Puerto Rico/Puerto Ricans: A Diaspora Summit

Top scholars and leaders will come together to explore solutions to the critical problems facing our community at "Puerto Rico/Puerto Ricans: A Diaspora Summit." The weekend-long event will examine the crisis on the island and focus on the impact it has had on Puerto Ricans living in the United States. Join us on April 22 and 23 at the Silberman School of Social Work to add your voice to this important dialogue.

Program & Speakers
The summit will feature panels and breakout sessions on topics such as health, economics, political participation, and community development. Participating organizations will also have the opportunity to share information about their work, and visitors to the city can sign up for a walking tour of El Barrio.
Confirmed guests include: Archbishop of San Juan Roberto González Nieves, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Antonio Weiss, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, Congressman José Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Illinois State Senator Iris Y. Martinez, New York State Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Labor leader Dennis Rivera, and journalist Juan González.
View the latest schedule.
"Planting Flags on Division Street" 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 López Rivera. 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.

Author and cultural anthropologist Dr. Raquel M. Ortiz hosted a reading on Thursday March 31st at 6pm of her books "Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural" and "Planting Flags on Division Street" at the South Lorain Branch Library in Lorain, Ohio. The reading was open to the public and over 30 community members celebrated Puerto Rican culture, with a focus on dance, music and history. A book signing event also took place Friday April 1st at 11am at the Westlake Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Westlake, Ohio. Children and adults filled the bookstore singing and dancing to a plena beat as they learned about and celebrated bilingual literacy and Caribbean culture.

National Puerto Rican Agenda
A Newsletter documenting the Puerto Rican Stateside Response to the Fiscal and Humanitarian Crisis

In Shock to Wall Street & Washington, Puerto Rico Moves to Suspend Payments on $72B Public Debt
by Democracy Now!

The Puerto Rican Senate and the House of Representatives have both passed an emergency declaration authorizing the governor to suspend payments on $72 billion in public debt-setting up a dramatic showdown between Puerto Rico and hedge funds amid the island's historic debt crisis. The bill authorizes the Puerto Rican governor to "protect the health, security and public welfare ... [by] using government funds first and foremost for public services." The dramatic move comes one day after a group of hedge funds sued to freeze the assets of Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank in efforts to stop the bank from spending money on the island that the hedge funds want to go toward upcoming debt payments.

 GOODMAN: The Puerto Rican Senate and the House of Representatives there have both passed an emergency declaration authorizing the governor suspend payments on $72 billion in public debt, setting up a dramatic showdown between Puerto Rico and hedge funds amidst the island's historic debt crisis. The bill authorizes the Puerto Rican governor to, quote, "protect the health, security and public welfare ... [by] using government funds first and foremost for public services." The dramatic move comes one day after a group of hedge funds sued to freeze the assets of Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank in efforts to stop the bank from spending money on the island that the hedge funds want to go toward upcoming debt payments.
Puerto Rican Agenda Continues Dialogue, Hosted by Clemente Community Academy
By Cristina Pacione -Zayas, Co-chair, Puerto Rican Agenda

Roberto Clemente Community Academy opened its doors to the Puerto Rican Agenda on Saturday, April 2, 2016 for its monthly meeting to continue the dialogue from the successful Community Forum at ASPIRA High School last month on the Puerto Rican debt crisis, the campaign to free Oscar Lopez Rivera, and the formation of the National Puerto Rican Agenda  Although a spring snow storm was in full effect, the spirited discussion evoked the heat and humidity of our beloved "isla del encanto." Dr. William F. Santiago-Valles, Associate Professor in Africana Studies and Director of the Race and Ethnic Relations Institute at Western Michigan University, provided valuable insight on the economic and political root causes of the debt crisis while building upon his last presentation for Agenda members during the September meeting.

Additionally, Edwin Rios, hotel and entertainment entrepreneur and former owner of Rumba provided an overview of "Radio Rumba," a new entertainment experience planned for Paseo Boricua.  The Caribbean inspired supper club will feature weekly Latin American headliners for this mid-size venue.  The entertainment complex will fill a void in the community for a live entertainment experience in an upscale venue paying homage to the unmatched talent of Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Lastly, Agenda members made commitments to attend and/or support plans for the upcoming Puerto Rico/Puerto Rican Diaspora Summit convened the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College on April 22-23, 2016 in New York City.  Aside from scholarly presentations, Puerto Rican elected officials and community leaders will meet and advance plans to establish an Association of Puerto Rican Elected Officials and a National Puerto Rican Agenda.  
Puerto Rican Agenda, PRCC and Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera host live telecast 
by Anthony de Jesús, Puerto Rican Cultural Center

