Wednesday, April 30, 2008


LatinoJustice connects hundreds of students and young leaders for May 1 action

New civic engagement network promotes Latino activism across the country

The next generation of Latino leaders has a new tool to help them get involved in the fight for civil rights. LatinoJustice, an online civic engagement network created by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), connects students and young Latino activists across the country, and helps engage them in the fight for social justice. LatinoJustice connects doers, thinkers and motivators who seek to galvanize their communities.

In the weeks leading up to this year's May 1 events, LatinoJustice connected hundreds of students and young leaders from across the country with information on where and how to get involved. After May 1, the network will continue to connect young leaders for future activism, including organizing naturalization campaigns and voter registration drives, and conducting poll watching to ensure that Latinos are not intimidated when they cast their votes this November.

"This generation plans activities, talks about what's on its mind and makes friends in a different way. It is also a generation that is eager to make a difference," said PRLDEF President and General Counsel Cesar Perales. "We are asking these young activists to become leaders in their communities: Leaders in the fight for justice and equal opportunity at a time when Latinos are facing a barrage of prejudice from the media, from politicians and from many other people in this country."

With their growing numbers, Latino youth stand to exert an important influence over civic society in the coming years. Our country saw its first glimpse of this potential power three years ago, when young activists helped convert messages on social networks into high turnout at massive rallies and marches for May 1, the national day of action for immigrants' rights.

Young Latinos are the country's fastest growing demographic; about 34 percent of Latinos are under the age of 18. And approximately 60,000 Latinos turn 18 every month in the United States, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

"Our young activists are residents and new immigrants who realize the importance of standing up for the rights of their community," said Madeline Friedman, Director of the LatinoJustice Network. "LatinoJustice provides them with the tools to be advocates for all Latinos."

LatinoJustice brings together young leaders from various colleges and states across the country, allowing them to debate important policy on discussion boards, comment on the latest news affecting their communities, and post and view workshops and events that promote community engagement. For more information, visit LatinoJustice's profile on MySpace at or visit Facebook.

Source: Press release from PRDLEF

Museum to honor Latino culture and history advances

Featured Story

The House votes to create a commission to look into building the National Museum of the American Latino in the nation's capital.

WASHINGTON -- Four years ago, a museum celebrating the history and culture of Native Americans opened at the east end of the National Mall. Within a decade, one honoring the contributions of African Americans will be erected on the west end, near the Washington Monument. Yet Latinos, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority, have no museum of their own in the nation's capital.
But the National Museum of the American Latino came one step closer to reality Tuesday when the House, by a vote of 291 to 117, approved legislation that includes creation of a commission to study the feasibility of building such a facility. For more, go to,1,496988.story

Editor's Note: The history of Puerto Ricans in the United States (and even on the island) must play a prominent role if this museum ever becomes a reality.


Originally uploaded by Ola Lola.


a curatorial series on cinema and new media

Judith Escalona's "Bx3M: a work in process"
Hector Canonge's "Idolatries/Idolatrías"

Closing Reception: Wednesday, April 30, 6-8 p.m.
Music provided by Joe Falcon and Coco Rico with Stuart Watson

MediaNoche is located in the corner store at 1355 Park Avenue, NE corner of 102nd Street, NYC's El Barrio

MediaNoche, Uptown's gallery devoted to new media, presents Cine_Real: a curatorial series on the impact of new media on cinema. The two exhibiting works utilize digital technologies towards very different ends, altering our film sense.

Free admission

Regular gallery hours: Wednesday - Friday, 3-7 p.m., and by appointment

For more information: (212) 828-0401 or visit

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Boricua Roots Music

Community Calendar

A Chat with Tato Torres of YERBABUENA
An Informal Discussion on Contemporary Puerto Rican Music in New York

6-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 30
Admission: $5
Cemí Underground, 1799 Lexington Ave., NYC's El Barrio

Tato Torres, singer/musician/composer and founder and director of the renown Boricua Roots Music band YERBABUENA hosts an informal open discussion on the history, presence and future of contemporary Boricua Roots Music.

Boricua Roots Music is a musical movement in which Boricua musicians have combined and re-combined elements of traditional and/or "folkloric" music as contemporary musical expressions. This style of modern music, which reaches back to the roots of Boricua (Puerto Rican) tradition has come to be called "roots music" or "música de raíz" in Spanish. The movement is also often referred to simply as "roots" or "raíces" in Spanish.

For more information, call (212) 860-2820 or e-mail

(photo by Clarisel Gonzalez)

In the Mailbox


Aquí sólo un breve aviso para que sepan que nuestra película, "Ladrones y Mentirosos" (Thieves and Liars) ya está disponible en DVD.

