January 1, 1931 – March 25, 2009
Bandleader, percussionist Manny Oquendo passed away March 25, 2009 of a heart attack. A self-taught musician, Oquendo was a senior statesman of the Latin percussion instruments of timbales and bongos before founding and co-directing the critically acclaimed Latin music band, Conjunto Libre for more than 35 years.
A member of the seminal recording “Grupo Folklorico Experimental Nuevayorquino” Parts I & II, Manny Oquendo was known for his understated yet aggressive solo improvisations on both the timbal and bongos. His was not a race as to who could play the fastest, or who could do the most paradiddles, excessive drum rolls or “contra-clave,” Manny Oquendo’s style was a school in and of itself. “The Timbalero must always keep the beat,” he emphasized in interviews. “Never overplay,” was his most consistent rule.
His style was found in the roots of Cuban bands such as Arcaño’s or Orquesta Aragon, never flashy, never overstated. For influence and inspiration he looked to the drummers of the vintage Cuban bands such as bongocero, Ramón Castro, who played with the Orquesta Casino de la Playa and later with Pérez Prado or Conjunto Casino’s Yeyito Iglesias or Papa Kila (Antolín Suárez) who played with Arsenio Rodríguez or Sonora Matancera’s Manteca (José Rosario Chávez). Manny Oquendo was known by what he said on the timbal, not how many things he could do to it.
For more than 60 years, Manny Oquendo’s said many things through his percussive strength and musical vision. His profound yet understated sounds were part of the Latin New York music scene from the ‘40s until today.
Born José Manuel Oquendo on South Fourth St. Brooklyn, he was called “Manolo” before he became “Manny” in his teens. The family later moved to East Harlem in 1939 where Oquendo was captivated by the sounds of music. “Music was everywhere,” he recalled.
East Barrio’s first Latin music record store “Almacenes Hernandez” (originally located at 1600 Madison Avenue and opened in 1927) was just one flight down from the Oquendo family’s apartment. The swinging big bands of Machito, Jose Fajardo and Orquesta Aragon became the soundtrack of his childhood. “There was music constantly coming out of that store, and that was my education,” he recalled.
His first set of drums were a pair of “tom toms” with the skin on both ends. Played with sticks from a wooden hanger, Manny played along to records from his parents’ victrola. Spanish language radio stations were always on in his home. Later, when Oquendo visited his parent’s roots in Ponce, he discovered the cuatro through his grandfather.
After the “tom toms,” Oquendo got a pair of wooden timbales and began playing with Sexteto Sanabria but not before taking a few drum lessons at a school on 125th Street at 25 cents per lesson. Later on, he studied privately with Sam Ulano, a well-known percussion teacher. Jazz drummer Max Roach also studied with Ulano alongside Manny. Whenever they’d run into each other they’d reminisce on their school days. Oquendo always kept his set of trap drums.
By the 1940s, the Oquendos moved to Kelly Street in the South Bronx unknowingly joining a community of likeminded musicians. Pianist, Noro Morales lived down the street from Manny on Stebbins Ave.; Joe Loco was by Horseshoe Park; Tito Rodríguez was on Rogers Place; Tito Puente on 163rd Street, while Arsenio Rodríguez and Ray Coén both lived on Kelly Street.
Oquendo began playing with New York’s top orchestras. He played with the Carlos Medina Orchestra, the Charlie Valero Band and Xavier Cugat’s former singer Luis del Campo before playing with the legendary Marcelino Guerra Band.
From here Oquendo played with trumpeter Frank Garcia and his vocalist, El Boy, where he met Chano Pozo who performed with Miguelito Valdes at a local show and stayed to play with the fledging timbalero. Chano remained with the small group until he got a better paying job. Oquendo moved on as well, joining pianist Jose Curbelo’s orchestra where he performed on a full array of drums owing to their diverse repertoire that included tangos, sambas and American swing music. “It gave me the feeling of being a complete drummer.” He mentioned in an interview to Frank Figueroa over Latin Beat.
