke about the importance of working to end the AIDS epidemic through research to find a vaccine that will prevent HIV and what a world Free of AIDS means to them.  One youth reflected on how far we have come in the 30 years since the epidemic began:


"Since the 80's the epidemic of AIDS started to form. In this time period it was deemed a gay disease because only gay men contracted the virus. Fast forward to where we are now in 2012, and you will find that numbers are decreasing. The candid nature of getting testing and having commercials on TV seemed like a pipe dream back in the 80's, but we live in a new age."

Vida/SIDA Updates

Benefit for El Rescate a Success!


As a follow up to all the World AIDS Day events, Queer Fest America held a benefit concert for El Rescate Transitional Home at The Mutiny, 2428 N. Western Ave. 


The night started off with a showcase highlighting a David Bowie tribute band Stardust, The Cathy Santonies, The Recruitment and Ez Kabage. Attendees were encouraged to bring blankets and winter coats.

Queer Fest America was founded by Lair Scott, a longtime advocate of the LGBTQ community.

"It's a demographic that's in need, in dire need, especially in the wintertime," he said. "They have no place to go."


On behalf of all the residents and staff at El Rescate and Vida/SIDA, we would like to thank Lair Scott and Mutiny for their continued support. 


El Rescate Youth Give Thanks

On November 22, 2012 residents of El Rescate celebrated a day among family and friends as they gathered to remember Thanksgiving. Some residents arrived at 1PM to help in the process of cooking and preparation, at the home of El Rescate staff. Family members and residents joined in and at 4PM gave thanks that life had crossed their paths and they were gathered as a life chosen family to give thanks. The eating, life story sharing and football game watching extended until 9 PM when the last resident returned to El Rescate. Special thanks to Vida/SIDA Director Juan Calderon, and Zenaida Lopez for the turkeys, Ada Rivera, Casandra Figueroa and Amanda Figueroa for house and food preparation.

We are currently asking for contributions for this Christmas and Three Kings Day period. You may contact Ada Rivera at 773.278.6737 if you would like to contribute.


El Rescate Youth Meet History at the Field Museum! 


The "Black Friday" for residents of El Rescate was an all day out at the Chicago Field Museum. They enjoyed discovering the many wonderful attractions the city of Chicago has to offer. For many it was an opportunity to be young again by discovering, walking freely and learning of the history of humanity through the relics and collections offers. It was a usual cold day in the city and it was great to walk and sweat inside of the museum. 



VidaSIDA Celebrates WAD at Antronio's   


As part of Chicago Unites for World AIDS Day, Vida/SIDA celebrated World AIDS Day at Antronio's Bar and Grill in Berwyn, IL on November 30th. The evening started off with a reception and was followed by outstanding performances by Gaby Badu, Rage DeMornay and Milani Ninja.

The performers then honored Miss Ketty, a long-time supporter of Vida/SIDA.


Gustavo Varela, staff of Vida/SIDA, helped to organize all the wonderful performances and is an instrumental part of the work done at Vida/SIDA. Angel Diaz, another staff member at Vida/SIDA, did an amazing job of decorating for the event.

Vida/SIDA would like to thank Emmaus Ministries for their gracious donations and continued support of our work. We would also like to thank Antronio's for allowing us to do testing at their facility on Saturdays and for their long-time support of Vida/SIDA.

Healthy Bodegas In Humboldt Park


The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) has been working with key community partners to eliminate the community's designation as a " food desert." Most community residents have to travel a distance or leave the community in order to buy a tomato or any other much needed produce. In 2008, the PRCC commissioned a study by DePaul University's Stein Center, which documented the existence of 11 grocery stores (bodegas), in the community. Of these, only 2 sell fresh affordable produce. The other bodegas report being unable to sell produce because of risk involved in trying to sell perishable items.


