Community Victory in Humboldt Park Advisory Committee ends in Replacement of Racist Chair

Community Victory in Humboldt Park Advisory Committee ends in Replacement of Racist Chair

By Charlie Billups

Tonight a victory of enormous proportions has been won in Humboldt Park. This is a very sobering victory because we had to expose a fellow human being that for reasons known to her has had a misinformed and misguided opinion about who we are in the Puerto Rican community and our history and the struggles that many of us on daily basis fight to survive and to achieve significance.
My heart is filled with joy as many members of our community were there, some with their little flags that somebody else had criticized as being cheap.
Their smile tonight was as big as their hearts and believe me tonight some felt that they were important and that their opinions counted.
The room was tense and the expectation that something nasty was about to happen never materialized, at the end the joy of victory was swift and the embraces and the love was heartfelt.
With this victory, we chart a new day in Humboldt Park, a new day in which many recognized our pain and realized that we need to be dealt with respect as fellow human beings. I recognize Jessie Fuentes, Janeida L. Rivera,Xavier Nogueras, Catherine Mueller Serpa, Carol Ann, Michele Miner, Mikey, Jesus the park district supervisor, Alderman Maldonado, Nilda Montanez, Raquel Torres, Pastor Rubén Escobar Pepín Juanita Irizarry, Carl the garden guy, My mentor Maggie Martinez (You are an inspiration to me) Nancy Diaz, Marilyn Morales, the Park District Department Head and finally Amy Vega who I recognized has tried to bring and respect diversity in area that is difficult because of the realities of our changing communities in Chicago.
Lorena B Billups Sarah and Pachi your joy and your smiles when we are feeding the geese and ducks live constantly in my heart.
To the Corillo of Humboldt Park you bring me joy and you might not think I see you, but I do and I love you.
Tonight I extend a hand of fellowship to those that don’t see things as we do. Inside our hearts there is forgiveness for the insults that we have received, we ask you to walk in our shoes and join us in the fellowship known as Humboldt Park.

Analyzing How Communication of POV Reveals Belief Systems

by Melissa Godinez, 10th grade English teacher

It was a very important week for MYP English 2 literary scholars at Clemente. While other students across the city are preparing for winter break, Sophomore Wildcats were drafting their English 2 unit final. Over the past seven weeks, students have been reading Harper Lee’s inspiring novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Students’ purpose for reading was based on the idea that belief systems are revealed through the communication of our point of view, particularly our core beliefs about race, class, and gender roles. As students read, they examined each character’s personality traits, experiences that impacted their identity, and how they communicated their belief systems. Through their analysis, it was discovered that characters reveal their belief systems in two ways: verbal and nonverbal communication.

The first character students analyzed was Calpurnia. As an African-American living in the Jim Crow era in Alabama, how did she reveal her belief systems and was it effective? Our budding literary scholars engaged in purposeful, intense conversations that focused on these questions. After lots of debate and examination of evidence, some of our scholars pointed out that we cannot call her communication effective until we truly know her core belief. What does she truly believe about people? They dug deep into the root of Calpurnia’s belief system about class by examining only one short passage from the novel. While this was a challenge at first, they understood why analyzing shorted passages would ultimately prepare them for future close reads in AP and IB DP assessments and college papers.

With this purpose in mind, our scholars set out to find one character that they felt most effectively revealed their core beliefs about race, class, and gender roles and revisited the novel for 1-2 page passages to analyze. Now, they are ready to dig into the text to complete their response to literature before going on break! So this week, when most students have visions of sugar plums dancing in the their head, Clemente scholars have textual evidence, belief systems, and To Kill a Mockingbird dancing in theirs!

A Win for the Community José de Diego Elementary School names Interim Principal, Jacqueline “Jackie” Menoni

A Win for the Community José de Diego Elementary School names Interim Principal, Jacqueline “Jackie” Menoni

By Judy Vázquez, José de Diego Elementary School parent

We (The Humboldt Park Community) will benefit tremendously from this appointment,” said Judy Vázquez, a parent at José de Diego Elementary School, upon learning that Jacqueline Menoni was appointed as the new interim principal of de Diego for the incoming school year. The Local School Council worked closely with the Network office to assign a interim principal. Ms. Menoni has been a participant in many of the efforts of Community as a Campus. Congratulations!

