Manuel Velazquez Oral History from the National Association of Music Merchants

April 20th, 2014

http://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/manuel-velazquez

PRdream mourns the passing of Manuel Velazquez, Master Luthier, February 20, 1917 – April 4, 2014. We extend our condolences to the Velazquez family

April 20th, 2014

Manuel Velazquez was one of the greatest guitar luthiers of the last one hundred years. He was born in Puerto Rico in 1917 and handcrafted his first classical guitar when he was still a teenager in 1929. He studied the art of guitar making from his older brother and the importance of woods from his father, who was a farmer. By 1941 Manuel moved to New York where he opened his first shop. Before long his instruments gained the attention of performers around the world. Among those who sought out and played Manuel’s guitars was Andre Segovia, the premier classical guitarist in the world. Passing down the tradition, Manuel’s son Alfredo has become a noted luthier in his own right, carrying on the tradition of handcrafted instruments.

SPEAKER OF THE NYC COUNCIL ON RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO FAMILIES SUFFERING FROM THE AFTERMATH OF THE COLLAPSED BUILDINGS IN EL BARRIO

March 14th, 2014

Dear Friends,

This has been an extremely difficult week for El Barrio/East Harlem. The tragic building collapse that took place just a half block from my district office has been a painful experience for our community. I send my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those we lost and my thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who are still missing.

As I have shared in my public appearances, I was on my way down to City Hall when I received a tweet about the explosion. I turned around and went back to the district right away, establishing a command center out of the District Office.

Since Wednesday, I have been touring the scene throughout the day, monitoring all developments and keeping in close contact with all city agencies. My staff is continuing to connect individuals and families to available resources and seek options for permanent housing in our local community for those who need it.

Services for Residents

Individuals seeking assistance from city agencies can visit the Resident Service Center on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. The Center is now located at 1580 Park Avenue (@ 114th Street) under the MetroNorth tracks at La Marqueta. The center at the Salvation Army on 125th Street will no longer be open. You can also call 311 or my district office (212-828-9800) with any inquiries.

The City is actively seeking opportunities for short- and long-term housing and is working around the clock to get vacated buildings back on line for families.

As I have been stressing, it is critically important that our immigrant communities in particular understand that no one should be afraid to come forward and seek assistance because they do not have legal status. City agencies are prohibited from asking about immigration status.

How You Can Help

I want to thank everyone for their expressions of support and for wanting to provide assistance during this difficult time. We are currently exploring a mechanism to accept monetary donations and make sure that these funds are used to provide services and support to our neighbors in need. I will be in touch with more information in the coming days.

In the meantime, please continue to keep our neighbors in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Melissa Mark-Viverito
Speaker
NYC Council

FROM THE SPEAKER OF THE NYC COUNCIL MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO CONCERNING THE BLAST THE TOPPLED TWO BUILDINGS

March 14th, 2014

Dear Friends,

This has been an extremely difficult week for El Barrio/East Harlem. The tragic building collapse that took place just a half block from my district office has been a painful experience for our community. I send my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those we lost and my thoughts remain with the families and friends of those who are still missing.

As I have shared in my public appearances, I was on my way down to City Hall when I received a tweet about the explosion. I turned around and went back to the district right away, establishing a command center out of the District Office.

Since Wednesday, I have been touring the scene throughout the day, monitoring all developments and keeping in close contact with all city agencies. My staff is continuing to connect individuals and families to available resources and seek options for permanent housing in our local community for those who need it.

Services for Residents

Individuals seeking assistance from city agencies can visit the Resident Service Center on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. The Center is now located at 1580 Park Avenue (@ 114th Street) under the MetroNorth tracks at La Marqueta. The center at the Salvation Army on 125th Street will no longer be open. You can also call 311 or my district office (212-828-9800) with any inquiries.

The City is actively seeking opportunities for short- and long-term housing and is working around the clock to get vacated buildings back on line for families.

As I have been stressing, it is critically important that our immigrant communities in particular understand that no one should be afraid to come forward and seek assistance because they do not have legal status. City agencies are prohibited from asking about immigration status.

How You Can Help

I want to thank everyone for their expressions of support and for wanting to provide assistance during this difficult time. We are currently exploring a mechanism to accept monetary donations and make sure that these funds are used to provide services and support to our neighbors in need. I will be in touch with more information in the coming days.

