In the coming weeks, Puerto Ricans on the island and the Diaspora will commemorate the release of two generations of Puerto Rican freedom fighters. On September 10, 1979, after years of organizing and campaigning, the Puerto Rican Nationalist Five were released. Twenty years to that date, and as a result of a similar demand for freedom, 11 Puerto Rican political prisoners were freed after many years of incarceration.
In honor these of historic milestones, the National Boricua Human Rights Network will convene the “Jornada de la Libertad,” a cultural celebration of poetry, theater and dialogue. Beginning on August 27, Jornada events will take place in Detroit, Cleveland, Hartford, Leominster, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Caguas and Ponce. Many of the former political prisoners will be in attendance and participate in the Jornada.
In 1898, the United States invaded the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Cloaked by the rhetoric of “democracy” and “freedom,” the U.S. established colonial rule over Puerto Rico and came to exercise full control over the economic, political and social destiny of its people. However, principled and unwavering opposition has, without pause, challenged U.S. colonialism of Puerto Rico. This September marks a moment to reflect on and celebrate this history of anti-colonial resistance.
In 1954, a cadre of Puerto Rican nationalists, led by Lolita Lebrón, attacked the U.S. House of Representatives. This act was carried out, not to advocate violence, but to draw attention to the colonial status of their nation. Four years earlier, Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Collazo would become imprisoned for struggling for Puerto Rico’s independence.
In the early 80’s, a group of 14 freedom fighters were convicted of seditious conspiracy and were given extremely long and disproportionate jail sentences. In all three cases, the United States government sought to make them examples by locking them away to be forgotten.
And yet, the Puerto Rican nation, resilient and hopeful, a nation fully born in all of its natural beauty, in full bloom like the flamboyan, fought for and successfully won their release. After many years of work, campaigning, and struggle, each of these freedom fighters returned to their home. In fact, never in U.S. history has a single movement gained the release of so many political prisoners. Upon their release, each of these individuals returned as mystics and continued to make important contributions, molding clay, painting, writing, loving, caring, sharing and resisting.
Towards the Release of Our Remaining Political Prisoners
As humans we strive to give order to our world, choosing symbols and numbers as a way to mark our small ripple in this ocean of the universe. September 10 gives us the opportunity to celebrate, share and remember those who have given so much to Puerto Rico’s freedom.
We hope this Jornada will strengthen and invigorate the campaign to free the remaining political prisoners, Oscar López Rivera, who has served 28 years, Carlos Alberto Torres, who has served 29 years, and Avelino González-Claudio, was recently arrested after years of living clandestinely. At this historic moment, National Boricua Human Rights Network calls on churches, organizations and communities both within Puerto Rican community and those in solidarity with the Puerto Rican people to organize and host events from September 2009 to September 2010 so that we may be able to achieve, once again, the freedom of our beloved compañeros.
Download event leaflets:
National Tour Dates
Thursday, August 27th, 7pm
Mexicantown Fiesta Center
4114 W Vernor Hwy
Friday, August 28th, 7pm
Spanish American Committee
4407 Lorain Ave
Saturday, August 29th, 8PM
The Studio @ Billing Forge
563 Broad St.
Sunday, August 30th, 2PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
15 West Street,
Tuesday, September 1st, 6-9pm
Villa Victoria Community Room at 100 West
Dedham St in the South End
Wednesday, September 2nd
Thursday, September 3rd, 7PM
Julia De Burgos Cultural Center
1680 Lexington Ave
Friday, September 4th, 7pm
2620 W. Division
Friday September 11th
Festival De Teatro De Caguas
Crimen Contra La Humanidad
Saturday September 12th
31ro Festival de Teatro de Caguas
Viva la fuerte experiencia en la innovadora obra
Crimen Contra la Humanidad
Una obra basada en la vida de catorce presos políticios puertorriqueños dentro de las cárceles norteamericanas; dos de ellos aún encarcelados.
viernes 11 de septiembre – 7:00 p.m.
sábado 12 de septiembre – 8:30 p.m.
domingo 13 de septiembre - 4:00p.m.
frente al centro de transportación pública
Entrada General $12.00
Compra de boletos en: reyespoetry.com
Reservación de boletos: firstname.lastname@example.org