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From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

21st UPRS Annual Pa'lante Conference at UIC April 6-10
By Magda Collazo

This year's Pa'lante Conference was focused on Puerto Rican Identity in the Age of Diaspora, a topic that brought about an array of deep thought and discussion among students and staff. Monday April 6th kicked off the Annual Pa'lante Conference hosted by UPRS at UIC with a very engaging presentation by Nelson Denis on his book, War on All Puerto Ricans. This event discussed the powerful, tragic, and untold history of U.S. intervention into the politics of Puerto Rico.Nelson Denis not only spoke about the content of his book, but also what inspired him to write it. The audience got a look into his family's personal experience with these issues, and how their struggles led him to write against the U.S. and its invasion of Puerto Rico.


Tuesday April 7th was a day to immerse in a traditional form of Puerto Rican art and culture. Bombera de Corazon was led by Ivelisse Diaz, an educator and instructor of Bomba in the community. This event was meant to illustrate the origins of Bomba, her experience as a Bomba performer and instructor, and how Bomba is used to express Puerto Rican culture.  It was set in what is called a "Batey", a place of congregation and gathering, a story circle. Ivelisse spent the first half talking about the history and significance of Bomba as well as her experience, while the second part was spent learning how to dance Bomba.


Melissa Montero led a wonderful presentation on Wednesday April 8th introducing her short for the film, ISABEL. The film ISABEL portrays the life of Isabel Rosado Morales, a woman whose life encompasses the history of Puerto Rico over the last century, and whose struggles reflect the politics that have divided Puerto Ricans in the past and continue to divide them.


Later in the day a presentation/performance by Too4G captivated the audience's senses through musical performance. The instruments of choice? The Puerto Rican Cuatro. The members of the group explained what Cuatro music is, their own experiences, and how they got involved. The rest of the presentation involved the group performing Cuatro music.


Thursday April 19th was another busy day in the Pa'lante Conference as students were engaged in an Arts-Based Civic Dialogue in the afternoon and Noche de Poetas later that evening. The Arts-Based Civic Dialogue was hosted by the UIC Latino Cultural Center and was focused on the Awakening of the Americas mural to explore collective creative solutions for common challenges. The dialogue discussed the meaning of 3 specific scenes in the mural, what they mean, and how students and staff could relate to them personally. One scene was the bird man with all of the flags, a scene of immigrants crossing the border, and the Zocalo scene that shows various aspects of indigenous cultures. Noche de Poetas was an amazing night filled with talented poets and musical artists sharing their own words.  The focus of this Noche de Poetas was, Without Borders: Reimagining Cultural Identity. It combined a variety of student organizations on campus such as the Union for Puerto Rican students, Mexican Students de Aztlan, Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as Students for the Advancement of Freedom, Equality, and Human Rights. Aside from the open mic there were three invited guests including two featured poets, Remi Kanazi and Luis Tubens, as well as a performance by our musical guest Gabriel Miranda. This was a full house filled with discussion and a great sense of unity among all students.

A musical performance kicked off the last day of the Pa'lante Conference on Friday April 10th. Gabriel Miranda performed a few songs for students from his new album, "Viviendo En Macondo." Gabriel not only engaged students in his beautiful melodies, but also brought up some very important topics of discussion involving identity. Being that Gabriel Miranda also writes music from the position of an activist, he had many things to add to the dialogue. The 2015 Pa'lante Conference was a success and the Union for Puerto Rican students is already excited to start planning for next year. 

Easter Egg Hunt at El Rescate

By Zenaida López, El Rescate

Easter is perhaps the most important of the Christian holidays, because it celebrates Christ's resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. Considered a rebirth that is commemorated around equinox, which coincides with the arrival of spring, and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.


The history of Easter reveals rich associations between the Christian faith and the unrelated practices of the early pagan religions. Easter traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols, from the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs and the Easter egg hunt. 


