Roberto Clemente Community Academy & Que Ondee Sola Partner with University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Latin American & Latino Studies Program to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

HUMBOLDT PARK, CHICAGO- Roberto Clemente Community Academy, which only last month celebrated its own 40th anniversary, has partnered with the UIC Latin American & Latino Studies (LALS) Program to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Community groups and leaders who were involved in the creation of LALS, together with current students, faculty and staff are busy preparing a 2 week celebration (schedule below).


Of particular significance are the 2 partnerships; one by Roberto Clemente Community Academy's TV and Video Department led by Mildred Amador, which took on the amazing (and time-intensive) task of having her class video-tape 16 representatives of the celebration. Mildred, along with her class, prepped the participants, read the questions and, along with Milton Tanco, Clemente Videographer and Tech, and Matt McCanna, edited the videos into 2 minute segments. It was a superb example of the way partnerships between community and university partnerships should function.


In addition, Que Ondee Sola (QOS), the longest published Latino student newsmagazine in the US and based at Northeastern Illinois University, is dedicating a section of its November issue to the LALS Program's 40th Anniversary celebration. Alyssa Villegas, QOS Editor stated "We look forward to collaborating with LALS and continuing to develop our relationship with the UPRS and other student groups. This small contribution is our responsibility to the development of future leadership."

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

On Sale Now

November Chicago Magazine "Why José López Stands Between Gentrification and Humboldt Park"

Be sure to pick up the November issue of Chicago Magazine, which features an interview by Puerto Rican Cultural Center ED José E. López conducted by Elly Fishman.

13th Annual Haunted Paseo Boricua

Featuring Carnival Circus Extravaganza &

Healthy Treats for Children of All Ages


Chicago, IL - October 1, 2014- hosts the 13th Annual Haunted Paseo Boricua on Friday, October 31st in the Humboldt Park neighborhood along Division Street from Western to California, between the giant Paseo Boricua Gateway Flag monuments. The festivities begin at 4:00pm and go until 7:30pm. Admission is free and open to the public. We provide a safe space for hundreds of families to enjoy the Halloween festivities, trick or treating and have plenty of fun. 

This year's festival includes over dozen of "halloweenesque" stations inspired by the carnival circus theme infused with a bit of Puerto Rican culture such as: a Haunted Casita, Scary Graveyard, Spooky Dancing & Thriller Stations, Healthy Treats Station, and the infamous and devilish Puerto Rican VEJIGANTE Station. 


This is the second year that Haunted Paseo launches the initiative " Healthy Treats for Healthier Kids" a campaign to inform children and their families about moderation and healthier snacks choices. We encourage our businesses to offer alternatives to candy in order to help prevent diabetes and obesity among our youth and in our community.


This event is being co-sponsored by: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos H.S., West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urbano (Boys & Girls Bike Club), AfriCaribe Cultural Center, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Batey Urbano, Roberto Clemente High School, Muevete - Diabetes Empowerment Center, VIDA SIDA, The Chicago Park District, Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward), Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, and The Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness.  



Find us on Facebook:Haunted Paseo

or Flickr: Haunted Paseo 2012




Did you know that the average kid consumes 3 cups of sugar during Halloween?             

Last year Haunted Paseo launched an extraordinary campaign to promote healthy alternatives and moderation during and beyond the Halloween celebration. Children all ages and families were genuinely happy to receive more than candy, but also delicious treats that won't scare good health away.


We are encouraging donations of every kind within this category to help realize this initiative. 


Some examples are:

  • Fruit Gummies
  • Pretzels
  • Juice boxes
  • Mini water bottles 
  • Plain cookies (graham crackers, Teddy Grahams, vanilla wafers, etc.)
  • Baked chips, baked tortilla chips
  • Popcorn
  • Low-fat granola or cereal bars
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Small toys (be conscious of small children)
  • Stickers


Donations can be dropped off at DSBDA, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, Erie Elementary Charter School, Diabetes Empowerment Center and many others. 


Lets make it happen!

