Friday, October 30, 2009

Esto es: Lo Mejor de Nuestra Comunidad

I recently had the pleasure of attending an event to kick off Puerto Rican Heritage Month. The annual event, held by Comite Noviembre at El Museo del Barrio, included an awards and scholarship presentation. The award entitled,'Lo Mejor de Nuestra Comunidad', recognizes outstanding individuals who make a difference in their respective Puerto Rican communities.

Listening to the accomplishments and speeches given by the recipients left me inspired and proud of their selfless commitments and the impact they leave on their communities. Mentioned during the evening were Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and astronaut Joe Acaba, two Boricuas whose accomplishments are an inspiration to many Latinos. Not to belittle the accomplishments made by both but to show that within the communities themselves are individuals who empower and inspire, that give of themselves and are the perfect role models for our youth. Individuals who are within reach and whose pride in 'nuestra cultura' is evident in all they do. This is exactly what our youth deserve and need.
Congratulations to all the recipients!
  • Rev. Carmen Hernandez
  • Clarisel Gonzalez
  • Elisha Miranda
  • Hilda Rivera Pantojas
  • Ibrahim Gonzalez
  • Melinda Gonzalez
  • Nydia Rodriguez Edgecombe
  • Rafael J Rivera Viruet
  • Rosa Valentin
  • Trinity Aurelia Padilla

Enjoy some photo's by Clarisel here!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Río Piedras Massacre

Puerto Rico's independence movement has existed for several centuries now, advocating independence of the island from Spain and then from the U.S. Unfortunately, the independence movement has had its violent moments. Today marks one of those moments.

On October 24, 1935, four Nationalists supporters were killed by police guns. The claim being that these individuals were at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (UPRRP) to break up a meeting, by university students, with armed action. The students had felt insulted by a speech given by Pedro Albizu Campos. In an attempt to arrest the individuals, shooting ensued and the four Nationalist were killed in what is remembered as "Rio Piedras Massacre".

  • Ramón S. Pagán
  • Eduardo Rodríguez Vega
  • José Santiago Barea
  • Pedro Quiñones

Rafael Hernández Marín, Puerto Rican Composer

Rafael Hernandez Marin was born on October 24, 1892 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. At an early age he demonstrated his love for music and learned to play many musical instruments. In his early musical career, as a musician, he played in the municipal orquestra, in San Juan. He then would eventually go on to play for the U.S. Army's musical band, the Orchestra Europe, during WWI.

During the 1920's, Rafael started to write music. His writing coupled with his love for music would eventually lead him to compose over 3,000 works of music from patriotic, danzas, boleros to guarachas, the list goes on.

From Puebla, Mexico (Qué Chula es Puebla) to the Dominican Republic (Linda quisqueya) to Puerto Rico (Preciosa), his music is an important part of nuestra cultura.

Rafael Hernandez Marin, one of the greatest composers of Puerto Rican popular music died in San Juan on December 11, 1965.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

George Lopez Coming to Late Night?

After a hard day of work, some running around to catch up on daily chores, helping the kids with homework and a late dinner there isn't much room left other than to sulk in some frustration. Well, no mas mi gente! We've put up with all the others and it's time for a little stress relief à la Latino flavor on late night.

George Lopez , the multi-talented entertainer of film, television and stand-up comedy, will be bringing his skills to late night via TBS networks. The show, titled Lopez Tonight, will air Monday through Thursday nights and is set to debut on November 9, 2009 at 11PM.
For a a taste of what you can expect, visit Lopez Tonight.

Lopez Tonight Community
George on Twitter
Facebook Fan Page

Que lo disfruten!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crisis Continues in Puerto Rico

I'll tread on this subject lightly but tread I shall. I will begin by stating the obvious; the obvious is that there just isn't enough coverage in mainstream media about the events that are currently taking place in Puerto Rico. Not much mention about the current dire economic situation on the island (other than strike news currently making headlines). Let's face it, we don't live in a vacuum and are well aware of the recession that the U.S. has suffered. It has affected many of us in one way or another, directly or indirectly. The relationship shared by the U.S. and Puerto Rico cannot be ignored while the island suffers not just what seems to be an economic meltdown but health care system issues which make the situation here in the U.S. seem small in comparison.

