Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Movement to name a NYC street in honor of Richie Perez

Activism

A petition is circulating online in support of naming 22nd Street and Park Avenue South Richie Perez Way. You are invited to sign the petition. More street names should honor boricuas like Richie Perez who made a difference in the story of this city. The petition is addressed to the local community board.

Councilwoman Rosie Mendez who knew Perez would like to see a street named in Perez's honor during her tenure. The street is in Mendez's district and she will submit the proposal to Community Board 5 at a public meeting on March 5.

Here's the text for the online petition:

To: Community Board 5

We write to urge Community Board #5 to rename 22nd Street and Park Avenue South Richie Perez Way, to pay homage to one of the nation’s greatest advocates, a community leader and longtime activist in the struggle for global social justice and human rights.
Richie Perez was a leading exponent for social justice and political participation. A former Young Lord and National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights co-founder, Richie brought his unique mix of integrity, zeal and unity to the diverse ethnic and racial communities of New York City and beyond.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Richie graduated from the NYC public school system and the City University of New York. He also earned an MA in Business Economics from New York University.
Richie’s commitment to the education of young people began when he taught at Monroe High School and was involved in the movement for community control of the schools. He went on to teach college courses on the Puerto Rican urban experience, the mass media, social policy in the United States, the history of the civil rights, and the history of the labor movement at educational institutions (Richmond, Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges, the College of New Rochelle, Empire State College and the Center for Legal Education and Urban Policy). He designed the course "Urban Reality and Mass Media" for pre-law students at CCNY's Urban Legal Studies Program.
Richie has been a leader in the struggle to eliminate racial bias and to demand accountability in cases of police brutality. He commenced his volunteer work as a member of the Young Lords Party (YLP) established in New York City in 1969. In the 1970’s, Richie created the Committee Against “Fort Apache: The Bronx” which held protests at movie theaters urging New Yorkers to boycott the movie because of the negative depiction and stereotypes of Puerto Ricans.
In 1981, Richie worked with others in creating the National Congress of Puerto Rican Rights (NCPRR), a not-for-profit volunteer organization. It has been a voice and vehicle of empowerment for Puerto Rican people. The NCPRR is a civil rights organization addressing the ill treatment of Puerto Ricans and Latinos by individuals and institutions. Richie chaired the NCPRR’s Justice Committee that primarily worked on issues of police brutality and racial violence. Richie continued his work with victims and surviving family members of police brutality and racial violence until his death in March 2004.
In 1983, the Community Service Society hired Richie in a series of challenging positions during his 21 years of employment. In 1987, he was appointed the Director of Organizational Development and the Voter Participation Project. Thanks to Richie's creativity and tireless efforts, VPP registered over 250,000 new voters in NYC. Since 1992, Richie served as the Director of Political Development and worked closely with CSS' Legal Department on the issue of felon disenfranchisement.
Finally, Richie was a family man, married for twenty three years and raised a wonderful son.
The biggest tribute we, as his “global family” and community, can make to acknowledge Richie’s life commitment to social justice struggles is to co-name the street where the Community Service Society is located and where Richie spent most of his day working on these issues.

To sign the online petition, go to
http://www.petitiononline.com/rpw32704/petition.html
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