Un abrazo,
Poli Marichal y Ricardo Méndez Matta

Monday, April 28, 2008

In the Mailbox

Dear Editor,

Do you know a young person with something to say?

Well, there’s still time!

The New York Civil Liberties Union is sponsoring its annual Freedom in Expression contest that asks youth to tell their stories, voice their opinions and speak out. Winners will receive cash prizes of up to $1,000.

Contestants can enter an essay, a song, a spoken word piece, a poem, visual art, a video, a public service announcement or something even more creative. Entries just need to express views on an aspect of justice in America.

The contest is open to all New York City youth younger than 20-years-old and the deadline is coming up! Entries must be submitted by Monday, May 19.

(For more information and to enter the contest, go to

Good luck!

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director, NYCLU

Salsa Symphony

Salsa Symphony
Originally uploaded by clarisel.
The Bronx Arts Ensemble perform "Fifty Years of Salsa A Symphonic Odyssey" at the Hostos Center for Arts & Culture in the Bronx. It was a packed house Saturday night with audience members enjoying salsa hits such as "El Bombon de Elena" (50's), "Oye como va" (60's), "Periodico de ayer" (70's), "Lluvia" (80's), and "Vivir lo nuestro" (90's). All songs were performed with a symphonic twist. Boricua Raymond Torres-Santos served as the conductor and arranger.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

From the PRSUN TV Archives

In March 2007, El Barrio and New York City celebrated the naming of East 106 Street in East Harlem in honor of the late Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos. The street is now also known as Julia de Burgos Blvd. PRSUN TV was there. This is a shorter version of the show, which originally aired on Bronxnet in the Bronx. -- Clarisel Gonzalez, producer

Refrescante chorro en la fuente en la Plaza Quinto Centenario

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Festival of New Play Readings

The Puerto Rico Traveling Theater kicked off its Festival of New Play Readings 2008 this month and it will run until May 27. The readings are part of the theater's Playwrights Unit.
Among some of the upcoming plays are "Widows" by Nancy Nevarez, which is about Latinas growing up in the South Bronx in the 1970s and "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy" by Carlos J. Serrano about a baseball star who is his own toughest rival. (Note: Click on the image posted here to see the text in larger size of all the readings.)
All readings are free at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, 304 W. 47 St., Manhattan. They are at 7 p.m. After each reading, there is a short discussion with a guest moderator.
For more information, visit or call 212 354-1293.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Serrano Urges Selig to Rethink Approach to Developing Puerto Rican Baseball Players

In a letter to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig sent on Thursday, Congressman Serrano asked Commissioner Selig to reconsider Major League Baseball's policy for signing prospective players from Puerto Rico. In the letter Serrano expressed his opinion that including Puerto Rican players in the regular draft keeps them from having the opportunity to fully realize their potential.
To read more, go to

Source: The Serrano Report

'Fifty Years of Salsa'

Attention: Salsa lovers. The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, Inc. and William Scribner, executive/artistic director, will present "Fifty Years of Salsa, A Symphonic Odyssey" tomorrow night.

This so-called concert-celebration of the salsa tradition with a twist will be held at the main theater of the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture on the Grand Concourse in the South Bronx. The 7:30 p.m. show will feature Bronx Arts Ensemble Orchestra and Raymond Torres-Santos, conductor and arranger.

The show will include special guest soloists: Jerry Medina, Tito Allen, Isidro Infante, Nelson González and Ralph Irrizarry.

You will know the songs – Oye cómo va, Pedro Navaja, Anacaona, Así se compone un son, Cara de payaso, Periódico de ayer and many others. The concert promises to be a hit parade of all the tunes you danced back in the day. And, they will be sung and played by some of the great salseros of our times, but in symphonic form, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra composed of musicians who play with some of the great orchestras of the New York metropolitan area.

Admission with free ticket
Main Theater
Hostos Community College
450 Grand Concourse

For box office and more information, call 718 518 4455.

Poesia, Rumba Jazz Descarga!


