Friday, July 31, 2009

Broken Promises

American Values Network Releases White Paper: Vieques Today, A Sea of Broken Promises
Washington, DC (CapitalWirePR) - A new white paper by American Values Network examines the current situation in the island municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Vieques is a small U.S. territorial island located eight miles from the main island of Puerto Rico. The people of Vieques are American citizens who have made tremendous sacrifices for our country’s national security. For over 200 days per year from 1941-2003, the Navy used significant portions of the Island of Vieques for training exercises and munitions testing.

During this period, the Navy tested nearly every kind of munitions employed by the military, dropping over 80 million pounds of ordnance on Vieques from 1984-1998 alone. The Navy has refused to disclose the complete list and amounts of all materials sprayed, dropped, tested, or disposed of on the island and surrounding ocean during the 62-years of weapons testing.
The people of Vieques have a 25% higher infant mortality rate, 30% higher rate of cancer, a 381% higher rate of hypertension, a 95% higher rate of cirrhosis of the liver, and a 41% higher rate of diabetes than those on the main island of Puerto Rico a mere 8 miles away. Despite these facts, the Navy denies any culpability and refuses to help alleviate the suffering it has caused.
The health claims of the American citizens in Vieques have been supported by a multitude of groups and faith-based organizations, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the American Values Network, among others.

The full white paper is at

'The War Boys' premieres tonight at the NYILFF

Tonight "The War Boys," a film by Ron Daniels, makes its world debut at the New York International Latino Film Festival. I give it a thumbs up. 
It is not the stereotypical story of Mexicans crossing the border. It looks at the issue from a different perspective. It explores how easy it is for us to laugh at what we don't know, for us to make to do things even though they are not right just to feel big.
"The War Boys is not about the plight of the illegal immigrant, desperate to cross the border into El Norte, fleeing poverty for a better life," writes Ron Daniels, the director who was born and grew up in a small town across the Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janiero.
"That story cannot be told enough," he states. "And only circumstantially is it about the cross border smuggling trade. The originality of The War Boys, perhaps, is that it tells the immigration story from the point of view of three American young men (including one who is Latino) who could be called 'harmless' racists."
The screenplay has its source in Naomi Wallace's one act drama "The War Boys," which Daniels adapted for the screen. Daniels says the screen version is changed, but the premised is the same. It is based on a vigilante movement that flourished briefly in California called "The Light Up the Border Brigade," which Daniels says was a precursor of the Minutemen.

The film is tonight at 8 p.m. at the SVU Theater Screen 2 and at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Clearview Cinemas Chelsea Screen 7, both in Manhattan.

Here's the synopsis for the film:

The heart knows no borders.

David, George, and Greg, best friends since high school, are “The War Boys”. They used to perch on the US-Mexican border, waiting to spot illegal immigrants who were trying to run into the United States. Sometimes, without a thought for the immigrants, the boys chased them across the wasteland and back across the border – just for fun. It was just one of those games boys played to make themselves feel big. But high school’s over now. David is unexpectedly home from his freshman year of college and the War Boys have been reunited. Now the boys come up with a new plan – they steal a truck from David’s father trucking company, filled with what they believe to be black market televisions. Their plan to sell them, make a quick buck and move to New York is complicated, however, when the contents of the truck prove to be much more sinister than the boys had thought. Meanwhile new feelings and relationships are forming between them, their friends, and their families. The young vigilantes finally come to realize that they are as vulnerable and as helpless as the immigrants they once chased across the border.

Here's the trailer:

For more information, visit the movie's site at

Check it out.

Revisiting "Down These Mean Streets'

Reading "Down These Mean Streets" after twenty years,
when i was young i was not prepared to read "Down These Mean Streets,"
now I respect Piri. --
Coconut Brujita

Coconut Brujita contributes her pensamientos to Puerto Rico Sun.

Editor's note: "Down These Mean Streets" by Piri Thomas is available at the PRSUN aStore. Click here:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Director Victor Cruz speaks on his short film 'La Operacion'

Examiner speaks to Victor Cruz on his "La Operacion (The Operation)," a short 15 minute film he directed on the sterilization of Puerto Rican women during the 1940s.

