This video is by Matt McCanna, a 19 year film major at Columbia College Chicago. From Matt: “I decided to make this documentary due to my concern about the general lack of knowledge the public has to the issue of the colonial status of Puerto Rico. However this documentary mainly focuses on the unjustly imprisonment of Oscar López Rivera that was a result of his belief for an independent Puerto Rico.” (Matt also collaborates with the Network and was one of the Freedom Walkers this year along with Michael Reyes Benavides)
A resolution calling for the release of Oscar López Rivera and Avelino González Claudio was overwhelmingly adopted at the UCC General Synod in Tampa on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 (see http://www.ucc.org/news/resolution-calling-for.html; Norberto González Claudio was not mentioned because the January 1 deadline for submitting resolutions was several months before his May 10, 2011 arrest took place). Rev. Linda Jaramillo (Executive Minister for Justice and Witness Ministries) provided an excellent educational workshop regarding the historical context and spoke about her visits at FCI Dublin (with Dylcia Pagán, Lucy Rodríguez, and Carmen Valentín) and at FCI Danbury with Alejandrina Torres; Carlos Alberto Torres wrote a compelling letter attesting to the UCC’s long history of support for the prisoners (http://www.ucc.org/justice/criminal-justice/letter-of-thanks.html); Norma López and youth from First Congregational Church of Chicago bore witness to this legacy through their presence at Rev. Jaramillo’s workshop; Catalina and Liza Torres did terrific advocacy and Liza spoke brilliantly on the floor of the Synod to move adoption of the resolution; Rev. Carmen Alicia Nebot, Rev. Jorge Morales (Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference), and Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks (Chair of the Council for Hispanic Ministries and Co-Chair of the Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries) also made powerful statements on the floor of the Synod. Revs. Sala Nolan (Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights for Justice and Witness Ministries), Rev. Candita Mattos (staff to the Council for Hispanic Ministries), and Rev. Dr. Nozomi Ikuta (Co-Chair of the Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project) also provided invaluable staffing and coordination. A really fine team effort!
Cleveland short video:
On Saturday, May 28, the Cleveland Chapter of the National Boricua Human Rights Network and the Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience
Project sponsored an afternoon of drumming and spiritual renewal to call for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López
Rivera on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his arrest. The “Grito de Libertad” was held at Edgewater Park, overlooking the shore of Lake
Erie, and featured tambourines and conga, bongo, and taiko drums, which attracted the attention of many people who had come to enjoy the afternoon there. Special thanks to Rubén Hernandez and his group for their vibrant contribution to the work for Oscar’s freedom.
Today, Saturday, May 21, the Freedom Walkers (Michael Reyes Benavides, Matt McCanna) got 20 miles closer to Chicago, where they will meet another 30 Freedom Walkers 30 miles from Chicago on Saturday, May 28 as they arrive at the Unity Ecumenical Service on Sunday, May 29 (the day of Oscar’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment for 30 years). While they walk, they are being logistically supported by a third compañero, Gabriel Mercado.
An update on the day’s program for Chicago as we head toward the events commemorating May 29, 2011 (the day of Oscar’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment for the last 30 years),
1) Arrival of the Freedom Walkers
Over 30 Freedom Walkers will be arriving to the Unity Ecumenical Service, several of which will have marched almost 200 miles in 10 days, from Terre Haute, IN to Chicago, IL and the majority marching 30 miles to Chicago. HELP US GREET THEM by joining us at the Ecumenical Service below.
2) Unity Ecumenical Service
Lincoln Methodist Memorial Church
2242 S. Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
3) Arrival of the Freedom Bikers and Cultural Event at La Casita de Don Pedro
Over 30 Freedom Bikers will be arriving to La Casita de Don Pedro, after biking to and from Glenview, IL where Oscar Lopez Rivera was arrested on May 29, 1981. HELP US GREET THEM! Join us at the cultural celebration below.
La Casita de Don Pedro
2625 W. Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Included are a series of attachments, including the Sunday Bulletin announcement insert for the service on next Sunday, May 29, 2011 as well as the press release for the Freedom Walk, pledge sheet and leaflet. Lastly, the Call to a Season of Prayer and Meditation for Oscar Lopez Rivera is also attached. Please download the attachments to gather pledges, mobilize your church and contact press for this event. See you on Sunday, May 29!
The National Boricua Human Rights Network, the Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Project, and the
Comité Pro-Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Committee) of Puerto Rico join in initiating this Call to a
Season of Prayer, which is also co-sponsored by La Capilla del Barrio, the Council for Hispanic
Ministries of the Reformed Church in America, Denison Avenue United Church of Christ, and the Puerto
Rican Alliance Los Angeles.*
On May 29, 2011, Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera will have served 30 years in prison.
He is one of the longest-held political prisoners in the history of the Americas. Dozens of prominent
leaders, celebrities, elected officials, religious denominations, unions, political organizations, and
thousands of citizens from across the religious and political spectrum, have expressed their support for his
release. Download the bilingual call here.