!Arriba Los De Abajo!

Puerto Rican Orlando Activist, Rico Piccard, Passes Away

On the morning of November 27, 2013, Rico Piccard passed away after a hard battle against cancer. Rico, a Vietnam veteran and lifelong advocate for social justice, was a leading voice in Orlando's growing Puerto Rican community and active member of the international campaign to free Oscar López Rivera. The Puerto Rican Cultural Center and National Boricua Human Rights Network would like to extend its deepest sympathies to Rico's family, his beloved compañera Zoraida Rios-Andino, his comrades in struggle, and the Orlando Puerto Rican community. We join our brothers and sisters in Central Florida in mourning this great loss and proclaiming, as Rico often did, "!Arriba los de abajo!" Learn more about Rico.

Carmen Yulin, 

Mayor of San Juan, Presents 

Gutierrez Memoirs

On Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto hosted a book signing and reception for Luis Gutierrez's memoir. She personally presented the book to the public gathered in the Sala Gautier de Benitez in San Juan's City Hall.


Before the book presentation, she invited José E. López, Executive Diirector of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center to make some opening remarks. José underscored the importance of the book's presentation in la ciudad Patria, and highlighted Luis's connection to Chicago's Barrio, and how this has informed who he has become.


Carmen Yulin noted that the book, with all it's powerful personal narrative, contributed to the importance of acknowledging constructive criticism in the realm of political practice. She stressed the importance of her receiving Luis in her capital-the capital of his Puerto Rico.


Luis was warmly welcomed by some of San Juan's most prominent citizens, including the ex-mayor of San Juan, Ramon Luis Acevedo. Luis thanked Carmen Yulin for all her work, and for hosting the event, but most importantly, for her unswerving support for the release of the Puerto Rican patriot Oscar López Rivera. 


Luis's presentation was profound, humorous, provocative- sometimes provoking tears as well as laughter among the audience members, as he related some of the most salient aspects of his book-;"Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill."

"Still Dreaming": Available at Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Autographed copies of "Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill" by Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, are still available. Contact Alejandro: 

Centro Infantil 

Consuelo Lee Corretjer

Open Registration * Day Care Program * Head Start

We offer:

* Full day, Day Care for children 15 mos. to 3 yrs.

* Full day Head Start for children 3 to 5 yrs. 

* Research based curriculum

* Family involvement

* Nutritional Meals

* Parent workshops

Download the leaflet here.


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Las manos en el cristal: Serie de Cartas de OLR a su nieta Karina


Jayuya's Legislative Assembly President Francisco Torres will help Open La Casa de Don Oscar 
and Doña Blanca on Paseo Boricua This Friday
On Friday, November 29th, Francisco Torres, president of the Jayuya Legislative Assembly, will help to open the PRCC's new initiative, La Casa Don Oscar and Doña Blanca on Paseo Boricua, located at 2628 W. Division. Francisco will present a "charla" on the life and time of Blanca Canales, the Puerto Rican nationalist leader who lead the Jayuya uprising on October 30th, 1950 and served more than 13 years as a political prisoner. During the event, members of Chicago's community will deliver their first round of petition drives to President Obama asking for Oscar Lopez Rivera's release. Food and refreshment will be served. For more information, please contact Alejandro Molina at alejandrom@prcc-chgo.org or Militza M. Pagán at militzap@prcc-chgo.org. 

Grand March in Puerto Rico mobilizes over 50,000 People to chant "Obama, We Want Oscar Lopez Free!" by Eduardo Arocho

The march held on Saturday, November 23rd brought together a broad sector of the Puerto Rican population to show a unified voice to the rest of the world and continued pressure on the Obama Administration to release Oscar Lopez Rivera. Present at this march were elected officials from the pro-statehood party (PNP), Mayor Maria "Mayita" Melendez Altieri, Mayor Carmen Yulin (PPD) of San Juan as well as, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez of Chicago and Congressmen Nydia Velasquez of New York. In addition , a message was read by Congressman Jose Serrano, also of New York.


"It was a great success," says Clarisa Lopez, daughter of Oscar Lopez Rivera. "For a long time we were not able to come to a consensus on a date for the march. But we did it and who came out? All of the political parties, students, religious leaders, people on wheel chairs, canes and walkers. Whole families." Said Clarisa with great satisfaction.

Since May of this year there have been many manifestations for the release of Oscar, most notably the 24-hour demonstration where volunteers remained confined to 6ft x 9ft mock-up prison cells intended to represent Lopez Rivera's current cell size in Terre Haute, IN. The demonstrations took place on May 29, 2013 at the central squares of Puerto Rico's four largest cities, as well as, similar demonstrations in major cities in the United States. Former Political Prisoner Edwin Cortes, who is part of the "32 Por Oscar" Committee and the Comite Pro Derechos Humanos that helped organize both the march and the jail cell demonstration said, "the participation of statehood mayor Maria Melendez in the jail cell helped to dismiss a lot of fear among people...before the 24 hours were over there were so many people wanting to go into the cell that they had to cut down the time each person spent inside to minutes."


The Marchers gathered in front of the Federal Court House in Hato Rey and culminated an hour later at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium where a musical event was held in honor of Oscar Lopez. Many of Puerto Rico's famous artist like singer Danny Rivera and Antonio Martorrell among others came out to march on a sunny 85 degree afternoon, when the heat was most intense. One of the most exiting moments was when Oscar Lopez himself called from prison and was able to speak with the marchers and the people along the march as well as during the cultural performance at the end of the March. 


