Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos
Exactly 140 years ago, on September 23, 1868, the beginnings of a national Puerto Rican identity emerged with a sudden act of revolt in the town of Lares against the Spanish colonial authority. The date also marks the third anniversary of the FBI assassination of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, an advocate and leader of the independence movement and the 40th anniversary of a major Vietnam War act of protest in Lares. On this 140th anniversary of “El Grito de Lares,” the Puerto Rican community of Humboldt Park came together to commemorate these important historical events.
Although the revolt lasted but a few days, it changed the relationship between Puerto Rico and Spain. Slavery was abolished in 1873, one of the priorities of the revolution. El Grito also sent a dramatic message to the world that there were a unique people that lived on the island of Puerto Rico. Due to the significance of the revolt in the creation of who we are and our national symbols, (the original Puerto Rican flag, modeled after the Dominican flag, was created by Mariana Bracetti for the revolt), an event was held at the Batey Urbano community youth space on Paseo Boricua. The event included an art exhibition of the two remaining Puerto Rican political prisoners, Oscar López Rivera and Carlos Alberto Torres, poetry from the youth of the Batey Urbano and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS), and a historical overview of the revolt and the Vietnam War protest presented by José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. In addition, Jan Susler from the People’s Law Office provided an update on the assassination of Ojeda Ríos, which was condemned all over the world, including by the Puerto Rican government.[/lang_en]