From here, Manny Oquendo joined Pupi Campos’ band playing many venues on Long Island alongside Tito Puente and his Picadilly Boys. Since they were both working in the same area, Tito and Manny would ride together to their respective gigs with Manny playing in Tito’s band as he waited for his own show to begin. When Tito’s regular bongocero Chino Pozo left to tour with Katherine Dunham, Tito asked Manny to take over that chair. When Little Ray Romero took a job with Eartha Kit, it was Manny Oquendo who Tito Rodriguez called to fill his bongo chair.
Manny had his Afro-Antillian chops chiseled under the bands of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Johnny Pacheco and others. He had hung with the legendary Chano Pozo, taking the Musician’s Union cabaret license test for him enabling Pozo to work in New York clubs during his stay between 1946 –’48.
By the 1960s, everything Cuban was forbidden. Manny listened to the Mozambique sounds of Pello El Afrokan over short wave radio and on pirated records. Back in his apartment on Kelly Street in the Bronx, he’d practice hitting the timbal with the left and playing the rhythm on the right until he nailed the Cuban genre so well he made it his own.
In 1963, Manny Oquendo joined “La Perfecta,” the conjunto organized by pianist Eddie Palmieri. Alongside congüero, Tommy Lopez, Manny crystallized the Mozambique sound creating a powerhouse rhythm section alongside Palmieri’s improvisational infrastructure.
In 1974 Oquendo and bassist Andy Gonzalez left Palmieri to move in their own direction. Leaving the traditional structures behind, the duo incorporated jazz, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms while exploring alternatives. The goal was to “free” the music from restrictive content and Libre was born. During 1976 to 1981, Oquendo became a musical historian of the tipico sound he’d perfected with Palmieri. Libre’s first albums included classics by composers Ignacio Pineiro, Rafael Hernandez and Nico Saquito, as well as a traditional Puerto Rican plena by Manuel “Canario” Jimenez.
At the same time, the group attracted a creative crop of innovative young artists in Latin music. The Gonzalez brothers, Andy and Jerry Gonzalez are founding members; Alfredo de la Fe is featured on various incendiary violin solos with singer Herman Olivera making his recorded debut over a Libre recording while flautist Nestor Torres was also a featured guest. At various times, Barry Rogers, Jose Rodrigues, Angel “Papo” Vazquez, Jimmy Bosch, Reynaldo Jorge, Dan Reagan and Steve Turre held down the trombone line, while Oscar Hernandez, Joe Mannozzi, and Marc Diamond rocked the piano chair.
Last year, Puerto Rico’s Radio Station, Z93 dedicated its National Salsa Day to Manny Oquendo.
Manny Oquendo is survived by four sons and two sisters.
According to Manny Oquendo’s wishes, there will not be a viewing. We will post any information regarding a memorial in the future.
A video from Salsa Sunday’s Conversations with the Masters has been posted on our website at www.zondelbarrio.com/Press.php
About Aurora Flores:
Twenty-first century Renaissance woman Aurora Flores is the recipient of numerous awards and is included in Who’s Who in Hispanic America. Currently the President of Aurora Communications, she was the first Latina editor of Latin New York Magazine and the first female music correspondent for Billboard Magazine. While attending Columbia’s Journalism School, she broke into mainstream journalism and today has thousands of articles to her name.
A musician by training, Aurora founded her own septet, Zon del Barrio, bringing together modern music genres, Afro-Boricua folklore and Afro-Cuban salsa. She lectures on Latin music, has composed bilingual songs for Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer,” and recently edited and wrote the foreword for ¡Salsa Talks! A Musical Heritage Uncovered. Aurora can be seen in BET’s Pasos Latinos; BRAVO’s “Palladium, When Mambo was King;” the Smithsonian’s “Latin jazz, La Combinación Perfecta;” and in Edward James Olmos’s “Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S.” alongside the late Tito Puente, playing a composition she co-wrote. She is a proud descendent of Puerto Rican visionary, Eugenio Maria de Hostos.
