Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by IORIcross.
Check out the Puerto Rico Sun group at flickr for a collection of photos of Puerto Rico by IORIcross.

PBS President Kreger Defends Ken Burn’s Exclusion of Latinos from WWII Documentary

In a March 13th letter to Latino community representatives, Paula Kerger, President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), rejected the demand that PBS delay the release of Ken Burns’ 7-part WWII documentary, until it is re-edited to include the Latino experience. “This is unacceptable and an insult to the hundreds of thousands of Latino veterans who served in World War II,” responded Professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez of the University of Texas at Austin and one of the leaders of the Defend the Honor Campaign that met with Kerger last week to discuss the issue.
The Ken Burns documentary, which is scheduled to air in late September, has been the target of mounting criticism in the Latino community because of its exclusion of the experience of Latinos. The 14-hour series was six years in the making.
“How is it possible, that in the six years it took to make this film, no one involved thought to ask where are the Latino stories?” asked Gus Chavez, another founder of the Defend the Honor Campaign.
In her reply to the group, Kerger noted that PBS is supporting community outreach and educational initiatives attached to the Burns documentary. That local programming is intended to “bring forth the many stories that are not part of the Ken Burns series.” PBS will consider programs produced by local stations by possible national airing, she said.
But the local programming isn’t enough, the Defend the Honor Campaign organizers said.
“Once again they want to relegate us to being the side attraction, keeping us out of the main act,” explained Marta Garcia, a New York-based founder of the Hispanic group.
Angelo Falcon, another founding member of the Defend The Honor Campaign, noted that the timing of the Burns documentary was particularly troublesome.
“Our demand for inclusion comes at a time when the Latino community is too often under attack as being ‘unwelcomed foreigners,’ despite the fact that the majority of us are U.S. citizens and, in the case of WWII, close to half a million of us served this country,” said Falcon.
Rivas-Rodriguez, who established the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin eight years ago, said that the community response to news of the Burns documentary has been visceral.
“All Americans feel a deep, personal, connection to WWII,” she said. “These are our parents, our grandparents, aunts and uncles. We know their contributions and sacrifices. And we are painfully aware of how the have not had the recognition they deserve. It is our duty to right this wrong.”
Various Latino groups and individuals are calling for a boycott of PBS, while others plan to pressure the corporate, foundation and government sponsors of PBS and Ken Burns, said Chavez, a Defend the Honor Campaign organizer out of San Diego, CA.
“We are disappointed that PBS, being a public television network, was not more responsive to our community’s concerns,” said Chavez. “They have not heard the last from us.”

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project (

Gus Chavez is a Latino community development and education advocate based in San Diego.

Marta Garcia is founder and co-chair of the New York Chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition

Angelo Falcon is president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, based in New York City

source: press release

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Community Calendar

Tuesday, March 27th @ 6:30 pm SHARP!
Extended Open Mic Showcase
and Featured Poet Sandra Maria Esteves

Acentos will blow the doors off the place in grand style with a grand pionera poet: Sandra Maria Esteves, whose work is often cited among the most important voices of modern Puerto Rican literature. She is the author of Bluestown Mockingbird Mambo and Yerba Buena, and has received numerous awards and grants, including a NYFA

But a warning to our patrons: last year, the crowd exceeded 150, so if you're down to read with us, then GET THERE ON TIME for the 6:30 pm sign-up. The extended open mic session starts at 7 pm SHARP. No kidding, people. Poets from our series past, present, and future are expected to read, so come down and see what this show is
all about. And as always, don't be afraid to bring that new stuff!

The Bruckner Bar and Grill
1 Bruckner Boulevard (Corner of 3rd Ave), Bronx
6 Train to 138th Street Station
Hosted by Rich Villar
FREE! ($5 Suggested Donation)

Coming from Manhattan: At the 138th Street Station, exit by the last car on the 6. Take the exit to your left, go up the stairs to your right to exit at Lincoln Avenue. Walk down Lincoln to Bruckner Blvd; turn right on Bruckner past the bike shop. The Bruckner Bar & Grill is on the corner.

source: geminipoet

Monday, March 26, 2007

Moonlight Castle

Moonlight Castle
Originally uploaded by quinonesanibal.
San Felipe del Morro
San Juan, Puerto Rico

photo by quinonesanibal

Check out more of his work in the Puerto Rico Sun group at flickr.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Poet Jose Angel Figueroa

Originally uploaded by Nuevo Latino Life.

