We Need Your Help for #AyotzinapaEnMi!
by Tito Roman Rivera, filmmaker
In order to finish this project, currently 50% completed, we need in the neighborhood of $25,000 for professional-quality production. As we do not have any government or private corporate funding, we have decided to seek this money through an Indiegogo campaign. 
The funds will be directly applied to travel costs for the completion of research, production of the documentary script, graphic design and effects, post-production of sound and color, and promoting the film's release.
Be part of history.  We are joining in solidarity with a human rights cause that deserves discussion and attention.  Here we describe the different ways in which you can contribute.  Any donation is welcome to help realize this important project.

More about this project
In November 2014, filmmaker Tito Román Rivera found himself in Mexico as a spectator at the Central American Games (Juegos Centroamericanos) taking place in Veracruz.  On his way to the event, he passed through Mexico City, where protests in defense of the 43 normalista students of Ayotzinapa were taking place.  Although he was already aware of the case, it was not until this day, November 20, 2014, that he was impacted by how centrally important it is in the struggle for human rights.  20November (20N) was a historic day for the Mexican people, as masses of people took the streets in a manner without parallel in recent history, demanding justice from the government.  That same day, #AyotzinapaEnMi began, even as it did not yet have a title or final goal.  The Puerto Rican filmmaker carried his camera to the center of the protests, recording images that will be recorded for history, thanks to the documentary project.

This documentary tries to understand what really happened to the youth of Ayotzinapa, and, beyond their disappearance, what is going on in Mexico, whose government has become a failed state and a violator of human rights.  The main narrative of the documentary is offered from the perspective of a person who does not live in Mexico, but who is committed to producing a clear and honest account of the events.

The funds gathered will allow the completion will facilitate the completion of this cinematographic project, which has been sustained for the past year by the support of Caserio Films (a non-profit entity), PJ Gaffers (sponsoring agency), and the film's own director.  With your help we can complete a project that will consider the subject from another perspective, will bring the topic to new international audiences, and will help keep the struggle for the 43 normalistas alive.

Unlike other governments in Latin America, the Mexican government has a particular proximity to the United States Government of the United States of America. This closeness gives them certain protections, especially in the control of the narratives that are released in the mainstream media in the United States. The cases of disappearances in Mexico are not discussed in depth in the major media, the issue is ignored as one of political importance, and solidarity mobilizations are hampered as a result.
Independent documentary film allows us to give a voice to those who are voiceless.  With the documentary #AyoztinapaEnMi, the message will reach Mexican communities in the United States, as well as spaces where the case has not been discussed at all.  The documentary will amplify the bonds of solidarity between the Puerto Rican and Mexican people.  Without a doubt, #AyoztinapaEnMi provides an opportunity to debate the challenges and struggles that we share as related peoples.  Latin American connections grow stronger through artistic projects like this one that invite us to reflect on how to overcome barriers imposed upon us by outside hegemonic powers.  We live on one planet, and we are all citizens of the world.
In the future we will feel satisfied at having helped an educational project that tells the story of a historic struggle, one which will always be remembered.

Other ways of helping us
We need your help on social media.  Using these networks, many have been able to raise funds to complete successful projects.  Join the cause of the 43 Ayotzinapa normalistas and all of the disappeared of Mexico.  Hit "share" and share this link with your friends and colleagues. Participate with us as many times as you can in the two-month period we will have to realize our goal.
The team at Caserio Films will be grateful for your effort and solidarity in helping this campaign be a resounding success.

About the producer and director of #AyotzinapaEnMi
Tito Román Rivera is a filmmaker whose training comes from the International School of Film and Television in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba.

In 2010, he returned to Puerto Rico to work in the local cinematographic industry as he worked on his first full-length project, a the documentary "El Antillano."  This first major project has been shown widely in movie theaters and universities in Puerto Rico, the United States, and throughout Latin America.
Román Rivera is committed to struggles of the working class and marginalized.  Apart from being a filmmaker, he is a social justice activist in Puerto Rico and considers himself an international activist as well.
Join Us! March 25th 12-3pm
Congress & Michigan Ave

"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 http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-7347778 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

PA Democratic Party Adopts Humanitarian and Fiscal Crisis in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Urging President Obama and the US Congress to Develop a Comprehensive Plan
by Norman Bristol Colón, National Puerto Rican Agenda