Literature at Americas Society
Americas Society ¦ 680 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065 ¦ www.americas-society.org
Roundtable discussion (in Spanish)
América Latina: Nueva Literatura de Extremo Occidente, II
Thursday, October 29
Novelist and poet Mayra Santos-Febres (Puerto Rico) will lead a discussion with fellow writers Fernando Iwasaki (Peru), Edmundo Paz Soldán (Bolivia), Cristina Rivera-Garza (Mexico/USA), and Jorge Volpi (Mexico) on the state of Latin American literature today. This program also celebrates the publication of Jorge Volpi’s Season of Ash, translated by Alfred Mac Adam (Open Letter, 2009).
Presented in collaboration with the Salón Literario Libroamérica, a non-profit organization whose mission is the internationalization of Puerto Rican literature. We thank the Consulate General of Peru in New York for helping to promote this event.
Americas Society Members: Reserve today at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Non-Members: Reserve online now.
Americas Society gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our Literature Program donors: Honorary Benefactor Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, The Reed Foundation, and the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and U.S. Universities. The Literature Program is also made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. In-kind support is provided by the Salón Literario Libroamérica.
Below please find a reply I wrote to the recent article by “Black Agenda Report (BAR) the journal of African American political thought and action” on an article entitled “Sonia Sotomayor: She’s No Clarence Thomas, But No Thurgood Marshall Either” by managing editor Bruce A. Dixon. I invite all readers to write BAR and express your opinion on this important nomination. The article is on the following website: http://www.blackagendareport.com/
Black Agenda Report(BAR) Joins the Anti-Latino Sotomayor Agenda
By Howard Jordan
I was saddened to witness Black Agenda Report (BAR) join the chorus of attacks on Latina justice Sonia Sotomayor. The article “Sonia Sotomayor: She’s No Clarence Thomas, But No Thurgood Marshall Either” by managing editor Bruce A. Dixon trivializes the historic importance of the nomination of the first Latina to the court. It also does a disservice to the Puerto Rican/Latino legal and political experience in the United States. Let me address some the points you raise:
First you argue that corporate media is exaggerating the importance of the nomination and it just feeds the notion that anybody can overcome racism in America. As a New York born Puerto Rican/Latino the importance of the nomination to our community is unprecedented. Though racism is structural and will not be eliminated by one appointment Mr. Dixon the narrative is important. A diabetic Latina, who lost her father when she was nine, raised in a housing project speaking a foreign language, attended Princeton, was editor a Yale Law Review, and served on the bench for seventeen years is a tribute and recognition of the important contributions Latin@s have made to this nation. The elevation of Thurgood Marshal to the Supreme Court during that historical period received the same sense of elation in the African-American community. It is as one Dominican legislator noted a “Jackie Robinson moment” for the 40 million Latinos in the U.S.
I am troubled that in your article you make only a passing reference to the racist comments characterizing Sotomayor as a “reverse racist,” an “affirmative action pick, a Hispanic chick, making fun of her unpronounceable last name, or cartoon depictions of her strung up like a piñata with a sombrero as an “easy out for progressives…to waste all their time and oxygen debating Republicans, ridiculing and refuting their racism.” The Latino community, as do all communities of color, have a responsibility and yes even an obligation to refute unfounded attacks that stereotype Justice Sotomayor and by extension promote racist stereotypes against Latinos.
Second, you rightly note Justice Sotomayor’s participation on the Board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the main civil rights law firm for Latinos in the Northeast, but demean that participation by referring to the fact that she was “reportedly involved.” You state “No reports we have seen say that she personally filed those suits or that she ever appeared in court on behalf of litigants in discrimination and other lawsuits… she can hardly claim sole credit for it. The best barometer of her participation in PRLDEF is the statement of Puerto Ricans themselves. As Cesar Perales, the PRLDEF President stated “Sonia displayed an increasing amount of leadership on the board.” Unless of course you are going to parrot the white right and argue that Perales is only saying that because he’s Puerto Rican. She served nobly. By the way as I am sure you know board members don’t bring the cases in civil rights organizations.