The NuyoRican School Poetry Jazz Ensemble will present an evening of bilingual poetry mixed with jazz and Afro-Cuban drumming at the Point’s Live From the Edge Theater in the Bronx tonight.
This ensemble invites the public to come celebrate National Poetry Month as they pay homage to three of our most important and prolific Latino poets: Pablo Neruda, Julia De Burgos, and Mario Benedetti. Actor Luis Enrique Flores and vocalist Wendy Rossi-Fernandez provide a presentation of these poets' love poems accompanied by guitarist Octavio Kotan's rendition of Carlos Almaran's popular Spanish ballad: Historia De Un Amor. The poems will be recited in Spanish and printed translations will be available.
Balancing the ensemble's bilingual repertoire, poet Américo Casiano Jr. presents his award-winning urban poems intermingled with Charles Mingus' Nostalgia in Times Square.
The ensemble also pays tribute to Cuba's Alfredo Abrau of Los Papines with their rendition of Para Los Barrios a rugged Afro-Cuban rumba guaguanco interpreted by percussionist/vocalist Abe Rodriguez and percussionist Gene Golden.
Also performing with NuyoRican School is the "Last Puerto Rican Indian" author Bobby Gonzalez y Encuentro (made up by musicians Joe Falcon (bass) and Eddie Aponte (Saxophone).
NuyoRican School Poetry Jazz Ensemble is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to promote the creative literature of Puerto Rican writers in the United States while providing economic opportunities for performing artists of color.
The program starts at 7 p.m. and admission is by donation. Suggested donations are $10 adult, $5 college students and seniors admitted free.
For more information, contact Casiano at 646-281-7038 or e-mail

source: Press Release

La Rogativa

La Rogativa
Originally uploaded by kikepic.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Comedians Bring Laughs to El Barrio

Four Latino comedians Eric Nieves, Arnold Acevedo (who served as master of ceremonies), Eddie Morales and Herbie Quinones brought a few laughs to East Harlem earlier this month when they performed at Cemi Underground. The comedians say their style of humor comes from a Latino point of view.
“Our comedy is in English,” Nieves said. “Then again all of us perform something that is pure Latino: from rice and beans to dominoes and the jive-talk we heard from our parents growing up.”
The majority of their performance was based on their growing up Latino, home experiences, and culture.
Their performance at Cemi Underground was a fine mixture of comedy, audience participation, monologue, and poetry. -- Ismael Nunez

(In the photo, from left, Eric Nieves, Arnold Acevedo, Hector Caraballo, Kimberly Morales, Eddie Morales, and Herbie Quinones, pose before their performance in East Harlem).

Parque De Las Palomas

Parque De Las Palomas
Originally uploaded by kikepic.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In the Mailbox

New Art in the Senator Serrano's District Office in East Harlem

We have more great art in the district office this month! Please come by and take a look. The beautiful paintings were created by Magda Luccioni, and hang throughout Senator Serrano's office. Magda was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, a city that was central to the development of bomba and plena. These traditional Puerto Rican art forms are prominent themes in Magda's work. She is a self taught artist who views art as an important form of spiritual release. "I will paint till the day I die." says Magda.

The gallery is curated by community member Taina Traverso.

For more information Serrano's site, visit
Felicidades to our friends at is now sponsored by a grant from SeedCo Financial in association with The NYC Business Solutions Center and the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

In the next few weeks, we will be upgrading the website with more features and information on Puerto Rican history and culture. The grant awarded to will directly assist in our presence on the internet. The grant was for $1,275.

NYC Business Solutions offers free, quick and reliable answers to a broad range of your business questions, whether you are an entrepreneur or an on-going enterprise - of any size.

The Mission of NYC Business Solutions is to help the business community of New York City find efficient solutions to common business problems.

The Vision of NYC Business Solutions is to transform the city into the resource of first-choice for business assistance.

NYC Business Solutions is an initiative of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). SBS is a city agency dedicated to promoting the vitality and growth of small business in New York City, as an engine for job creation, neighborhood development and overall economic health.

In partnership with the Mayor's Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses (IMB), SBS administers the Industrial Business Solutions program. Industrial Business Solutions focuses specifically on assisting industrial businesses and working with city agencies to improve industrial neighborhoods to make it easier to do business in New York.

For more information, visit the NYC Business Solutions Center.

(Note: The grant boricuation received was for $1,275.)

The contact at
Jose Medina
Cell: 917 843 6419
VP/Radio Director Internet Connect Radio

Source: Boricuation press release

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

From the PRSUN TV Archives

Latino Lens
PRSUN TV talks to boricua photographers Enid Alvarez and Marisol Diaz at their Latino Lens exhibit at Boricua College in the Bronx.

