The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) is proud to announce the hiring of Melissa Mark-Viverito as our Chief Policy Officer. Over the years The PRCC has worked closely with Melissa on a myriad of issues, key among them organizing to free our Puerto Rican political prisoners and mobilizing to get the U.S. Navy out of Vieques. Most recently, PRCC has been advocating the need for Congress to support a just recovery for Puerto Rico after the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
As a community-based, grassroots, educational, health, and cultural services organization our mission is deeply rooted in our identity as a diasporic Puerto Rican people whose history must be understood within the context of colonialism. An important aspect of our work seeks to further deepen the relationship our diaspora community has with the island. Activism and engagement are critical to our survival as a community, and as such, all of our work is founded on the principles of self-determination, self-actualization, and self-sufficiency. It is with this understanding that we are proud to have Melissa join our team. Chief among Melissa’s responsibilities will be to work closely with PRCC to map out policy initiatives to strengthen our work locally as well as further strengthening the bridge between Chicago and Puerto Rico. The work PRCC has done locally in Chicago over the years has a proven track record of success and we are actively looking to identify resources which will enable us to expand this work to Puerto Rico. Currently, PRCC is in talks with the municipalities of Comerío and Loíza and establishing the necessary linkages to make this happen.
Additionally, PRCC is looking to further support Puerto Rico by engaging the diaspora in advocating against the anti-democratic measures enacted by Congress, which further reinforce our colonial reality and relationship with the U.S. As an activist-oriented organization, PRCC will engage in efforts that are forward facing to Congress and will advance a process of self-determination for Puerto Rico and support mechanisms to provide decentralized decision making aimed at local empowerment and self-actualization.
We are excited to have Melissa join our team. Her experience and insight as a lifelong activist, organizer and elected official in NYC will help PRCC advance its mission and goals. Jose E. López, Executive Director of the PRCC stated “ Melissa is an amazing leader, a devout Puerto Rican, a fierce fighter for equity and social Justice. She will indeed add new dimensions to our work in advancing the guiding principles of self determination, self actualization and self reliance of the Puerto Rican people.”