Mr. Dixon, Ms. Sotomayor was one of 20 Hispanics in her class at Princeton and co-chairwoman of the Puerto Rican organization Accion Puertorriqueno where she wrote a complaint accusing Princeton of discrimination and convinced the leaders of the Chicano Caucus to co-sign it and filed it with the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare. As a result of her efforts, Princeton employed its first Hispanic administrator and invited a Puerto Rican professor to teach. (New York Times) Perhaps you also missed her Yale Law Review article where she urged the granting of special rights for off-shore mineral rights for Puerto Rico not enjoyed by U.S. states, a historical corollary to the Vieques struggle of the Puerto Rican nation. (New York Times-David Gonzalez)
The one point you raise that I wholeheartedly agree with is your recognition of the contributions of Justice Thurgood Marshal and his transformation of the legal and racial landscape. As an attorney Justice Marshal remains one of my heroes and is the most important Supreme Court justice in U.S. history. But I consider the Sotomayor nomination as part of the historical continuum of the Latino contribution to the broader struggle for civil rights. It is the cross fertilization of our communities struggle for legal equality.
For example, in the case of Mendez v. Westminster, nine years before Brown vs. the Board of Education, on March 2, 1945, five Latino fathers (Gonzalo Mendez, Thomas Estrada, William Guzman, Frank Palomino, and Lorenzo Ramirez) challenged the practice of school segregation in the Ninth Federal District Court in Los Angeles. They claimed that their children, along with 5,000 other children of “Mexican and Latin descent”, were victims of unconstitutional discrimination by being forced to attend separate “Mexican” schools in the Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and El Modeno school districts of Orange County. Judge Paul J. McCormick ruled in favor of Mendez and his co-plaintiffs on February 18, 1946. As a result “separate but equal” ended in California schools and legally enforced separation of racial and national groups in the public education system. The governor of the state at this time was Earl Warren who later decided Brown.
I will not go on to cite all the contributions of Sotomayor this gifted jurist who is a legatee of our contributions to our struggle for social justice. Anybody with roots in our community understands this reality and can readily access her contributions through the internet or the written and oral histories of our community if they so desired.
Third, you maintain that her legal experience a “mere 12 years of legal experience” five as a prosecutor and 7 for and corporate firm is not significant. Perhaps in your analysis you failed to mention that Justice Sotomayor has more legal experience that any of the nominees on the present court had at the time. Even more troubling is your transparent attempts to cherry pick those cases that would present Justice Sotomayor in a negative pro-corporate light. As the New York Times indicated Justice Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed in the court in the past 70 years. She participated in over 3000 panel decisions and authored roughly 400 opinions.
Fourthly, you establish a false causal connection between the Rockefeller Drug laws and the development of the prison-industrial complex and Sotomayor. The article argues that during this period Sotomayor as a prosecutor did not inject herself in this scandalous imprisonment of people of color. I frankly don’t see the connection, did Sotomayor cause this situation? During this same historical period Puerto Ricans were held as Puerto Rican political prisoners in American prisons and many progressive lawyers did not speak out. Many jurist, liberals, and yes progressive of color have not played a leading role in denouncing the colonization of the Puerto Rican people (America’s last colony), despite the efforts of our people to bring our situation to the courts, yet I would not blame them for assisting the colonizers in their silence.
