Spectacular Celebration of Puerto Rican Culture in Chicago: AfriCaribe’s 15th Anniversary Gala

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On Saturday, October 17th, Africaribe celebrated their 15th anniversary in a gathering of friends, family, and allies at the Biagio Banquet Hall. Africaribe celebrates 15 years of preserving Puerto Rican  and other Afro Caribbean traditions while actively engaging in the community. Not only does Africaribe offer arts education programming in the community and in public schools in the Chicagoland area, they also offer transformative healing that transcends generations by connecting movement and dance therapy to people who suffer from diabetes (Muevete by The Greater Humboldt Park Diabetes Empowerment Center). They also use this music for people with behavioral or mental health issues at Casa Central, Juvenile Detention Centers, or the Hispanic Housing Development Association and much more. Africaribe is able to reach souls from age 2 to 102 and in various socio-economic standings.

Whether they are standing up for women’s equality and sexual freedom at Dyke March, or advocating for Father’s Rights, Africaribe IS inclusive. We cannot deny that has not been without the tireless efforts of its leader,Tito Rodriguez, who fervently believes Bomba and other African-rooted music should be accessible to all who wish to know it, without bias or limitations.  Over the last 30 years, he has supported the growth and the development of musicians, dancers, song-makers, and bomba-lovers alike. Even during times when exclusivity was used as a tool to protect us from forced assimilation in the U.S. Those same musicians and dancers have gone forward to become leaders of their own groups, taking Bomba to new artistic heights. Furthermore, Africaribe, while maintaining a traditional style, has been the longest standing supporter of the development of women in Bomba in the United States, making it one of the more progressive Bomba y Plena groups by putting women forward.

Africaribe has also maintained a cultural center in which monthly, public bombazos have been held for 13 consecutive years. This organization is a pillar in the Humboldt Park community, and it has been made possibly by the support of its members, its board, and relationships made with other foundations equally dedicated to the enrichment of the community by way of the Puerto Rican culture. Please stop by for more information on classes, events, and bombazos at 2547 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 , or call (773) 879-2123.
By Melissa Duprey
Photo credit: Charlie Billups