In celebration of Easter, El Rescate staff organized an Easter egg hunt for the residents. This was not your ordinary egg hunt, although some eggs were filled with delicious candies at least half of the eggs were filled with money, ranging from $1 $5, $10, and $ 20 inside the eggs. 


Some residents were hesitant to participate because they considered the egg hunt a game for children and they did not want to play a children's game but once they found out money was involved all rose up to the occasion.


The residents scattered throughout the office and outside the building searching for the eggs, some becoming frustrated when they found eggs with only candy inside. It was such great fun seeing the residents laughing and running after each other searching for eggs. 


The big winner was Kishawna Irvin who literally ripped the hand sanitizer container off the wall to claim her $20 egg. The egg hunt culminated with an Easter cake and ice cream for all the residents and staff.


Staff donated the money used for the event.

Women for PASEO Program at the Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church event.

By Sandra Candelaria, Director, Women for PASEO
The Women for PASEO Program attended the annual Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church event, "Women of Divine Perfection Conference", on Saturday, March 21, 2015. The theme of the conference was, "Love is Embracing a New Direction"...Spiritiually, Physically, Mentally and Emotionally" The purpose of the Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church, through this type of event, is to empower the African American community women. This conference provided tools to women from various areas of Chicago to become empowered with the idea of "Stir up the Gift of God that is Within each Woman". The event was organized, well planned and very successful. Over 50 professional African American women participated in the conference. The guest speakers all had strong religious backgrounds. There messages through worship were inspiring, full of words of wisdom and encouragement. Dr. Delena Winston and the Dance Ministry and Dr. Carole Clark from the Praetorium Sign Language Church "Praise Danced" by using sign language to interpret spiritual music.

As part of the commitment to the community, with the idea of the well being of the Stone Temple Church conference, they offered free health care services to their participants, families, friends, and members of the community. Among the services provided during the conference were: Breast Cancer Awareness and Education-Sinai Health System; Glucose Testing and Diabetes Education-Sinai Health System; Family Education-Children's books and Pamphlets-Sinai Health System; Eye Exams-Illinois College of Optometry; Blood Pressure Testing-Midwestern Education; Education Materials-American Heart Association; Dental Examinations-Dr. Glenn J. Evans, and Women's HIV Testing-PRCC/Women for PASEO. Women for PASEO had the opportunity to engage with participants and established excellent rapport. We tested 20% of the women that participated in the event. This represents 75% of the participants tested during this conference. Besides our women services, we promoted all of the other PRCC programs, such as programs for the LGBTQ community, El Rescate Transitional Living Program, and our ACA services.

The above event allowed us to reach out to the African American Communities and to encourage our future collaboration. The Women for PASEO program would like to thank, Ms. Florencia Carmona from Mount Sanai Health Services, for extending this invitation. She was pleased with the services and information provided by our organization.

Health Education at the 

Diabetes Empowerment Center Every Wednesday!

By Leony Calderón

Health Education Every Wednesday, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm.

Manage, Control and Prevent Diabetes.  Ask Doctors, Residents, Nutritionist, Pharmacist and Dietitian Your Pressing Health Questions.

Weekly Topics

  • *       Diabetes 101
  • *       Medication Education
  • *       Nutrition Class
  • *       Intro to Diabetes & How the Body Works
  • *       Protecting Your Eyes
  • *       Protecting Your Feet
  • *       Oral Health
  • *       Using The Glucose Meter & Meds
  • *       Heart Health Education
  • *       Physical Activity and Diabetes

Diabetes Empowerment Center, 2753 W. Division St. 773-342-0855

Free and Bilingual.


Educación de Salud todos los Miércoles de 12:00pm a 1:00pm

Manege, Controle y Prevenga la Diabetes. Haga Preguntas a los Médicos, Residentes, Nutricionistas, Farmacéuticos y Dietista Acerca de Su de Salud.