In the meantime, please continue to keep our neighbors in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Melissa Mark-Viverito
Speaker
NYC Council

The Puerto Rican Parade Controversy: An Update

February 19th, 2014

The NiLP Network on Latino Issues (February 19, 2014)

According to NY1 News/Noticias Political Commentator Gerson Borrero on his
February 17th NY1 Noticias’ weekly segment, Para Que Lo Sepas:

The first meeting of the newly-constituted Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be held on Saturday, February 22 at 10am at their headquarters, 2804 Third Avenue, 5th floor, Bronx, NY 10455.

Despite efforts to keep the newly reorganized Parade politically independent, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito is reportedly inviting herself to the first meeting of the Parade Board to address the group, which many see as inappropriate.
There is increasing concern in the community about the NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s failure to bring criminal charges against the Parade’s marketing agent, Carlos Velasquez of the Galos Corporation. Despite finding that he stole $1.4 million from the Parade, Schneiderman only required Velasquez to repay back a measly $100,000, and to do so in installments!
Although Velasquez was forbidden by Schneiderman’s office from any further association with the Parade, Borrero discovered that Velasquez’ Galos Corporation still listed the Parade as a client! Upon notifying the AG’s office of this by Borrero, the corporation’s websites are now listed as being “Under Construction.”
Despite the findings of serious wrong doing by Carlos Velazquez, it is troubling that he is being allowed to do business with the Hispanic and Dominican Parades.

Borrero, who broke the Parade scandal story in the February 1st edition of The New York Post, will continuing discussing issues confronting the Parade, along with NYS Senator-Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr., on the Sunday, February 23rd edition of Tiempo, hosted by reporter Joe Torres on WABC-TV New York, Channel 7 at 11:30am.

Among those found guilty of the looting of Parade resources was Debra Martinez, who headed the nonprofit arm of the Galos Corporation, the Diversity Foundation. According to the Attorney General’s office: “The settlement agreement also requires the dissolution of the Diversity Foundation, with any remaining assets to be distributed by the Attorney General’s office in a manner consistent with the scholarship purposes for which the funds were solicited. In addition, for a period of five years, the members of the Diversity Foundation’s board, its Executive Director Debra Martinez and its advisor Karen Pillot are barred from serving as an officer, director or employee of NPRDP or in connection with any parade-related activity.” In light of this, a video of Martinez promoting the 2013 Puerto Rican Parade has been making the rounds.

If you have any information about the Parade, positive or negative, that should be widely known in the Latino community, please let us know at info@latinopolicy.org. Your name will be kept confidential if requested.

The NiLP Network on Latino Issues is an online information service provided by the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). For further information, visit our website at www.latinopolicy.org

EL MUSEO WANTS YOU!

February 19th, 2014

WHAT IS ART? YOU TELL US…

For its upcoming exhibition, Unconventional Origins, El Museo del Barrio is seeking objects from local homes and businesses in East Harlem as evidence that art is everywhere. If you have an object that you consider to be “art” in your home, we’d like to borrow it!

THE RULES OF PARTICIPATION:

EVERYONE COUNTS: One object per person, please, so that many people can participate.

SIZE MATTERS: In order to have room for everyone’s treasures, no 2D object may be larger than 30 x 30 inches. No 3D object may be larger than 24 x 24 x 24 inches.

GIVE IT UP: Be prepared to lend us your object from late February to early September, 2014. If you will miss it too much, consider lending something else.

WE PICK UP NOW: We will pick up your object as soon as it’s decided. Please get in touch with me directly to make arrangements at ralvarado@elmuseo.org or 212.660.7149

YOU PICK UP LATER: Works must be picked up at El Museo between 10AM and 4PM on Monday and Tuesday, September 8-9, 2014. Contact Sofia Reeser to let us know when you will be coming, sreeser@elmuseo.org.

KEEP IT REAL: Artists and collectors may not submit their own work or work from their own collections, but may submit some other object from their home or studio that they consider to be “art.”

THE CONTRACT: When you deliver, you must fill out a loan agreement that notes your adherence to these rules. El Museo will insure your objects while they are on display to a maximum of $250.