Paseo Boricua welcomes Grinnell College students

The week of October 20-24th, ten students from Grinnell College, located in Grinnell, Iowa, are spending their fall break on Paseo Boricua. As part of this alternative break experience, Grinnell College students are working with staff and students at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) and staff at Vida/SIDA. Specific activities include: assisting PACHS students with their personal statements for college applications; providing information to PACHS students about college life and academic work; helping to decorate Division Street for Haunted Paseo; and supporting the HIV work of Vida/SIDA. Grinnell College students spent Monday the 20th touring Paseo Boricua and are also attending some community events throughout the week. The Alt Fall Break was planned and coordinated by Grinnell College student leaders, Danette Sokacich, Vice Principal of PACHS, and Dr. Laura Ruth Johnson, an alumna of Grinnell College and volunteer at PACHS.

PRCC's Affordable Care Act Program Prepares for Open Enrollment Nov. 15


As the date for the Marketplace's Open Enrollment Period approaches (November 15), the PRCC's Affordable Care Act staff has been hard at work. Our Navigators have been revisiting previous partners, such as Alderman Roberto Maldonado, the Burbank Unemployment Office, the Logan Square Library, and the Grito Desesperado Shelter. The ACA team has also started developing new partnerships with places such as the Diversey Unemployment Office, the Irving Park Pantry, and the Humboldt Park Library. So far, people's response has been amazing and we hope that Year 2 will be even better. 

Centro Infantil Children on a Pumpkin Patch Field Trip


 Centro Infantil went to Goebbert's pumpkin patch and they had a blast! They went into a corn pit and the kids enjoyed it a lot, they liked the fact that they sunk in it and it was a little bit of a challenge for them to run in it. They also went to a petting zoo and some of the kids were scared to touch the animals, but once they seen other kids do it they wanted to try it also. Some of them got over their fear of touching animals they never touched before. The best part for them was actually picking their own pumpkins to take home and decorate them. Centro Infantil staff and students would like to thank Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch for letting us take a field trip to there wonderful establishment. 

Keep Smiling
El Rescate would like to acknowledge the services provided by Dr. Yasser Elseweifi from Bucktown Dental Associates. When dentists in the community declined her service, he graciously accepted the challenge and immediately said yes, without any barriers to help someone in need. Dr. Elseweifi has has not only helped boost its residents self confidence, but he has giving back her smile. "On behalf of everyone at El Rescate, we thank you for generosity, your time and your willingness to help our youth." - Zenaida López, Sr. Case Manager, El Rescate 




A big thank you to KT for allowing us to use her photos. Keep smiling! 

I Commit to End HIV -a National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in Chicago

By Jorge Cestou, PhD ABD, MBA, Director of Programs and Services


The I Commit to End HIV -a National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in Chicago

event facilitated by Vida/SIDA was a success.  An intergenerational group including youth, adults, and older adults attended the event. The majority of the audience was of Latino origin but it included African Americans, Caucasians, and South East Asians. Participants included community residents and HIV field practitioners.

Attendees were welcomed through a red carpet in which they were guided to sign the symbolic canvas titled I Commit to End HIV. They were also photographed in red carpet fashion. Sample pictures attached.

Juan Calderon, Chief Operating Officer of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center along with Sanford Gaylord of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region V, welcomed the audience.

The event included a HIV/AIDS panel discussion titled 'Factors Affecting the Community, Collaboration, Culture and Agencies' Services.' The panelists included Edwin Corbin-Gutierrez (Center on Halsted), Martin Gonzalez-Rojas (CALOR-Anixter), Luis Lira (Project Vida), Carlos Orengo (Howard Brown Health Center), and Maritxa Vidal (Vida/SIDA). Ayla Karamustafa of Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago moderated the panel discussion. The panelists were extremely eloquent and cultural sensitive in presenting data and experiences of their delivery of services to the Latino community in the Chicago metro area.

Participants were given a packet of information that contained facts about HIV/AIDS in the Latino community. The audience was entertained by drag performers Milani Ninja and Jailyn Ninja and enjoyed delicious Latino food and water.

Partner agencies displayed materials and provided safe-sex kits at their tables of information. Agencies delivering these services included Vida/SIDA, CALOR, Lurie Children's Hospital, and Region V.

The event offered free confidential HIV testing, provided by Vida/SIDA, CALOR, and Lurie Children's Hospital.