Clarisa Lopez who was leading chants during the march said that her roll was mainly to be Oscar Lopez Rivera's daughter. "I want people to keep in mind that Oscar is a father and a grandfather and that our relationship continues even while in prison" Clarisa continues, "I dream of the day when my father will be in my house spending time together."

Until then Clarisa insists that we must continue to spread the word both nationally and internationally and add more voices to make one great voice.


Paseo Boricua Pays Tribute to Nuyorican Legend Tato Laviera

Nuyorican poet Tato Laviera left an indelible mark on Paseo Boricua and the Puerto Rican nation. On November 21, members of the Paseo Boricua/ Humboldt Park community gathered at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture to pay homage to this literary giant, author of three plays about the history of Puerto Rican Chicago. The tribute, organized by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Batey Urbano, and La Respuesta Magazine, began with a City Council Resolution about Tato introduced by Alderman Roberto Maldonado. Download a PDF of the resolution.

Following this, several individuals read poems and reflected on Tato, his work, and his impact on their lives and our community. A central theme that ran through the evening was Tato's mentorship and his commitment to the Puerto Rican people. The event concluded with heartfelt reflection by David Sanchez, the nephew of Tato Laviera. More on Tato Laviera. 

VAINILLA BEAN Adds Something Sweet to Paseo Boricua

On Saturday, November 23rd Vainilla Bean Bake Shop opened to great reviews. Located at 2627 W. Division Street, Vainilla Bean is the newest establishment to open on Paseo Boricua. Specializing in cup cakes (pumpkin, piña colada, German Chocolate, vanilla, to name a few), Vainilla Bean also includes traditional Puerto Rican favorites like delicious flan and budin de pan (Bread pudding).


Owners Aricel Rivera-Dunn and her daughter Stephanie Zayas have been baking together for years prior to opening up shop as a way to spend quality time together.  "I couldn't ask for a better partner. We get each other", says Stephanie.


They started to really think hard about opening up a bakery four years ago. "We started to collect items throughout the years to decorate our future bakery," said Aricel. "When I first started to tell people my plans they always tried to persuade me to open up in areas where it was predominantly white people. But Aricel grew up in Humboldt Park with her 9 brothers and sisters. Her mother was born in Rio Piedras Puerto Rico and her father is from Vieques. "I grew up here in Humboldt Park, I love my people. I wanted to show everyone that you can open up here and be successful," said Aricel.


She and her family would come often to Paseo Boricua and imagine their business. "I was making plans to open up next April but when I came to this year's Puerto Rican Parade and saw this storefront, I just fell in love with it and knew I had to open up this year," said Aricel with a smile full of satisfaction.


They painted the store in lime green and coral colors and added all the decorations they had been collecting for years, which seem to fit perfectly. Finally, the name came to them when they realize that vanilla is an ingredient that they use most often but they wanted to add a Spanish flare to the name so they decided to call it Vainilla (Spanish for vanilla) Bean.


Since opening on Saturday the vanilla cup cake has already become their best seller. But you should decide for yourself. For more information on Vainilla Bean Bake Shop visit their website which will be launching soon www.vainillabeanbakeshop.com or call them at 773-661-9486.

Pasteles Sale Make a Hit

The National Boricua Human Rights Network null Pasteles Sale this year reached an all time high with nearly 2000 pasteles made and sold. The proceeds from this event are used for the political prisoner xmas commissary fund. The Network wants to thank all the volunteers who helped to make this huge success a reality. For three days, over 30 volunteers labored assiduously in the making of the pastels. Thanks to the following individuals:


From the Childcare : Xochitl Ramirez, Maria Bezares, Madeline Ramirez, Martiza Ramirez, Hope Poireir, Maria Almanza, Yvette Flores, Alma Moreno


From Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School: Judy Diaz, Joann Velazquez, Matt Rodriguez, Sandra Sumlin, Elias Carmona


From VidaSIDA: Leslie Rodriguez, Stefanie Rodriguez, Miguel Silva, Ruth Mendez, Marie Wright, Alex Frye


Youth leadership: Rebecca Rios, Alyssa Villegas, Matt McCanna, Maria Borrero


From the Network

Michelle Morales, Scott Greene, Xavier Greene-Morales, Alejandro Luis Molina


From the Community: Beti Guevara


Special thanks to Lourdes Lugo and Clarisa Lopez for their work. Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to provide some of our community's neediest families with delicious holiday pasteles.

Join Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus and New Life Covenant Church on Saturday Dec. 7th at 11:00. Tour the new church, and be part of the short program. Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn will be present.


OLR Wristbands for Sale
Get your Free Oscar wristbands while they are available! $3 ea. Contact Alejandro Luis Molina: alejandrom@boricuahumanrights.org tp pick up.

Fundraiser to send Play Crimes Against Humanity to Mexico raises $3500!


Michael Reyes, from Chicago, Boca Floja from Mexico and La Bruja from New York City, performed to sold out shows Wednesday, November 13th and Thursday, November 14th to raise funds to send the play Crimes Against Humanity to Mexico. The play about the Puerto Rican political prisoners will be performed in Mexico City beginning in December. Over 100 people attended both shows and a total of $2000 was raised with another $1500 pledged. The Network thanks all those who made it possible to make Oscar's presence felt in Mexico as well as recognize the leadership role that Michael Reyes has played in this endeavor.