WRAP IT UP: Make sure you deliver your work properly packaged so that it is safely protected.

THINGS WE DIG: Old photographs; old documents; recuerdos; dolls; fancy dishes; religious or spiritual objects or images; family pictures; small sculptures; ceramics; accessories; small paintings; souvenirs; capias; art made with non-art materials like shells, feathers, beads; masks; drums; small pieces of furniture; anything that you’ve had for a really long time…

YOU KEEP THE GOOD STUFF: While El Museo is always grateful for donations, we will not be accepting any objects from this project for its collection, so your loaned object will remain yours!

QUESTIONS?: Call or email the curatorial department! 212.660.7169 or ralvarado@elmuseo.org

LOW COST HOUSING FOR ARTISTS

February 19th, 2014

PRdream mourns the passing of Frank Espada, 1930-2014.

February 18th, 2014

We extend our condolences to the Espada family for their and our immeasurable loss.

 

Puerto Rican photographer Frank Espada dies
Published February 17, 2014 | EFE
Fox News Latino

Photographer Frank Espada, leader and activist of New York’s Puerto Rican community in the 1960s, died in California, his son said Monday. He was 84. His father died Sunday evening, Jason Espada said. Frank Espada, also father of the renowned poet Martin Espada, gained nationwide fame after publishing “The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People,” in which he portrayed his fellow islanders in different places doing different things all across the United States.

Born in Utuado, Puerto Rico, in 1930, Espada was 9 years old when his family moved to New York, where the photographer recalls a childhood full of poverty and restrictions. “We were quite poor, always struggling to make ends meet, living in apartments with no hot water or refrigerators, with no heat in the winter and rats in the hallways,” he said in a short autobiography that appears on his Web site.

For years Espada had to put off his photographic ambitions to work at ordinary jobs to support his family. He also got involved in the incipient civil rights movement in New York, and in 1967 joined the community action project dubbed The City-Wide Puerto Rican Development Program. In 1979 he won a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which enabled him to carry out his dream of making a photographic history of the Puerto Rican diaspora all across the United States. In the three-year project, he documented more than 30 Puerto Rican communities thoughout the country and, among other aspects, caught on film the labor of Puerto Ricans in Hawaii, where more than 5,000 were recruited to work the sugarcane fields.

Speaker of New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito — Congratulations!

January 10th, 2014

Melissa Mark-Viverito (born April 1, 1969) is the Speaker of the New York City Council. She is the member from the Council’s 8th District, which includes the northernmost part of the Upper East Side, Spanish Harlem/El Barrio/East Harlem, Manhattan Valley and part of the Upper West Side as well as part of Mott Haven in the Bronx. Her district also includes Randalls and Wards Islands and Central Park. She was elected as Speaker January 8, 2014 and succeeds Christine Quinn.

Mark-Viverito was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, she came to New York at 18 to attend college, earning a BA from Columbia and a master’s from Baruch College. She is not married. Her hyphenated last name comes from her late father, Anthony Mark, and the maiden name of her mother, Elizabeth Viverito. Her father was a doctor and a founder of San Pablo Hospital in Bayamón, where her mother still lives.

She graduated from Columbia University in 1991 and earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College, City University of New York in 1995. She is a former member of Community Board 11, coordinator of the movement Todo Nueva York con Vieques[4][5] and president of Mujeres del Barrio. Mark-Viverito ran unsuccessfully against Philip Reed for City Council in district 8 in 2003. Before running for City Council, Mark-Viverito was Strategic Organizer for Local 1199 of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an influential health care workers union.

Mark-Viverito was elected to her first term in the City Council in 2005. During her first four years in office, she sponsored and passed several pieces of legislation, regarding tenant harassment, building safety, green buildings and park conservancies.

Mark-Viverito is currently in her third term and serves as Chair of the Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee. In March 2010, Mark-Viverito and 11 other Council Members announced the formation of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Caucus along with Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander.

In November 2013, the New York Daily News cited Mark-Viverito as “the front runner” for “New York City’s second most powerful political post – Speaker of the City Council.” According to Politicker, a grassroots effort to boost the Speaker candidacy of Mark-Viverito – including social media, fliers, phone banking, and volunteer recruitment – was involved in the effort. Mark-Viverito was elected City Council Speaker on January 9, 2014 at age 44.