HERSHEY, PA - The Pennsylvania Democratic Party adopted the Humanitarian and Fiscal Crisis in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico during their spring meeting.  More than 300 state committee members and the state's democratic leaders gather in Hershey this past weekend to hear from Governor Wolf about the state of the budget impasse.  Candidates for US Senate, PA Treasurer, PA Auditor General and PA Attorney General were among the guest speakers.
The resolution was adopted unanimously by members of state committee who are elected by democratic voters in Pennsylvania. 
"The current fiscal and humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico has indispensably provided an enormous opportunity for the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans living in the island and the 5+ million more living all across the United States to embrace in unison a voice for justice and equality.  On March 2, 2017, it will be a 100 years since President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act granting US citizenship to Puerto Ricans.  This historic event was as much driven by global circumstances as it was driven by the security interests of the United States.  Yet, almost 100 years later, Puerto Rico has never experienced the challenge of today," said Norman Bristol Colón, PAforPR Coalition.
"It is our goal to cultivate partnerships and garner support from all sectors of American society in respectfully asking President Obama and Congress to address the American Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis in Puerto Rico.  I thank the PA Democratic Party for joining their voices with the countless voices of those impacted by this crisis emotionally, socially, politically and economically," he concluded.
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 unidosporpuertorico.wordpress.org for an updated list of articles on the Puerto Rican fiscal crisis

From Puerto Rican Cultural Center & Programs

El Rescate perseveres... with help!
by Jackie González, Program Director, El Rescate

On March 3, 2016, El Rescate Transitional Living Program celebrated its four-year anniversary.  Over 100 individuals stopped by to visit El Rescate during the PRCC 100x35 celebration. From the untrained eye, an attendee of the celebration could easily have assumed this program is well funded with an unlimited amount of resources. But the reality is far different. Ever since the state declared a budget impasse the program has existed entirely without any form of funding, but on this day many who visited the program came with bags full of donations for El Rescate in the form of toiletries and personal needs items.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all those individuals who made such wonderful donations.  Both Staff and residents were honored to have received such wonderful donations.
These are trying times for El Rescate and while other Transitional Living Programs have closed their doors for lack of funding, El Rescate continues to keep its doors open.  This is because of the support from the Puerto Rican Cultural Center who has helped to sustain El Rescate through all its hardships. For this reason, the residents of the program are made to feel that they have a family of supporters. Thank you all who have supported us.
Vision and Hearing at Centro Infantil
by Jacqueline Tovar, Centro Infantil Day Care Center
At Centro Infantil is important for all our children take the vision & hearing test. This test helps us see if our students have vision or hearing problems, If they do we always refer the parents to a clinic. 

A Counseling Office to Call Home
by Anthony De Jesús, Integrated Paseo

Addiction is nothing short of a difficult road to travel. We all know someone who may drink too often, or who use drugs but want to quit. Our past is something that stays with us and some of us want to escape. Some people 'self-medicate' and use substances to escape the pain; others find ways to work through their troubles without substances but need help along the way. The "Seeking Safety" Counseling Program was created to help individuals in the face of adversity. It is geared towards helping individuals with co-occurring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addictions overcome substance abuse and suppress triggers from PTSD. Any individual interested in participating will go through a screening process and, if they qualify, begin the "Seeking Safety" program.

Integrated PASEO offers FREE "Seeking Safety" counseling at the Norwegian American Hospital every weekday, Monday through Friday at anytime between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Also at the Norwegian American Hospital every weekday, Monday through Friday at anytime between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, Integrated PASEO offers FREE testing to individuals for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV), and other sexually transmitted infections (STI's). For those who screen positive, a FREE referral is made for treatment; any individual who screens positive for substance abuse and PTSD are allowed to participate in the "Seeking Safety" program. Or stop by the Garfield Park Community Center location on any weekday, Monday through Friday at anytime between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, to receive free HIV and HCV testing and screening, free harm reduction kits, free female and male condoms, and free packages of lubrication.
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,  moveforelife@prcc-chgo.org.

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

Download the Calendar 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.

Los Tequis
Set the Expiration Date on Your Google Drive, Docs, Sheets & Slides
Google Apps is a great tool to share many documents with both internal and external parties. In today's collaborative working world, it's natural to have many people accessing the same document, and with sharing rights, comes security concerns. When a document is shared externally, it's convenient to have certain features available that you as the owner can still control. These features include the ability to edit write and read access, and now, the ability to add an expiration date.

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
In memory of a free spirit, Berta Caceres
by Ana López, NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar López Rivera