The Puerto Rican Agenda, the PRCC and the Campaign to Free Oscar López Rivera, co-hosted the hearing, at which almost 50 people attended. Afterwards, Puerto Rican Cultural Center Executive Director José E. López responded to questions from the audience and summed up by speaking about the April 22-23rd conference in NYC, Puerto Rico/Puerto Ricans: A Diasporic Conference, which will be focusing on the above points.
Puerto Rico has become a victim of poverty, colonization, and systematic gentrification. This economic crisis has afflicted the educational system by forcing schools to close and jobs have been sacrificed to "save money." Individuals have lost their homes and these vacant properties are now being purchased in large quantities by conglomerates, corporations, and big businesses for privatization.
The Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) conducted a hearing on the public debt, fiscal policy and poverty in Puerto Rico on April 4. The hearing took place in order to discuss possible solutions for the crisis, one being declaring bankruptcy, but it is possible that not much can be accomplished unless the United States Congress makes the decision. Puerto Rico belongs to but is not a part of the United States prevents any outside entity and Puerto Rico from making decisions regardless of best interest. Representatives from Puerto Rican civil society testified about the impact of the crisis, from education to healthcare to housing. The US and Puerto Rican governments also gave testimony and responded. The importance of the short, albeit important, hearing was the international character, as it opened yet another venue for mobilizing solidarity around this very important issue.
Where is the justice for the people of Puerto Rico?
Lin-Manuel Miranda invokes the words of Hamilton to ask for help for Puerto Rico

On August 31, 1772, a fierce hurricane devastated the island of St. Croix, home of Alexander Hamilton, who was then 17 years. Writing to his father a week later, Alexander described the force of the storm and the destruction caused with this beautiful phrase: "It was enough to cause amazement to the angels."
His letter included this plea to help their fellow citizens: "You, who enjoy the abundance, see what is afflicted humanity and to give their surplus to calm them. Do not say that you too have suffered, thus denying them their compassion. What are your compared with those of them suffering? You still have more than enough. Act wisely. Succor the wretched and obtain a treasure in heaven ".
His account of the disaster was so vivid that the letter was published in a newspaper in the Virgin Islands, The Royal Danish American Gazette, and was used to support relief efforts for the island.
Today I invoke the words of Hamilton for help to Puerto Rico.
Much has been said about the precarious economic situation on the island.What could I add to convince elected officials and legislators to act? What influence can I have to change the minds and hearts of Congress as long as they put aside their differences and face the crisis affecting 3.5 million Americans in the Caribbean? I am not a politician or economist. I'm a storyteller. And I am the son of Puerto Rican parents.
US official warns Puerto Rico resources targeted amid crisis
by DANICA COTO, Associated Press

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - The U.S. Secretary of the Interior warned Friday during an official visit to Puerto Rico that the island's protected natural resources could be targeted for private development in a new push to lift the U.S. territory out of a dire economic crisis.
The comments by Secretary Sally Jewell come days after U.S. Republicans tucked a provision into a draft legislation addressing Puerto Rico's economy that would authorize the future secretary of the interior to open thousands of acres of protected Puerto Rico land to private development.
"I think we need to be very, very careful," Jewell told The Associated Press. "Giving up public lands or natural areas to development is not synonymous with economic growth and development."
Jewell questioned why the provision was included and said it does not address Puerto Rico's immediate economic challenges. She urged local officials to focus on further developing ecotourism projects to attract more visitors to the island and boost revenue amid a 10-year economic slump.
Sign up today.
por Ángel Pérez Soler / MINH

«Ya es más que evidente el carácter colonial de nuestra relación política con Estados Unidos. No es posible lanzar más cortinas de humo para tapar que el Congreso de Estados Unidos controla las riendas del país, que el Tribunal Federal puede detener cualquier intento de reestructuración de la deuda y que puede eliminar cualquier impuesto que el gobierno local quiera intentar en contra del capital absentista y millonario».
El tema de la Junta de Control Fiscal ha levantado pasiones en  los pasados días. Al parecer el ciudadano al fin anda entendiendo que los principales partidos políticos (PNP y PPD), han llevado al colapso no solo las finanzas, sino todos los servicios públicos. Cortes de prensa nacional nos revelan la suma de más de nueve mil millones de dólares en contratos por la administración de Luis Fortuño durante el cuatrienio 2008 - 2012. De igual forma, los más de catorce mil millones de dólares en contrato por las administraciones populares (2000 - 2004 y 2004 - 2008) de Sila María Calderón y Aníbal Acevedo Vila.