From Our Community Partners

Winning students capture "headlines" at Bulls game for Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School



Juwan Scott, Captain of the Albizu Campos Basketball Team, 

Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School

(Students at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School compete in monthly "Attendance Challenges" by supporting each other in their PANA groups (Peers Advising to New Achievements). Following are comments by a student who earned a place on September's prize-winning adventure trip, which went to the Jayuya Pana, with an attendance rate of 90.5%.)


Students who won the school's September Attendance Challenge, by earning highest percentage for on-time daily attendance, won tickets to go to the United Center on October 6th  to cheer the Chicago Bulls against the Washington Wizards. We started by taking photos in front of the Michael Jordan statue. After we took our seats, we watched players shooting on the court. The whole time watching, I was thinking about how our team at Albizu Campos compares with the Chicago Bulls. The Albizu Campos team thrives on defense, just like the Bulls. As I watched, I was thinking about leading our own team through the upcoming season. Then the lights went out and it was silent. After we gave the "Power Clap,"  it was Game Time! Highlights of the game included every basket by Derrick Rose, who came back from a two-year injury to prove himself. After the first quarter, the spotlight was on us, when the huge "Mini-Tron" display showed students from our school with signs in the air. The best moment was during half-time, when our school was acknowledged and welcomed to the "Mad-House on Madison," with our school name in lights, broadcast to the 21,000 people in the arena and across the nation.

Be The Best that You Can Be


Reyna Monique Vasquez



(Note: On October 15, twelve students, recommended by their teachers for embodying the "Definite Dozen" leadership qualities adopted by Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican H.S., attended an Honor breakfast with Marvin Garcia, the President of the Board of Directors of the school. The following is an excerpt of a speech by Senior Reyna Vasquez (who attended the breakfast) which she delivered at the school's Unity assembly later that same day.)


I was one of the twelve students who attended the Definite Dozen breakfast this morning. I knew I was invited for a reason. The twelve of us, including Matt (Principal Matthew Rodriguez) walked to Nelly's for breakfast. When we got there, Mr. Marvin Garcia, President of our schools Board of Directors, walked in as a humble man and said, "Let's eat first, I'm sure we're all hungry." Afterward, we got into a circle where Matt gave everyone, including myself, a reason for our recognition. I was proud of myself to hear what some staff had to say about me.

            We all introduced ourselves to Mr. Marvin Garcia, as he did the same. He asked a question that seemed simple, "Do you belong here?" At first, I thought,  "Duhhh, I got invited." But after thinking about it, I said to myself, "Yes, of course I belong here. I'm here for a reason and only time can tell. I've been through some things some couldn't even imagine and I'm still standing here today." I told myself, "I deserve this and any good that comes my way."

     What I want to say to the school community is that, breakfast with the President of our school's Board of Directors was very important to me. It was that extra step closer to what I want to achieve. That's success. I believe we all deserve success. I don't wish failure on my worse enemy. And for that, I challenge every friend, acquaintance, stranger, or even hater of mine to take that extra step. Jump out of your comfort zone and truly be the best that you can be. What I'm trying to say is if I can take my J's off, throw some make up on, and look presentable, so can you. I belong here. I believe I belong any place I step my foot in because I'm no less of a human than any of you are. If I can do it, you can do it too.

Norwegian American Hospital to Offer $60 Screening Mammograms


One in eight women will have invasive breast cancer some time in her life. Screening mammograms and early detection can give women a fighting chance against breast cancer. Norwegian American Hospital is making reduced price screening mammograms available to women for $60 during the month of October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month.


The mammography program at Norwegian American Hospital is accredited by the American College of Radiology. A physician's order is required before a mammogram can be done at Norwegian American Hospital.


"We appreciate our medical staff working with us to make sure that this important screening is available to individuals who might not have it done otherwise," said Abha Agrawal, M.D., chief operating officer/vice president of medical affairs. "Any time we can work together to improve the health of our community, it's a positive outcome for everyone."


The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 40,000 women will lose their battle to the disease this year. At the same time, 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women, the ACS says.


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The ACS says death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50.


"We are hoping to raise awareness and encourage more women to have this potentially life-saving screening done on a regular basis, by offering this incentive," said Karen Brown, manager, imaging services.


