PRCC Honors Corretjer’s Birthday with ‘100×35+8’ Open House

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The Puerto Rican Cultural Center celebrated poet and activist Juan Antonio Corretjer’s birthday Thursday March 3 with a ‘100×35+8’ open house. Corretjer, the national poet of Puerto Rico who wrote the poem “Boricua En La Luna,” would have been 108 this year. The numbers 100 x 35 represent the length and width of the dimensions of the island of Puerto Rico, with eight being the number of years the PRCC has celebrated Corretjer’s birthday. Almost 100 participants attended the event which began with university students gathering at El Rescate, the orScreenshot 2016-06-08 11.29.54ganization dedicated to providing identity-affirming housing to homeless LGBTQ youth. Students attendees came from various institutions including Northeastern Illinois University, Columbia College Chicago, Associated Colleges of the Midwest and the University of Illinois at Chicago. José E. López (Executive Director of the PRCC) commended El Rescate’s work in the community, and the open house continued with a tour of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS). Principal Danette Sokacich spoke about her own experience as a student at the school and discussed dropout rates for Puerto Rican high school students in Chicago and ways to implement restorative justice techniques. Following was the unveiling of an Óscar López Rivera painting portraying Chicago activists and PACHS supporters Steven Whitman and Nancy Kurshan, painted at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute. The painting was unveiled in the high school greenhouse, named after Steven Whitman in memoriam, where the paintinScreenshot 2016-06-08 11.30.01g
will be kept on display. Óscar López Rivera is one of the co-founders of PACHS as well as many other programs and initiatives serving the Puerto Rican Community in Humboldt Park. He is currently the longest held Puerto Rican political prisoner in the history of the United States. After the unveiling, participants enjoyed a delicious meal of Puerto Rican food provided by Nellie’s Puerto Rican Restaurant located in the heart of Paseo Boricua on Division Street. The evening concluded at Urban Theater Company’s (UTC) newly renovated space at Batey Urbano with a performance of “Adoration of the Old Woman,” written by renowned Puerto Rican playwright José Rivera.