Temas Semanales

  • *       Diabetes 101
  • *       Educación Medicamentos
  • *       Clase de Nutrición
  • *       Introducción a la Diabetes y Cómo funciona el cuerpo
  • *       Proteja sus ojos
  • *       La protección de sus pies
  • *       Salud Oral
  • *       Uso del medidor de glucosa y Medicamentos
  • *       Educación para la Salud del Corazón
  • *       Actividad física y la diabetes 

Gratuito y Bilingüe.

Centro de Empoderamiento Contra la Diabetes, 2753 W. Division St. 773-342-0855


Job Opening at Puerto Rican Cultural Center



Organization: Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Job Title: In-Person Counselor (IPC) (Full-time, temporary position)


The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1973 to serve the social and cultural needs of Chicago's underserved communities.


We are seeking bilingual (English and Spanish or other languages), motivated, and organized who are already certified or have an inactive In-Person Counselors (IPCs) license. IPCs will maintain expertise about the newly expanded Medicaid program and the Health Insurance Marketplace that are part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IPCs will provide information and services in a fair, accurate, and impartial manner to the community members. Additionally, IPCs will be comfortable as public speakers and conduct activities to facilitate enrollment in health coverage.



  • Seeking Certified IPC - or IPC with inactive license
  • Bilingual (English and Spanish)
Availability to work during non-traditional hours, including limited evening and weekend hours, and throughout the different seasons under Chicago weather conditions. Download the full description and contact info here.

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.

Puerto Rican Cultural Center Calendar of Community Events

Fri. Apr. 17th 6pm-7pm, Book Presentation by Dr. Edwin Meléndez, Puerto Ricans at the Dawn of the New Millennium at 2701 W. Division St.  Co-sponsor: Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College.


Sat. Apr. 18th, 1pm, Luncheon, A Panel Discussion with Drs. Antonia Darder and Angela Valenzuela "Towards a New Discourse on Latino Pedagogy." Co-sponsor: National Latino Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP) ($10-$15 Sliding scale donation). Nellie's Restaurant, 2458 W. Division St.


Sat. Apr 25th Hostos College, 500 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY

National Conversation on Puerto Ricans in the Age of the Diaspora on the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Albizu Campos with a community concert featuring Roy Brown and El Topo (leaving Chicago on Fri. Apr. 24th)


Fri. Apr. 30th, 6pm, Rollout of CPS Latin American Curriculum with CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett at National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, 3015 W. Division St.


Tues. May 19th Naming of Dr. Steve Whitman Greenhouse at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School. (Time TBA)


Fri. May 29th Event commemorating Oscar López Rivera's 34 yr. Anniversary of his arrest, La Casita de Don Pedro & Doña Lolita, 2625 W. Division St.


Sat May 30th NY Rally for Oscar Lopez Rivera's 34 yr. anniversary of his arrest (leaving Chicago on Fri May 29th)


SAVE THE FOLLOWING DATES * 2015 Puerto Rican Cultural Center * Annual Events

Puerto Rican People's Parade                    22nd Fiesta Boricua "De Bandera a Bandera"

Sat June 20, 2015                                        Sept 5 - 6, 2015 * 12pm - 8:30pm

Starting 2PM-Division/Western                Honoring: Cayey, Puerto Rico, Orlando, Florida


Haunted Paseo Boricua, Sat Oct 31, 2015 
Los Tequis


Bunkr is a fully web-based presentation site. Make presentations the same as you would on PowerPoint or Keynote, but add all sorts of elements - like videos, articles, social media posts, or you can even code something yourself - and it'll show up in your deck. 


This has all kinds of cool applications. For example, if you're presenting something that changes over time, like a GitHub repo or Twitter feed, you won't need to update the deck to keep it current. You can even sync Bunkr with slide decks on other services, like 


  • From Our Community Partners

    Sophomores Prep for Summer Post-Secondary Experiences

    By Roberto Clemente Community Academy staff

    While most high school sophomores in Chicago will be enjoying their summer on vacation, Clemente sophomores will be on college campuses being college students! For the past few weeks sophomores have been applying for summer college programs offered by some of Chicago's top universities. Students have applied for The University of Chicago's College Bridge Program and Depaul University's College Connect program. Both programs provide students with a real college experience that includes taking courses and meeting with each university's faculty. Clemente sophomores have already visited both campuses as part of their post-secondary exposure, so they were pumped to have the chance to spend a summer getting more acclimated to the campuses, building their critical thinking skills, and truly getting to experience being college students.