¿Fuga de cerebros? por Jorge Duany, Catedrático de Antropología

December 11th, 2013

El Nuevo Día
11 de diciembre de 2013

http://www.elnuevodia.com/voz-fugadecerebros-1663790.html

El aumento en el grado de escolaridad y el nivel ocupacional de los emigrantes puertorriqueños en las últimas dos décadas ha llamado la atención pública. Algunos artículos periodísticos han dado la alarma de una “fuga de cerebros”, alegando que la pérdida de recursos humanos altamente calificados “desangra” a la economía boricua. Miles de jóvenes con títulos universitarios han tenido que irse del País al no conseguir empleos acordes con su preparación académica debido a la prolongada recesión. Esta exportación de talentos supone un alto costo demográfico y económico para la Isla, como contribuir al envejecimiento de la población insular y agudizar la escasez de personal especializado en renglones clave como los servicios de salud y educación.

Cada vez más miembros de la clase media puertorriqueña se han reubicado en Estados Unidos desde la década de 1990, buscando una mejor “calidad de vida” -refiriéndose a seguridad, tranquilidad, salud, vivienda y educación. Los nuevos emigrantes incluyen una cantidad considerable de maestros, enfermeras, ingenieros y médicos, entre otros profesionales. Como promedio, su nivel educativo supera al de los emigrantes de los años cuarenta y cincuenta del siglo pasado. Sin embargo, el grueso del éxodo contemporáneo sigue siendo personas atraídas por mejores oportunidades de empleo, salarios y condiciones de trabajo en Estados Unidos.

El destino principal de la emigración puertorriqueña desde los años noventa ha sido el estado de la Florida. La población de origen boricua residente en ese estado aumentó de 247,010 a 847,550 personas entre 1990 y 2010. El crecimiento de los “floriricans” se concentró en la Florida Central, especialmente en el área metropolitana de Orlando-Kissimmee, donde residían 269,781 boricuas en el 2010.

Los últimos datos censales constatan que los puertorriqueños residentes en la Florida tienen un perfil socioeconómico más aventajado que en estados como Nueva York, Pensilvania, Connecticut y Massachusetts. Entre otros indicadores, tienen niveles de escolaridad e ingreso más elevados, así como tasas de pobreza y desempleo más bajas.

No obstante, los emigrantes boricuas a la Florida no constituyen una “fuga de cerebros” en el sentido de representar mayoritariamente a los sectores más educados del País. Según los cálculos censales, entre los años 2007 y 2011, el 38.9% de los emigrantes no se había graduado de escuela superior, comparado con el 29.5% de la población insular. Apenas el 13.7% de los emigrantes había completado un bachillerato y el 4.7% estudios graduados o profesionales, comparados con el 17.4% y el 6.7% de la población de Puerto Rico, respectivamente.

Los estimados censales también confirman que los emigrantes recientes a la Florida no provienen principalmente de las ocupaciones más calificadas en la Isla. Solo el 21.6% de los emigrantes, frente al 27.6% de los residentes de Puerto Rico, se desempeñaba como gerentes y profesionales. Los emigrantes sí tenían una mayor proporción (31.4%) de vendedores y oficinistas que la fuerza laboral de la Isla (27.9%). Además tenían un mayor porcentaje (12.7) de trabajadores de construcción, mantenimiento y reparación que en Puerto Rico (6.6). En conjunto, el 48% de los emigrantes eran trabajadores de servicio y cuello azul, comparados con el 44.4% de la población insular.

Tales estadísticas sugieren que se ha exagerado la magnitud de la “fuga de cerebros” en Puerto Rico. El economista Kurt Birson, del Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños de Hunter College, ha llegado a la misma conclusión, al examinar las características socioeconómicas de los emigrantes puertorriqueños a Estados Unidos entre los años 2000 y 2011. Por lo tanto, se requiere revisar la popular visión de que la mayoría de las personas que se han ido de Puerto Rico en la última década son graduados universitarios con destrezas profesionales. Más bien, el éxodo contemporáneo abarca a una amplia gama de la sociedad boricua, agobiada por el desempleo, la pobreza y la criminalidad.