UIC Puerto Rican Cultural Center Collection (University of Illinois at Chicago)
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Statement by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Statement by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center
TitleStatement by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center
CaptionStatement by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Title notetext, title supplied by cataloger
CreatorPuerto Rican Cultural Center;
Subject--TopicalCommunity centers
Cultural facilities
Cultural relations
Political activity
Subject--NamePuerto Rican Cultural Center; Clemente High School
Geographic LocationWest Town--Chicago--Illinois--United States
DescriptionA statement produced by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center detailing the center's accomplishments at Clemente High School in the face of criticism.
TranscriptionFor over five centuries, the Puerto Rican people have sought to maintain their culture, language and identity. Knowing one's roots and accepting one's identity is key to making a place for oneself in society. This holds true for Puerto Ricans, Italians, Mexicans, African Americans, Polish in other words, for other every people. The students at Roberto Clemente Academy deserve nothing less. In the Puerto Rican community, the question of identity and culture tends to be intertwined with the question of the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico. It is a relationship about which the Puerto Rican people have never been consulted. Puerto Ricans are not of one mind as to the appropriate resolution. Some believe that Puerto Rico should become a state; others, that the current commonwealth state should continue; and some us believe in independence, self-determination and an end to colonialsim. All of us have family members with opposing views. The independence movement has historically been the target of anti-independence sentiment, from proponents of the other status formulas as well as from the Puerto Rican and U.S. governments. Recent history will call to mind two government maintained "subversive" files, spy dossiers on citizens who believed in independence. In the late 1980s, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, declaring that "believing in independence is not a crime, " ruled the practice illegal and ordered the government to surrender the files to those upon whom it had spied. IN the U.S., the F.B.I. conducted COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program) in the 1960s and 70s, to "disrupt, destroy and neutralize" the independence movement along with other movements by falselfy accusing leaders of crime, spying on, infiltrating with provocateurs dividing ad otherwise countering movement efforts. Here in Chicago, in our community, the Spanish Action Coalition and other groups exposed and enjoined through lawsuit which continues today, these illegal government practices. Unfortunately, the same type of anti-independence, COINTELPRO activity is being carried out today to disrupt, destroy and neutralize community organizations and their leaders. According to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a person is free to maintain his or her beliefs for associations. The fact that a person may believe in independence, or may be a member of an electoral party for that matter, should not determine whether he or she may teach in or administer a public school. Clemente has not been used as a platform for anyone's politics, not for independence, not for the release of the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners. It just so happens that most of the artists and performers who are cultural icons in Puerto Rico believe in independence. They are respected for their skills and abilities as artists and for this reason came to impart some of our culture to the students at Clemente. That they may have performed at other functions during their stay in Chicago—be events to support independence or the campaign for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners—is irrelevant to their fulfilling their responsibilities at Clemente, and is simply evidence of their exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of association and belief. They current hysteria ignores the positive accomplishments we have made in the face of overwhilming odds. f IT must be recognized that Clemente sits in the midst of a community with few resources. Many of the programs instituted at Clemente sits in the midst of a community with few resources. Many of the programs instituted at Clemente, criticized by others, have been implemented in other schools wit the blessings of the Board of Education. Maureen Kelleher pointed out examples in her recent article in Catalyst: Voice of Chicago School Reform, such as employing parents as mentors, monitors and attendence aides, creating schools within schools, and developing alternative schools to reduce the "dropout" statistics. Further, the Board has already addressed the alleged financial problems and found that there was no misuse of funds. We look forward to the current atmosphere of hysteria giving way to calm reflection and a conclusion that not only did we commit no wrongdoing, but that we were instrumental in making real changes at Clemente.
Form GenreLetters;
Physical descriptionannoucement;statement
Physical extent8.5 x 11 in.
Local IdentifierPRCC_02_0001_0001_0002_001
RightsThis image may be used freely, with attribution, for research, study and educational purposes. For permission to publish, distribute, or use this image for any other purpose, please contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago Library, 801 South Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607. Phone: (312) 996-2742; email: lib-permissions@uic.edu.
CollectionPuerto Rican Cultural Center Digital Collection (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Collection SourcePuerto Rican Cultural Center Collection
Citation[Identifier], Puerto Rican Cultural Center Collection, University of Illinois at Chicago Library
RepositorySpecial Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago Library
HostUniversity of Illinois at Chicago. Library
Subject Vocabulary SchemeTGM
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