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Un Patriota Encarcelado que Tenemos Que Sacar
34 Women for Oscar-CHI February 27 Rally
by Juanita García, National Boricua Human Rights Network
34 Mujeres X Oscar Chicago has changed their rallying location for February, March and April. We are meeting at the Logan Square Eagle to continue raising consciousness around the campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera.

34 Mujeres X Oscar Chicago is a group of women who gather every month for 34 minutes to raise awareness around the incarceration of Oscar López Rivera. We rally for 34 minutes to signify the 34 years Oscar has been imprisoned. We gather in solidarity with women in Boston, New York City and Puerto Rico who also rally once a month for 34 minutes.

This year is extremely critical for Oscar's campaign as the political climate in the U.S. can shift once President Obama leaves office. Join this effort and meet us at 3:00pm on Saturday, February 27 in a 34-minute action to raise awareness and increase the momentum surrounding his case for liberation. Men are more than welcome to join us. Help is needed in distributing literature and collecting petitions.

Oscar López Rivera is a Humboldt Park native with deep roots in many of the community organizations and university programs that he helped organize or found, that still exist today. While among us, he dedicated his life to fighting injustices around affordable housing and community development. He is one of the founders of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School as well as the Puerto Rican Cultural Center; organizations that have been established for over 40 years. Internationally, in the US and Puerto Rico, many activists, politicians, Nobel Laureates and celebrities have called on Pres. Obama for his immediate release.

When: Saturday, February 27 at 3:00pm to 3:34pm
Where: Logan Square Eagle at Milwaukee and Kedzie
Directions: Blue Line - Logan Square stop
Charla/Forum at ASPIRA HS, Fri. March 4, 2016
Puerto Rican Agenda hosts historic convening 
to influence 2016 presidential election
by The Puerto Rican Agenda
The Puerto Rican Agenda and ASPIRA will host a forum with Puerto Rican elected officials on Puerto Rico's current fiscal and humanitarian crisis. The forum, to be held at ASPIRA Finance and Business High School (2989 N. Milwaukee Ave.), will be headlined by Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez.

This event represents the first time Puerto Rican elected leadership-along with leaders of the local Puerto Rican community-will publicly come together to discuss the following issues in the context of the 2016 presidential election.

Forum issues to be addressed include:
1. Coordinating efforts to address the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico by holding the United States government accountable;
2. Intensifying the offensive campaign to free Oscar López Rivera;
3. Promoting and unifying efforts for an aggressive campaign to increase registration and improve education targeting Puerto Rican voters; and
4. Discussing coordination of inside/outside efforts during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25-28, 2016.

In addition, the forum will feature a brief presentation from Dr. Edwin Melendez, Director of Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York City.
This community forum builds upon a series of events organized to establish a national Puerto Rican agenda. Previous events were held in Orlando, Florida, and Washington, D.C. during the last quarter of 2015. The Chicago forum, and similar events to be organized throughout the country, will culminate in a National Puerto Rican Diaspora Summit coinciding with the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The more than five million Puerto Ricans living on the United States mainland can play a pivotal role in the 2016 presidential election. Puerto Ricans now constitute a significant proportion of the electorate in three swing states: Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Furthermore, Puerto Rican voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois could contribute to Democrats regaining control of the Senate.

Your presence and participation in this dialogue is crucial for advancing the next steps related to the topics above. Please confirm your attendance no later than Monday, February 22, 2016 through submitting your registration here .
Puerto Rican Voices - Season 2 Episode 2

Puerto Rican Voices - Season 2 Episode 2
Puerto Rican Voices - Season 2 Episode 2
"Planting Flags on Division Street" NOW ON SALE!
Profits on every copy sold to benefit the Campaign to Free Oscar

Planting Flags on Division Street is a 32-page bilingual picture book for children ages 4+. The title alludes to our hopes to share a simple story of a little girl missing her grandfather that spotlights aspects of our culture as it tells the story of political prisoner Oscar Lopez. It is more important than ever to tell stories that highlight the culture, family and struggle that bring us together as Puerto Ricans. The struggle for Puerto Rican freedom is ongoing, we should never forget the struggle or the men and women who have given and continue to give everything for our freedom. BUY YOUR COPY NOW AND SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN.

