Puerto Rican Diaspora Commemorates Grito de Lares


from New York to the Bay Area

Bay Area virtual event centers Culture, history and call to action; features nelson Denis, José E. López and Colectivo ILÉ


The San Francisco Bay has celebrated Grito de Lares every year at least since the ’70s put on by different Puerto Rican groups. Other groups usually join in. This year with the COVID-19 restrictions, no in-person commemoration was possible so we had to go virtual, which opened up so many possibilities. The event took place on Saturday, September 19, 2020. Most of the cultural presentations were local but our 3 speakers came from as far away as Puerto Rico, New York, and Chicago. These were Mariluz Franco-Ortiz, Ph.D., Social Psychologist, Community Assessment, Kimberly Figueroa-Calderón, organizer and organizer and anti-racist educator, and Cristina M. Carrasquillo, Director of Development, all from for Colectivo Ilé in Puerto Rico,  Nelson Denis, author of “The War Against All Puerto Ricans”, and José E. López, from The Puerto Rican Agenda and the National Boricua Human Rights Network. The organization pulling Grito together this year was La Tertulia Boricua who celebrated its 9th year of existence this past February. We have met monthly ever since to share food, friendship, and Puerto Rican culture.

“El Maestro” Grito de Lares event maintains tradition,
spirit of struggle in the Bronx; dedicated to “Pete” Laspina 

by La Voz Staff

Adding itself to the series of events in the US and Puerto Rico, El Maestro Cultural Center in the Bronx held its annual celebration of El Grito de Lares this past September 19. The event, dedicated to one of El Maestro’s co-founders, Pedro “Pete” Laspina, who passed away earlier this year of cancer, has been celebrated continually since 1976.

The event was emceed by Iván Colón, and it featured music by Grupo El maestro and Herencia de Mi Tambo, as well as speakers from different organizations. L. Alejandro Molina, representing the National Boricua Human Rights Network, dedicated his words to Pete Laspina and played “En La Vida Todo es Ir” the musicalized poem by Jun Antonio Corretjer made popular by Roy Brown. More than 100 people, mostly Puerto Rican and of all ages, attended the event. All attendees respected social distancing and mask-wearing standards, and all enjoyed grilled chicken, hamburgers, and hotdogs.

El Maestro is a non-profit organization that offers training to neighborhood youth who want to develop their boxing skills. Like all community organizations, especially Latinx and African American ones, they have not been able to raise much needed funds for the ongoing delivery of services during the last 6-7 months. Please help them continue their work by going to your Paypal account and sending a donation to: elmaestrobx@gmail.com

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