This is a shorter, edited version of PRSUN TV, which originally aired Latino Lens on Bronxnet in the Bronx in 2006. That year Latino Lens was nominated for a BETA (Bronx Excellence in Television Access) award for best talk show, Bronxnet's version of the Emmy. -- Clarisel Gonzalez, producer

Saturday, April 19, 2008

From the PRSUN TV Archives

KR3T'S Dance Company Celebrates

This is an edited version of PRSUN TV's coverage in 2006 of the 16th anniversary celebration of this East Harlem-based dance school. For more info. on the dance school, visit

El Morro, San Juan Puerto Rico

Friday, April 18, 2008

Artist Spotlight: Ricky Flores

South Bronx is a 'Refreshing Adventure' for this Boricua Photographer

Black and white images depict the story of Puerto Ricans living among the South Bronx rubble back in the day. Photos tell the stories of young people riding trains plagued with graffiti and playing on lots full of debris.
Despite all the poverty and the urban decay all around them, many of these people, many of them young men and women, are seen smiling, dancing and having a good time in the photos captured by Ricky Flores.
Today, the South Bronx is not the same as the one captured in Flores' photos. It surely isn't as rundown as it was back then. The South Bronx has certainly changed for the better even though it is still considered one of the poorest congressional districts in the country.
Yet, those images of the Bronx of yesterday can and will probably never be forgotten.
While many young people didn't survive, many others not only survived but helped bring the South Bronx back. One such survivor is Flores who became a professional photographer, documenting, among other things, the story of Puerto Ricans in New York.
Puerto Rico Sun asked Flores, who is also known as rigglord and is a contributing photographer to the Puerto Rico Sun and Bronx Latino photo groups at, to share some of his thoughts on the photos he has been posting on his site lately. This photojournalist has been uploading many of his old images of the South Bronx. The majority of the photos currently on the site were taken during the 1980's. Flores says that the photos mainly focus on Puerto Ricans in New York, specifically in the South Bronx. Flores is drawing a whole new worldwide audience to view images of the old Bronx, which he describes as adventurous, nostalgic and painful.
The photos in a way are a reflection of his journey in life as a Puerto Rican, Bronxite, New Yorker, and photographer.
Here is what Flores had to say in his own words:
The photos that you see streaming (at his photo site at were started from a series of photographs exploring the life of being a Puerto Rican in New York called Ser Puertorriqueño, a search for my own identity as a Puerto Rican. It spun off as a permanent installation called "License to Dream," which you can get details about at .
Looking at them now is a refreshing adventure, tinged with nostalgia and pain. Many of the photographs show friends who died from drug abuse or of AIDS. Given the amount of time that has passed since I took them, they now have a historical value. Images that I would have never have shown then, now have a value simply because of what they show and the location of where they were taken. The photos I am streaming now are images of the South Bronx.
As time goes on, you will see more work of my coverage of demonstrations and riots that were centered around issues of racism and police brutality within New York City.
Currently, I'm a photojournalist at The Journal News in Westchester County and sit as a member of the Board of Advisors for En Foco ( ) a Bronx-based non-profit organization dedicated to cultural diversity in photography.

To check out more of Flores' images, visit his photo site at It is worth visiting. -- Clarisel Gonzalez

(photos by Ricky Flores)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

From the PRSUN TV Archives

Voices for the Voiceless poetry event @ Amherst College, Amherst, MA, December 2005

In 2005, PRSUN TV accepted an invitation from poet Jaime "Shaggy" Flores to head north to Massachusetts for a night of poetry.

This is an edited shorter version of PRSUN TV's Voices for the Voiceless show, which originally aired on Bronxnet in the Bronx.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From the PRSUN TV Archives


BLOGS photo exhibit in 2005 @ MediaNoche in NYC's El Barrio

More than 200 photographers and photo enthusiasts from different parts of the world took part in this virtual exhibit, curated by moi. The paricipating artists are members of three photo groups on They are NYC Exposition, Puerto Rico Sun and East Harlem. PRSUN TV talks to some of the boricuas/Latinos who took part.

This is a shorter version of the PRSUN TV show that originally aired on Bronxnet in the Bronx.

PRSUN TV is currently working on its video archives. More shows will be available online. New shows coming soon.

Thanks for your support of PRSUN TV. -- Clarisel Gonzalez, producer

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Pope's Visit to the U.S.

Pope Benedict XVI Benedict arrives today for a six-day visit to Washington and then New York. His visit will be filled with a lineup of activities of course. The pope will meet President Bush at the White House where he plans to speak to the president about immigration and other issues. He will also speak at the U.N., visit ground zero and celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx before leaving Sunday night.

Here's a video welcoming the pope from The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the first Catholic diocese in the United States:

Monday, April 14, 2008

In the Mailbox

Dear Friends,

City Lore and the Brooklyn Historical Society are hosting a free community discussion "Latino History in Brooklyn: Voices from the Puerto Rican Oral History Project 1974-1976" during the Mayor's Immigrant Heritage Week in New York City.

Sunday, April 20th, 3-5 p.m.
Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
For more information, log on to Brooklyn Historical Society's website or call 718-419-4285 ext 233.

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, so therefore are migrants and not immigrants, but they have encountered similar concerns as others who underwent the immigrant experience.

