Johnny Tirado Remembered: “We Got This!”


by Jessie Fuentes,

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National Boricua Human Rights Network As we all know Johnny was an artist, a good cook, and quite comedic, but he was also an activist, educator, partner and father figure to many. Johnny always challenged the people around the Puerto Rican Cultural Center to be better, to reflect and to not forget the greater mission at hand. If you know anything about the PRCC you know we love to get people right into the work – Johnny genuinely cared about the development of new activist and the development of our pedacito de patria. Who remembers how stressed out we would be during a Pancake/Waffle events? Johnny would wave his spatula and say “We got this.” How can we forget Johnny’s fluffy pancakes; outside of wanting Oscar to be free it is why people showed up. I remember being in meetings with Johnny and learning the entire Nuestro Tambo album because he just left rehearsal. His humming, tapping, singing and love for life always made people around him appreciate the work we were doing. His creativity as Michelle would describe, came out of nowhere. He was a perfectionist, he believed that everything we put out had to be our best work and rightfully so. Johnny didn’t just do political work because he believed in the cause rather he believed that a collective group of people can produce REAL change when strategic, careful and thoughtful. Johnny could convince you that you were capable of doing anything because for him all that mattered is what you wanted to do; if you liked it he loved it. Right before Carlos Alberto’s release I remember clearly the feeling of not knowing if we had won the battle, but again Johnny would ensure you that “we got this.” Johnny your presence, activism and support taught us many things – how to appreciate the small victories, how to be patient, how to love our comrades, and how to work hard even when it feels like we have nothing else to give. Your departure teaches us another lesson – that the work we do matters because it is from this work we have built a family, meaningful relationships and a collective passion to work towards a more just world. On behalf of NBHRN, good bye for now companero!

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