Which ones are yours?

Which ones are yours?

By Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center Garden Team

 

This weekend, as many gathered in parks and prepared to go to the lake, the PRCC’s Farmers’ Market remained open. Getting ready for the grill, garlic flew off the shelves and the last of our strawberries were a delight to those, who after one bite, bought what we were able to harvest this week. On Sunday, one of our garden team members learned more about how to cook beets from a resident debating with another on the best way to cook them and the differences between the red and orange varieties. On getting a whiff of sofrito, community residents braved investment in the Puerto Rican cooking paste with others, preordering for next week and assuring us they will remind their friends.

Community residents, when aiming to buy local, remember Conuco and Mural Farmer’s Market- food from your neighborhood getting to your table!

For more information on what is in season this week, reach Garden Team Member Erika at erikaa@prcc-chgo.org or (773) 850-2467.
This Sunday, one of the Farmers’ Market regulars asked a garden team member, which ones  we grew. After pointing to the cilantro, remaining beets and lettuce heads, he took the bulk of the beets before moving on to pick from other produce. Support for neighborhood- grown food is about using bring food as close to you as possible. Healthy communities are about having healthy choices right around the corner.

 

Another regular, in comparing Mural Garden Market with Logan Square, said she appreciated having great produce right across the street from her home. Whether greeting neighbors with a good morning or “buen dia”, the Farmers’ Market team privileges being able to work on growing the food local residents request and encouraging healthier alternatives.

 

Each weekend, the Garden Team brings over 180 lbs of produce and herbs right into the neighborhood. With continued regulars and greater supporters, the Garden Team will work to bring more diverse choices to residents looking to eat healthier, decrease their carbon footprint, and support efforts.

 

Please call or email Erika, erikaa@prcc-chgo.org or 773-850 2467 for more information on how you can help or how you can bring the food you grow right into our market.

2nd Week of El Conuco and Mural Garden Farmer’s Market Marked by Excellent Growth

2nd Week of El Conuco and Mural Garden Farmer’s Market Marked by Excellent Growth

By Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center
This past Sunday, at the Mural Garden Farmer’s Market, PRCC garden team member Christian Roldán asked a resident what he would like to see at the market. After listing asparagus, and mushrooms among other vegetables, the man also said he wanted cilantro. Christian walked him over to the Mural Garden’s beds and picked a bunch for him. Our commitment to providing quality products from the state, as well as from our own community, keeps us growing.

This weekend, between the start of the Conuco’s Farmer’s Market on the corner of California and Division and our second weekend at the Mural Garden, profits tripled.  The more the market earns, the more vendors will be able to provide to local residents. Improving access to locally grown produce that are seen in our homes, the garden team hopes to be able to continue to fulfill the requests of local residents. But, like any farmer entrusting our bounty to the elements, what we provide each week will be based on what the season and weather permits.

Given increasing demand for diversity as well as for the quality non-GMO, untreated produce our greenhouses, and local gardens continue to produce, volunteers will be needed to harvest our greens, berries and herbs.  For more information, please contacterikaa@prcc-chgo.org.
Community Confronts Riot Fest

Community Confronts Riot Fest

By Brayan Contreras, Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Monday May 4th, 2015 saw a large group of Humboldt Park residents/activists gather together in front of 2617 W. Division, office of the alderman of the 26th ward, Alderman Roberto Maldonado. This group of engaged and concerned citizens gathered to confront the petition to rescind the Alderman’s opposition to Riot Fest. Alderman Maldonado very graciously answered concerns from both sides, turning the discussion into a town hall meeting. Somewhat fittingly, none of the main Riot Fest organizers were present to participate in the discussion. Many newcomers who have recently moved to the area were present, although they made no real effort to embrace or listen to the community’s concerns. Some activists/residents voiced an objection to the total disregard of respect shown to the community by Riot Fest, citing mass public urination and public intoxication as well as a clear demonstration of arrogance and disdainfulness Riot Fest has shown for long time community residents.  

Some community residents had signs depicting the disrespect Riot Fest showed to the community last year, including photos of the park after the intense damage. In addition, many residents were making the point that Riot Fest made no effort to engage businesses in the community.

Finally, if Riot Fest were to have their way, they would be taking two weeks of prime summer park time away from already scheduled park activities for residents.