Thursday- SEPT. 24th, 6pm!
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture FUNDRAISING GALA WITH GRAMMY - AWARD WINNER AND SALSA SINGER GILBERTO SANTA ROSA and artist Oscar Luis Martinez

Donate and Join the VidaSida 2015 Run and Walk Team This Saturday!
Did you know that each week, 40-50 Illinoisans become infected with HIV? I believe that all families and individuals affected by HIV deserve access to care and you can help me ensure this by participating in the 2015 AIDS Run and Walk. 90% of the funds that we raise collectively for Team Vida/SIDA's Life Savers will be given back us to facilitate programs and improve services access in our community.  

We need you to be part of team Vida/SIDA's Life Savers this year.

The online registration for the 2015 AIDS Run and Walk is open and we need you to register.

Our team Vida/SIDA's Life Savers is live. It's time to register!

Register at your earliest convenience and start fundraising!  The following is the link to register:

After you click the website link above, click the tab labeled REGISTER, then search for teamVida/SIDA's Life Savers and follow the rest of the registration instructions.

Let us know if you have any questions to register.

Pedro Mercado
Vida/SIDA's Life Savers Team Captains

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From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

National Convening in Florida for a 
National Puerto Rican Agenda
By the "Unidos por Puerto Rico" Coalition
The coalition "Unidos Por Puerto Rico De Florida," in conjunction with leaders of the stateside Puerto Rican community are calling for a national convening in Orlando, Florida on October 13-14, 2015 to develop a National Puerto Rican Agenda in support of Puerto Rico and stateside Puerto Ricans. This national gathering will bring together government and civic leaders from Florida and throughout the US, as well as the Island, who lead Puerto Rican movements and networks aimed at providing solutions for the current crisis issues in Puerto Rico and in the US.

The objective of the National Convening is to create a comprehensive National Puerto Rican Agenda which encompasses the problems affecting Puerto Ricans both in the island and in the U.S. The Florida event will focus on the crisis in Puerto Rico. Currently, there are multiple ongoing local initiatives in the United States calling for and in support of Congressional and Presidential action to solve the fiscal and economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
The emergent national coalition will discuss the issues of the Fiscal Crisis, Health Care Crisis, Climate Change and Infrastructure Support, and Human Rights and Civic Engagement, all critical to the revitalization of Puerto Rico. A National Puerto Rican Agenda will serve as a guide for Puerto Ricans interested in taking an active role in the solutions and for elected officials advocating for the interests of Puerto Rico and the Diaspora.
"Unidos Por Puerto Rico," is the organizing committee which encompasses a broad coalition of Central Florida groups that includes Iniciativa Acción Puertorriqueña, Hispanic Federation, Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida, PRFAA, Asociación de Puertorriqueños Viviendo en la Florida, and other leaders. Acacia's El Centro Borinqueño (formerly Asociación Borinqueña) will host the event. Support groups for "Unidos Por Puerto Rico" have been formed in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Orlando and New Jersey though it is expected that delegates from other states will join the event.
The program starts with a Welcome Reception on Tuesday evening (6pm-9pm), where representatives from the local "Unidos Por Puerto Rico" will discuss the impact of the current migratory wave from Puerto Rico is having in the region, the political and social challenges facing the community, and the multiple ongoing initiatives addressing these problems. On Wednesday the program begins with a Congressional Briefing Panel, where Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) will discuss pending legislation in Congress and other ongoing national initiatives.
After the Congressional Briefing Panel concludes, the deliberations proceed in breakout sessions as follows. The expected outcome of these breakout sessions is the action agenda for each of the topics.

