"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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Discurso por Antonio Martorell durante la marcha por la excarcelación de Oscar López Rivera el sábado 23 de noviembre de 2013 frente al Tribunal Colonial de San Juan de Puerto Rico.
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World AIDS Day 2013 Celebrations at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center-Vida/SIDA in Humboldt Park

By Jorge Cestou, PhD ABD, MBA
Altar to honor Humboldt Park community residents that have died of AIDS complications.  Photo credit: Pedro Mercado

On Sunday, December 1, 2013, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC)- Vida/SIDA celebrated World AIDS Day 2013 with four activities held in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL. Over 200 participants attended the events.

 The first event took place at La Casita de Don Pedro y Doña Lolita. José E. López, Executive Director of the PRCC introduced the attendees to the historical background of the space and painted the perspective of why World AIDS Day is significant to the PRCC-Vida/SIDA and the Humboldt Park community.

Gustavo Varela, Generation L Coordinator addressing the attendees. 

Photo credit: Pedro Mercado

"Vida/SIDA was created in 1988 as a response to the AIDS epidemic. Through this initiative we contribute to HIV prevention efforts and intervene in reducing new infections." ~José E. López, PRCC Executive Director


Attendees moved to El Batey Urbano at 2620 W Division St. El Batey Urbano is the home of Generation L -PRCC-Vida/SIDA's Mpowerment Program that serves Latino and African American MSM Youth. Gustavo Varela, Generation L Coordinator welcomed the visitors to their space and provided an overview of Generation L.

Jose Lopez, PRCC Executive Director dedicating the new Vida/SIDA office space to Bartolo Hernandez de Jesus. Photo credit: Pedro Mercado

The next event was the dedication of new PRCC-Vida/SIDA office space at 2640 W Division St. Juan Calderón, COO and Vida/SIDA Director welcomed the guests and talked about the importance of the programs and services that PRCC-Vida/SIDA offers. José E. López informed the attendees of the historical perspective of PRCC-Vida/SIDA named after Bartolo Hernández de Jesús since 1988. "He was a long time HIV advocate in NYC and a great friend of the PRCC. Bartolo died in 1989 of AIDS complications. 


Ferd Eggan visiting Puerto Rico in the 1990s.
 This new space is dedicated to our friend Bartolo Hernández de Jesús" said José E. López. José also spoke about Ferd Eggan, who passed away in 2007 and was a co-founder of ACT-UP, co-founder of VidaSIDA, solidarity activist and assistant principal of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School in the 1980s.


Bartolo Hernández de Jesús

Guests then transitioned to El Rescate at 2703 W Division St.. El Rescate is a Transitional Housing Living Program for LGBTQ or HIV Positive 18-24 year olds. Jackie González, El Rescate Director, welcomed the guests and facilitated a walk through tour of the facilities.


Vida/SIDA Celebrates 25th Anniversary as World AIDS Day Culminating Event; Activist Legends Carmen Velásquez & Dora García Honored

The culminating and fourth event of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and VidaSIDA's World AIDS Day Celebration that evening was the banquet at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, (IPRAC). Over 100 people attended the event, which took place in the Institute's Main Gallery.

The centerpiece of the event was the awards reception and dinner to honor this year's recipients. Honorable Judge Beatriz Santiago served as MC. Event speakers included José E. López, PRCC Executive Director, Juan Calderón VidaSIDA Director, and Roberto Sanabria, PRCC Board Member and one of Vida/SIDA's co-founders.

This year's award recipients included Carmen Velásquez, Executive Director of Alivio Medical Center who was honored with the Bartolo Hernández de Jesús Lifetime Achievement Award; Dora Garcia, Associate Executive Director of Alivio Medical Center, honored with the Bartolo Hernández de Jesús Community Service Award; and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus which received the Bartolo Hernández de Jesús Gratitude Award. Honorable Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo received the award on behalf of the Caucus.



To end the powerful event, the PRCC's Leslie Rodriguez sang the classic Puerto Rican song "En Mi Viejo San Juan" and Rodriguez-Espinosa family members Michael Rodriguez and Cindy Rodríguez-Espinosa, community members and co-owners of Nellie's and Café Colao, were the subjects of a surprise birthday cake presentation.

Grand Opening of La Casa De Don Oscar y Doña Blanca

On Friday, November 29th the National Boricua Human Rights Network held the grand opening of "La Casa de Don Oscar y Doña Blanca" located at 2628 W. Division. The space is dedicated to Oscar López Rivera, the Puerto Rican political prisoner who has been imprisoned for 32 years, and Blanca Canales, the infamous Puerto Rican nationalist leader who served 17 years in prison. 


At the event, the President of the Jayuya Legislative Assembly, Frankie Torres Pagán, presented a portrait of Blanca Canales that will be permanently displayed at "La Casa de Don Oscar and Doña Canales." During his presentation, Frankie directed his speech to Karina, Oscar Lopez Rivera's granddaughter, explaining to her and the audience in attendance how her grandfather and Blanca Canales' life and legacy are intricately connected. He detailed the life of Blanca Canales and how she was falsely accused of killing an officer and three others during "El Grito de Jayuya," the uprising that occurred on October 30, 1950.  "La Casa De Don Oscar y Doña Canales" will be used as a space to display Oscar López Rivera's paintings and for people to learn more about him. The space will also be used as space to support artists in the Humboldt Park community.


