The Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild hosted an event open to all members at Nellies Restaurant on Paseo Boricua on June 3, 2011 in order to kick off quarterly meetings of the chapter. Attorney and Chapter Board Member Melinda Power introduced the speakers and explained that the meeting was held in the Puerto Rican community of Chicago in order to deepen local Guild members’ understanding of the realities faced by the Puerto Rican community in Chicago.
Juan Calderón, director of the AIDS program Vida/Sida spoke about the work of Vida/Sida to combat AIDS, support people with HIV and AIDS and to build support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community living in the Humboldt Park area.
Jose López, Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, explained the abysmal economic, political and social conditions he and other Puerto Ricans faced when they moved here in the 50s and 60s. These conditions led to the creation of a movement among Puerto Ricans in Chicago to correlate their conditions with the colonial conditions of Puerto Rico. He talked about the successful work of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and its programs, including the Don Pedro Albizu Campos high school and their new green house, the child care center and the Café Batey for younger Puerto Ricans.
Melissa Cintrón performed an excerpt from the play about the Puerto Rican political prisoners. She portrayed the words of former political prisoner Dylcia Pagan speaking about her son.
National Lawyers Guild attorney Jan Susler spoke about the present conditions of political prisoner Oscar Lopez and the history of the case of the political prisoners.
At least 35 NLG members attended and enjoyed the wonderful food and company at Nellies and learned a lot about issues facing the Puerto Rican community.