For questions concerning the free mammograms or to schedule an appointment contact Norwegian American Hospital at 888-624-1850.


Urban Theater to Produce Midwest Premiere of Julia De Burgos: Child of Water

Julia De Burgos: Child of Water runs November 4, 2014 to December 14, 2014, with performances Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6pm. Thanksgiving week, there will be no performances on November 27 and 28. Tuesday, November 4 through Thursday, November 6 will be $10 performances and will begin at 8pm.

Tickets to Julia De Burgos: Child of Water are $15-$20 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 312-239-8783, via email at, or in person at the Box Office (the day of, an hour before performance), located at National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture at 3015 West Division Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622.


UrbanTheater Company (UTC) is excited to announce the opening of its Season 9 with the Midwest Premiere of Puerto Rican playwright, Carmen Rivera's, Julia De Burgos: Child of Water, directed by Juan Castañeda (First Class, Devil Land, Hermanas Padilla). Last February, UTC was honored to participate in a unified event spanning four major cities, in a choral reading ofJulia De Burgos: Child of Waterto celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth and memory of the iconic Latin American lyric poet. Most recently, UTC forged an incredible partnership with the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC), formerly known as Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC), in Humboldt Park, and is bringing the play to life with a full production inside the museum's performance space. The NMPRAC has come on board as the main sponsor of Julia De Burgos: Child of Water. UTC and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) have also nurtured an important ongoing partnership and for this production they have come on board as a co-sponsor. At the close of last season, UTC produced Cándido Rivera's (spouse of the playwright) play, First Class, and had the opportunity to remount it for Theater on the Lake. UTC now celebrates the opportunity to produce one of Carmen's plays, especially one about Julia De Burgos, the premier poet of Puerto Rico, a journalist, and independentista as well as internationalist, and one of the most prominent national Latina poets of our history.


Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera


FCI Terre Haute,  PO Box 33

Terre Haute, IN,  47808 

¡Toñito Cruz Colón, Presente!

By Luis Rosa

 El viernes, 18 de octubre,  a 87 años de vida y lucha perdimos fisicamente a nuestro querido compatriota, Tonito Cruz Colon; Nacionalista, independentista y  uno de nuestros indispensables. Pero, a la misma vez, a escribir el final de un capitulo de vida, otro capitulo de immortalidad se comienza a escribir.

Don Tonito era un gigante Puertorriqueño a su estatura de 5 pies. Gigante en su amor a la patria y su compromise inquebrantable que desde joven lo llevo a militar en la filas del Partido Nacionalista junto a Blanca Canales en la Revolucion de Jayuya (Grito de Jayuya, 31 de octubre, 1950). Capturado junto a cientos de su compañeros y compañeras Nacionalistas y otros independentistas, Toñito fue encarcelado y cumplio sentencia de 22 años como preso político.

A cumplirse su sentencia, Don Toñito demando que lo regresaran a la carcel hasta que salgan todos los Nacionalistas incluyendo los cinco en los Estados Unidos; Oscar Collazo, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irvin Flores, Andrés Figueroa Cordero y Lolita Lebrón. Nunca dejo de ser solidario.


Gracias compañero de vida, compatriota pa' siempre.

¡Felix Shafer, Presente!

By Judith Mirkinson

On a hot Sunday afternoon, 250 gathered in Oakland, CA on October 12, to celebrate the life of Felix Shafer who died on April 15, of lung cancer at the age of 63.  In a hall filled with photographs of his life, speakers remembered Felix as a brother, a husband, a father and comrade.

"He was a political person to his very core. His commitment to the political prisoners remained a constant his entire life,", said Judith Mirkinson, his former partner.

His wife, the muralist, Miranda Bergman remembered his strength, his intellect, his creativity and his great love for people.  We had the most amazing relationship for almost 30 years, we thought we'd grow old together but it was not to be. Ona, Gemma and Jack Mirkinson and Max Forman-Mullin, his children, spoke of his perseverance and grace in this last period of his life and talked about the chasms left by his passing.

There were also tributes by former and current political prisoners, Palestinian and New Afrikan activists. 

