In Symposium Celebrating 175 years of Eugenio María de Hostos: Call to release Oscar López is echoed

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On November 13, Professor José E. López presented on a panel of a Symposium dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Eugenio Maria de Hostos at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, NY. Professor López spoke of a new model of education being implemented in Chicago that incorporates students and parents engagement and seeks to harness the social capital of the community. Additionally, he incorporated the theme of “cultural citizenship” as an integral part of the overall initiative called “Community as a Campus”. Professor López ideas were well received as evidenced by the audience’s constant interruption with applauses. In this symposium, 15 scholars from Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, the US and Puerto Rico, participated. They all spoke about the living legacy of Hostos in all these republics, and all made a commitment supporting the release of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera. Professor López also visited several classes at Hostos, invited by Professor Ana M. López. In two Philosophy classes, Prof. López went into length about the educational model that is being implemented in Chicago. In the words of Madlen Castro, a student at Hostos Community College: “Dr. José E. López believes we need to re-educate the people of where knowledge is created and the realization that ‘we are self-holders of knowledge’. And, then she added, in her written response, to Jose’s presentation: He stated that ‘community is the site of where knowledge should come from’. His main focus on education has taken him through a journey in developing the alternative school model. He believes that a part of the solution to our failing public schools system is vertical alignment, where the curriculum is aligned through early education up to high school.” In the Latin American and Caribbean Class (LAC 101) José spoke to 30 students that have read Oscar’s book entitled “Between Torture and Resistance”. In her written reflection, Gloria Udaze (from Nigeria) wrote: Dr. José E. López was very interesting speaker and really engaging. The resemblance of him to his brother Oscar is shocking. I enjoyed him speaking of the special relationship he had with his mother. He spoke about his mother and her unwavering strength and how much she loved her 6 children. It was great to hear him speak of all the programs he and his brother started for the poor people in the community in Chicago. José and his brother, Oscar, have made a major impact not only in the Puerto Rican community, but also in the world. Oscar López’ book is used in many schools and students like myself have been given the opportunity to learn about his legacy. Another student, Morgan Méndez (from Dominican Republic) wrote: I was moved by his speech. I was not expecting to hold back my tears when he spoke about Oscar and his mother and how Oscar’s granddaughter had imagination to pretend she could touch him through one inch glass during prison visits. Besides the great impact of Jose’s presentations at the conference and classes, we were able to collect over 300 signed letter addressed to President Obama and secure commitment from 10 international scholars in support for Oscar’s release.