The synopsis of Victor's film is based on a bill passed in 1937, which allowed the sterilization of women on the island and the decision one woman makes on whether to go ahead with the procedure.

"La Operacion" is now part of the lineup of short program playing at the New York International Latino Film Festival in Manhattan. 

For more, go to my Examiner site at

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Re: The Death of former NY State Senator Olga Mendez

“Olga Mendez was a great role model not only for the residents of her Bronx and Manhattan district, but across the United States. As the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the New York State legislature, she opened doors for all who came after her, myself included. She was a tireless advocate for the concerns of her constituents, and she will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of all Bronxites, are with her family as they mourn her loss.” -- Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The NY International Latino Film Festival celebrates anniversary with movies

The New York International Latino Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a rich lineup of feature length flicks, documentaries and short movies highlighting Latino culture of course. The festival, which runs until Sunday, is also a time to star watch.
For more, go to

I'm the NY Latino Community Examiner. Have story ideas for my Examiner column, feel free to e-mail me at clariselgonzalez (at)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Artist restores Spirit of East Harlem

Manny Vega Begins Restoration of the Spirit of East Harlem Mural

Artist Manny Vega began restoration on July 17th of Hope Community's defaced Spirit of East Harlem mural. The artist will complete the work by the end of July. Vega, along with community artists from different genres, will participate in an educational forum on the history and cultural significance of community (outdoor) artwork that Hope Community will host on August 13th. (photo and text courtesy of Marina Ortiz)

To view more photos, go to

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To Be or Not To Be Supreme Court Judge: Sonia Sotomayor


By Manuel Hernandez Carmona

There has been a lot of debate over the qualifications and character of the nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor. To be or not to be Supreme Court judge that is the national question. The up and coming confirmation of the Puerto Rican judge from the Bronx has refueled the issue of who is and who is not qualified to be United States Supreme Court Judge. Her critics have questioned her integrity and vision, yet they admire her tenacity at the Senate Hearings.

Although in terms of curriculum vitae, she is overqualified---her critics continue to question decisions she made as Federal District judge and as judge at the US Circuit Court of Appeals. Many have questioned the influence that her ethnicity and humble backgrounds may have in future judicial decisions. The United States has made its forefathers proud with the election of President Barack Obama, but his choice for Supreme Court Judge really has taken liberty and justice for all to the next level of American understanding. No doubt, she is a woman and a Latina. 

To top all that, her parents were part of one of the most massive immigration movements in American history, precisely fostered by the Puerto Rican government’s ties to the American government in the early 1900’s which granted them U.S. citizenship and the right to enter the U.S. without having a passport. Sotomayor’s parents made the journey inspired by the so-called American dream, and the opportunities their children would have in New York City.

More than just a story, Sotomayor’s appointment brings down stereotypes that were ingrained in the minds of the American public with West Side Story’s (1957 Broadway play) prejudiced portrayal of the Latina woman. Hollywood has made a living off the bias depiction of the easy-slut and close-minded Latina woman. The Senate Hearings are underway, and some will use a magnifying glass to look closely at any little detail that will make Sotomayor unworthy of the highest appointment bestowed upon any attorney in the United States. The truth is that she is worthy beyond any reasonable doubt. Even Shakespeare would rethink his famous “to be or not to be” quote in light of what will come down in American history as one of the most “justified” nominations to the S
upreme Court of all time.

Manuel Hernandez Carmona contributes his writings to Puerto Rico Sun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Silent history


Photography is a
story teller
though silent
i should not
feel ashame
i have no
photo history
 -- Coconut Brujita

Coconut Brujita contributes her writings to Puerto Rico Sun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights national convention in Philadelphia

Community calendar

Wanda DeJesus
, actress, Illegal Tender  Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) Ana Ortiz, actress, Ugly Betty Frankie Negron, singer Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) Jimmy Smits, actor, DexterWest Wing Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-ILL)  Angelo Falc√≥n, National Institute for Latino Policy Marta Garcia, National Hispanic Media Coalition Daddy Yankee  and many others!   CONTACT: or    SEND YOUR DONATION TO   NCPRR 4322 North 5th Street Philadelphia, PA 19140  ATTN: Victor Vazquez

