Over 150 people came to eat delicious pancakes and vegan waffles, buy their holiday gifts and most of all, contribute to the Commissary for Puerto Rican political prisoners Oscar López Rivera and Norberto González Claudio. The history of the breakfast, organized by the National Boricua Human Rights Network and several solidarity activists for 21 years, first to fundraise holiday commissary for the group of 11 Puerto Rican political prisoners arrested in 1980, 2 in 1981 and 4 in 1983, and the group of patriots arrested in Puerto Rico on August 30, 1985, and then to continue to send commissary to Carlo Alberto Torres, the Puerto Rican political prisoner arrested in 1980, who spent 30 years in prison before being released in 2010, and Avelino and Norberto Gonzalez Claudio, arrested in 2010 and 2011. They were convicted of taking part in the 1983 Wells-Fargo expropriation and had remained in hiding for over 22 years before being arrested. Avelino is free to day and Norberto is scheduled to be released next year. Along the way, the breakfast has sent small amounts of money to the prisoners families, and to the Puerto Rican and solidarity grand jury resisters of the 1970s and 80s. Because of this ongoing support, we were able to send both Oscar and Norberto holiday commissary.
The program was emceed by Matt McCanna, Network member and filmmaker, who impressed upon the crowd the importance of the letter-writing campaign to Pres. Obama and asked people to take packets of 32 letters and get their friends and family member to sign them. The Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School music class, led by David Rivera, whose students included Tristin Pérez, Amber García, Selena Valentín, Jose Cruz Talavera and Carissa Delvalle and a guest musician. They played Dame La Mano Paloma, Ese Pobre Lechón and Este es Nuestro Barrio, along with guest vocalist Juanita Garcia and received tremendous applause as they left the stage. Eduardo Arocho, the unofficial poet laureate of Paseo Boricua then recited “Ode to: Soldiers of the 100 Years War” to popular acclaim. Lourdes Lugo, Oscar’s niece and member of the campaign to him, also spoke from the family’s perspective , of the losses of family members but also of the new family members being born who had never met Oscar.
8 community artisans took part in the bazaar, offering paintings, masks, dolls, “coquito” and other goodies for holiday gifts. They are an important part of the breakfast, not only braving the cold, but standing firm in their support of Oscar. Thank you to them and all who support the campaign!
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