By Ismael Nuñez
After several years on hiatus, Muevete is back.
Earlier this month, the Muevete youth conference was held in the South Bronx. Activists, student organizations, and community based organizations bonded at the BronxWorks Cornerstone Betances Community Center on St. Ann’s Avenue for the 13th annual Muevete conference.
Muevete is the Spanish word for “move yourself,” and the young and older people in the conference were definitely doing moving. They were moving in the memory of one of their own who died too soon. They were moving to help make the quality of lives of today's young people better.
The previous Muevete conferences were hosted at bigger named venues such as Columbia University, Hunter College, and City College. But they stopped.
Lissette Nieves said she believed it was important to reactivate the youth conference.
She spoke about her old Muevete friend Daniel Mejia who died earlier this year at the age of 32 from complications of pancreatitis. She met Mejia when he was a high school senior who wanted to help Latino youth with education, community and civil rights issues. After his days at Muevete, he went on to work for several nonprofit groups and became an advocate for health and gay rights issues.
His death helped bring new life to Muevete and the need for it.
"The need for Muevete is there and needed," Nieves said.
Right after Mejia's death, Nieves and others realized that the conference had to resurface to move a new youth generation of movers.
What better place than in the South Bronx?
Ben Ramos, a Bronx activist said, "A lot of the issues affecting Latino youth back in the 1990’s when this organization was created are still in effect. We wanted young people to know and learn that there are organizations, history, that is always available for them, and where they can always go for help when needed."
At the conference, young people were exposed to several community based organizations such as El Puente Academy located in Brooklyn and the Justice Committee of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights. Both groups hosted workshops.
Ramos said: “It’s the perfect location for the Latino youth to learn/organize/ and be united! Right here in the boogie down Bronx."
Dance choreographer Anthony “Omen” Barner who works at the center and is the creator of the dance group “Swagged Out Kids,” said, “We promote positivity and the growth of the participants of this center to engage in their minds and spirit."
Two other main highlights included the serving of basic Latino soul food: rice with beans, chicken, and salad; and cultural performancesbomba, plena, hip-hop dancing, and salsa and mambo classes. There were even free dance classes for everyone. I must admit I got into the dance groove, dancing gracefully with a good friend Denise from the YAI chapter in the Bronx.
As we danced, Denise said, “Enjoy, Learn, Educate, Organize, Friendship."
It was the right place at the right time.
I am today and tomorrow moving forward. Muevete.
Ismael Nuñez is a freelance writer based in East Harlem. He is a contributing writer to PRSUN.
(Photos by Ismael Nuñez)
Friday, November 18, 2011
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC) announces the
Puerto Rican Film Series 2008, kicking off with FLAGS OF STEEL Saturday July 12
Bring blankets, folding chairs and picnic baskets and enjoy a film under the stars!
Starting Saturday, July 12 and continuing every other Saturday, IPRAC presents the Puerto Rican Film Series, an outdoor film festival featuring the film work of new and established Puerto Rican directors, producers and actors. In its fifth year, the series has become in a Chicago summer favorite. The Puerto Rican Film Series is the only Puerto Rican/Latino film program in the park system gathering visitors from Chicago and the Midwest counting in average 300 attendants per screening. Families with their pets, couples and friends can bring their picnic baskets, folding chairs, blankets and enjoy a film under the stars at the beautiful grounds of the Humboldt Park Boat House. FREE parking, admission, popcorn, raffles and a night of culture and entertainment.
This year the Puerto Rican Film Series kick off Saturday July 12 with a film program by Chicago filmmakers featuring “Flags of Steel” by Mildred Amador and the short film “Between Western and California” by Nick Medina, Darrell Robbins and Amir George. “Flags of Steel” is a historical recount of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. The documentary recognizes first Europeans settlers and recounts the on-going transformation of this community. The film documents the design, engineering and fabrication of the neighborhood gateways while paying homage to many Puerto Ricans who migrated to the Midwest to work in the steel mill industry.
The Puerto Rican Film Series also presents titles such as “Mambo to Hip Hop” by Luis Chaluisan (Sat. July 26), “Ocho Puertas” by Paloma Suau (Sat. Aug. 9), and “Los Peloteros” by Jack Delano (Sat. Aug. 23). The film program appeal different audiences and films are subtitled when in Spanish.
The series is presented by Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC) in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, Division Street Business Development Association and the Chicago Children’s Museum.
The series will run from July 12 to August 23 at dusk (approximate 7:30 to 8 p.m.) at the Humboldt Park Boat House, 1359 N. Sacramento (Humboldt Blvd), Chicago, IL.
For more information, call IPRAC’s program office 773-486-8345 or email: JorgeFelix@iprac.org. The website is www.iprac.org.
source: Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) press release
(Photo courtesy of www.prcc-chgo.org/paseo_boricua.htm)