When you do your Holiday shopping at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.

National Puerto Rican Agenda
A Newsletter documenting the Puerto Rican Stateside Response to the Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis
Inside the Billion-Dollar Battle for Puerto Rico's Future
The impoverished island turned to hedge funds to stave off collapse. Now someone has to pay.
The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country's biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.
There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island's Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees' health care or teachers' salaries.
But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico's future.
On the surface, it is a battle over whether Puerto Rico should be granted bankruptcy protections, putting at risk tens of billions of dollars from investors around the country. But it is also testing the power of an ascendant class of ultrarich Americans to steer the fate of a territory that is home to more than three million fellow citizens.

Visit us at for an updated list of articles on the Puerto Rican fiscal crisis

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

UN honors Maritxa Vidal
by Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center 
In the midst of personal struggle and continued efforts to advocate for TransLatin@ activists, Maritxa Vidal was named an Honorary Global Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations. On behalf of the United Nations, Dr. Clyde Rivers has been traveling for 25 years as a Goodwill Ambassador. Five years ago, he started this award, naming 25 Global Goodwill Ambassadors a year. This honor reflects Maritxa's lifelong commitment to the transgender, lesbian, bisexual community, along with the work she has done in HIV testing, prevention and counseling.

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center Vida SIDA have seen her develop as an advocate for LGBT community members here in our community as well as for her national work with TransLatin@ Coalition. Whether mentoring young translatinas trying to find their place in the city, talking with allies about the needs of TransLatin@s, Vidal advocates for the needs of LGBT Latinxs across the city and the country. The PRCC is proud of her lifelong commitment to our community and is also thrilled that the United Nations goodwill branch has recognized her for all the work she has done.

The View from a Mothers Perspective
by Jacqueline Tovar, Centro Infantil Corretjer
Elvira Arellano is a mother of one of our toddler students called Emiliano. We took the time to ask her for her opinion of the childcare. She said "Es muy bueno el programa nos ayuda como padres a poder ir a trabajar y poderle ofrecer un buen futuro a nuestros hijos. Me encanta que mi hijo esté aquí porque yó sé que el está en un lugar seguro aprendiendo muchas cosas buenas. El centro tiene todas las heramientas para que mi hijo se pueda desarollar bien. Yo veo como mi hijo se a desarollado muy bien a su corta edad. Mi hijo tiene dos años y en mi opinión el está muy avanzado para su edad. La razón por la que me doy cuenta es porque mi hijo mayor no sabia las cosas que sabe Emiliano ahora y mi hijo no asistia a un centro. Por esta razón estoy muy contenta que mi hijo este aprendiendo muchas cosas buenas. Le doy gracias a la directora y al Puerto Rican Cultural Center por ayudar a todos los latinos y que tenga éste Centro para toda la gente. Estoy muy agradecida con todo el personal de Centro Infantil por hacer un buen trabajo. Yo recomiendo este Centro para que todos los niños aprenda y se desarollen asi como mi hijo se esta desarollando." (It is very good program helps us as parents to be able to go to work and be able to offer a good future to our children. I love the fact that my child is here because I know he is in a safe place learning many good things. The Center has all the equipment so my son can develop well. I see how well my son is developing a lot for his young age. My son is two years old and in my opinion he is very advanced for his age. The reason why I realize this is because my eldest son did not know what Emiliano knows at his age and my son didn't attend childcare. For this reason I am very happy that my son is in this childcare. I thank the Director and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center for helping all the Latinos and having this Center open for everyone. I am very grateful to the staff of Child Care Center for doing a good job and always being so welcoming. I recommend this Center to all the parents, so their children can develop and learn as much as my son has learned.)
What is Move for Life?
by Leony Calderón, Muévete
Move for Life!  is an annual one day community-driven outdoor event to kick-off the Spring/Summer physical activity seasons. Move for Life! has three primary objectives:
1) to promote and support an active lifestyle;
2) to showcase the community's free and or low cost physical activity programming; and
3) to foster ongoing collaboration and networking amongst these groups.
Move for Life! brings together the community to plan the event over a three month period, features community organizations, programs, individuals as well as cultural activities and entertainment. Move for Life! This year will be on Saturday, April 2, 2016, 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. inside Humboldt Park at the southeast corner near Division and California.