Topic 1. - Fiscal Crisis
Anchor: Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida
Puerto Rico is in a prolonged recession that has resulted in massive migration to the U.S. and declining population in the island, as well as crushing debt obligations. These factors in turn have resulted in a sizeable decline in tax revenues and wide-ranging austerity measures.  Currently, the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico has remained over 11%, and the poverty rate is about 45%; both indicators are substantially higher than any state.
Any understanding of the structural factors contributing to the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico must fully consider its territorial status.  As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico's currency and monetary policy, commerce, taxes and other key economic and legal areas are ruled by federal law, in a fashion similar to any other state. The Commonwealth government lacks authority to regulate important economic areas as an independent nation would, such as: manipulation of its currency to satisfy debt obligations, or the transport of products to its ports. Congressional and Presidential action is required to overcome the economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
The discussion of this session will focus deliberations on:
  • Puerto Rico's territory status places all responsibility in establishing an orderly legal process for the restructuring of the debt on the U.S. authorities. An orderly bilateral resolution of the crisis between debtors and creditors is unlikely and will only come at an unacceptably high human costs. We shall recognize the gravity of the situation, the threat to the lives and welfare of millions of Puerto Ricans, and support an urgent call for action from the American people.
  • An urgent call upon the United States Congress to pass and the President to sign legislation allowing an economic hardship exemption for Puerto Rico from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the "Jones Act." The goal is to allow vessels built outside of the United States to transport energy supplies, among other bulk cargo, between ports in Puerto Rico and other ports in the United States. We should all recognize the gravity of the situation and that the increase in qualified cargo vessels would lower energy costs and support the economic recovery of Puerto Rico.
Topic 2. - Health Care Crisis
Anchor: Iniciativa Acción Puertorriqueña
Puerto Ricans pay the same Medicare taxes as other Americans, yet the federal contribution to territories are capped at 50 percent. Reimbursement to the poorest states is as high as 83 percent, while only the wealthiest states receive 50 percent reimbursement. Considering that "up to 60 percent of the Island's population receives their health care through Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid," Puerto Rico would be among the states with the higher reimbursements if not for the 50 percent cap to territories. This disparity in treatment represent billions of dollars annually for the provision of health services to poor Americans who are Puerto Rico residents.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted by Congress in 2010, provided $6.4 billion to close the disparity in funding to Puerto Rico. Though an improvement when compared to prior transfers to territories, this temporary measures expires in Fiscal Year 2019. ACA funding provides $1.1 to $1.3 billion a year in federal Medicaid funding.  When this provision expires and the territories receive Medicaid funds under the old formula, Puerto Rico will receive less than $400 million a year. In reality, Puerto Rico will run out of funding as early as late 2016 or early 2017. This situation is known in the media as the "Medicare/Medicaid cliff." Hundreds of thousands of poor families in Puerto Rico will be affected, losing benefits and paying higher premiums. Giving the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, it is difficult to foresee that any local public program could mitigate the impact of the upcoming crisis.
The discussion of this session will focus deliberations on:
  • A call upon the United States Congress and the President to improve the treatment of the United States territories under the Medicare and Medicaid programs and to treat territories as any other state removing the 50 percent cap. American citizens paying similar Medicaid and Medicare taxes as other Americans should not be treated differently because they are residents in a U.S. territory. We should all recognize the gravity of the situation and the threat of the Medicaid/Medicare "cliff" to the lives and welfare of millions of Puerto Ricans, and supports an urgent call for action from the American people.
 Topic 3. - Human Rights and Civic Engagement
Anchor: Latino Justice PRLDEF
The main goal of this session is the development of an agenda to empower Puerto Ricans to fully participate in the civic life of the nation and the island and to take concrete steps to lower political and other barriers that impede reconciliation among ourselves and with others, whether these barriers are based on race or ethnicity, economic status, gender, age, sexual preference, physical condition, religious or non-religious beliefs, or immigration status.
The discussion of this session will focus deliberations on:
o   Initiatives to vigorously advocate for urgent civil and human rights issues that promote national reconciliation as is the case of Oscar López Rivera, who has become an emblematic figure of Puerto Rican unity across, party, religious and civil society lines.
Topic 4. - Climate Change and Infrastructure Support
Anchor: El Puente
This session will start with a discussion of climate change on how our communities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. are affected.  
The discussion of this session will focus deliberations on:
  • Federal support needed to dredge the Caño Martín Peña.
  • Increase funding to speed up the clean-up efforts in Vieques and Culebra.
 Topic 5. - State and Local Political Strategy
Elected officials only, closed door meeting.
This session will discuss initiatives responding to the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico in several cities and states to help the island.
The discussion of this session will focus deliberations on:
  • Support local initiatives and legislation calling upon the United States Congress and the President to enact and make available to Puerto Rico bankruptcy processes common under federal law, to make improvements to the treatment of the United States territories under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and to allow an economic hardship exemption for Puerto Rico from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the "Jones Act." 
Besides the development of the National Puerto Rican Agenda, an important goal of the National Convening is to create a broad national coalition to provide continuity to our efforts, and to unify local efforts into a broader national agenda. In that regard, the coalition "Unidos Por Puerto Rico" of Florida and other organizers of the event encourage Puerto Rican in other states to create similar regional coalitions to continue our efforts to unite our community for a common goal-Por Puerto Rico.
If you are interested in getting involved with the movement, besides the planning for the Florida event, there is an ongoing petition to President Obama initiated by the Hispanic Federation and a coalition of community leaders entitled Take Action on Puerto Rico Now! The petition urges the "President to call for a full federal agency review of policies that are economically harmful to Puerto Rico, including health care reimbursement, and convene his Working Group on Financial Markets to develop an in-depth debt relief, repayment, and investment plan to stabilize the island's economy."
We have until October 10th to get to 100K.  The link is now live:
Taking advantage of the Somos el Futuro Conference in Puerto Rico from November 3rd to the 8th, and considering that Thursday November 5th The Puerto Rico Healthcare Crisis Coalition has called for a rally where all elected officials participating in the conference are expected to join, we encourage other local and regional "Unidos Por Puerto Rico" coalitions to send delegates to support the rally and to participate in the deliberations for the creation of a national coalition "Unidos Por Puerto Rico."