Five, you use a corporate news media source like the Wall Street Journal to argue that Justice Sotomayor not only represented corporate clients but rejoiced in that representation. You note that absent from the conversation is a cursory review of her (Sotomayor’s) legal career then proceed to offer your readers a less than cursory review of your own. I am particularly disturbed on how your article cherry picked the cases that pigeon hole the judge as pro-business- but conveniently ignored other decisions such as the 2006 case Merrill Lynch v. Dabit where she allowed class action lawsuits against Merrill Lynch or her ruling in favor of the players (workers) in the major league baseball strike. As many scholars have noted that her opinions do not necessarily put her in a pro- or anti-business camp. (New York Times-May 28)
It might also have been more intellectually honest to note the civil liberties decision by the Justice in the Ricci case allowing the city of New Haven to reject an exam that discriminated against African American and Latinos or her support against insensitive strip search of a 13 year old girl as intrusive. Or the case of United States v. Reimer where Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion revoking the US citizenship for a man charged with working for the Nazis in World War II Poland, guarding concentration camps and helping empty the Jewish ghettos. And in Lin v. Gonzales where she ordered renewed consideration of the asylum claims of Chinese women who experienced or were threatened with forced birth control
I would add that while I would not reject the argument that many of the Justice’s experience have also been corporate friendly as is most of the court, I don’t believe we have any “revolutionaries” on the bench. Will the nomination of Sotomayor destroy the corporate state/capitalism or free people of color from the racial oppression in the United States- no but is it a significant step forward- yes.
I am particularly troubled with the overall tenor of your article characterizing Justice Sotomayor as a “zealot advocate for multinational business” and an “easy out for progressives around the Sotomayor nomination is to waste all their time and oxygen debating Republicans, ridiculing and refuting their racism.” I am a progressive and I wholeheartedly reject your advice. Justice Sotomayor is reflective of the Puerto Rican/Latino experience in the United States. I would submit to you Mr. Dixon that recognizing a community’s leadership is about “respect” and I view your article as disrespectful and a cavalier dismissal of our historical experience.
As a New York born Puerto Rican I have spent a large part of my life organizing in the Latino community and struggling to build bridges between Latinos and African Americans. From the struggles against police brutality, to the Jackson campaign in 1984 and 1988, to support for the election of Mayor Dinkins, to the endorsement of candidate Obama for the Presidency who received 67 percent of the Latino vote. It is in the interest of both African Americans and Latinos to continue to cement the historical alliance between our communities and against the white supremacy that has relegated both our communities to the bottom of the economic ladder. “Sticking it” to our leaders and refusing to recognize the different levels of our “racialization” of our respective communities does not lend itself to that goal. It instead diminishes solidarity, weakens alliances, and deprives our communities of the benefits of sharing experiences.
As a regular reader of BAR I have enormous appreciation for the insight your publication has on issues of importance to all communities of color. I have read with interest your critiques of President Obama and embrace of Rosa Clemente’s candidacy as the first Afro-Puerto Rican Vice-Presidential candidate for the Green Party. That is why I was bitterly disappointed at your blind spot on the importance of the nomination of Sotomayor as “historical milestone.” The first African American President nominating the first Latina to the U.S. Supreme Court is reflective of a new Black-Brown paradigm in America where all contributions are fully recognized. We must bring together the legacies of those “those who picked cotton and those that cut sugar cane.” However, with all due respect, this will not be accomplished by promoting anti-Latino sentiments in the mainstream press.
Howard Jordan, host
The Jordan Journal
Major Latino Organizations Speak Out:
The WAR AGAINST KEN BURNS / PBS’
“THE WAR” IS NOT OVER
Why the Latino Community Can’t Let This Matter Rest
The Latino “war” against Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary, “The War,” to be aired on PBS is not over. Despite recent press statements, key Latino organizations and leaders across the country today publicly announced that the issue is far from resolved and that they will continue pressing for a respectful resolution. Latino organizations and leaders called on Ken Burns and Florentine Pictures to meet with a representative cross-section of the national Latino leadership to explain in detail the changes they have made to the film, how they plan to include the Latino experience in their future projects and how they plan to include Latinos on the Florentine team. They also call on PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger, as well as WETA-TV’s CEO and president, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, to explain the measures that will be taken to assure that such a gross exclusion of the Latino community does not occur again in their current and future programming, and how they will supplement The War with other programming and activities to include the Latino experience, in particular with the educational programming.