Berta Caceres, Honduran indigenous leader was assassinated on March 2, in the dark of the night, by armed assailants that broke into the Honduran home and shot her four times. The assailants also wounded a Mexican colleague, Gustavo Castro, who survived only by playing dead.  After the news spread of her death, thousands took to the street to protest this vile killing of an indigenous leader loved and respected by so many people. Her love was felt in the Bronx, NY as well.
In September, 2015, we had the honor to meet and listen to Berta Caceres, from the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH), speak about the struggle of her indigenous people of Honduras in the South Bronx church Iglesias Evangelical Española del Bronx. She explained the constant killings of activists and organizer in her village who were fighting for a just cause; protection of their environment from the government's plan to remove them and building dams that would have a treacherous effect on her village, food supply and rivers. She spoke about nature in harmony with the living style of the Lenca peoples. The intruders were causing irreparable damage to her people and environment with the present government that removed the Zelaya government by a coup in 2009.  She expressed that their troubles began when her people were determine to protect their environment and they were successful in keeping out a Chinese dam construction company that was hired by the present government to make the dams. We shared with her the human rights violations committed to our longest held Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera in prison for more than 34 years. She stood by side of Oscar's full size image in the church as if he was also listening to her struggle (see photograph taken by Ana).  She expressed to NY Coordinator to Free Oscar Lopez Rivera her deepest solidarity in favor of the human rights campaign for Oscar.
As a leader and protector of the environment in Honduras, she was given the Goldman Environmental Prize (equivalent to a noble prize). These are the beautiful words of Berta when she accepted the Goldman Environmental Award in Washington, DC in 2015.
In our worldviews, we are beings who come from the Earth, from the water and from corn. The Lenca people are ancestral guardians of the rivers, in turn protected by the spirits of young girls, who teach us that giving our lives in various ways for the protection of the rivers is giving our lives for the well-being of humanity and of this planet. COPINH, walking alongside people struggling for their emancipation, validates this commitment to continue protecting our waters, the rivers, our shared resources and nature in general, as well as our rights as a people.
Let us wake up! Let us wake up, humankind! We're out of time. We must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction. The Gualcarque River has called upon us, as have other gravely threatened rivers. We must answer their call. Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action. Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life. Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of this Earth and of its spirits.
I dedicate this award to all the rebels out there, to my mother, to the Lenca people, to Río Blanco and to the martyrs who gave their lives in the struggle to defend our natural resources. Thank you very much.
In the South Bronx, Bertha Caceres memory will always be of a woman that fought for what she believed in, loved her people and forever we will remember her and have a commitment to be in solidarity with her people.
Un Patriota Encarcelado que Tenemos Que Sacar
34 Women for Oscar March 26 Rally

34 Mujeres X Oscar Chicago has changed their rallying location for 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, March 26 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, elected officials, Nobel Laureates and celebrities have called on Pres. Obama for his immediate release. 

When: Saturday, March 26 at 3:00pm to 3:34pm
Where: Logan Square Eagle at Milwaukee and Kedzie
Directions: Blue Line - Logan Square stop

From Our Community Partners

Clemente Freshman Invest in Politics Through Film
by Luis Salgado, Roberto Clemente Community Academy

Director Josh Rech recently visited the Clemente freshmen to show the students his movies.  All freshmen will be creating original films, and Rech provided tips and tricks for students to use as they begin to make their own movies. In World Studies class, students have been studying ideology and propaganda and have been collaborating in small groups to create their own movies. Before getting started, however, students were able to pick Rech's brain on ideas such as framing, lighting, sound, and directing.
Rech was able to share his two original movies that he made, as well as give students ideas for their upcoming project. The filmmaker also shared his personal story about how he turned his passion of movies into a lifelong profession. Rech answered questions that students formulated about strategies for making movies, suggestions on chasing a dream as a profession, and on how Rech got into the filmmaking profession. Rech also showed clips and images from Oscar Award winning movies and analyzed how they used techniques such as framing, lighting, and sound to build emotion in their movie. Finally, students watched his short film and asked questions, while some students were even brave enough to provide critical analysis and suggestions for improvement. After each class, multiple students came to speak to Rech about how to pursue their career in film.  They also exchanged email addresses for further questions and feedback. If interested in seeing Rech's movies or contacting him for inquiries, visit his website at joshrech.com.

Students have used techniques learned from Rech's suggestion when they created their own videos with Clemente's professional cameras.  Students also edited their videos in the Clemente recording studio. Using iMovie, students turned their hours of footage into short movies on a political topic of their choice. The freshmen then returned to the auditorium to show off their movies to the class. Students enjoyed the unique challenge that this IB assessment provided.  The students reflected on the experience and described how working on their writing, directing, camera, and editing skills has shaped their identity as an International Baccalaureate student.
What We Offer

Our goal is to help make your business as efficient and profitable as possible. We will work with you to help solve your problems, while understanding that you have limited resources and budget. Upon completion, we will present to you a written assessment of your business and recommendations for improving inefficiencies and cost. Sign up today.
What We Offer

Our goal is to help make your business as efficient and profitable as possible. We will work with you to help solve your problems, while understanding that you have limited resources and budget. Upon completion, we will present to you a written assessment of your business and recommendations for improving inefficiencies and cost. Sign up today.
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/913-0706

"Live and Help to Live"

Puerto Rican Cultural Center | 2739-41 W. Division St | PASEO BORICUA | Chicago | IL | 60622