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Discuss support for Puerto Rico Self Determination Bill: Senator Durbin meets with Puerto Rican Agenda and Puerto Rican Cultural Center

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On Wednesday January 26th a zoom meeting among The Puerto Rican Agenda, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center, as well as Paul Roldan from Hispanic Housing, and Ex-Congressman Luis Guttierrez with Senator Durbin took place.  The purpose of the meeting was to seek the Senator’s support for the Self Determination Bill for Puerto Rico sponsored by congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Senator Alexandra Ocasio Cortez.  An engaging and lively discussion on the particularities of the bill immediately ensued with Senator Durbin raising some critical questions.  Congressman Luis Guttierrez outlined the historical and political processes in relationship to past plebiscites and referendums on the island, and posited the importance of this  congressional binding self determination bill to provide the final solution to the status question of Puerto Rico.  Paul Roldan added that Puerto Ricans had sacrificed their lives for the U.S. in every war since World War 1; alluding to his own participation in the Vietnam War.  The conversation also included comments by the Ex-New York City Council President; Melissa Mark-Viverito as well as those of Jessie Fuentes, Juan Calderon, and Jose Lopez.  Renata Barragan from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office answered several questions the Senator posed.  The Senator acknowledged receiving communications from the 4th District’s Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in support of the bill.  The meeting concluded with Senator Durbin committing himself to having a deeper discussion with Senator Duckworth to see if they could provide a coordinated response to the ask.  The Self Determination Bill has already been picking up steam in Illinois, Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas was able to get the Illinois Senate to unanimously adopt a resolution supporting it.  Additionally, at the city level Alderman Roberto Maldonado spearheaded the resolution adopted by the human relations committee as well as the entire City Council by a unanimous decision as well.

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