At the urging of a corporate sponsor, Burns met with two Latino groups in early May and reiterated that he would include interviews with some Latino veterans in the 14.5 hour documentary, without offering many details. This was a commitment that he and PBS had already made publicly. Citing the results of this meeting, Burns and PBS officials at both the national and local levels have declared the issue closed. “Ken Burns cannot choose to make a secret deal with only two of the many Latino groups that were involved in this issue and in discussion with him and PBS, and then claim that the matter is resolved,” explains Marta García, co-chair of the New York Chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and one of the founders of Defend the Honor, a Latino grassroots mobilization that first raised the alarm about Latino exclusion from this PBS documentary at the beginning of this year. “He must bring closure to this issue by paying the Latino leadership of this country the respect, respeto, of meeting with us to explain himself and his future relationship to the Latino community.”
Some progress had been made on the issue over the past several months in that Burns has added interviews with two Mexican American veterans and one Native American to the 14 hour and 28 minute documentary. “But make no mistake,” said Iván Román, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, “we will withhold judgment on how meaningful that additional material is – whether it truly speaks to the Latino experience and whether it is reflected in the companion book and educational material.” In subsequent statements to the press, Burns has been dismissive of the arguments that the inclusion of Latinos is about historical accuracy rather than political correctness.
“It is unfortunate that Ken Burns continues to see this issue as one of politics and rhetoric that he must rise above,” said Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodríguez, the University of Texas journalism professor who co-chairs the Defend the Honor Campaign. “It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with historical accuracy andinclusion.” Rosa Rosales, national president of LULAC, said that it was crucial for the Latino
organizations to publicly challenge statements in the press by Burns and PBS that the issue had been resolved. “As Ken Burns travels across the country as part of the $10 million promotional effort by PBS, he still characterizes this as a terrible misunderstanding,” Rosales said. “It’s no misunderstanding. We understand perfectly that he only added the new interviews under pressure and, right now, it looks like he’s not very proud of that new material.”
Another sticking point are the discrepancies between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant proposal that provided federal funding for the film, and what he and PBS have said in recent months. For instance, Burns has said repeatedly in news interviews that in the more than 6 years of production, “no Latinos came forward” to be interviewed about their WWII experiences. But he apparently excluded Latinos from the beginning: in the NEH grant proposal submitted in 2004, Burns and Florentine Films said that the film “will celebrate American diversity” and that
it will be about the “diversity of wartime America . . . African-American, Japanese American and white.” “This is certainly very different from the way he discusses his film today in defending himself against Latino criticisms,” observes Jess Quintero, president of the Hispanic War Veterans of America. That documentary will shape how Americans view WWII, and if short shrift is given to the Latino contributions, there will be a reinforcement of the widespread ignoranceof the Latino contribution to the building of the U.S. “Ken Burns and PBS are playing recklessly with our history, both as Latinos and Americans,” observes Gus Chavez,one of the co-chairs of the Defend the Honor. He concludes, “This is something every
American should be upset about.”
“We are very uncomfortable with taking Burns and PBS’ word that they have addressed the Latino community’s concerns before actually seeing the product,” Armando Rendon of Defend the Honor Campaign of Northern California adds. “The anger in the grassroots Latino community continues unabated by the manner in which he and PBS have handled this matter.”-30-
Preliminary signatories to this statement include the following, with additional signatures to be added through Sept. 22, 2007.