I'll comment openly before I receive comment stating that I don't live on the island and only get information via news, etc. I may get some information (albeit ,very little, since mainstream media seems to ignore the crisis in Puerto Rico) via news outlets but the truth is, like many Puerto Ricans living in the U.S., I have family that lives on the island including my beloved mother. What affects her affects me closely. Many family members are also affected by this crisis and communicate the same.

As for the blame game, it's always bears its ugly head. Socioeconomic, relationship to the U.S., colonialism, economic dependence, current and past government administrations and the list goes on. What ever the reason the for the current crisis, the hope is that the powers that be can come to the table, put all differences aside and start to put the people first. Puerto Rico deserves that much. Palante'.

San Juan, Puerto Rico ~ Photo © 2009 Ricardo Figueroa

The following is an email opinion received via El Diario La Prensa ( (

Broken promise in Puerto Rico

The national unemployment rate is 9.7 percent. That number is shocking until you look at the approaching unemployment rate in the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico—a staggering 17 percent.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day....?

To celebrate or not to many of us, I was taught about Christopher Columbus' voyages and discoveries during my school years. What is it that we truly celebrate and would we if we really were taught the's some food for thought:

  1. To discover is to make known; to find what one did not previously know ( I guess since he didn't know, maybe that qualifies as a discovery?)
  2. Columbus' voyages were really voyages to initiate the process of Spanish colonization.
  3. Columbus initiated contact between Europe and indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and Americas. (otherwise known as slavery)

Watch the following video, feed your mind and then celebrate or not.

Visit for more

Saturday, October 10, 2009

PUERTO RICO IN CRISIS ... A message from Hiram Rivera Marcano

Puerto Rico is experiencing very difficult times. Puerto Ricans of the mainland cannot remain idle while Luis Fortuño’s administration move forward with its widespread lay-off policy. This constitutes social and economic barbarism that will only serve to worsen the crisis in which the country is submerged. It will promote privatization of basic infrastructural services to thousands of Puerto Ricans, mostly the poor. Almost 20,000 civil servants already have or will be laid-off their jobs, putting at risk and hopelessness thousands of families affected directly and indirectly by this effort.
The colonial administrations, statehood and commonwealth supporters equally, are guilty of today’s suffocating working-class high taxes, the imposition of a sales tax and the partial or complete privatization of our national patrimonies. We cannot forget Pedro Rosselló’s administration, which privatized great part of our country, including fifty one percent (51%) of Puerto Rico Telephone Company and almost all health services providers throughout the Island. The Calderón Administration privatized the Authority of Aqueducts and Sewage, patrimony that we managed to rescue. To top it all, previous administrations efforts to sell Puerto Rico Telephone Company were concluded by the Acevedo Vilá administration. The transnational Mexican company America Mobil bought it. This unleashed a teacher’s strike, and an attempt to curtail workers rights and a few of the combatant unions in the Island. That same administration, along with the Legislative Assembly of the PNP, imposed the IVU tax and raised taxes to the working-class while exempting special interests from paying taxes. To make matters worse, certain North American unions, with the aim of internationalizing their businesses, have come down to the Island and have started negotiating our constitutional rights, curtailing the working class struggle that has always been a reflection of our people.
Undoubtedly, it is the moment work towards a sincere united front made up of all the progressive and social sectors in struggle to engage the colonial and capitalist crossroads that facing Puerto Rico. In the Island, on October 15th, diverse workers unions, community and student organizations will unite to invoke a NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE. New York cannot lie back without demanding justice.
We call upon the different organizations, individuals, and activists in the United States to help us fight and support Puerto Rico’s poor, working, and middle classes struggle to demand its socioeconomic rights. At the moment, different activists, together with the Puerto Rican Independence Party, Committee of NY we have decided to meet to organize the required support with the NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE to be carried out in Puerto Rico. Reason why, we invite you to partake on the protest to take place on October 15th in front of the Offices de Puerto Rico in New York (PRFAA).

Join us, the moment demands it. STOP PRIVATIZATION!
WHEN: Thursday, October 15th, 2009 TIME: 5 p.m.
WHERE: (PRFAA) 135 WEST 50th street (between 6th & 7th Avenues)

In spanish..