If your organization or program would like to take part in showcasing  call or email for a registration form, 773-342-0855,

Volunteer opportunities available, community service hours and enrichment hours students
Community Calendar

February-March 2016

January 22-February 28, 2016, FRI-Sat: 8pm Sun: 6pm
Aguijon Theater presents Epopeya
2707 N. Laramie Ave., Chicago, IL 60639
Tickets: $25, 2x $45

February 9-March 13, 2016 Thrs-Sat: 8pm Sun: 3pm
Urban Theater presents Adoration of the Old Woman
2620 W. Division St.
Tickets: Pre-sale: $15, Walk-up $20, Students: $12

Saturday Feb 27, 2016, 3:00-3:34pm
'34 Women X Oscar-CHI'
Kedzie & Logan Blvds/Milwaukee (Logan Square Triangle)
Download the Calendar here.
Message from the Mental Health Linkage to Care and Retention Case Manager, Gerardo Tinajero:
Mental Health problems affect one in four individuals in the United States. It has been shown that there are high levels of stigma preventing many people from accessing mental health support. The mission of the Esperanza Mental Health Program is to link individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness but who have not received care from a qualified mental health provider for at least 30 days to the mental health services they need.
Funded by a grant from the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, the Esperanza Program offers free and confidential services to individuals 18 years of age and over in the Humboldt Park and West Town area. These services include, but are not limited to:
·      Assessment 
·      Linkage to Qualified Mental Health Care Providers
·      Case Management 
·      Information and Referral for support services including but not limited to health insurance, food, and transportation 
We aim to reduce any type of stigma towards receiving help and services for those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. We are dedicated to linking individuals who have been diagnosed and who have fallen out of treatment to a mental health provider and to retain them in treatment. We also aim to help these individuals become functional members of society so that they can improve their lives." For more info:

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
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the vast world of interconnected devices with embedded sensors which are capable of providing data, and in some cases, being controlled, across the Internet. Common examples include many home automation devices, like smart thermostats and remotely controllable lighting fixtures, but there are countless others, from traffic sensors to water quality meters to smart electric grid components to tracking manufactured goods and vehicle fleets worldwide.
Because of the rapid growth in the IoT space, there are a number of competing standards, tools, projects, policies, frameworks, and organizations hoping to define how connected devices communicate in the modern era.Open source and open standards will become increasingly important to ensure that devices are able to properly interconnect, as well as for the back end of processing the enormous volumes of big data that all of these devices will generate.
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
Can Bread And Puppet's Play Get Obama To Pardon A Jailed Puerto Rican Activist?

When Vermont's Bread and Puppet Theater brought its show "The Seditious Conspiracy Theater Presents: A Monument to the Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera" to New York's Theater for the New City last December, a woman arrived at the opening night with a letter from Lopez Rivera himself and read it aloud to the crowd before the show.
"I would like to thank the members of the Bread and Puppet Theater for its solidarity with the campaign for my excarceration," Lopez Rivera wrote. "I'm extremely grateful for the support you're giving me and for all the support you have given to just and noble causes. ... Puerto Ricans, who have struggled for the independence and sovereignty of our beloved homeland, have a good appreciation of how important compassion and solidarity are to keep the spirits strong and hopes alive especially when we have had to face oppression, criminalization and imprisonment. I believe no one should accept colonialism no matter where it exists or who practices it, because it's a crime against humanity."
"We weren't anticipating it," puppeteer Joe Therrien says. "That was incredible. We were all just backstage. ... It felt really personal to me."