Anniversary of Elvira Arellano's Sanctuary Begins New Drive to Establish Sanctuary Churches across the Nation

A crowded church celebrated the seventh anniversary of the historic sanctuary of Elvira Arellano and the 60th birthday of long time Latina activist and Familia Latina Unida/Sin Fronteras Co-chair Emma Lozano last Saturday night. Held at Adalberto United Methodist Church at 2716 W Division where Arellano and her son Saul fended off Homeland Security for a year in 2006. The celebration reunited many of the community leaders that had assisted in organizing the sanctuary.

For a long year Arellano evolved into the face of the 12 million undocumented and brought to the nation's attention that this was a struggle of families struggling to stay together in the face of a broken law, many with U.S. citizen children.


Dr. José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center commented that the year in sanctuary solidified unity in the Latino community - with and without papers - around the issue, a unity that was finally shown to the nation in the Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. "We have accomplished a unity between Latinos from different national origins that Latin American visionaries have dreamed about for centuries.."


In bringing the struggle up to date, Emma Lozano explained that the paralysis in Congress left the responsibility to stop the deportations directly on President Obama. "He broke his promise when he had the votes and he has voluntarily deported over 2 million people. He has the authority to grant the deferments and work permits he offered the dreamers before the last election to their parents and the parents of U.S. citizen children."


Adalberto Pastor, Rev Walter Coleman announced a campaign to recruit 1,000 "sanctuary churches" across the nation in December. "Sanctuary 13" will join congregations together to bring pressure on the President to stop the deportations and will offer support to those facing orders of deportation. The pastor began a "water only fast" which he said he will maintain until the campaign has reached 1,000 churches.


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.


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Ricky Martin Ft Draco - Mas y Mas @ Latin Grammy (2013)
Ricky Martin Robbie Draco Rosa -
Mas y Mas @ Latin Grammy (2013)

Editorial El Nuevo Dia (Spanish)

November 23, 2013


President Barack Obama, compelled solely by principles of democracy, justice and respect for human rights, should grant a pardon for the immediate release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.


It is a decision the head of state should take now, because every minute that the United States government prolongs that unjust imprisonment constitutes an affront to decorum and a disregard for dignity. This cause crosses social, political, religious, community, and even international borders.


In fact, the march being organized for today, to leave from the federal court in Hato Rey, calling for the release of López Rivera, the longest held political prisoner in U.S. prisons, is the sum of all the efforts carried out, above ideologies and political persuasions, to win his return to Puerto Rico, his return home. That walk in solidarity, convened by the 32 X Oscar Committee and the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, will end up at Hiram Bithorn stadium, where a symbolic "release" will take place, with the participation of many artists.


Arrested on May 29, 1981, and accused of "seditious conspiracy" due to his clandestine activity for the independence of Puerto Rico, Oscar López Rivera was never accused of any bloodshed, murder or causing physical harm to anyone. Regardless, he was sentenced to 55 years in prison, a sentence he began to serve in the prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Years later, accused of participating in a conspiracy to escape, the Puerto Rican was transferred to the maximum security prison at Marion, Illinois, and given an additional fifteen year sentence - for a total of seventy - of which he has served almost 33. In Marion he spent long periods of time incommunicado, under a regimen of sensory deprivation or "solitary confinement," deprived of all human contact except with prison guards. 


In 1999, when president Bill Clinton granted clemency to many Puerto Rican prisoners - which in Oscar's case did not mean immediate release, but rather a sentence reduction - he declined the offer, due to the fact that others of his compañeros were excluded from the offer. His spiritual strength, his disciplined character, and his talent for art and teaching have allowed him to conduct himself in exemplary fashion in the Terre Haute, Indiana prison where he is being held. 


Born almost 71 years ago in the town of San Sebastián, Oscar was taken by his family to Chicago when he was an adolescent. In Chicago he studied and lived, and began to do community organizing which he lays claim to even today. In the 1970's, he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam war, for which he was awarded a medal. His release date is not until June of 2023, when he will be over 80 years old.


The march for his release appeals to the humanitarian fiber of Puerto Ricans, but also to people of the U.S. which, in other times and circumstances, has shown its humanitarian sentiment against injustices and lengthy imprisonment for issues of conscience, as was the case with Nelson Mandela.


The efforts for Oscar López' release have been taken on over and above ideologies or status symbols. This Puerto Rican, who is turning into an old man, just as he has spent almost his entire youth, locked in a cell, should return as soon as possible to the arms of his family and his land.


President Obama should rise to the occasion, releasing Oscar. 

Puerto Rican Welterweight Daniel Rosario Dedicates and Wins Fight in Oscar's Name (Spanish)
Visit his Facebook page. Mi gente linda, hoy nos llevamos la Victoria junto con las cicatrices que conlleva una dura batalla. Subi al ring a nombre de Oscar Lopez quien ha luchado por 32 años y tuve una dura batalla contra un oponente mas grande, pesado y fuerte que yo. Gané igual que Oscar va a ganar. Gracias por el apoyo. Los quiero.
OLR Wristbands for Sale
Get your Free Oscar wristbands while they are available! $3 ea. Contact Alejandro Luis Molina: alejandrom@boricuahumanrights.org to pick up.