For more information:
Midwest: Cristina Pacione-Zayas (
Northeast and Southeast US: Betsy Franceshini (
Women for PASEO Thanks all the Volunteers and Sponsors for Noche Jíbara/ Guayabera Gala
By Sandra Candelaria
On Friday, September 4, 2015, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center hosted Noche Jibara/ Guayabera Gala at The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Cultural in Humboldt Park.  The gala was the official kick off for the 22nd Fiesta Boricua that ran from Saturday, September 5 thru Sunday September 5, 2015 at Paseo Boricua. The Gala not only celebrates the launch of Fiesta Boricua but is also the opportunity to welcome the delegation from the city of Cayey, Puerto Rico; as well as its Mayor, the honorable Rolando Ortiz Velázquez.  This year Fiesta Boricua was dedicated to Cayey and it's cultural legacy.    
Sandra Candelaria, Women for PASEO Program Director and her staff members (Daisy Jiménez, Sylvia Correa, and Maya Lozano) organized the Gala.  Women for PASEO thanks the hard work and commitment from the following staff members that help to make the Guayabera Gala a successful event.  We would like to acknowledge the excellent work and volunteer efforts from: Geniz Hernández, Viola Salgado, Lourdes Lugo, Shirley Payton and Raúl Maldonado (PRCC), Joshua Stern, Carlos Ruiz Jr, and Virginia Boyle (PACHS), Jonathan Contreras and Gregory Rueda (Integrated PASEO), Leo Lavender, Gustavo Varela, Pedro Mercado (Vida/SIDA), Luz Ramos, Digna Gerena, M Echevarria and various El Rescate residents (El Rescate), Alma Moreno (Centro Infantil), and Tatiana. We will also like to thank the staff from the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture for their much-appreciated assistance previous and during the event. The PRCC is extremely happy and wants to recognize and thank the following sponsors for their generous food/beverage donations: Eddie's Café, Roeser's Bakery, La Bomba Restaurant, Jaffa Bakery, and Revolution Brewery.  
We want to let know our sponsors and volunteers that your continual support is greatly appreciated and you are the key to the event success.
Going Above and Beyond: The Safe Passage Program in Humboldt Park
By Michael Kurshan-Emmer
The 2015-2016 school year has begun and with it the staff of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center's Safe Passage Program is once again prepared to make sure students in the area have a safe and secure walk to school.  This year the Puerto Rican Cultural Center is the CPS vendor for five schools which fall within the network of Community As A Campus. Roberto Clemente Community Academy, José De Diego Community Academy, Wells Community Academy High School, Chicago High School for the Arts, and Frederic Chopin are all staffed by Safe Passage Community Watchers employed by the PRCC. These selfless individuals work together as a team, and in addition to looking out for the children in the neighborhood as they make their way to and from school, they also interactively represent the communities of Humboldt Park/West Town that they work and live in. Going above and beyond, the Safe Passage Community Watchers not only do what is expected of them from CPS, but also take the community into their own hands, getting to know students and fostering and strengthening positive relationships in Humboldt Park.
Of course none of this would be possible without the amazing support the Safe Passage Program has received from the principals and staff of all five schools who have been consistently engaged and supportive of the Safe Passage Program and its participants.
As the PRCC returns for a second year as vendor for the Safe Passage Program, we look forward to a safe and successful year for all the students in the five schools represented, as well as for a motivating, safe, and supportive year for the Safe Passage Community Watchers.