Latest Nuyorican Poetry Filled with Flair and Rhythm
Review: 'Hypocrisy Held Hostage' by Jose Angel Figueroa
By Robert Waddell

Jose Angel Figueroa’s newest book of poetry, “Hypocrisy Held Hostage” is a collection of early and newer work by one of the original Nuyorican Poets. Figueroa, on the page and on the stage, has always had a flair for the dramatic, but his poetry here captures the rapturous rhythms of nature. Figueroa proves that he was listening to the sounds around him as well as to his own heart beat.

For example, in the poem “I Saw Puerto Rico Once,” he writes “I came from the nest/all birds thought they could find/where the grass spreads/across the common/and the roots of trees/the earth of roads/and the water of rivers/longed my thoughts/to come home again.” As in many poems, Figueroa shows his respect and reverence for nature and that he is from a pastoral Puerto Rican land. Like much of original Nuyorican poetry, the images are full of desire, passion and some nostalgia for the Eden-like island paradise of Puerto Rico.

Then, those bucolic poems are interrupted by equally compelling works that show more urban settings. As if nature were a dream, in a jolt, the poet is awakened to harsh realities. In “Boricua a Raffy Rodriguez,” Figueroa writes “…you were/ born somewhere/between American Airlines near San Juan/ and Kennedy Airport/ near The Bronx…”

To be sure, Jose Angel Figueroa is part of the Nuyorican literary movement begun by Miguel Algarin and Miguel Pinero. He, however, differentiates between his connections between the island and the city. He is never overly nostalgic but he transports the reader or the listener to a pastoral or urban setting without mixing or getting the two confused. He tries to remain literal, but his literary heart takes flight; he writes with a pallet of many Caribbean colors and never forgets his grounding or his island roots whether Borinquen or Manhattan.

For example, when Figueroa writes of love in “Stop Killing Me,” he speaks of doubts and desires and “nakedness hidden in the blues,” hiding poems in his lover’s room feeling as though he has a split personality. In the past, Nuyoricans had to wrestle with the notion of being Puerto Rican or being an American and now Boricuas don’t have to choose, they can be both. In this poem, he speaks of love, but also the love of the two cultures he emerges from.

Figueroa’s poetry is compactly packed into words and lines of electric passion. There is depth, heart thumping, shirt ripping ecstasy that comes from a dose of summer lightning and showers. This poet has the explosiveness of an Adrian Rich and some Neruda where the night and shadows and twilight of inner space collide with outer realities. Figueroa is a master of poetry where he is baring his soul from the mountain top and at the same time showing great humility and sincerity. The poet and poetry are unique in their vision and hospitality to the world that he creates with his words.

When the poet writes phrases like “counterfeit dreams,” a reader can’t help but remember Pedro Pietri. Figueroa pays homage to Pietri, Pablo Neruda and Amiri Baraka. Figueroa is imbued with spirit and poetic flavor from the great poets he eulogizes (even a little Jorge Brandon). "Hypocrisy Held Hostage" is an interesting alliteration and the title for a book of poetry that deals with a Puerto Rican’s exterior and interior voyage at home and in the United States. (If hypocrisy were held hostage, who would pay the ransom and do we negotiate with linguistic terrorists?)

However, Figueroa's poetry stretches out as far as a flamboyant Flamboyan tree. Once, Figueroa found a poetry reading at the Nuyorican Poets Café called “Cocktails,” dedicated to poetry about the male member, objectionable. But, he’s mellowed and with the poem “Womanizer,” he writes: “Before them was the naked/horror; the wisdom of the/penis; known to conquer if/not possess to consume and/spit out with masked emotion,/bedrock hearts of passion.”

This is the Jose Angel Figueroa I know and love.

Written in both English and Spanish, and published by the Centro de Publicaciones Academicas in Puerto Rico,“Hypocrisy Held Hostage” is a testament to the skill and curiosity of Jose Angel Figueroa. His poetry is both elegant with an edge and sharp, not like a razor, but sharp enough to cut through the morass of every day living and show rays of sunlight. For poetry lovers, “Hypocrisy Held Hostage” is a fine collection full of longing for freedom, shades and gradations of love and the warm outstretched hands of a Puerto Rican poet ultimately declamando the spirit of the word.

Robert Waddell contributes his writings to "Puerto Rico Sun." He is a freelance journalist based in the Bronx.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Honoring Julia

Honoring Julia
Originally uploaded by clarisel.

