Call for Civic Engagement for Oscar Lopez Rivera, Alternative School Leader  and founder of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos  Puerto Rican High School

Call for Civic Engagement for Oscar Lopez Rivera, Alternative School Leader and founder of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School

There is an urgent call to action I am requesting.

The founder of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, Oscar Lopez Rivera, has served 35 years as a political prisoner for his commitment to a free and liberated Puerto Rico. Oscar Lopez Rivera was a fierce advocate of alternative education for disenfranchised youth in the city of Chicago, which allowed for school like ours to provide culturally relevant education, using critical pedagogy to incorporate the critical thinking of Black and Latino youth.

In these last critical days of the Obama administration, we are asking your campus to activate your students and community to sign this online petition to call the White House to release Oscar Lopez Rivera. The petition can be found at

Please click on this link to a list supporters for his release, which include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and YCCS Board Member Dr. Laura Ruth Johnson, to name a few.

Please encourage your students, staff and teachers to participate! We need 100,000 signatures before Dec. 10.

All the best in this time of solidarity,


Halloween At Centro Infantil

Halloween At Centro Infantil

by Jacqueline Tovar

On October 31, 2016 the children from Centro Infantil were dressed as cute cats, skunks, witches and bats. The teachers did a good job in preparing all the accessories for the children. All teachers used their imagination and creativity to dress up and paint all our children’s faces. The children that were dressed as cats had a nice tail attached to their clothes, handmade cat ears and had their faces painted. The children dressed as skunks also had handmade tails and masks. The children dressed as witches had handmade hats and had their faces painted. The children dressed as bats had really cool capes made out of black plastics bags. It was nice making all these costumes with the help of our students. We were able to show them how you can make a lot with the material we have in our Center. Also, they had fun going upstairs to the high school and asking for candies.

Maritxa Vidal enters Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame

Maritxa Vidal enters Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame

by Kevin Garcia, Program Coordinator for UIC Integrated PASEO

Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s own Maritxa Vidal, who is a Midwest Representative for TransLatina Coalition of Illinois, will be inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame is an organization which honors and celebrates notable members of Chicago’s LGBT communities. Inductees are selected by current members of Chicago’s LGBT Hall of Fame, who reviewed nominations from the public. The reception will take place November 9th at the Chicago History Museum starting at 5:30pm. The event is free and open to the public.


15th Annual Haunted Paseo Boricua Humboldt Park Take Over!

15th Annual Haunted Paseo Boricua Humboldt Park Take Over!

By Janeida Rivera

This year marked the 15th anniversary of Humboldt Park’s Halloween tradition of converting the Paseo Boricua business district into a corridor of Halloween inspired cultural interactive activities, learning opportunities, family friendly performances and safe trick or treating on Division St between Campbell Ave and California Ave. About 400 children and their families were able to trick or treat for candy and healthier snack alternatives as part of our Healthy Kids Halloween initiative at over 35 local businesses and organizations along Paseo Boricua. Division Street was decorated with hay bales, corn stalks, unique Puerto Rican influenced decorations including large paintings of skeletons with Puerto Rican flag eye patches, bomba drums carved like jack-o-lanterns, festive vejigantes by local artist Lebster Pabon, artistic scarecrows by muralist Cristian Roldan and a selfie wall painted by Puerto Rican artist Veronica Velez.

To celebrate our 15th year of Haunted Paseo Boricua, this year’s theme included a “Haunted Quincenera Main Stage” hosted by local rapper Pinqy Ring and Puerto Rican B96 radio host, Gabriel Ramirez! Main Stage hosted a costume contest for prizes for the “Best Family, Best Child and Best Toddler” costumes with prizes sponsored by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Ciclo Urbano! Costume winners went home with board games, a children’s bicycle and razor scooter. Performers including hip hop and spoken word duo and activists Lester Rey and Logan Lou, singer/song writer and producer, Che Guevara and Singer Ricardo Suarez serenading families with original music.

Haunted Paseo Stations included Puerto Rican scary story telling at Urban Theater Company/Batey Urbano, face painting, games with prizes by El Rescate and Vida/SIDA, Urban Agriculture worm culture give away by Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, children’s books as treats by Consuelo Lee Corretjer Day Care, Musical Chairs and Zumba by Muevete at the Diabetes Empowerment Center, Fortune Telling by La Bruquena Restaurant, Dancing Vejigantes at Africaribe Cultural Center, and Photos by local photographers Elias Carmonas, Charlie Billups and Carlos Munoz.

Haunted Paseo Boricua would like to thank the following organizations and businesses for their contributions and volunteers and making Haunted Paseo Boricua memorable and a success this year: The Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, UIC’s Puerto Rican Studies Course and Roberto Clemente Community Academy. View our Flickr album of more than 300 photos here:
Photos by Carlos Muñoz and Charlie Billups

35 Mujeres – Two More Opportunities to Help Bring Him Home!

35 Mujeres – Two More Opportunities to Help Bring Him Home!

On Sunday October 30th, 2016 women from around the community and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center came to the corner of Division and California to demand for the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera. At 3:00pm, women began chanting “No Justice, No Peace, set Oscar Lopez free,” cars honked, children danced, and the women collectively shared a passion and a mission. With only two months left to capture the imagination of President Obama the women in Chicago continue to announce their presence in Humboldt Park, educating passers by.

The Network’s goal is to mobilize 50 or more women on November 27, 2016 on the corner of Division and California, chanting and dancing for Oscar.

If you are interested in participating in 35 Mujeres please email Jessie Fuentes, Coordinator of NBHRN at

We Stand with Oscar

We Stand with Oscar

The National Boricua Human Rights Network sponsored a book reception for Cartas a Karina with Puerto Rican poets Martin Espada, who wrote the introduction to the book, and Juana Iris Goergen, poet and professor at DePaul University, last Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. The reception, held at Nellie’s Puerto Rican Restaurant on Paseo Boricua, counted with 4 people. During the light dinner, José E. López, Puerto Rican Cultural Center Executive Director spoke and introduced Juana Goergen, who spoke about reading the letters as they were published in Puerto Rico’s newspaper El Nuevo Dia several years ago, and how she was moved by the correspondence. She felt deeply honored to be able to speak about the Letters to Karina, and composed an original piece of prose, for the event. (Ed. note- in Spanish, below the article)

Martin Espada, also in town to promote his new book, “Vivas to Those Who Have Failed”, spoke movingly of his father, famous civil rights photographer Frank Espada, and growing up in Brooklyn. He referenced it as he spoke about Chicago, saying, he felt that he had come home as the gigantic Puerto Rican flags came into view as he was arriving for the reading. “I’m from Brooklyn, and proud of it- but there is no place like Chicago for Puerto Ricans.” He ended by saying, “Years from now, I want by grandchildren to know, in this moment- such an important moment for the Campaign- that I stood with Oscar- like all of you stand with Oscar.”

In Chicago, the book is available for $15.00 at 2546 W. Division St. It’s also available online at:

Cartas a Karina by Oscar López Rivera