Bread and Puppet Theater, which was founded by Peter Schumann in New York in 1963, is known for its tradition of distributing fresh baked bread free to audiences at the end of performances; its monumental, mythic papier-mâché puppets; and its participation in street protests against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, American torture. The company was also one of the landmark New York experimental theaters of the 1960s-and continues to elaborate its signature blend of vanguard performance, expressionist dance and folk pageantry.
"Peter has said the point [of this show] is to bring enough attention to it that [President] Obama will pardon him before he gets out of office," Therrien says. "We didn't expect to hear from him [Lopez Rivera]."
3rd National Meeting to Free Oscar in full force ahead from East to West Coasts
by Ana M. López, NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar López
Be like a "pebble in the shoe" and "business is not as usual" were the comments heard and what described the intensity of our discussion in the 3rd National Meeting to Free Oscar López Rivera on January 30th, 2016.  "Extreme urgency" is the call to secure Oscar's release this year and the development of a strategy for the next 11 months.  After postponing the national meeting the week before due to the 30 inch snow blizzard that struck the East coast, we regrouped and a good number of persons attended this meeting held in the heart of the South Bronx. There was representation of 10 cities from East to West coasts and Midwest and East coast. We had a long agenda and fruitful discussion and brainstorming session about what we needed to do to "Bring Oscar López Rivera Home, at last!

At the National meeting we stared with a general discussion and an overview of the great accomplishments of the campaign to free Oscar, thus far. The narrative on Oscar from being completely an isolated issue and "invisible" to a popular one (hero, nationalist leader, independence fighter, political prisoner, etc.) not only in Puerto Rico, Latin American and international arenas, but reaching USA mainstream. The year 2015 accomplished the changing of the narrative on Oscar Lopez Rivera in New York City and neutralizing the right wing forces.  This was accomplished against all odds and propelled the visibility of his release on a humanitarian level bringing together on many fronts: labor, faith community, student populations, community organizations and elected officials (as never before) with unity "One Voice for Oscar".

The campaign to free Oscar has expanded to other areas and has been amplified at a grass root level in all Puerto Rican and Latino communities. It has taken stronghold in New Jersey, parts of Massachusetts and big time in Florida.
We discussed the importance of the next 11 months in augmenting work and political pressure. What do we need to do to bring Oscar home?

 The work areas to be expanded to Free Oscar:
* 34 womenX Oscar exist already in Puerto Rico, New York City, Chicago and Boston. Expand the 34 women vigils to other cities like Newark, Philadelphia, Connecticut and Florida.we have verbal commitment from  Newark and Philadelphia.
* International Day of Solidarity with Oscar and Puerto Rico- mass mobilization in New York for June 20th, 2016 during Decolonization Committee hearings on Puerto Rico in the United Nations; all cities will mobilize contingents to NYC; and 35 countries around the world. New York will be responsible for organizing mobilization,
Summary of Agreements reached:
* Do last petition drive and collect all from February to June, 2016 (goal 100,000 petitions -already have 50,000). Submit petition to the White House with a delegation by July 1, 2016;
* Develop 34 women groups in other cities like: Newark, Philadelphia, Connecticut and Florida;
* International Day of Solidarity with Oscar and Puerto Rico- mass mobilization in New York for June 20th, 2016 during Decolonization Committee hearings on Puerto Rico in the United Nations; all cities will mobilize contingents to NYC; and 35 countries around the world;
* Develop local activities in different cities for May 29, 2016- 35year of Oscar's imprisonment;
* Mobilize contingents from different cities to support the Newark Puerto Rican Parade dedicated to Oscar Lopez Rivera;
* Contingent mobilizations to Philadelphia for National Democratic convention- July 25th, 2016;
* Online petition sign up campaign to get 100,000 signatures during  Hispanic Heritage Celebrations- September 15- October, 14, 2016;
* Tweet campaign before Thanksgiving # Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

International Day in support of Freedom for Oscar Lopez Rivera- June 20th, 2016
by Ana M. López, NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera

Dear Friends in Puerto Rico and the Diaspora,
Warm greetings! June 2, 2016 will mark a new series of activities before the United Nations Decolonization Committee in New York in demand that the colonial case of Puerto Rico be examined by the General Assembly.

