Puerto Rican Cultural Center The City Council Chambers was filled to capacity Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council paid tribute to Nancy Franco-Maldonado, the recently deceased wife of Alderman Roberto Maldonado. Close to one dozen Aldermen/women asked to be recognized in support of a resolution honoring her life. Alderman and Chairman of the Committee on Finance Ed Burke suspended the Rules of Order and Procedure of the City Chicago in order to introduce the resolution. He read and introduced a touching and respectful tribute to Nancy after which Mayor Emanuel recognized various Aldermen, Ald. Joe Moreno, Ald. Danny Solis, Ald. Ariel Reboyras, Ald. Milagros “Millie” Santiago, and Ald. Carrie Austin, Ald. Walter Burnett and Ald. Joe Moore, who all made moving statements uniting with the resolution and sharing painful moments of their own, while supporting Ald. Maldonado and his children, Rene, Roberto II and Raquel. City Clerk Susana Mendoza, also addressed the council. Fittingly, Mayor Emanuel spoke at the end, recalling the Jewish tradition during marriage of breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony, referencing the fragility of life and reminding all those present of the incredible strength of Roberto and the children in the face of tragedy. He then asked for a minute of silence and then, Ald. Maldonado closed the circle, remembering Nancy as his inspiration and behind the scenes political advisor for his two successful campaigns for Alderman. Hers was the idea to name the Humboldt Park Library after Cong. Luis Gutiérrez and the North and Pulaski senior housing complex after Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, who is serving his 34th year of imprisonment for seditious conspiracy making him as Roberto said, “the longest held political prisoner in Puerto Rico’s history.” Among the myriad of organizations and leaders present from Humboldt Park were Puerto Rican Cultural Center Executive Director José
E. López and Chief Organizational Officer, Juan Calderón, member Juanita Garcia and Board Secretary L. Alejandro Molina. Division Street Business Development Association (DSBDA) Executive Director Eduardo Arocho also attended the tribute. The week before, more than 1500 poeple gathered during the wake and funderal service to pay homage to Nancy’s memory. From the highest ranks of the city’s most important officials, including Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, and dozens of Alderman, County and State officials, as well as hundreds of community residents, who created a steady stream of more than 1000 mourners who solemnly passed her casket at Alvarez Funeral Home. On Thursday, January 7th, more than 500 people attended a Catholic service at Maternity BVM Church honoring Nancy’s memory. Impassioned eulogies, which captivated the overflowing church, were delivered by Ald, Maldonado and son, Rene. Ald. Maldonado announced that Nancy’s presence will be felt in this community for generations, as her name will be inscribed in the following community initiatives; 1) a foundation to fund research into early detection of Pancreatic Cancer, 2) in the batting cages at Humboldt Park and, 3) in the new proposed arts building on Paseo Boricua, which will provide living and work spaces for community artists.