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our Barrio Love Story


east harlem
lower east side
south bronx
los sures
each pueblo
has its own
the honorable
is our love
story with
el barrio -- Coconut Brujita

Coconut Brujita contributes her writings to Puerto Rico Sun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sotomayor LEMC PSA Lin-Manuel Miranda

This public service announcement by Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist, Lin-Manuel Miranda, famous for writing and starring in the Broadway musical "In the Heights," is part of a series of PSA's, in both English and Spanish, were developed by a team of independent, New York-based Latina producers in support of Judge Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination. The creators hope to raise awareness among an increasingly diverse U.S. Latino constituency about Judge Sotomayor's experience, credentials and qualifications. They also seek to motivate people from all walks of life to learn more about the nomination process and to contact their local Senator in support of Judge Sotomayor. The spots, which will primarily be seen on the internet, offer striking insights into how Latinos in America see themselves.

About LEMC: The Mission of the Latino Educational Media Center is to produce and distribute educational media materials in all technology and promote Latino media arts in order to represent the full spectrum and dynamic reality of Latinos in the United States, and to offer Latinos opportunities in media through a wide array of programs. The PSA's will be archived at LEMC for future historical review.
In addition to those mentioned above, the following professionals and companies have donated their services, time and equipment towards the success of this campaign.

source: LEMC at YouTube

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sotomayor Pledges Impartial Justice if Confirmed

Here's a clip of Sonia Sotomayor's pledge Monday to serve as an impartial justice if she is confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court. If she is named, she would become the first Hispanic to serve in that post. She pledges "fidelity to the law." 

Listen to what she has to say.

source: AP at YouTube

Puerto Ricans in the United States

The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, today released a statistical profile of the Puerto Rican population in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The profile describes the demographic, employment and income characteristics of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin. The characteristics of Puerto Ricans are contrasted with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. The profile is based on the Center's tabulations of the Census Bureau's 2007American Community Survey (ACS). 
The statistical profile is available at the Pew Hispanic Center's website,

The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan,  non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
source: The Pew Hispanic Center

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Featured story: From NY to PR

By Harry Marquez


In 1958, I recall the very first steps Puerto Ricans took to create the first Puerto Rican Parade. It united people across restricted boundaries set by street gangs. Puerto Ricans  always loved their culture, but now we wanted to express our pride to the rest of the world.  Everyone in El Barrio was involved in doing something to make this first parade a success.

The Barrio found common ground in its efforts to show cultural pride. 

For more, go to

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PRSUN Radio to spotlight boricua/Latino bloggers

I have been blogging since 2004. Actually, this month Puerto Rico Sun ( celebrates its blogosversary. So, I'm an old school blogger. Since then, I have started up several other blogs and have become very much involved in social networking as a way to fulfill my mission of informing, empowering and building community.

Along the way I have met some pretty cool bloggers who cover issues of interest to Puerto Ricans and Latinos. I decided to put a spotlight on some of these bloggers who with their words and images are documenting our communities by dedicating a show to them at PRSUN Radio. Many of these bloggers cover issues and themes that the mainstream takes for granted or ignores.

The show is at 9 p.m. tomorrow night at (which is an audio blog -- a podcast).

The show is aired live. If you miss, the show will be archived and available online.

And, happy blogosversary to PRSUN and to all my readers, visitors, fans, supporters, advertisers. You all are helping to build community. Thank you for that.

UPDATE: Listen to the PRSUN Radio archived show here:

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

La Reina Rhina Valentin chats with PRSUN Radio

Click to listen to my interview tonight with La Reina Rhina Valentin. She is the host of Bronxnet's "Open" and runs her own production company La Reina Productions, LLC.
She works in many different areas in the arts and entertainment industry. She's a producer, director, performance artist, emcee, comedic actress, dancer, writer, and an arts educator. She's also about to give birth to her baby girl.
Here's a photo of Rhina Valentin performing one of her characters at a show in the Bronx. 

For her full bio, go to my blog at

Check out Rhina Valentin in action at

(photo by Clarisel Gonzalez)