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 veteran712004@yahoo.com.
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
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