Puerto Rican community historian Ralph Mendez will present his collection of steamship artifacts and research about early-20th century migration from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn. City Lore's folklorist Elena Martinez will discuss audio clips from BHS's Puerto Rican Oral History Project collected in the early 1970s with narrators telling their steamship migration stories; and all will be complemented by a presentation of portraits of Puerto Rican pioñeros by Brooklyn photographer Tony Velez.

For information about the Mayor's Immigrant Heritage Week, visit or call 311.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The Havana Film Festival New York will collaborate with Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies on a two-day program of Puerto Rican movies called Centro at the Movies, scheduled for Monday, April 14, and Tuesday, April 15, at Hunter College School of Social Work. This will include a presentation and films highlighting the center’s role in sponsoring and promoting Puerto Rican documentary films over the past 30 years.
Admission is free. Just click on the image to see larger.

Cabo Rojo lighthouse

Cabo Rojo lighthouse
Originally uploaded by KAP'n Craig.

Friday, April 11, 2008




Prepárense pa' echar un pie con La Plena Boricua, al estilo de Los Pleneros de la 21, esta noche en ¡GOZA Y BAILA LA PLENA!


Come join us in this dance/concert with your friends, family and neighbors so that you can all DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY together to original musical compositions and interpretations of traditional and contemporary plenas LP21 style!
This unique concert is guaranteed to make you dance all night with live performances by the LP21 ensemble, guest artists and members of LP21’s pioneer class of Bomba & Plena: Un Paso Alante - our new Urban Institute for emerging and midcareer traditional arts practitioners and musicians!
Admission: $15
For tickets or more information, call (212)427-5221 or e-mail

Hosted By: Los Pleneros de la 21
When: Friday, April 11
at 8 p.m.
Where: Julia de Burgos Cultural Center
1680 Lexintgon Avenue
El Barrio, NYC

source: Los Pleneros de la 21

Personajes de Pueblo: ''Monegro''

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Featured story

Cerrado caso Ojeda Ríos

Tras más de dos años de investigación y sufrir un revés ante el Tribunal Supremo de Estados Unidos, el Departamento de Justicia de Puerto Rico cerró la investigación sobre el operativo federal en que resultó muerto el líder machetero, Filiberto Ojeda Rios.
Para el reporte completo por Aixa Vázquez, visite

La Rogativa

La Rogativa
Originally uploaded by luis munoz.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Life for Puerto Rican Rights Group

Victor Vazquez-Hernandez is seeking boricuas to help bring back and revitalize the historic National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights (NCPRR).
According to the April newsletter of the National Institute for Latino Policy, the goal of this organization is “to address what many perceive as a leadership vacuum in the stateside Puerto Rican community.”
Founded in 1981, the NCPRR has been inactive for a number of years.
But Vazquez-Hernandez is working to change that. He and other community leaders are seeking to reinvent the NCPRR to serve as a voice for Puerto Ricans today as the organization did back in the day.
The NCPRR will attempt to provide support for these local efforts by connecting activists through its newsletter, online and by mobilizing public opinion on issues relevant to Puerto Ricans nationally and in Puerto Rico.
According to an essay titled “A Brief Historical Overview of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, 1981-2004” by Vazquez-Hernandez, delivered in January in Miami, the organization played an important role in the history of Puerto Ricans.
“The NCPRR is a power resource that was created by our people’s struggle; it has history, legitimacy, and weight,” he wrote.
He delivered a laundry list of work the NCPPR was involved in, which included coalition building, lobbying, and dealing with the media. He also mentioned what he called “the groundbreaking work we’ve done around bilingual education, environmental justice, the right to representation, holding elected officials accountable, racial justice, against police brutality and Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination are part of our legacy.”
“Today, we have to determine what works in 2008,” he wrote, adding that key issues that need to be addressed are the organizational life-support and financial stability to make the NCPRR viable in the new century.
“Twenty-seven years after the NCPRR was founded a whole new generation of Puerto Ricans has come into being,” he wrote. “How do we identify ourselves as the continuation of a proud organizational tradition while simultaneously serving as an effective organizational tool and asset for them is our challenge? I am still up for it, how about you?”
An executive committee has already been set up, and Vazquez-Hernandez is serving as NCPRR’s president.
For further information and to join this effort, contact Vazquez-Hernandez at
NCPRR is planning to conduct a national survey to get feedback from those interested in being part of the organization. “We will ask you to specifically identify how and in what matter you might be interested in participating in the organization,” he said. -– Clarisel Gonzalez

Sources: The National Institute for Latino Policy and NCPRR

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hostos to Celebrate its 40th Anniversary