Thank You From Chicago Bound
Hello Alejandro Molina and Jose Lopez,

On behalf of the Chicago Bound program I want to extend my personal and programmatic gratitude for offering your time and insights and facilities to us. The program participants very much enjoyed their time at Batey Urbana. The students were able to see how a program like Batey Urbana operates, as well as its context within Paseo Boricua, Humbolt Park, and Chicago at large. Several students noted the discussion with Jose Lopez as one of the most inspiring and informative events we attended throughout the eight days of the program and it really gave them insight into how these overarching global systems of colonialism and racism can be targeted and resisted at the local level.
Please let us know of any future opportunities for the Chicago Bound students to get involved at Batey Urbana. Thank you again for taking time out of your schedules to accommodate us, especially Mr. Lopez who in spite of having a cold delivered his talk and fielded our questions with great zeal.

Elijah Wolter
Group Leader, Chicago Bound Program
University Community Service Center (UCSC)
Interested in urban gardening, 
farmers' markets and healthy eating?

Interested in learning more about urban gardening and farmers' markets? Have some free time to help your community? Looking for urban farming service learning opportunity? Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center has gardens throughout Humboldt Park and we are looking for volunteers. Whether you are a people person, a gardening person or a community member eager to learn something new, please contact, Urban Garden Team Members, Erika G Abad at either or (773) 850-2467 (text or call) for more information.  


Le interesaria ayudar a su comunidad? Quisiera hablar con miembros de la comunidad acerca de comprar comida organica? Quisiera compartir su sabiduria acerca de sembrando comida? El Centro Cultural Puertorriqueño Juan Antonio Corretjer, tiene jardines en el barrio de donde se vende comida para asistir en ayudar a los jardines. Se necesita ayuda en los jardines y en alcanzar a miembros de la comunidad durante los mercados. Si nos puede ayudar, comuniquese con Erika G Abad al or (773) 850-2467 (text o llame) para mas informacion.


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.

Los Tequis
How to stay secure on Facebook
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Facebook creates the illusion that we are sharing posts and photos in a safe space, among friends and family. But in reality, if we're not careful, outsiders can swipe our personal info to gain access to our email, banking, and credit card accounts; to steal our identities; or even to spam and scam our friends. Follow these five steps to secure your sensitive info on Facebook.

From Our Community Partners

The Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera has its own 
e-newsletter: The Water's Edge/La Orilla del Mar
Published approximately every two weeks
View past issues here.

Write to Oscar:
Oscar López Rivera, #87651
FCI Terre Haute
PO Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808
Newark Puerto Rican parade supports freedom of Oscar Lopez Rivera
by Ana López
On a nice sunny day, the Newark Puerto Rican parade took place on Broadway Ave in Newark, New Jersey on September 20, 2015. Days before the comemoration of the "El Grito de Lares" (19th century) for the first time, the Puerto Rican parade of Newark had a contingent dedicated to Oscar Lopez Rivera's Freedom campaign.
Two thousand palm  cards were distributed to the public. Many came to take pics with the contingent: to mention a few, the mayor of Newark ,las Madrinas of the parade and the general public especially at the literature table during the petition drive.  While marching in the parade, many parade spectators joined in the chants "libertad para Oscar".  Local artist made their own "free Oscar" t-shirts and children rocked their Free Oscar fans. As we approached the main stage of the parade towards the end of the two miles, announcements honoring Oscar were declared and received with applauses.
It was a sunny day in the 21st Century  that lifted our spirits as we observed the manifestations of Puerto Rican pride every where and a deep sense of love for our patriot Oscar Lopez Rivera.  Libertad para Oscar!
Libertad plena para el ex-prisionero político Carlos Alberto Torres
Dice que su situación debe arrojar más luz sobre la injusticia de mantener preso a Oscar López Rivera
Por José Delgado
WASHINGTON - La Comisión de Libertad Bajo Palabra de Estados Unidos terminó la supervisión que mantenía sobre el exprisionero político Carlos Alberto Torres, quien considera que haber dejado atrás tener que cumplir con las condiciones que le impuso el gobierno federal debe magnificar la injusticia que se comete al no liberarse ya a su compañero Oscar López Rivera.
"Estoy muy feliz y alegre", dijo Torres - quien fue liberado en julio de 2010, tras cumplir 30 años en cárceles federales -, pero sostuvo que su situación apunta con más fuerza 
a "la contradicción de que Oscar siga preso". 

López Rivera, quien ha estado prisionero durante 34 años y cuatro meses, rechazó la oferta de clemencia que le hiciera el presidente Bill Clinton en agosto de 1999 debido a que no propuso liberar a Torres y a Haydee Beltrán, ambos ya excarcelados.
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/342-6609

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