    In order to apply for these programs, students had to prepare essays and letters of recommendation for teachers. Students worked on their essays diligently over the past 3 weeks and submitted their applications earlier this week. As part of this process, students reflected on their post-secondary goals, their successes in high school so far, and how either programs would send them off into their junior and senior year with a vision for who they can be after graduation. Applicants have worked hard and understand the value of taking part in such awesome programs. For example, Eduardo Cervantes said, "not many students get this privilege, but for me it will be a honor to attend and get an idea of what I want to do in my future." Karina Luz said, "I want to grow up to become someone, a success. I know that being a part of this great opportunity will help me get there."

    We'll all be sending well wishes to all of applicants as they wait to hear from these prestigious universities and keep everyone posted on the results of their hard work.


    Ciclo Urbano Custom Build Bikes

    By Angie Vera, West Town Bikes

    What makes a Ciclo Urbano Custom Build so special?  Well, we're here to help answer this question!


    Ciclo Custom Builds are a thoughtful mix of both old and new parts.  As a best-value bike shop, our Custom Builds are without a doubt our best-value bikes. They are lightweight, zippy, fun to ride, and incredibly practical. 


    Ciclo Urbano mechanics have worked on all types of bikes - from $10 thousand custom carbon bikes with Campy Record 11-speed gruppos, to department store cruisers.  At Ciclo Urbano, we're not necessarily concerned about what's the newest, coolest or most expensive when it comes to bikes and bike parts. Our biggest concern is that your bike works well, fits well, and is purpose-built for your specific needs.  


    Not every used bike we sell at Ciclo Urbano is a Custom Build, and they do cost a little bit more than the average bike, but owners of Custom Builds are never disappointed. Keep an eye out for the Ciclo Urbano Custom Buildtags - they're only on bikes in the shop.


    Visit http://westtownbikes.org/retail for store hours and location information.

    See what it's like to be a CHCI Intern!

    Submit Your Applications for CHCI's Nationally Acclaimed 

    Fall Congressional Internship Program 

    (August 22 to November 14, 2015)

    CHCI Summer Intern Diaries Ep.1


    CHCI is seeking full-time college undergraduate students who are interested in participating in the 2015 Fall Congressional Internship Program. Selected individuals will receive unmatched experience by working in a congressional office and learning first-hand about our nation's legislative process. Participants will also receive stipends, housing, and round-trip airfare.

    Students of ALL majors that have an interest in the development of public policy and who have demonstrated leadership abilities should apply. Forward this message to friends and family who may be interested in becoming a future Latino leader!

    Click here to learn more about the program and its requirements.

    Selection Process
    The selection process is competitive. CHCI receives over ten applications for every one available internship opportunity. The CHCI Alumni Review Committee reviews applications to identify the most qualified candidates. CHCI staff will select top candidates for internship positions.

    Online Application Instructions
    Applicants must complete the CHCI online application by April 24, 2015. Please contact Crista Arias, CHCI Associate Manager of College Programs, at carias@chci.org with any questions.

    The Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera has 

    its own e-newsletter- The Water's Edge/La Orilla del Mar

    Published every two weeks- next issue will be published 4-20-2015

    View past issues here.


    WRITE TO OSCAR LOPEZ, #87651-024

    FCI Terre Haute,  PO Box 33

    Terre Haute, IN,  47808 

    Transportation leaving from 10 cities in Midwest and East Coast.
    For more info: alejandrom@boricuahumanrights.org

    Puerto Rican Cultural Center
    o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/342-6609

    "Live and Help to Live"