Young Lords show gray hair, same fighting spirit

September 23, 2008

Few Puerto Ricans can afford to live in Lincoln Park these days, but former members of a 1960s street gang there insist their fight for Puerto Rican self-determination remains vital in other parts of Chicago. The one-time Young Lords rallied Sunday in Humboldt Park, where Puerto Ricans are struggling to stave off gentrification not unlike what swept them from Lincoln Park and other lakeshore neighborhoods a generation ago. The rally packed more than 200 people into San Lucas, a United Church of Christ storefront on North Avenue, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Young Lords' transformation to a nationalist group that fought tenant evictions, organized a free health clinic, created a People's Church and protested police "brutality." The program, described by the Chicago Tribune, ran more than two hours. West Side bureau contributors Ian Fullerton and Josƒ© Madera taped the event. These excerpts, edited by Ian, total 27 minutes. The audio begins with comments by Ohio youth counselor Josƒ© ("Cha-Cha") Jimƒ©nez, the Young Lords founding chairman (photo). It continues with long-time Puerto Rican activist Amƒ©rica Sorrentini de Blaut, Chicago artist Carlos Flores, and Chicago poet David Hernƒ¡ndez. The moderator is Gregorio Gƒ³mez. As you listen, don't forget to take our poll about the Young Lords legacy in Chicago. young lords
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