No hay duda, que gran parte del problema ha estado enmarcado en la politiquería imperante en nuestro país, el amiguismo, las deudas por fondos levantados para las campañas políticas, la falta de conocimiento en planificación económica y por supuesto las políticas neoliberales implantadas por los dos gobiernos. Es de esta forma que sectores de la ciudadanía ha abierto los brazos a la Junta de Control Fiscal como herramienta para poder poner la casa en orden. La incapacidad de proveer soluciones efectivas a los problemas diario ha causado que muchos/as prefieran una junta de control a escoger por quienes nos han llevado al desmadre económico/social que nos agobia. El problema fundamental de dicho planteamiento es que no adjudica culpas a un socio principalísimo de los partidos políticos, el gobierno de  Estados  Unidos. 

Ya es más que evidente el carácter colonial de nuestra relación política con Estados Unidos. No es posible lanzar más cortinas de humo para tapar que el Congreso de Estados Unidos controla las riendas del país, que el Tribunal Federal puede detener cualquier intento de reestructuración de la deuda y que puede eliminar cualquier impuesto que el gobierno local quiera intentar en contra del capital absentista y millonario. En la cara nos ha dado esta realidad las pasadas semanas, esto a pesar de años de denuncia por el sector independentista. A pesar de lo antes expuesto, muchos/as siguen creyendo a Estados Unidos como salvadores, esto sin ponderar que gran parte del problema es causado por la falta de poder para crear una economía nacional al servicio de nuestros intereses como país. 
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

Deepest Condolences
by PRCC staff

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center and National Boricua Human Rights Network would like to extend their deepest condolences to Ivan Vega and his family on the passing of his mother-in-law Luz Maria Rivera, 83, nee Amaro, Devoted wife of Eliot Rivera, beloved mother of Maria (Luis) Colon, Lillian (Gustavo) Castro, Maria Delgado, Sol (William) Rivera, Noemi (Ramon) Torres, Everlidis (Miguel) Rojas, Eliot Jr. (Myra), Diana (Norberto) Sanchez and Jaime (Rosemary); loving grandmother of 16, adored great grandmother of 13. Visitation is this Friday, April 8 at 3-9pm at The Montclair-Lucania Funeral Home, 6901 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.
Move for Life! 2016 was driven indoors by the weather this year
Hundreds crowd indoors to the Muevete beat

On Saturday, April 2, 2016 a cold, windy and snowy day forced the Move for Life! event indoors for the first time to the Diabetes Empowerment Center.  Despite the inclement weather the community came out to enjoy a day of physical activity. Girls in the Game hosted physical activity; the Block Club Federation, Gads Hills and the Muévete; Zumba and Dance-aerobic team kept the event in full motion. Raffles were held at 1:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm. The raffle prizes consisted of bikes courtesy of West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urban, Sports equipment courtesy of The Block Club Federation, goody bags courtesy of Erie Health Center and duffle bags filled with food measures, mat and t-shirt courtesy of the Diabetes Empowerment Center/Keep Your Heart Healthy/Muévete. Health screenings face painting, games and healthy snacks were part of the day's event.
We want to extend our appreciation to the following organizations, programs, individuals and volunteers who supported the event: PRCC's Affordable Care Act, Barretos Union League Boys & Girls Club, Block Club Federation, Build On, Casa Central, Centro Infantil Consuelo Lee Corretjer Day Care, Chicago Park District, Community Health, Cook County Health & Hospital System, DEC: & Viva La Familia, DJ Wanda, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican HS, Erie Family Health Center, Gads Hill Center, Girls in the Game, Kids in the Kitchen of Junior League of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago- Strich School of Medicine, Madulla Chiro One Wellness Center, McCormick Tribune YMCA, Midwestern University Chicago Collage of Pharmacy, My World My Heart- Northwestern, Puerto Rican Pageant Committee, The Greater HP Community of Wellness, Urban Agricultural Program -La Canasta, Vida/SIDA: Mujeres for Paseo, El Rescate, West Humboldt Park Development Council, West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urbano, Y.E.S./Youth Empowering Strategies, 014th District-CAPS, Regina Ruzzo, Aakanksha Kmanna, Omer Ismael, Mathew Nguyen, Sandra Candelaria, Arely Macias and Universal Prayer and especially our sponsors; Presence Saints Mary & Elizabeth Medical Center, Norwegian American Hospital, and Keep Your Heart Healthy.
Stay tuned for our next outdoor activity: The 10,000 Step Community Walk, which will take place on Saturday August 20, 2016.
The seasonal walking groups start Monday April 18, 2016 at 12:00pm and 2:00pm 
773-342-0855, 2753 W. Division St.
West Town Bikes Featured
Chicago's bike lanes, Divvy stations shortchange minority areas