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, the Hostos Community College Foundation will host its 2008 Benefit Gala on Thursday, April 17, at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
The event will begin with a welcoming reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and dancing to the music of nine-time Grammy Award-winning artist Eddie Palmieri and his orchestra.
“Turning 40 is a major milestone in the life of this college,” said President Dolores M. Fernández. “Over time, Hostos has progressed from being ‘the little college that could’ to ‘a jewel in the South Bronx.’ Our 2008 Benefit Gala will be a wonderful opportunity to thank those who founded this institution, those who kept the faith during its formative years, and those whose continuing commitment to excellence ensures an even brighter future. Moreover, the scholarship funds raised by this event will help many deserving students attain their educational goals. What better reasons could we have for celebrating in the Hostos style?”
At the gala, the Hostos Foundation will honor four individuals who have made contributions to society in keeping with the spirit of Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903), the great Puerto Rican educator, writer, and patriot for whom the college is named. The awardees are Ms. Agnes Gund, Chair, Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Affairs; Charlotte Frank, Ph.D., Senior Vice-President, McGraw-Hill Education; Miguel Fuentes, President & CEO, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center; and Carlos Velazquez, Publisher and President, G.A.L.O.S. Corporation.
The gala is expected to attract over 500 guests. In addition to current Hostos students, faculty, and staff members, attendees will include alumni, past presidents of the college, and business and community leaders.
The gala will feature a special video presentation that outlines the college’s history and also pre-recorded remarks from some of the political leaders and community advocates who took part in the struggle to establish and preserve Hostos.
Hostos Community College, which has more than 5,000 students, has experienced a positive transformation in recent years.
For more information, go to

source: press release from Hostos

Originally uploaded by Mi nombre no es cLaRa bOw.
Santurce, PR

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Message to My Mentor

In the Mailbox

Dear Editor:

After reading Puerto Rico Sun's November 30, 2007 entry about a documentary on Puerto Ricans in the Bronx, I realized that one of the interviews featured in "Migration: The Puerto Rican Experience" happens to be with one of the most inspirational people in my life.
I met Alma Torres-Warner back in 1986 at a school in the Bronx. The New York City Board of Education had a program called the Auxiliary Services for High School (ASHS). The program offered preparations for the General Educational Development (GED), and I attended the one at 383 Willis Avenue on 138th St called The Roberto Clemente Center, where Torres-Warner was at the time the center administrator.
I remember I had just arrived that year to New York from Puerto Rico. I wanted
to something with my life and quickly decided to prepare for the GED, so I enrolled in Roberto Clemente Center. I was excited that I was doing something with my life, but I didn't have any idea as to where I was headed.
I used to arrive very early to Roberto Clemente -- sometimes before the staff. I remember Mrs. Torres-Warner would arrive and open the doors and allow me in. We would converse (which is a word she taught me) on the way up to the third floor.
Every morning, never missing a day, I arrived early to Roberto Clemente and met up with Mrs. Torres-Warner.
She later offered me a job with the New York City Board of Education as a
student aide, which I accepted. After obtaining my GED and attending Bronx Community College, she promoted me to a paraprofessional (assistant teacher).
Mrs. Torres-Warner became my mentor. She would always remind me of my potential. She saw something in me and gave me a chance, always telling me that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. But most of all she believed in me.
After working with Torres-Warner for a few years, she later transferred to ASHS headquarters, where I later joined her. I remember working for Marty Blum,preparing Lotus 123 spreadsheet documents. But it just wasn't the same. He wasn't Torres-Warner, so I decided to move on. I left the NYC Board Education and moved to the State of Virginia where I decided to pursue a degree in psychology.
Along the way, I lost contact with Torres-Warner.
I would like more than anything for Torres-Warner to know that I appreciate everything she did for me. She didn't know it at the time but she became my inspiration.
I never stopped trying. I have faced many obstacles but I never stop trying.
I thank her for being a great employer, a true mentor, and a dear friend.
I know she's out there helping and inspiring someone who needs it.
May God bless her.
I'm currently in NYC.
I am hoping to reconnect with my mentor.
I may be reached at
Thank you Puerto Rico Sun and God Bless.


