University of Illinois Special Presidential Advisor Dr. James Oliver Visits Our Community


Dr. James "Jim" Oliver visited with cultural and educational leaders in our community on Friday May 3rd. He serves as a senior advisor to University of Illinois President Robert Easter. Dr. Oliver holds a doctoral degree in higher education and is concerned with how the University, especially the Urbana and Chicago campuses, can be meaningfully involved in educational initiatives with the community. He was accompanied by Professor Michele Kelley of UIC School of Public Health.

Over a delicious Puerto Rican lunch at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture and led by Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) Executive Director José López, the vision for the Community as a Campus (CAAC) initiative was shared among the experienced attendees, including Madeline Roman Vargas, HPVEC, Eliud Medina, NNNN, Bill Gerstein, Special Projects Manager, Office of Family and Community Engagement, CPS, Marvin Garcia, Director, Praxis Project and Member of the Board of Trustees at NEIU, and Alejandro Luis Molina, Secretary, Board of Directors, PRCC and Vice-President, Board of Directors, YCCS. Dr. Oliver readily appreciated the concept and offered advice on possible sources of funding support. The role of the CAAC initiative in whole community efforts to enhance community well-being and quality of life was illustrated in lively, passionate discussion that included development of the built environment to include multiple rooftop greenhouses for sustainable food production- the urban agriculture initiative. Community leaders stressed the importance of these initiatives being driven by the community (organic) and therefore the adaptability to local conditions and sustainability are assured. Dr. Oliver commented that these features (community ownership) are what make for excellence and distinguish work being done in Humboldt Park from initiatives elsewhere.


School and youth involvement in these community-building initiatives are part of the concept of CAAC: learning occurs everywhere and the local ecology supports and is supported by students who then contribute to their community as young leaders. School - community connectedness as a best practice in education was strongly supported by all present and many outstanding examples, including urban agriculture, were discussed. In particular, the positive changes at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, as a partner in the CAAC initiative, led by Principal Marcey Sorensen, who was also present, were acknowledged.

Dr. Oliver promised to return with President Easter to move the discussion forward. Everyone acknowledged many possibilities for future collaboration to improve education and ultimately community well-being and life chances of children, youth and families 


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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

We are proud recipients of United Way contributions 
¡Humboldt Park 
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Boricua, Return  
to El Barrio 


On behalf of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, National Boricua Human Rights Network, and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to:


* Marisol Morales, Samuel Reyes and the Reyes family on the sudden passing of Norma Reyes, former Commissioner for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection of the City of Chicago and one of the founding student members of Rafael Cancel Miranda Puerto Rican High School; read the Tribune article here. Visitation will take place on Monday, May 13, Smith Cochran Funeral Home, 6150 N. Cicero, 4-7pm.


* the Noriega family on the passing of David Noriega, former legislator for the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), of cancer. Noriega also ran for Governor of Puerto Rico on the PIP ticket.


* Maria de los Angeles "Nena" Torres, Director and professor of the Latin American and Latino(a) Studies Program at UIC, and the Torres family, on the passing of her father, Dr. Alberto Torres.


* Michael Rendina, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Chicago Public Schools, and the Rendina family on the passing of his mother, Anna. 

VidaSIDA update


The Puerto Rican Cultural Center- Vida/SIDA is one of several organizations nationwide to receive funding from Be the Generation Bridge to help increase awareness and knowledge of biomedical HIV prevention research, which includes HIV vaccines, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), microbicides, and many others.


The transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission. In the absence of any interventions transmission rates range from 15-45%. This rate can be reduced to levels below 5% with effective interventions. (WHO)  Effective interventions include providing voluntary and confidential HIV counseling and testing for all women, but especially pregnant women, providing anti-retroviral drugs to pregnant women and ensuring safe delivery procedures to reduce the risk of transmission at delivery, counseling regarding infant feeding options. Worldwide about 1,000 babies were infected with HIV every day during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding in 2009. (UNICEF) In the U.S. 100-200 infants are infected with HIV every year as a result of the mother's unknown HIV status, or lack of prevention services. (CDC)


Medical male circumcision is the removal of all or part of the foreskin of the penis by a trained health professional.  Large scale clinical trials in Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa have found that voluntary medical male circumcision reduces men's risk of acquiring HIV from their female partners by up to 76 percent. This biomedical prevention approach is currently being rolled out for HIV prevention in 13 sub-Saharan African countries with high HIV prevalence and low levels of adult male circumcision. Although this has been deemed a successful prevention approach, research is still ongoing to consider how implemented programs can be efficient, cost-effective and community-supported. (AVAC) Any implementation plan will need to consider the cultural meaning of male circumcision and the need to prevent HIV infections. 

IPRO-IIT Students Present PASEO BORICUA app to Judges Panel at IIT


On April 26, 2013, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) students presented the results of their class, "Designing a Mobile App for a Walking Tour of the Puerto Rican Community in Chicago," to a panel of judges at IIT.  The app for the walking tour consists of a map of the tour, an overview of the tour, and a list and description of each of the sites that people can visit. 


