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Oscar Campaign Educates and Presents

By Ana López, New York Coordinator to Free Oscar López Rivera

During the week of November 9th-15th, 2014, several activities took place where Oscar López Rivera was the center piece of talk and support for his release was abundant.  The PIP celebrated the birth of Gilberto Concepción de Gracias, where compañero Alejandro Molina, of the Boricua Human Rights Network showed the audience Oscar’s painting of Gilberto Concepción de Gracias as well of pictures of Sen. Maria de Lourdes Santiago and Juan Dalmau, PIP Secretary-General’s visit to Oscar at FCI Terre Haute prison this year. Compañera Ana López, the New York Coordinator to Free Oscar, spoke about Oscar’s Freedom campaign in New York and planned events like the mass mobilization for May 30th, 2015 in NYC. There are monthly meetings being held at El Maestro, Inc., 1300 Southern Blvd, in the Bronx, NY  for this mobilization. The next scheduled meeting is December 6th, 2014 at 10am, all are welcome to partake in this endeavor.

Also Ponce Laspina, Executive Director of El Maestro and Armando Pacheco were present and spoke of the new CD that is dedicated to Oscar.  Armando Pacheco explained that the CD has been played in WUQU public radio in Puerto Rico and that radio listeners are broadly requesting that the the song dedicated to Oscar be played.  Who knows, it may become a hit!

On November 13th, compañero José E. López, was a panelist in the 175 years celebration of Eugenio Maria de Hostos in the Bronx, NY at Hostos Community College.  Professor López spoke of a new model of education being implemented in Chicago that incorporated students and parents input but most importantly from the concept of developing a “cultural citizenship” within the “community as a campus” of learning.  Professor López ideas were well received as one could hear the audience’s intermittent applauses.

In this conference, about 175 years of Hostos’ legacy, 15 scholars attended from Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, in the US and Puerto Rico. The scholars have made a commitment to write to President Obama supporting Oscar López Rivera’s release.

Professor López also visited several classes at Hostos, invited by Professor Ana M. López. In two Philosophy classes, Prof. López went into length about the educational model that is being implemented in Chicago.  In the words of Hostos Community College student, Madlen Castro, she states:

Dr. José E. López believes we need to re-educate the people of where knowledge is acquired and the realization that ‘we are self-holders of knowledge’.

And she added in her written response about Jose’s presentation:

He stated that ‘”community is the site of where knowledge should come from’. His main focus on education has taken him through a journey in developing the alternative school model. He believes that a part of the solution to our failing public schools system is vertical alignment, where the curriculum is aligned through early education up to high school.”

In the Latin American and Caribbean Class (LAC 101), José spoke to 30 students that have read Oscar’s book entitled “Between Torture and Resistance”.  In their written reflections, Gloria Udaze (from Nigeria) student stated:

Dr. José E. López was a very interesting speaker and really engaging. The resemblance of him to his brother Oscar is shocking.  I enjoyed him speaking of the special relationship he had with his mother.  He spoke about his mother and her unwavering strength and how much she loved her six children.  It was great to hear him speak of all the programs he and his brother started for the poor people in the community in Chicago.  José and his brother, Oscar, have made a major impact not only in the Puerto Rican community, but also in the world. Oscar López Rivera’s book is used in many schools and students like myself have been given the opportunity to learn about his legacy.

Another student, Morgan Méndez (from Dominican Republic) wrote:

I was moved by his speech. I was not expecting to hold back my tears when he spoke about Oscar and his mother and how Oscar’s granddaughter had imagined that she could touch him through one inch glass during prison visits.

Besides the great impact of Jose’s presentations at the conference and classes, we were able to collect over 300 signed letters addressed to President Obama and secure commitment from 10 international scholars in support for Oscar’s release.

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