The “Community as Intellectual Space: Decolonial Praxis and Chicago’s Paseo Boricua” Symposium took place on Paseo Boricua 9/23-9/24. This powerful symposium gathered more than 100 scholars, community leaders, teachers, cultural workers, students, and youth from Illinois, New York, California, Ohio, Texas, and Puerto Rico to celebrate 50 years of the founding of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School and the broader work of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center. The event was funded by a Spencer Foundation small conference grant, and co-organized by Dr. Jonathan Rosa (Stanford University) and Dr. Laura Ruth Johnson (Northern Illinois University), in collaboration with leaders and staff at The Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Day 1 began with a community tour led by José López, Executive Director of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Leaders and staff of community organizations facilitated workshops on critical topics that included health, education, business and economic development, and arts and culture. Program participants learned of unique models and approaches that have been developed and implemented on Paseo Boricua to address pressing community issues. Attendees ended the evening dining at local restaurants.
Day 2 began kicked off with a plenary session with speakers Dr. Antonia Darder (Loyola Marymount University) and Dr. Yarimar Bonilla (Center for Puerto Rican Studies) who provided their insights on the legacy of Paseo Boricua and made intriguing connections to their own intellectual and theoretical work. Panels composed of scholars and community leaders addressed issues such as building sustainable communities of resistance, decolonizing education, and rethinking community-university partnerships. Moreover, the panels engaged participants in robust discussions of a variety of issues critical to the building and maintenance of a community. Organizers viewed the event as a success and now look forward to continued dialogue on the role of communities as intellectual spaces. Day 2 of the event was live streamed/recorded and can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgAy1eosMwg