If the person taking the tour wants additional information about the site or mural, she or he can click on the tags that are embedded in the description.  The students gave a visual demonstration of the app for Android to the judges.  When they had finished, one of the three judges, who works in the Bronzeville area of Chicago, remarked, "We need one of those for this community."  In addition to creating the mobile app, a number of students commented that they had learned a lot about the Puerto Rican community.  The app will be updated, tested over the summer and, if all works out, debut at Fiesta Boricua in September.


PRCC Board President Wins IIT Award!


On April 26, 2013, the College of Science and Letters at the Illinois Institute of Technology awarded Dr. Margaret Power the Excellence in Teaching Award. 

When the dean presented her with the award she noted that one reason that Margaret won the award was because a number of her students had written such positive letters praising her as a teacher. They said she was the "best teacher at IIT" and that her classes on women's history and Latin American history had "changed their lives." The Dean also congratulated Margaret on her work in developing two IPROs that worked directly with the Puerto Rican community of Chicago.  

Proyecto Abayarde Tech Class takes off in learning iMovie


Proyecto Abayarde Tech students (also known as the 21st Century Program) from Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School jumped into multi-media production this week as they began learning iMovie. They will also beginning learning Wordpress as they begin contributing to the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School website and e-newsletter section.

32 Days for 32 Years:
Day 10: Alex Frye, Vida/SIDA


Alex Frye
Alex Frye
See all videos here!

PRCC Updates

Shadow Day by Clemente Students at Columbia College Chicago


On Thursday May 2, 8 students of the college pipeline project at Roberto Clemente Community Academy attended a shadow day at Columbia College Chicago. Students were given a personalized tour based on their intended field of study by current Columbia students. Those fields included Theatre, Graphic Design, Film/Video, Photography, and Game Design. For two and half hours the pipeline students engaged in campus life and learned about the department they are interested in going in to for their first year of college. From there, the students met back in the Multi-Cultural Affairs studio and sat in on Dr. Jose López' 'Mexican and Central American History' class where the documentary 'Precious Knowledge' was shown. A discussion about the importance of cultural studies in schools ensued in which college students mingled with the high school students. Also the novel 'In the Time of the Butterflies' by Julia Alvarez was given to the pipeline students as a gift from professor Jesus Macarena.

Puerto Rico Eco-Cultural Tour In Full Swing


On Monday, May 6, the PRCC confirmed that 20 people will participate in the Eco-Cultural Tour of Puerto Rico between June 6th and 11th during the Jibaro Music Festival in Comerio dedicated to the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Oscar López Rivera. The group reflects a very broad multi-generational sector of our community. Congressman Luis Gutiérrez has been invited by the Mayor of Comerio and President of the Puerto Rican Mayor's Association, Josean Santiago, to partake in the closing ceremonies of the festival. This tour promises to be a truly cultural and ecological immersion experience for the participants. It is one that we will hope to continue to organize on a continuing basis. Anyone who is interested in still participating in the tour between June 6th to 11th without the round trip tickets, please contact Militza M. Pagán at or 773-227-7794 by May 17. See ad below.

Comerio Cultural Center Dedicates 33rd Jibaro Festival to PRCC


The CIRILO W. MEIJERS Comerio Cultural Center has dedicated its 33rd FESTIVAL JIBARO COMERIEÑO (June 7-9) to the Puerto Rican community of Chicago, represented by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center Juan Antonio Corretjer of Chicago. In addition, they recognize that the tribute would not be complete without dedicating the festival also to Oscar López Rivera. In this spirit they have organized a "Committee to Free Oscar", which has already published a call urging the townspeople to become involved in the campaign to free Puerto Rico's longest held political prisoner.


NBHRN to open online
store next month

The National Boricua Human Rights Network will be opening an online store in time for the Peoples Parade in June. It will have "Oscar López Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance", the CD collection of songs authored by some of Puerto Rico's most well-known singer-songwriters is also available for sale. "La Vida Es Lucha Toda" tributo a Oscar López Rivera features Roy Brown and Zoraida Santiago, Tony Mapeyé, Lucecita Benítez and Haciendo Punto en Otro Son.

The book is available for $15.95 plus s/h and the CD for $12 plus s/h. The classic Oscar T-shirt (image left), are $10 each, plus shipping and handling, and is available in various sizes. The button (same image) is $1. 


To get your copy, contact Each copy is $15.95 plus shipping & handling. The Oscar CD is also available and costs $12 plus s/h. 

Give Out Day to Benefit


Vida/SIDA has joined 405 other organizations throughout the USA and Puerto Rico to facilitate Give Out Day on May 9, 2013. Give Out Day is a day where people like you will step up in support of the many efforts that all non-profit organizations facilitate in our communities of

need. Vida/SIDA needs your support. The day is soon approaching and we need you to help us in reaching our fundraising goal to continue providing you

with our great services.


To donate, please click here and donate online.


If you so desire, you can also write a check to us and mail it or deposit your cash in our donation box at 2703 W Division St., Chicago, IL 60622. We are counting on you!