Afro-Latino Project, Queens College (CUNY), Flushing, NY
APITO Centro Cultural de Puerto Rico (ACCPR), San Juan, Puerto Rico
Defend the Honor
Latino Literacy Now, Los Angeles
League of United Latin America Citizens (LULAC)
Lic. Rudy L. Ramos Civil Rights Chapter of the American GI Forum, San Antonio, Texas
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Washington, DC
National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), Los Angeles, CA
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), Los Angeles, CA
National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP), New York, NY
National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention (LCAT), New York, NY & Wash., DC
Individuals (affiliations for identification purposes only):
Vicente “Panama” Alba, New York, NY
Frances Aparicio, Ph.D., Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, University
of Illinois at Chicago
Luis Aponte-Parés, Boston, MA
Louise Bonanova, Civil Rights Investigator (Retired), Office for Civil Rights, United
States Department of Education, San Francisco, CA
Grissele Camacho, Esq.
Ed (Gato) Castillo-Rubio, Commander, Viet Nam Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post
9305 of Imperial County
María Elena Cepeda, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Latina/o Studies, Williams College,
Evelyn Collazo, New York, NY
Edgar De Jesus, AFSMCE East Region Area Organizing Director, and National Bronx
Member, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LACLA)
Minerva Delgado, Bronx, NY
Dra. Rosalina Diaz, Associate Professor of Education, Medger Evers College (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY
Martin Espada, Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jaime Estades, Brooklyn, NY
Myra Y. Estepa, Brooklyn, NY
Dolores M. Fernández, Ph.D., President, Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College
(CUNY), Bronx, NY
Ricardo R. Fernandez, Ph.D., President, Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY), Bronx, NY
Juan Flores, Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University, New York, NY
Cynthia Garcia Coll, Ph.D., Charles Pitt Robinson and John Palmer Barstow Professor
Professor of Education, Psychology & Pediatrics, Brown University, Providence, RI
Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Queens, NY
Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Sociology, City College of New York, City University of New York, New York, NY
Hilda Hernández-Gravelle, MSW, Ed.D.
Tanya K. Hernandez, Professor of Law and Justice, Frederick W. Hall Scholar, Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, NJ
James Jennings, Ph.D., Professor, Tuft University, Boston, MA
Miriam Jiménez Román, Afro-Latino Forum, New York University, New York, NY
Francisco J. Gonzalez, Cottage Grove, MN
Aldo Lauria Santiago, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Raul Madrid, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, University of Texas at Austin
Miguel “Mickey” Melendez, New York, NY
Carlos Molina, Ph.D., New York, NY
Edwin Karli Padilla, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Houston-Downtown
Franklyn Perez, Esq., Hostos Community College, Bronx, NY
Luis O. Reyes, Ph.D., New York, NY
Eugene Rivera, Clinical Coordinator, Hill Health Center, Middletown, CT
Clara E. Rodriguez, Ph.D., Bronx, NY
Luz Rodriguez, New York, NY
Carlos Rodriguez-Fraticelli, Ph.D., University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
Placido Salazar, USAF Retired Vietnam Veteran, State Veterans’ Affairs, Officer
of The American GI Forum of Texas, San Anotnio
Carlos Sanabria, Ph.D., Coordinator of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Eugenio
Maria de Hostos Community College, City University of New York, Bronx, NY
Izzy Sanabria, publisher, Latin NY Magazine; Salsamagazine.com
Dr. José Ramon Sánchez, Chair, Department of Urban Studies, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY
Nelson Sierra, Albany, NY
Hector Soto, Esq., La Resurreccion UMC Social Justice Committee, Bronx, NY
Donato Tapia, JD, San Francisco, CA
Hon. Esteban Torres, former U.S. Congressman, California
Gloria Tristani, former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Luis Urrieta, Jr., Ed.D., Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Texas at Austin
Richard Valencia, Ed.D., Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
Angela Valenzuela, Ed.D., Department of. Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration, University of Texas at Austin
Armando Vazquez-Ramos, Ph.D., Chicano & Latino Studies Department, California State University, Long Beach
Emilio Zamora, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Texas at Austin