Alejandro Molina of the PRCC and the National Boricua Human Rights network spoke of Felix's commitment to the Puerto Rican people. His remarks are printed below.

The evening ended with bomba from Aguacero. As one attendee put it.  "It was a most beautiful event.  It reminded us of our community and movement that believes that another world is possible."


Remarks by Alejandro Luis Molina

Good afternoon everyone; 

On behalf of Oscar López Rivera and the National Boricua Human Rights Network, its wonderful to see so many faces of comrades, compañeros(as) and family. Also our respect and love, on my personal behalf, and on behalf of the former Puerto Rican political prisoners freed by President Clinton in 1999, to all of the former political prisoners that are present today.

I personally met Felix, along with a host of other comrades from the East and West Coasts, in the late 70s during a difficult time for the Puerto Rican solidarity movement, which was severely divided as a result of the actions of the FALN and later, other armed Puerto Rican organizations. Needless to say, the divisions in the solidarity movement reflected the divisions in the independence movement. It was a difficult period, and the practice, principles and community they built, which he came to exemplify of that political tendency, became the cornerstone for our relationship in the years to come.

22 years ago last weekend, the American Indian Movement convened The International Tribunal of Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in the USA as the culmination of national counter quincentennial events in which a broad coalition of activists, and national movements came together to kill the Ghost of Columbus yet again. Felix and his comrades, some of whom are here today, were an important part of that coalition, bringing together the work on other political prisoners whose freedom we was also committed to: Geronimo Pratt, Marilyn Buck and Silvia Baraldini, among others. The series of events gathered broad publicity and further stirred the national debate on Columbus, Colonialism, Genocide and Political Prisoners in the US.

After the Tribunal, Felix gifted me a poem by Walt Whitman, "To a Foil'd European Revolutionaire" and on the other side he wrote a simple message, which has managed to stay with me to this day, about solidarity, consistency and principles, once again closing the circle that bound us then, and which binds us now.

Comrade Felix, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

 Free Oscar López Rivera

Free Puerto Rico 
Originally in El Post Antillano

The day we became a nation: García Padilla visits Oscar López

By Daniel Nina

 Last Saturday, October 4, without having announced it, the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro García Padilla, went to the federal prison in Terre Haute (high ground, in Spanish), in the state of Indiana, and met with Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. He went out to pay a visit to Rivera López, out of his moral and collective conviction that this imprisonment, after 33 years, of someone convicted of non-violent acts, "is excessive." Even more, the governor pointed out by way of a press release, that "his appearance at this meeting was as a representative of the people of Puerto Rico." In other words, it wasn't about a singular "I," but about a collective "I." We the people, as the first sentence of the Constitution of the Free Associated State of Puerto Rico says so well. 


We don't know the importance of this meeting. It was an official visit. The governor sought permission as the governor of the Island to see one of its citizens most affected by a fact that is now recognized as injustice. The governor didn't go to see him as a private attorney; that would be a violation of the Law of Governmental Ethics. Nor did he go to see him as a friend. He went to see him as governor, and considering that Oscar López Rivera is a citizen of Puerto Rico, which has been acknowledged since the Treaty of Paris in 1898. That gesture, then, has monumental significance: in the absence of a State, one is only citizen of a nation. 


We value, then, the hidden languages of the act carried out by the governor last Saturday. That is why the fact that the governor declared that he went in the name of that social collective called the People of Puerto Rico takes on such importance. It isn't something without meaning, we repeat: it is the affirmation of a will called people, that represents a differentiated identity, being the nation, and that values its sons and daughters as citizens of Puerto Rico. 


Given that it was an official vist, we would now like a transcript of what governor García Padilla and Oscar López Rivera talked about. It has to do with a conversation that isn't privileged, in which we, the Puerto Rican nation, were part of. Therefore, we deserve to know what they talked about. Why? Because it would help us understand the forms and ways that national subjects, who are sovereign, are being shaped.


By this act, which is a historic fact and unique in its class, Governor Alejandro García Padilla became strong as chief of State. This is quite an statement, in spite of not having a State, sovereignty or independence. Cosas veréis*.


* In the old Spanish language tradition, "things you will see".

Ricardo Jiménez on Puerto Rican independence

Puerto Rican Cultural Center
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