Coming soon on PRSUN TV

Recently E. 106 Street in East Harlem was co-named in honor of the late Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos. PRSUN TV was there for the community celebration.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Weapons that fuel island's drug war often from Florida

More than 200 Puerto Rico police officers and federal agents with assault rifles and sidearms swarm out of a station near San Juan in the middle of the night.

For more,,0,4243914.story?track=rss

Friday, March 16, 2007

Velazquez tries to solve Puerto Rico status limbo

By Julie Shapiro

Congressmember Nydia Velazquez wants to put decisions about Puerto Rico’s future back in the hands of Puerto Ricans. A commonwealth — neither a state nor an independent country — Puerto Rico is often caught in the middle of a heated debate about its identity.
At the end of last month, Velazquez introduced the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2007. The bill, with 25 co-sponsors, describes a process for Puerto Ricans to decide the status of their home.
“Any proposal regarding the future of Puerto Rico must first come from Puerto Ricans,” said Velazquez, who was born on the island. “Self-determination needs to come from the people of the island — to do otherwise would be tampering with their free will.”
A Democrat, Velazquez represents most of the Lower East Side, much of the East Village and parts of Brooklyn, including Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights and Gowanus. Her 12th Congressional District has a large Puerto Rican constituency.

To read the complete article, go to

Thursday, March 15, 2007

In and Out in the Bronx

José Orlando Serrano was born in Puerto Rico 41 years ago in a valley surrounded by mountains called Las Tetas des Cayey - the tits of Cayey- named for the little town that acted as a center of agricultural commerce for the region between San Juan and the south.

The son of a mechanic and a devoutly religious mother who sewed in a factory, Serrano was young when his parents divorced. He became a Catholic priest and spent the last 20 years as part of the Church's efforts to help rural communities in the Dominican Republic. A significant commitment for someone who spent but a month as an altar boy, having been kicked out for making too many jokes with the other youths.

In mid-2005, after much thought, Serrano insisted to his superiors in the Church that he be given a sabbatical to consider his vocation. He came to New York speaking only very limited English and lived in a rectory in the Bronx. This past October, he made the decision to leave the priesthood and live life openly as a gay man.

source: Gay City News

For the complete article, go to

Monday, March 12, 2007

Community Calendar

Two Events Honoring Julia de Burgos in El Barrio

Friday, March 16
Official Street Naming Ceremony in Honor of Julia de Burgos (Julia de Burgos Boulevard)
11 a.m. - South East corner of 106th Street and Lexington Avenue

Born in 1914, de Burgos was one of the foremost poets to come out of Puerto Rico in the first half of the twentieth century. Modern critics have noted that her poetry anticipated the work of feminist writers and poets as well as that of other Hispanic authors. A resident of El Barrio, Julia de Burgos died here on July 6, 1953 at the age of 39, and she continues to represent the rich artistic and cultural contributions of Latinos in New York City. This ceremony also complements the newly installed mosaic portrait of the poet on the corner of 106th Street and Lexington Avenue by artist Manny Vega. The event is organized by NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and El Museo del Barrio, and co-sponsored by Hope Community and the East Harlem Preservation Organization. Admission: Free.

An Evening of Readings in Honor of Julia de Burgos
Friday, March 16, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Celebrate the work of Julia de Burgos at this special evening of readings at El Museo's Teatro Heckscher. Her poetry will be presented in Spanish and English by poets Carmen D. Lucca and Alma Villegas. Light refreshments will be served. Admission: Free. For advance registration, e-mail

source: El Museo del Barrio

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Three Sisters
By Samaris Ayala

3 sisters
three sisters
three kinds of Puerto

Samaris contributes her writings to Puerto Rico Sun. She may be reached at

c 2007 Samaris Ayala

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Community calendar

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary--

Come and join some of the hottest, cutting edge Latina poets and performers
in an exciting festival in the heart of Broadway

Sandra María Esteves, Mariposa, La Bruja,
Prisionera, Linda Nieves Powell, Patty Dukes,
Carmen de Lucca, Dra. Myrna Nieves, Rhina Valentín,
Carmen Valle and Lourdes Vazquez,
with special performances by
Soledad Romero and Jazmin Caratini

MARCH 8TH to 18TH 2007


Directed and Produced by Miriam Colón
Co-produced by Jack Ladrón

Tickets: 212-354-1293
Tickets also available through www. telecharge .com

Puerto Rican Traveling Theater is located at
304 West 47th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues
New York, NY 10036