Puerto Rican Agenda Welcomes NY Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito to Chicago


During its monthly meeting on Saturday, May 3rd, the Puerto Rican Agenda welcomed New York City Councilwoman, Melissa Marks-Viverito to Chicago's Puerto Rican community. Melissa came to Chicago to participate in a conference at Loyola University held by UIC's Great Cities Institute as a participant discussing participatory budgeting. Melissa has distinguished herself as a fearless fighter for the rights of her constituents in the historical Puerto Rican/Latino section of New York's El Barrio particularly around the issues of gentrification. She has also been a strong voice in the movement for Immigrant Rights, and has filled her agenda with broader issues that impact the Puerto Rican people including the struggle to get the US navy out of Vieques, the struggle against the ecological compromising gasoducto and the struggle to free Puerto Rican political prisoners. Melissa is positioned to become the Speaker of the City Council of New York City after her upcoming election. Thus, perhaps making her the most important Puerto Rican/Latino leader in New York City. 



 Alderman Maldonado presents at 

Puerto Rican Agenda


On Saturday, May 3rd Alderman Roberto Maldonado and his wife Nancy were warmly welcomed to the Puerto Rican Agenda monthly meeting. The alderman focused his presentation on overall community issues particularly housing, safety and violence. A lively dialogue ensued with the members of the Agenda. 

Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Homeless Prevention and

Rental Assistance Program


Do you qualify for rental assistance?

  • Homeless?
  • About to be homeless?
  • Falling behind in rent?
  • Need a security deposit and first month's rent?

Eligibility for Assistance:

  • Resident of Humboldt Park or Logan Square
  • Seeking housing in the Humboldt Park and Logan Square community
  • Behind on rent

For more information, please contact Melissa Rodríguez at 773.227.7794.

Spring has sprung!
Spring has sprung! Here we are making flowers, but we decided to use buttons as petals. Want to see the finished piece? Come join us at Centro Infantil located @ 2739 W Division St. 773-342-8866

Community Calendar of Events


32 Days for 32 Years

April 28-May 29, Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division


Mercado del Paseo Boricua Farmer'sMarket

El Rescate Rummage Sale


Friday, May 10th 2pm-7pm

Saturday May 11th 10am-3pm, 2628 W. Division      


Eduardo Galeano

Sunday, May 12th 11am, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St


From Puerto Rico to Palestine: Colonial Domination and Political Prisoners

Panel: Sahar Francis (General Director of Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association), José E. López (Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center) and Jan Susler (People's Law Office)

Monday, May 13th at 4pm-6pm, John Marshall Law School, 304 S. State St, Room 420,


Supperclub Dinner Fundraiser for Batey Youth to go on Puerto Rico Eco-Tour Trip

Thursday, May 23rd at 7:30pm

Tickets: $75



32 Days for 32 Years Closing Event

Wednesday, May 29th 6pm, 

Casa Puertorriqueña, 1237 N. California        


College Pipeline and BACCA Culminating Event

Friday, May 31st 6pm, Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division


Puerto Rican Agenda Meeting, Special Guest: Representative from Puerto Rican Studies Center at Hunter College

Saturday, June 1st 9am-11:30am, IPRAC, 3015 W. Division


Puerto Rico Eco-Tour Trip,


Thursday, June 6th to Tuesday, June 11th



Puerto Rican People's Parade Dignitaries Event honoring San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto

Friday, June 14th 6pm, IPRAC, 3015 W. Division


Puerto Rican People's Parade

Saturday, June 15th

Es un deber y será un honor

 Miguel Angel Cabrera/Mexico


Gracias a la maravilla del correo electrónico, recibí hace unas horas una carta abierta del eminente oncólogo y hematólogo puertorriqueño Fernando Cabanillas. El doctor Fernando Cabanillas es profesor de medicina con especialización en tratamiento de linfomas del MD Anderson Cancer Center, uno de los centros de cáncer más reconocidos en el mundo, donde se tratan los casos más difíciles de esa patología a nivel mundial,  y es director del programa de cáncer del Hospital Auxilio Mutuo en Puerto Rico. Preside, además, la Asociación de Hematología y Oncología de Puerto Rico.

Read the rest of the article here.

PACHS Seniors Rise to the Challenge


The seniors at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School just finished presenting their Sustainable Democracy projects and portfolios in defense of their graduation to over 60 panelists, which included community members, alumni, and a variety of professionals. Seniors were met with the challenge of solving a community based problem through the teaching and learning style of Problem Based Learning. Students attempted to solve one of four community based problems through academic and field research and working with a selected mentor from the community organization. They also showed off their senior portfolios; a compilation of work exemplifying self and academic transformation and preparation for post-secondary options.


Students presented on the following challenges; getting more young heterosexual males to participate at VIDA/SIDA to promote safe sex, getting pre-diabetics and non-diabetics to participate in 72 Block by Block, figuring out how to double the production of fresh fruits and vegetables at the PACHS greenhouse and finding a solution to the high Latino drop out rate at UIC and NEIU. These issues presented to our students by the organizations are important challenges in our community and it has been a privilege to have PACHS seniors develop critical solutions that the organizations may implement for the future.


Congratulations Seniors!