Walter Hernandez

Editor's Note: For more information on Bronxnet's documentary on the history of Puerto Ricans in the Bronx, go to the PRSUN's archive section and click on the November 30, 2007 posting entitled "Migration" and visit

Cabo Rojo light

Cabo Rojo light
Originally uploaded by KAP'n Craig.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Puerto Ricans are 'Obama people,' says ex-governor

Featured News Story

Rafael Hernandez Colon discusses politics at The Warehouse in Syracuse.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has enjoyed the support of Hispanics in Democratic presidential primaries earlier this year, but she may lack that support in Puerto Rico's primary June 1, the island's former governor said Thursday in Syracuse.
For more, go to an article by Maureen Sieh, urban affairs editor,The Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY, at

Spotlight: AHA's Beni Matías

Bienvenida "Beni" Matías, a boricua filmmaker who is the new executive director of the Association of Hispanic Arts (AHA) in NYC's East Harlem, says one of her priorities now is getting feedback from local artists.
"I love arts organizations connected to the Latino community," says Matías about why she took on this new professional challenge.
At a meet-and-greet activity Wednesday night at the Longwood Art Gallery in the Bronx, artists were busy chatting with Matías. And, she was all ears. After all, she says, "I need artists to come and tell me what's important to them." -- Clarisel Gonzalez

Here's the press release from AHA on Matías' appointment:

The Association of Hispanic Arts (AHA) announced (in March) their new Executive Director, Bienvenida (Beni) Matías. The AHA Board of Director’s Chairperson, Elba Cabrera said, "The Board is pleased that Beni will be leading the organization in the next stage of our development. She is a veteran arts administrator who has worked for many arts non-profits, similar to AHA."

Ms. Matías is an executive, educator and filmmaker. She is the former Executive Director of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) in New York City and Publisher of The Independent magazine. She is a founding Board Member and former NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) Coordinator. She was the Executive Director of the Center for Arts Criticism (CAC), a Minneapolis-based non-profit. Before coming to CAC, she was Director of Production at the Independent Television Service and Executive-in-Charge of Production at WNYC-TV. She is a former AIVF board member, and has served on the boards of Intermedia Arts Minnesota and Women Make Movies.

She is a pioneering Puerto Rican filmmaker having produced documentaries both for public television. Her 1979 film Heart of Loisaida is recognized by the Donnell Media Center at the New York Public Library as part of their major film preservation initiative, "Twentieth Century Mirrors: America Through the Eyes of Independent Filmmakers." She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Paul Robeson Fund, among others, for her documentary work. Ms. Matías was awarded a Leadership Initiative in Neighborhood grant, from the St. Paul Company in Minnesota, to explore connections between arts criticism, media, leadership, and community activism. She has mentored many documentary filmmakers and has taught video production at Hunter College.

Ms. Matías said, "I am excited to be part of the Association of Hispanic Arts and the work it will accomplish for Latino Arts in El Barrio and New York City. I grew up here, a few blocks away from the AHA office. It’s great to be home again."

The Association of Hispanic Arts, as a non-profit learning institute, is committed to serving Latino artists and arts administrators. Our mission is to promote career development, financial independence, and networking opportunities for individual artists and creative entrepreneurs.

For more information on AHA, go to

(Photo of Beni Matías by Edwin Pagan)

NOTE: See related story by Clarisel about Beni at
(page 9)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

In the First Person

My Night with Piri Thomas
By Ismael Nunez

I had the pleasure of speaking to author Piri Thomas earlier this year before he had a stroke. I wish him a quick recovery. Here are some of my notes from my conversation with Piri.

I remember the night I spent with Piri Thomas.
It was on a February night in Brooklyn, New York.
Piri Thomas, the legendary author of “Down these Mean Streets,” was the featured speaker at an event entitled “Capicu Poetry Cultural Showcase” at the Notice Lounge,198 Union Avenue in Williamsburg. That night there was a rich lineup of live cultural performances as part of an Open Mic. It was a nice place to be on a cold night.
PRSUN sat down with Thomas for only five minutes. I remember listening to him talk and thinking how strong this man is. Rappers, poets, hip-hop artists, listen and learn!

PRSUN: You wrote the book 41 years ago. Still a best seller, read in schools and colleges. Is this magic or …?
Thomas: It’s no magic. The reason it’s done well in the past/present is because it tells the truth about everything. (It deals with) life in the streets, the prison system, what people of color go through while being incarcerated, and family struggles in a big city.

PRSUN: Was it prison that got you into writing?
Thomas: In reality, it was my mom. My mother is from Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She would always tell me stories of the island, the food, the beaches. My six siblings and I would sit for hours as she told us these lovely stories. When I was sent to prison, I remembered all those stories...My mother’s spirit saved my life along with the writing.

PRSUN: Do you share your stories of your life as a street gang leader, drug addict, ex convict with others?
Thomas: Oh Yes! Just like my books, I speak the truth. After what I went through, I don’t want no child/adult to go through what I went through. Prison life, being in a juvenile hall, gangs, that’s not cool. It’s not fun.

