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World AIDS Day 2014: A Celebration of Life at Vida/SIDA
By Jorge Cestou
Yesterday, December 1, 2014, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center -Vida/SIDA celebrated World AIDS Day.

The celebration included two events, a Candle Light Vigil to celebrate the lives of individuals living with HIV and honoring the lives of many that have died of AIDS. During this vigil, participants were part of an invocation and celebration of life. Jose Lopez, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center welcomed everyone and provided a historical perspective to the event's space, La Casita de Don Pedro, and of Vida/SIDA. "Vida/SIDA was established in 1988 to deal with HIV stigma and to help those dealing with the disease cope and ease the pain to live healthier, longer lives." ~Jose Lopez

The attendees participated in creating a Community Life Collage to honor people living with HIV and those who died of AIDS. Every participant was also asked to make a commitment and to celebrate life by making a public statement through the creation of symbolic signs that read I COMMIT TO _____ or I CELEBRATE _____. "Living with HIV is no longer a death sentence. People live normal lives. The only thing they have to do is adjustments to their everyday lives like anyone dealing with a chronic disease. Wave your signs and make the your public commitment to end HIV and celebrate Life." ~said Jorge Cestou, Director of Programs and Services at Vida/SIDA.

En route to the second event of the night, our Anniversary Fundraising Dinner, the participants walked together in procession to create awareness of HIV in our communities.

The second event of the World AIDS Day Life Celebration was Vida/SIDA's 26th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner. Sponsors of the event included Chicago Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Erie Family Health Center, and Hispanic Housing Development Corp. Supporters were treated to a delicious Puerto Rican meal and a program that included a welcome from Juan Calderon, PRCC COO and Vida/SIDA Director, the 2013 Annual Report presentation by Sandra Candelaria, Director of Women Programs, program remarks by Jorge Cestou, Director of Programs and Services, life testimonies from three HIV positive individuals and closing remarks by
José E. López, PRCC Executive Director. The life testimonies were extremely powerful and to celebrate these individuals' lives, they were honored with the Vida/SIDA's Certificate of Resilience. The event was MC'd by Roberto Sanabria, Ed.D., a Vida/SIDA founder and PRCC board member.

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

Puerto Rican Cultural Center Safe Passage Program is Hiring!

by Ivan Vega | Safe Passage Supervisor

Looking for part-time work? The Safe Passage Community Watcher position provides a safe passage for students attending Roberto Clemente Community Academy and William Wells Community Academy.  


Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent and ability to pass crimianal background check to work with children.


To apply, please submit a resume to Ivan Vega at or apply is person at 2546 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622 | (773) 394-4935

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

By Hope Poirier, Centro Infantil Childcare

During circle time teacher Alma read the book Button, Button, Who's Got the Button? The theme for this month is clothes. The book showed the kids what can be on clothes for example, buttons, buckles, zippers it also showed how to loop a scarf and how to tie shoelaces. For the art activity was to draw some buttons and cut them out and some kids even colored them. They drew jackets and glued the buttons they drew and placed them where they thought the buttons go. 

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.

From Our Community Partners

by Danette Sokacich, Director, Lolita Lebrón Family Learning Center

Donate to the Lolita Lebron Family Learning Center for their Annual Winter Blessing for Young Families.  Donations are to give families toys and books for their children.

Here is the donation wish list:

$10 donation - One toy

$20 donation - One book and toy

$30 donation - Two toys and a book

$50 donation - Three toys and two books

Winter Blessings
Winter Blessings


Young families experience many of the same life challenges as adults, without the resources to provide for their children. The adolescent parents often are ostracized and stereotyped because they choose to be caring, responsible young adults. However, at the Lolita Lebron Family Learning Center supports young parents without those boundaries.


The Lolita Lebron Family Learning Center is a program for parenting students that provides academic, social, and emotional support for adolescent parents to work towards graduation at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School is a not-for-profit organization. All donations are 100% tax-deductible. Donate now.


Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera


FCI Terre Haute,  PO Box 33

Terre Haute, IN,  47808 

100,000 Tweets for Oscar!
Birth of a Patriot, Star of a Nation: Social Media Campaign on Oscar López Rivera's Birthday January 6, 2015.
La Respuesta Magazine & National Boricua Human Rights Network

On January 6, 2015 La Respuesta magazine and National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) call on you to act on behalf of the Puerto Rican people's longest-held political prisoner. In honor of the man who has withstood thirty-three years in prison the campaign is called "Birth of a Patriot, Star of a Nation".

The worldwide campaign calls for 100,000 messages to the twitter accounts of the President, White House, and Justice Department on January 6, 2015, Oscar's birthday and the Day of the Epiphany/ Three Kings, the holiest day in his Puerto Rico homeland. We also call on participants to share "virtual gifts" in the form of photographs, videos, and writings on their social media pages in honor of Oscar's birthday.

Are you a poet? Artist? Photographer? Chef? Athlete? Dancer? Educator? Student? Health worker? Laborer? Mother? Father? Whatever you are or do, wherever you are, write a post, take a photo, record a video - dedicate a "virtual gift" to raising awareness and building support for Oscar López Rivera.

Post one of your poems, share a picture of your art or photography, cook and photograph a meal, run a few miles and write about it, record yourself dancing, take a selfie with a sign. Get creative and let the world know that you demand the release of Puerto Rican patriot Oscar López Rivera!