WEST TOWN BIKES: The Chicago Tribune recently highlighted West Town Bikes and the work we're doing to build a culture of biking in undeserved neighborhoods. See the entire article and fantastic video below.

On the 11th floor of City Hall, as a meeting of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council wrapped up, community activist Deloris Lucas was asked what the city has done to bring bike routes and bike-sharing to her impoverished neighborhood on the Far South Side.
She tilted her head to one side, pursed her lips and paused for a long moment.
"You ready for my answer?" asked Lucas, who lives in the Riverdale area in the city's southern edge. "There is no answer. ... There are no bike lanes. In some spots in my community, we don't even have sidewalks." And in her neighborhood, a Divvy bike-sharing station is nowhere to be found.
A Tribune analysis found the city's expanded Divvy bike-sharing program continues to skew toward white or integrated neighborhoods and the build-out of next-generation "protected" bike lanes-those set off by barriers or extra road space for greater safety-still does not reach many low- and middle-income neighborhoods that are predominantly African-American, such as Roseland, West Pullman and Riverdale, or majority Latino, such as Belmont Cragin and Archer Heights.
Affordable Care Act Program Here to Help and Educate
by Geniz Hernández, ACA

While the Open Enrollment period for The Private Health Insurance Marketplace has ended, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center's Affordable Care Act Program is still assisting those who qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, Medicaid or those who need help with post-enrollment. Our In-Person Counselors have been assisting consumers by visiting unemployment offices, city colleges, food pantries, libraries, and other high traffic locations. We have also partnered with agencies throughout the city, such as Trina Dávila, to reach as many individuals as possible. If you need assistance navigating through health insurance issues, call us at: 773-227-7794 or visit our office at 1112 N California Ave, Chicago, Mondays through Fridays, from 8am to 5pm.
Centro Infantil Daycare Visits Navy Pier Children's Museum
by Jacqueline Tovar, Centro infantil Corretjer

Today our children from Centro Infantil Daycare went to visit the Children's Museum at Navy Pier. We are glad that we had parents go with their children allowing them to have a learning experience. They where able to explore all the exhibits and play in each one of them for the amount of time they wanted. This field trip helped them develop and practice social emotional, cognitive, and motor skills as well it helped them exercise because they where moving a lot. All the teachers and mothers enjoyed seeing the children having fun and being themselves. Overall it was a great experienced because the children had fun and to us seeing the children happy makes us feel happy for being part of this educational field trip. 

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
4 Updates to Google Forms You're Going to Love
Earlier this week, Google announced a list of new features for Google Forms. Boasting templates that come pre-populated with suggested questions based on your use case and the ability to see who has completed your form and who hasn't, these new features not only make it easier to create forms, but also provide insight into how your forms are completed.
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
Holyoke Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Calling On President Obama to Free Oscar Lopez-Rivera
by David Thibeault-Muñoz, New England National Boricua Human Rights Network

Last night the Holyoke City Council UNANIMOUSLY passed a resolution calling on President Obama to free our beloved patriot' Oscar Lopez-Rivera.  Close to 100 residents rallied at the Salsarengue Restaurant in Holyoke, Massachusetts on Tuesday, April 5th in support of the resolution, proposed by Ward 2 City Councilor Nelson Roman.  After several community leaders spoke passionately about the history of Puerto Ricans in the city and regarding the many problems facing the community, organizers made a convincing case for why the City must support this resolution on behalf of Holyoke's Latinos.  Following the rally, residents marched to City Hall, where the Council would vote on the resolution, chanting "Libertad!" "Para Oscar!" and "Hey Obama Listen to Me, We Want Oscar Lopez Free!".  Of the nineteen people who signed up to speak during public comment, seventeen spoke on behalf of the resolution to free Oscar.  Following public comment, the Council suspended the rules to discuss and vote on what the people came to hear, what the people came to witness.  Many of the Councilors, during discussion, brought up their experience with Jose Lopez's recent visit to the city and two of the cities Irish councilors raised connections between the Irish immigrant experience and Irish struggle for independence to the experience of Puerto Rican migrants and the Puerto Rican independence struggle.  After several weeks of opposition from a handful of vocal councilors, about how the City Council shouldn't vote on "matters not pertaining directly to the city" and on negative comments about Oscar that aren't worth repeating, the Council voted unanimously - 13-0 to support the resolution.  The people have spoken.  The people have been heard. Congratulations to Councilor Roman and the Puerto Rican/Latino residents of Holyoke, and to all who supported the resolution.  Libertad Para Oscar!