Friday, October 9, 2009

Latina Author: Alexandra Roman de Hernandez

Today, I introduce to you my guest, author Alexandra Roman de Hernandez. Read on, get to know her and as always...disfruten.

Alexandra Román de Hernández

Mother, wife, friend, writer; these words describe the author of the fantasy / adventure novel “El Valle de la Inspiración”, Alexandra Román Hernández. A graduate from the University of Puerto Rico (Cayey Campus) with a BA in natural sciences, she becomes home executive, as she likes to call the title housewife, after the birth of her firstborn, and is in this momentous time in her life that she gives free rein to her imagination. “Las letras” and the love for fiction, becomes her passion. Her English stories, such as "The Beginning", "The Door in front of me", "Journey to the island of ancestors" and the poem "The world is a stage", find a home on the Australian website Soul Food Cafe. In July 2006, the online magazines True Poets Magazine chooses her poem "Maybe ".

A.R. Hernandez not only explores these literary genres, she premieres as an essayist with "Being Latina and a Puerto Rican," published by "Mija Magazine", the Chicago newspaper "La Prensa" and Similarly enters the theater with her works "The warrior of the Lord" and "The Lady of Israel: the story of Judith", the latter being adapted from the book of the Old Testament. Of course children's stories began to be an integral part of her daily life as a mother, and write two children's stories, still unpublished, "Princess Saly and the Witch Bruya" and "Menace to Society”. Her last publication was in the magazine "Better Homes and Gardens: Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living" with her article "You say Rosmery, I say Romero”.

On December, 7 1977, Bayamon became her birthplace, but her home has always been at “La ciudad llanera”, Toa Baja. From a young age Alexandra Román felt an attraction towards the written word, and became a voracious reader. That where she found her inspiration, especially in the fantasy and fiction books. It is in her youth that she makes her first attempts at literature with simple verses and poems; it is through them that she realizes that narrative was the way to go.

She’s currently working on her weblog a story of fantasy: "Argia, light and shadow". In her spare time, if she’s not having fun with her family, she’s dedicated to Jupes, a Catholic youth group, with whom she has worked for approximately fifteen years.

Summary for “El Valle de la Inspiración

Within the land of the pharaohs there is a place known as the cradle of all inspiration and the home of wisdom. Egyptian poets for centuries have tried to find it, to get from it eternal inspiration, but only a few have found, as evidenced by the recent discovery of a tomb in the Valley of the Queens. The hieroglyphics narrates the journey of a young prince poet, who became one of the most acclaimed poets of his era. This finding brings hope to Nailah, a young writer who after the death of her father, who was a famous author and her inspiration, enters a depression that inhibited in her writing. Accompanied by her best friend and an Egyptologist, Nailah travels to Egypt to find the Valley of Inspiration, as archaeologists call it. But first, she must find the followers of the ancient Egyptian religion, who are the only ones that can lead her to the valley.

Nailah's adventure gets complicated, for the followers of the old religion have lived in anonymity for centuries. If she finds them, the hopes of recovering her inspiration and to write once more as she did before. If not, she would be forgotten and her life would be meaningless, since Nailah in the end is a wordsmith and nothing more. Armed with the sacred symbol of the Egyptian religion that will help her find the followers, Nailah undertakes the adventure of her life. The Valley of Inspiration is a story of adventure and fantasy; in which you will explore the mythological Egyptian world through the eyes of a young forger of words, and understand that sometimes we need to lose our sources of inspiration, so we can realize that we can achieve our goals if we believe in ourselves.

Press Release
Contact: Alexandra Román For immediate publication
Phone: (787) 579-6699
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Friday, October 2, 2009

Puerto Rican Writers

From el Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos comes a wonderful project whose goal is to promote readership of texts by Puerto Rican authors. The following authors are the focus of this project:
  1. Pura Belpre, born in Cidra, Puerto Rico (circa 1899-1982) .......cont.

  2. Jesus Colón born in Cayey, Puerto Rico (January 20, 1901) .....cont.

  3. Antonia Pantoja born in Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico (1922) .....cont.

Pa que lo disfruten!