We invite you who to contact the countries of the world which, as members of the United Nations, defend human rights and self-determination of the people, In support the release of political prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera. Our request is that peaceful activities be carried out in 35 countries (one for each year of Oscar's imprisonment) in an exercise of freedom of expression and demand his immediate release by Pres. Barack Obama. This will make known world-wide support for Oscar's release. 
On June 20 at the United Nations in New York and throughout the world:
Free Oscar Lopez Rivera, a patriot of the Puerto Rican people!
Oscar, I'm Angry
by Milli Bonilla, 34 MujeresXOscar NYC

I'm angry- Angry at President Obama, who has the power to sign a pardon for your release, and hasn't had the courage to do so.
I'm angry- Angry because Obama can't release himself from his own political prison of fear to simple pick up his pen and set you free.
I'm angry- Angry because on November 20th, he released Jonathan Pollack, convicted of spying for Israel. And, just in December, he granted 95 Christmas time pardons/commutations to 95 federal prisoners- good for the 95, but...
I'm angry- Angry because your daughter, Clarisa; your granddaughter, Karina; your people & the world were hoping you would have been the 96th prisoner to be released, yet were not included in the 2015 pardons.
I'm angry- Angry because, once again, our passionate pleas for your release have been blatantly ignored.
I'm angry- Angry because if Puerto Rico weren't a U.S. colony for the past 117 years, you wouldn't be a political prisoner for the past 34 years. 
Querido Oscar, I will continue the fight for your release- Once again, on the last Sunday of the month, the 34 Mujeres X Oscar will gather at a key location for 34 minutes to bring attention to your unjust 34 years. I'm always hoping that each month is the last month because you will finally be home.
You will, as you have affirmed, emerge unscathed from prison to kiss the ground as your return to the island. You so live the words of Gandhi who said:
"That you can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind."
Oscar, We will Win! Until Your Return!
En Resistencia y Lucha,
Mili Bonilla
Buddha group in NYC
Monthly Chants for Oscar's Release
by Yolando Rosado Ortiz

A "tozo" is a chanting session in Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism. This is open to everyone. You need not be a Buddhist or give up your faith to chant. Anyone can chant. We will give a brief explanation of the practice at the end for anyone who is interested. Essentially... "through our practice we awaken to the dignity and power that resides within us and transform ourselves on the deepest level.  By chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, we reveal our inherent Buddha nature which permeates all aspects of our lives, environment and the entire universe."
¡Excarcelación Ahora!
Join us in chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo to bring
Oscar Lopez Rivera home!
We chant the first Saturday of each month from
11:00am to 12:30pm.    
For more information about location, contact
Yoly (718) 541-3605 or Mariposa (732) 259-9352
A Gift for Oscar and a Gift for You
By the National Boricua Human Rights Network
This holiday season, make a donation of $25 or more, NBHRN will provide you with the music CD "La Lucha es Vida Toda", which was put together by Puerto Rico's most famous musical legends, Lucecita, Andy Montañez, Roy Brown, El Topo, Zoraida Santiago and many more. A musical classic and well as a historical milestone, the other campaign to free Oscar.

Give a gift to Oscar and you will receive a gift.
For more information:

This the Second Limited Edition
AGUEYBANA - Roy Brown y Zoraida Santiago
MI PEPINO EN EL RECUERDO - Trío Taboas-Scharrón
EN CÍRCULOS - Mickie Rivera, Chabela, Antonio Cabán Vale "El Topo"
SEÑOR FEDERADO - Lucecita Benítez
LA CELDA - Walter Morciglio, Fofé, Eduardo Alegría
UN ABUELO Y SU NIETA  - (poema) Alicia Rodríguez
NIÑA - Danny Rivera
NO ME ARREPIENTO - (poema) Rafael Cancel Miranda
LA FIESTA DE OSCAR - Haciendo Punto en otro Son

From Our Community Partners

Free  Asthma Community 
Health Worker (CHW) training
The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Erie Family Health Center will be conducting a free  asthma community health worker (CHW) training March 3-4th, 8-5pm both days. This training will be at UIC. The training will cover the pathophysiology of asthma, triggers, medications, and how to help families make change. Participants that complete the training are eligible for a stipend and a job as a CHW with Erie. For more information on the Erie position, click here.
If you want to attend the training or would like more information, contact:
Andrea Fragoso
Asthma Intervention Coordinator
Erie Family Health Center
1701 West Superior Street, 3rd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60622

Puerto Rican Cultural Center
o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/913-0706

"Live and Help to Live"