Holyoke City Council calls on President Obama to release Oscar López Rivera

HOLYOKE -- To the delight of a packed City Council Chambers, the council Tuesday approved a resolution urging President Barack Obama to grant unconditional release from federal prison of Oscar López Rivera.
Rivera is a Puerto Rican national who has served 34 years of a 75-year sentence for "seditious conspiracy" related to his participation in a a Puerto Rican nationalist group.
While nationally there has been debate about whether Rivera is a political prisoner or a terrorist, support was complete among the 13 councilors in attendance and most of the 18 speakers who made remarks in the public speak-out period.
"Let this man out of jail, please...You guys do it and I guarantee there's going to be so many city councils in the united states following your lead," said Jose O. Bou, owner of Salsarengue Restaurant & Seafood at 392 High St.
"Please let him out. He's done his time. It's time to let him out so he can enjoy his freedom as we enjoys ours," Councilor at Large Joseph M. McGiverin said.
Led by Ward 2 Councilor Nelson R. Roman, who proposed the resolution, a march of more than 30 people was held in support before the City Council meeting from Salsarengue Restaurant to City Hall.
Carmen Yulín visitará a Oscar López
Mantiene comunicación constante con el prisionero político

La alcaldesa de San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, confirmó hoy lunes que el próximo 15 y 16 de abril visitará al prisionero político Oscar López Rivera, quien cumple una sentencia de 70 años y aguarda por un indulto presidencial.
El Nuevo Día supo que la alcaldesa viajaría a la cárcel próximamente.
"Sí es verdad. Yo hace varios años que estuve tratando de que me aprobaran el ir a visitarlo y finalmente él me envió el papel para la visita. Se solicitó la visita y fue aprobada. Voy a ir el sábado 15 y el 16 de abril, y potencialmente el lunes", respondió la funcionaria a preguntas de este diario.
Reveló que desde hace años mantiene comunicación constante con López Rivera, de 73 años. Incluso, López Rivera le ha enviado cuatro pinturas, la más reciente bajo el nombre de "Pitirre", ave con la que la alcaldesa se identifica frente a sus contendores.
"Yo le escribí a Oscar como le han escrito cientos y miles de personas y Oscar encuentra el tiempo para contestar todas las cartas. Recuerda que tiene una vida artística porque pinta muchísimo", puntualizó.
Reveló que desde hace años mantiene comunicación constante con López Rivera, de 73 años. Incluso, López Rivera le ha enviado cuatro pinturas, la más reciente bajo el nombre de "Pitirre", ave con la que la alcaldesa se identifica frente a sus contendores.
"Yo le escribí a Oscar como le han escrito cientos y miles de personas y Oscar encuentra el tiempo para contestar todas las cartas. Recuerda que tiene una vida artística porque pinta muchísimo", puntualizó.
Legislatura en Holyoke pide liberación de Oscar López
El Concejo Municipal aprobó una resolución anoche


WASHINGTON- El Concejo Municipal de Holyoke (Massachusetts) aprobó anoche por unanimidad una resolución en respaldo a que el presidente Barack Obama otorgue clemencia al prisionero político puertorriqueño Oscar López Rivera.
Según el canal 22 (WWLP) de Massachusetts, proponentes de la excarcelación de López Rivera, convicto por sedición debido a su vinculación con el grupo clandestino Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), se congregaron anoche en la alcaldía para observar la votación.
"Lo que esta resolución hace es pedirle al presidente Barack Obama que otorgue un indulto y libere a Oscar López, que es un prisionero político de Estados Unidos, que ha pedido libertad para Puerto Rico", indicó el concejal municipal Nelson Román.
López Rivera solicitó clemencia al presidente Obama desde septiembre de 2011 y cumple 35 años de cárcel el mes próximo.
por Wilma E. Reverón Collazo, MINH

Por segunda ocasión tuve el enorme placer y privilegio de visitar a Oscar López Rivera. Cuando fui por primera vez en el 2014 acompañada del compañero Alejandro Torres Rivera, me quedé con las ganas de seguir hablando con él. Así que no lo pensé mucho en cuanto tuve la oportunidad de ir de nuevo esta vez acompañada por Noel Colón Martínez quien ha sido compañero de varios periplos a nivel internacional, y la abogada de Oscar, la querida Jan Susler.