PRCC invites you to join our Healthy Bodegas program in Humboldt Park; from Western Ave. to Humboldt Boulevard and Chicago Ave. to North Ave.  Nine bodegas are selling fresh fruit and vegetables and we are working to include every store in Humboldt Park. Our goal is to have fruit and vegetables available for our community. Please visit the stores and support our communities, for any question or suggestion please call or e-mail our food coordinator Abel Fernandez at 773-450-2055 -

NYC Elected Officials Ask for Freedom of Oscar Lopez Rivera


On Friday, Nov. 30, the progressive community of NYC attended a press conference at the 1199 Auditorium on West 43rd St organized to help bring Oscar home. NYC Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito, State Senator Gustavo Rivera and State Assemblyman Jose Rivera were all denied permission to visit Puerto Ricn political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera and it was only the day before the press conference that they found out. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, the principal speaker at the press conference, related his story of knowing Oscar and why he is moved to struggle for his freedom. Special messages were also read from Congressman Jose Serrano and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez as well as Hector Figueroa, President of Union 32 BJ. Clarisa López, daughter of Oscar had also flown in from Puerto Rico to tell her story, of meeting her father for the first time at the age of 11 to becoming a spokesperson for the campaign to free her father.


Those present were also treated to scenes from "Crime Against Humanity," the play co-written by Michael Reyes and Luis Rosa, based on real life interviews with Puerto Rican political prisoners.



Piden liberar a preso político Oscar López Rivera


EFE- Políticos y líderes puertorriqueños de Nueva York unieron hoy sus voces al congresista Luis Gutiérrez para exigir la excarcelación del nacionalista boricua Oscar López Rivera, considerado el prisionero político más antiguo del país.


"No vamos a descansar hasta que Oscar regrese a su comunidad", dijo hoy a Efe el congresista federal por Illinois sobre el nacionalista, que fue condenado a 55 años de cárcel en agosto de 1981 por conspiración y sedición contra el Gobierno de Estados Unidos. Lease el articulo entero aqui.



Políticos de NY abogan por la libertad de Oscar López Rivera


 Nueva York/EDLP - Funcionarios electos de Nueva York buscarán traer a la mesa de discusión la libertad del preso político Oscar López-Rivera, en una campaña que intenta apelar al "buen juicio" del presidente Barack Obama.


Clarissa López, de 42 años, hija del activista pro independencia de Puerto Rico, viajó desde la isla para unirse a la cruzada que podría devolverle a su padre tras 31 años de cárcel.


"Tengo esperanza, confió plenamente en que Obama será sensible al caso de mi padre, en especial cuando el voto latino fue determinante para su reelección", dijo López. "Quiero un que mi padre este en casa para la graduación de su única nieta."

Lease el articulo entero aqui. 



English language "Oscar Lopez Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance" Available Soon on Barnes and Noble


The life story of Puerto Rican freedom fighter and leader Oscar López Rivera, outlined in this book, is one of courage, valor, and sacrifice. In 1981, Oscar was convicted of seditious conspiracy and other crimes for which he is still imprisoned, making him the longest-held political prisoner in the world. This is the story of his fight for the political independence of Puerto Rico based on letters between him and the renowned lawyer, sociologist, educator, and activist Luis Nieves Falcón. Also included is Oscar's art, including photography and paintings created in his many years behind bars. Readers will explore his early life as a Latino child growing up in the small towns of Puerto Rico, following him as an adolescent as he and his family ... Purchase the book here.

Network PANCAKE- WAFFLE Breakfast 

Coming Soon!


  • Sun Dec. 16, 2012 - Pancake/Waffle Breakfast to benefit political prisoner commissary. Casa Puertorriqueña, 1237 N. California Ave., from 9:00am-12:00pm.
New York elected officials want to visit political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera


New York elected officials want to make a special visit to political prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera, held for over 30 years in federal prison.  There is a also a petition drive asking President Barack Obama to grant clemency to Rivera.  WBAI's Rebecca Myles spoke to Alejandro Luis Molina, National Co-ordinator for the National Baricua Human Rights Network. Listen to the interview here.