This January 6, 2015, on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, or any other platform you use, post using the hashtags #FreeOscarLopez and #Gift4Oscar(#RegaloPaOscar for Spanish-language messages). On Twitter, make sure to tag @BarackObama and @TheJusticeDept so that those with the power to release him hear our demands. We encourage you to begin planning your action to make sure we are all heard in unison on January 6.

Oscar, who was born on Three King's Day, has become the Puerto Rican nation's shining star, able to unite a people facing the divisive effects of a more than one-hundred year colonial occupation. Now, more than ever, the Puerto Rican people have come together in a way that presents U.S. President Barack Obama every reason to exercise his power of pardon and release Oscar. To learn more about Oscar and to read his original essays, visit:

Let's use social media for social change and send the clear message: RELEASE OSCAR NOW, 33 YEARS IS TOO MUCH!


For more info:;

Clarisa López Joins 33 Mujeres NYC x Oscar in East Harlem

By Marina Ortiz, 33 Mujeres NYC x Oscar

On Sunday, November 30, 2014, 33 Mujeres NYC x Oscar held its monthly rally on behalf of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera in East Harlem. The women were joined by Clarisa López, Oscar's daughter, and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Oscar López Rivera spoke with many of the women by phone during the 33-minute rally, offering words of encouragement and appreciation for their efforts. The action was followed with a gathering and silent auction at Camaradas El Barrio.


33 Mujeres NYC x Oscar is a group of women from New York City committed to securing Oscar López Rivera's freedom. The collective holds monthly rallies throughout New York City on the last Sunday of every month from 4:00 - 4:33pm to signify the 33 years that Oscar has been imprisoned in federal penitentiaries. Their actions coincide with rallies occurring at the same date and time in San Juan, Puerto Rico that were initiated by 32 women in 2013 to mark Oscar's 32nd year of imprisonment. Photos by


El nacimiento de un patriota, la estrella de una nación: Campaña de medios sociales en el cumpleaños de Oscar López Rivera

Revista La Respuesta & Red Nacional Boricua Pro Derechos Humanos

El 6 de enero de 2015 la revista La Respuesta y Red Nacional Boricua Pro Derechos Humanos (NBHRN) hacen un llamado a la acción pro la liberación del prisionero puertorriqueño que más tiempo lleva encarcelado. Esta campaña en honor al hombre que ha resistido treinta y tres años de prisión se llama "Nacimiento de un patriota, la estrella de una nación".


La campaña mundial espera conseguir 100,000 mensajes a las cuentas de Twitter del presidente y del Departamento de Justicia el 6 de enero de 2015, el día de cumpleaños de Oscar y el Día de los Reyes Magos, el día más sagrado en su tierra natal Puerto Rico. También pedimos a los participantes a que compartan "regalos virtuales" en forma de fotografías, videos y trabajos escritos en sus páginas de medios sociales en honor al cumpleaños de Oscar.


¿Es usted poeta? ¿Artista? ¿Fotógrafo? ¿Chef? ¿Atleta? ¿Bailarín? ¿Educador? ¿Estudiante? ¿Trabajador de la salud? ¿Obrero? ¿Madre? ¿Padre? Lo que usted sea o lo que haga, esté donde esté, escriba algo y publíquelo en las redes sociales, tome una foto, grabe un video --dedique un "regalo virtual" para crear conciencia y apoyar la campaña en pro de la liberación de Oscar López Rivera.


Publique uno de sus poemas, comparta una foto de su trabajo de arte o una fotografía, cocine y tome una foto de la comida, corra unos cuantos kilómetros y escriba sobre su experiencia, grábese bailando, tómese una selfie con un cartel ... Sea creativo y deje que el mundo sepa que usted exige la liberación del patriota puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera!


Este 6 de enero de 2015, en Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram o en cualquier otra plataforma que utilice, haga publicaciones utilizando los hashtags #FreeOscarLopez y #Gift4Oscar (#RegaloPaOscar para los mensajes en español). En Twitter, asegúrese de etiquetar @BarackObama y @TheJusticeDept para que aquellos con el poder de liberarlo oigan nuestras demandas. Les exhortamos a que comiencen a planificar para asegurarse de que todos seamos escuchados al unísono el 6 de enero.


Oscar, nacido el Día de los Reyes, se ha convertido en la brillante estrella de la nación puertorriqueña, capaz de unir a las personas que enfrentan los efectos divisores de una ocupación colonial de más de cien años. Ahora, más que nunca, el pueblo puertorriqueño se ha unido para presentarle al presidente de Estados Unidos Barack Obama motivos para ejercer su facultad de indulto y para que libere a Oscar. Para obtener más información sobre Oscar y para leer sus ensayos originales, visite:


Utilicemos las redes sociales para lograr un cambio y enviar un mensaje claro: ¡LIBERE A OSCAR AHORA, 33 AÑOS ES DEMASIADO!


Para más información, escriba a:


El jurista español Baltasar Garzón, reconocido internacionalmente por su defensa de los derechos humanos, comentó el lunes que el delito de conspiración sediciosa, por el cual fue acusado el preso político Oscar López Rivera, es peligroso por ser una definición tan amplia que "da lugar a casi todo".  En ese sentido, Garzón criticó la condena por ser "absolutamente desproporcionada". Vea el video.

Los Tequis

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Puerto Rican Cultural Center
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