Le pregunto a Oscar sobre su estadía en la cárcel de Leavenworth en Kansas, donde habían estado presos Oscar Collazo, Irving Flores y Andrés Figueroa Cordero. Oscar narra que llega a la cárcel de Leavenworth exactamente 23 meses después de la salida de Oscar Collazo e Irving Flores, en 1981. Todos los presos en Leavenworth tenían un gran respeto no solo por la persona de Oscar Collazo sino por lo que había hecho Oscar Collazo por ellos. De Irving recordaban con cariño su afición por el handball. Con Andresito no habían tenido oportunidad de compartir porque durante mucho tiempo había estado hospitalizado.
Pierluisi cree que Oscar López será de los últimos en ser indultados por Obama
por Frances Rosario/Primera Hora

El comisionado residente en Washington, Pedro Pierluisi, opinó este miércoles que el momento idóneo para que el presidente estadounidense Barack Obama le conceda un indulto al preso boricua Oscar López es al final de este año, cuando culmine su incumbencia. 

"Pienso que un momento idóneo para que el presidente conceda la misma sería al final de su incumbencia. Ojalá así sea", afirmó el también presidente del Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) en una conferencia de prensa. 
La afirmación la hizo al reaccionar a los 61 indultos concedidos este miércoles por el presidente Obama a convictos por sustancias controladas, algunos de los cuales cumplían cadenas perpetuas. 
Pierluisi recordó que durante su incumbencia como comisionado residente ha realizado gestiones periódicas para lograr la excarcelación de López, quien lleva 34 años cumpliendo una sentencia por conspiración sediciosa. 
Recientemente, el actor boricua Lin Manuel Miranda cuestionó a Obama sobre el indulto del boricua y supuestamente el presidente le respondió que tenía el caso en su escritorio. 
There are political prisoners in Cuba, but also in the USA
Forget Venice, Paris, Barcelona and New York, the hot spot for travelers this year is La Habana.
Not even the controversy about the existence of political prisoners in Cuba has made a dent in the enthusiasm of millions of people across the world for visiting the island's beguiling capital and beautiful beaches.
"What political prisoners?" President Raúl Castro responded to a CNN reporter who asked him if in Cuba people were put in jail for political reasons, during a joint press conference with President Obama last March 21 in Havana.
"Clearly there still are people detained (in Cuba) for political reasons," countered State Department spokesman John Kirby in Washington when asked about Castro's statement.

Whatever the case may be, clearly people are not discouraged from traveling to places said to hold political prisoners. Otherwise, a great many countries that currently are favorite tourist destinations would see the number of visitors reduced to a trickle. And among them is good old U.S. of A.
Hard as it may be to accept, some of the oldest political prisoners in the world are not in Cuba, China, Russia, Iran or Venezuela, but here, in this country, an injustice that President Obama can right by freeing them.
Oscar López Rivera is one of those prisoners. On May 29 the 73-year-old Puerto Rican will mark 35 years in U.S. federal prisons, 13 of them in solitary confinement. His crime? Fighting for independence for his homeland.
A Vietnam veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery, López Rivera was not accused of harming anyone, only of "seditious conspiracy" related to his connection to FALN, a Puerto Rican nationalist group. He was not charged with participating in any of the bombings attributed to the FALN in the 1970s and 1980s.
As Jan Sussler, López Rivera's attorney told CNN, "Oscar López is an obvious example of a political prisoner in the U.S. If the President wanted to pardon him today, he can do it. He has been punished for his bravery. He's serving a 70-year sentence but he never killed anybody. There is no blood on his hands."
People of every political persuasion and many different nationalities believe he should be freed.
"Oscar long ago paid his debt to society. He is not a terrorist and he didn't harm anyone. After 34 years, it is long past the time to release Oscar," has said Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.)
René Pérez Addresses Puerto Rico Issues and Calls For Release of Oscar Lopez Rivera At Bernie Sanders Rally