PRSUN: How do you stay so young?
Thomas (laughing): A lot of things. I love people, I love what I’m doing, talking to kids. Being a motivational speaker saves lives…seeing a child come to me saying, “Thank you, you saved my life,’ means a lot to me. I’m never bored!

After he spoke that night, artists and audience members shook his hand, gave him kisses and hugs and took photos with him.

We love you Piri.

Ismael Nunez is a freelance writer based in East Harlem who contributes to Puerto Rico Sun.

For more on Piri Thomas’ appearance at the Capicu showcase, go to Sofrito for Your Soul at

Photo of Piri Thomas courtesy of wikipedia.

Artists Wanted

for East Harlem Arts Symposium
& Arts Festival

For more info., call 212 828 5829 or e-mail

Puerto Rico Has Higher Homeownership, Larger Households

Residents of Puerto Rico had a higher homeownership rate, had more people per household and were less likely to move than U.S. stateside residents, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2006 Puerto Rico Community Survey.
Puerto Rico's homeownership rate of 74.1 percent was lower than only two states -- Minnesota (76.3 percent) and Michigan (75.2 percent). There were 3.13 persons per household in Puerto Rico, compared with 2.61 in the United States, and 7.1 percent of Puerto Ricans moved within the commonwealth in 2006, compared with 13.5 percent who moved within the same U.S. state.
These are among the wide range of data now available annually from the Census Bureau's Puerto Rico Community Survey. 

Among the other findings are:
• According to Census Bureau population estimates program, there were 3.9 million people living in Puerto Rico in 2006. Of these, nearly 20 percent were children and 12.8 percent age 65 and over. The median age of Puerto Rico residents was 34.7. 

Households in Puerto Rico were more likely than those in the United States to contain at least one person 65 and over, 29.3 percent compared with 23.2 percent, and at least one person under 18, 38.8 percent compared with 34.6 percent. 

• From 2000 to 2006, Puerto Rico's high school completion rate increased from 60 percent to 66.1 percent, and its bachelor's degree attainment rate increased from 18.3 percent to 20.7 percent among people 25 years and over.
• Since 2000, Puerto Rico's individual poverty rate decreased from 48.2 percent to 45.4 percent. However, this rate was more than three times as high as the rate for the United States overall and more than twice as high as any state. 

Median earnings of full-time, year-round workers were $19,280, with men earning slightly more ($19,750) than women ($18,803). At $20,425, the median family income in Puerto Rico was about a third that of the United States ($58,526) and about half that of Mississippi ($42,805), the state with one of the lowest median family incomes. Among municipios, Bayamon, Carolina, Guaynabo, San Juan, Toa Alta and Trujillo Alto had median family incomes that were higher than the median for the commonwealth.
• People changed residences at a lower rate within Puerto Rico (8 percent) than within the U.S. overall (16.8 percent). 

In 2006, 4.5 percent of Puerto Rico's residents lived in the same municipio one year ago, 2.5 percent lived in a different municipio, 0.8 percent lived in the United States mainland and 0.1 percent lived abroad. 

For Puerto Rico, 91.7 percent of the total population was native born, 5.1 percent were born in the United States or U.S. Island Areas, 0.3 percent were born abroad of an American parent and 2.9 percent were foreign born.
For more information, visit and

Source: PR Newswire/Hispanic PR Wire

Originally uploaded by Luis Angel Molina Quiñones.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Artist Opportunity

The Young Playwrights Latino Challenge
Submission deadline: April 7

A message from TeatroStageFest:


If you are a New York City high school student - Latino or not - listen up! There are only 7 days left to submit your original plays to the Young Playwrights Latino Challenge, the second annual city-wide playwriting competition held by TeatroStageFest in partnership with Young Playwrights Inc.

Don't miss this awesome chance to be a part of the most exciting, two-week theatre festival (June 2-15, 2008) featuring great theatre from New York, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain!

ALL STUDENTS who submit a script to YPLC will get free tickets to local and international shows at TeatroStageFest 2008, along with a Certificate of Merit, and feedback from a professional playwright.

FIRST PRIZE PLAYWRIGHT/S will be awarded $500 and the WINNING PLAY will have a staged reading with professional actors at the celebrated APOLLO THEATER during the YPLC awards ceremony. SECOND and THIRD PRIZE WINNERS will receive $250 each. TEACHERS associated with 5 or more student submissions will receive a pair of complimentary tickets to TeatroStageFest.

Join our young playwrights community at
For YPLC contest guidelines, go to For help with your writing, email or call (212) 594-5440.

Postmark your play on or before Monday, April 7th to:
Young Playwrights Inc.
Dept. LC
PO Box 5134
New York, NY 10185

'Gone drinking!'