At St. Mary's Park in South Bronx, René Pérez, aka Residente, introduced Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Before that, he delivered an impassioned speech about what Puerto Rico deserves.
"Tonight, I'm not here to talk about economic issues, because I'm not an economist," he began. "I'm not here to talk about our right to free, quality education or our right to free and accessible health care... I could speak of the racial injustices that people are suffering in this country and in the rest of the world, and of the need for comprehensive immigration reform. All of these are serious issues in America, but today, I came to speak briefly about the history of Puerto Rico and a little bit about the history of Latin America and why I'm here tonight in support of Bernie Sanders."
Residente jumped straight into the history of his native land, explaining that as a colony of the United States, the island has suffered many injustices. He said that doctors subjected Puerto Ricans to medical experiments, and that the island's land didn't fare better.
"From 1941 until 2003, on the island of Vieques, the United States Navy undertook a series of experiments on different biological and chemical weapons while using the island as a bombing range," he said. "To this day, the land and people of Vieques have not fully recovered from this devastation. There's a Puerto Rican, a political prisoner, who has been incarcerated for over 34 years - longer than Nelson Mandela. His name: Oscar Lopez Rivera, and he deserves to be free today."
La Organización de Solidaridad de los pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina OSPAAAL y el Comité Internacional Paz, Justicia y Dignidad a los pueblos, convocan al concurso de fotografía, LIBERTAD PARA OSCAR LOPEZ.

Tema. Libertad  Para  Oscar López
Bases del Concurso
1.-  Podrán participar fotógrafos o aficionados cubanos o extranjeros residentes en cuba.  
2.-  Podrán presentarse un máximo de 3 fotografías por participante.
3.- Los trabajos deberán ajustarse al tema propuesto " Libertad para Oscar López.Deben ser de 8 pulgadas (20.32 centímetros) por 12 pulgadas (30.48 centímetros). Puede ser horizontal o vertical. La resolución debe ser mínima 150 o un máximo de 200. Puede ser a color, sepia o blanco y negro. Las fotografías pueden ser editadas en algún programa o no, a discreción del artista.   En la composición de las fotografías debe haber alguna referencia a la libertad o regreso de Oscar, puede ser un escrito o alguna referencia a su excarcelación. De igual forma el artista puede establecer en el título de su obra el reclamo de su libertad; este título se imprimiría con la fotografía.
Los autores deberán identificarse con el nombre y apellidos. Las obras deberán enviarse  la siguiente dirección, calle C no 670 entre 27 y 29 Vedado, dirección electrónica, comercial@tricontinental.cu y documentación@tricontinental.cu, teléfonos 78305510,78303177 y deberán identificarse con el siguiente nombre: Concurso de fotografía Libertad para Oscar López.
. Un Jurado integrado por  profesionales de la fotografía, y personas relacionadas con la campaña Libertad para Oscar,  evaluará los trabajos   en concurso. Se otorgarán tres premios y cuantas menciones se considere. Su veredicto será inapelable. Una selección de  las obras serán expuestas en Exposición Colectiva. Los autores premiados y todos los participantes recibirán diploma acreditativo.
Todas las piezas pasarán a engrosar el archivo histórico de la OSPAAAL y del Comité Internacional Paz Justicia y Dignidad a los pueblos 
El plazo de admisión cerrará el 30  de junio de 2016.
 La participación en el Concurso implica la aceptación por parte del autor de que las fotos enviadas serán incluidas en los archivos, bien en soporte papel. Asimismo, los participantes ceden los derechos de reproducción de sus obras a la OSPAAAL, citando al autor de las mismas y siempre que sea sin fines lucrativos.
   Las fotos presentadas deberán ser inéditas, no aceptándose aquellas que ya
hayan participado en otros concursos o que hayan sido premiadas con anterioridad.
Primer premio: Diploma y una Cámara Nikon COOLPIX P530 Digital Camera La cámara incluye el bolso para guardarla y una tarjeta SanDisk 16GB Ultra UHS-I SDHC.
Segundo premio: SanDisk 16GB Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card.
Tercer premio: SanDisk 16GB Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card.
 El fallo del concurso se hará público en julio de 2016. Con anterioridad se comunicará individualmente a los premiados. Este fallo será inapelable.
 La participación en el concurso implica la aceptación de todas y cada una de las bases del mismo. La organización queda facultada para resolver cualquier contingencia no prevista en las Bases.
Comité Organizador
Residente apoya a Bernie Sanders
Destaca el respaldo del precandidato presidencial demócrata a la reestructuración de la deuda pública y la liberación de Oscar López Rivera

WASHINGTON - El cantante de música urbana, el puertorriqueño René Pérez, el Residente del grupo Calle 13, dio esta noche su respaldo a la precandidatura presidencial demócrata de Bernie Sanders, a quien le agradeció la presión que ha ejercido a favor de reestructurar la deuda pública de Puerto Rico.
"Si Bernie Sanders fuera puertorriqueño estoy seguro que lucharía con toda su fuerza, como han hecho muchos puertorriqueños para traer libertad y libre determinación a su país", indicó Pérez, a quien le tocó presentar al senador por Vermont en un mitin en el sur de El Bronx.
Sanders hizo campaña en condado neoyorquino en que viven cerca de 340,000 puertorriqueños de cara a las primarias presidenciales del 19 de abril en Nueva York.
Para votar en las primarias de Nueva York entre Bernie Sanders y Hillary Clinton hay que estar inscrito como demócrata.

From Our Community Partners

Roberto Clemente Community Academy is now accepting International Baccalaureate (IB) 2nd round applications. 

We have updated our website so that families can download the application right from our site. Please share our link with all of your colleagues. Also if you or your organization publishes a newsletter we will like you to publish this in your newsletter, thank you!

There are two forms attached:
  • IB 2nd round application 
    • complete application and bring to Clemente 
  • IB 2nd round confirmations page
    • once accepted families would have to complete the confirmation page to save their seat in the IB program
Community-Based Qualitative Research: Approaches for Education and the Social Sciences
A New Book by Dr. Laura Ruth Johnson

Community-Based Qualitative Research: Approaches for Education and the Social Sciences by Laura Ruth Johnson is a practical text that integrates theoretical perspectives with guidelines for designing and implementing community-based qualitative research projects. Coverage of participatory research designs and approaches is complemented by chapters on specific aspects of this research process, such as developing relationships and sharing findings to strengthen programs. Included are useful handouts and templates for applying to the reader's own projects, and end-of-chapter questions for self-reflection and class discussion. Readers will find the book's engaging case studies, interdisciplinary real-life examples, and insights from project participants as a helpful foundation for future work in the field.

The book includes examples from the author's work with teachers, staff, and students at Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School/the Lolita Lebron Family Learning Center, and the Proyecto Atabey intergenerational mentorship program for young mothers. Since 2008, Laura has offered a graduate-level community-based research course in Humboldt Park, in partnership with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School; the text features many of the approaches and activities implemented as part of the course, as well as student and community member reflections on the process of conducting research.
Lin Manuel Miranda among World's 50 Greatest Leaders
by José Sánchez, CEO and President, Norwegian American Hospital

Attached is a section from the April 2016 Fortune Magazine, which listed the World's  50 Greatest Leaders. I wanted to share with you that Lin-Manuel Miranda  was included as one of the greatest leaders. We are very proud that a young Latino/Puerto Rican artist is among this elite list of leading contributors to society.

Ají Sobremesa is here!

Hello Friends.

Sunday was amazing, your love and support was simply overwhelming. Thank you for coming out! You prove to us, time and time again, that the Sobremesa community is strong and full of love. Now the time has come for possibly the biggest moment for our community, the launch of our crowdfunding campaign. We want to bring Ají Sobremesa to each and every one of you, and of course we need your help in order to do this together. So how can you help?

1- Go to https://igg.me/at/ajisobremesa and support our campaign. 

We have a lot of incredible rewards, including a chance to have access to our very first batch of Ají Sobremesa! We hope you like what we've done and we thank you in advance for your support.

2- Please share that link with everyone you know.

On your social media, with your co-workers, on your blogs, via email. Anything and everything helps. The more we share the better the chances of reaching our goal and getting Ají Sobremesa to our tables quickly. We want to be featured on Indiegogo's homepage, we know that together we can achieve this, so please share the love.

Thank you again, we love you and we owe you so much. We look forward to continuing this journey together. We will announce upcoming events soon so be on the lookout for our upcoming emails. Of course, please, please remember to always Enjoy the heat responsibly!

Efren, Mayra, Sandra, Gabriel and Felipe
The Sobremesa Team
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
o. 773/342-8023 f. 773/913-0706

"Live and Help to Live"