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Que Ondee Sola http://queondeesola.org Affirming Identity as a Praxis of Solidarity Thu, 12 May 2016 16:06:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.9 2017 QOS http://queondeesola.org/2017-qos/ http://queondeesola.org/2017-qos/#respond Thu, 12 May 2016 16:06:27 +0000 http://queondeesola.org/?p=1153 APRIL2009-QOS-cover

 

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2015 RCCA Community Awards Ceremony (By Ellie Anderson. World Studies Teacher at Roberto Clemente H.S.) http://queondeesola.org/2015-rcca-community-awards-ceremony-by-ellie-anderson-world-studies-teacher-at-roberto-clemente-h-s/ http://queondeesola.org/2015-rcca-community-awards-ceremony-by-ellie-anderson-world-studies-teacher-at-roberto-clemente-h-s/#respond Thu, 13 Aug 2015 18:38:57 +0000 http://queondeesola.org/?p=1146

For the final unit of study in the freshman World Studies classes, students learned about gentrification and displacement. In this unit, they first learned about gentrification and displacement conceptually. Once students had studied these concepts, they focused in on Humboldt Park and studied specifically what is happening in their community. At first they focused on the gentrification happening and the causes of those changes, followed by what individuals and organizations are doing to combat gentrification and displacement. Students spent much of their class time researching individuals, organizations, and initiatives and examining their impact on the community. Once this research was done, students organized a community awards ceremony to honor and thank these organizations and individuals. Students systematically nominated and voted on organizations and individuals they thought were exceptionally impactful in stopping displacement in Humboldt Park and strengthening the community and culture.

Students selected Billy Ocasio, Luis Salgado, Judy Vazquez, Doris Velazquez, Celena Roldan-Moreno, Pastor Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesus, and Jose Lopez as the award recipients. All award recipients received a student-designed and created award; specific students rose to the occasion by leading committees that were responsible for the awards. In addition, students wrote and gave introductory speeches thanking and highlighting each individual’s contributions to the community, spreading awareness. Upon receiving their award, recipients gave a short speech thanking the students in return. Moreover, special dignitaries – such as Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and State Representative Cynthia Soto – surprised the freshman class by attending the awards ceremony. One pre- senter, Estefani Flores, said about the event, “I felt so proud and excited to present the award. I was nervous, but I am so glad I did it. It really brought me outside of my comfort zone. It was awesome that we could do something that monumental for the community. I really feel like our hard work was worth it. I felt like we actually made a difference. We actually did something. ”

Fellow freshman Christian Ramirez added, “I was worried that it wasn’t going to be a big thing, but then it turned out to be amazing. The awards were awesome, because students who are really good artists were able to have their work made public. I loved hearing the award recipients, especially Jose Lopez. It was interesting to hear how the school once was and how it has improved. I was proud to be part of it.” Through the students’ incredibly hard work, the Community Awards Ceremony was a great success. It was meaningful to all involved. It was another event that has strengthened the relationship between the school and the community, as well as high-lighting the class of 2018’s amazing abilities and talents.

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Doris Velazquez: Humboldt Park’s Biggest Heart http://queondeesola.org/doris-velazquez-humboldt-parks-biggest-heart/ http://queondeesola.org/doris-velazquez-humboldt-parks-biggest-heart/#respond Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:21:26 +0000 http://queondeesola.org/?p=1135

Presenters: Dioni Cedeno & Jose Cedeno

We are giving the “Biggest Heart of Humboldt Park” award to Doris Velazquez. We are giving this award to her because while we studied gentrification and displacement, we realized that it is people like her that make our community worth fighting for. Grandma always has a plate of food for anyone and everyone. No matter their walk of life, she welcomes them. She has the biggest heart I know. She thinks about other people before herself and she would give money, clothes, food, and a roof over her head to make sure her com- munity is safe. In our eyes she is a guardian angel. She watches over the community to make sure no one gets hurt emotionally or physically and for that, we thank her. No one cares more than her and we love you very much. For these reasons, she has the biggest heart of Humboldt Park. Thank you, thank you for all you do. Without you Humboldt Park would not be the same. Grandma, we invite you to the stage to accept your award.

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EDITORIAL http://queondeesola.org/editorial-2/ http://queondeesola.org/editorial-2/#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:53:05 +0000 http://queondeesola.org/?p=1018 marcharticle2Women’s International Day is one day out of the year to actively celebrate the successes of women all over the world. Since I first began my activism, I have been lucky enough to meet many influential, dedicated, and intelligent women, one of them being Lizette Cruz.

Lizette is one of the current featured artists at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. Her art is being celebrated this International Woman’s Day, along with Patricia Perez’s “40 Years of Que Ondee Sola” canvases. When I first approached her about QOS’ annual Women’s Edition and the possibility of featuring her and her artwork in the edition, she didn’t think twice. Throughout this process, Lizette has been extremely patient and willing. She took the time to explain her beautiful art that is full of caribeño influences.

Her art captures the essence of the Caribbean island that we dream of in the cold Chicago winters. It is an honor to have met a person as artistic and as insightful as she is. She, along with my other companeras, has broadened my understanding of my Latinidad as a Puerto Rican woman. She has reminded me to be influenced by the rich, expressive, vibrant culture in my beautiful community, Humboldt Park and incorporate the politics of the island in my work. I am so proud that my community celebrates womanhood and supports influential artists such as Lizette.

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Connecting Campus to Campus http://queondeesola.org/connecting-campus-to-campus/ http://queondeesola.org/connecting-campus-to-campus/#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:53:04 +0000 http://queondeesola.org/?p=1020 Growing up, I always refused the idea of ever working with kids. I was also convinced that I wouldn’t be able to handle the multitude of personalities, the challenges, and realities of young people of color. When I was given the greatest opportunity of being a mentor, along with two of my peers, to fifty students at Roberto Clemente High School, I was hesitant and nervous. I strongly doubted my ability to create relationships with students that would enable me to challenge and engage them in community.

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In getting to know each student and their struggles, it became apparent how strong our youth truly are. I have met students whose determination, resilience, and persistence has surpassed anything I have seen in my peers. I have seen students handle grief in the most mature, understanding way possible. I have seen students who seemingly balance the responsibilities of adulthood, parenthood, and education with ease. Each student has inspired me in every way possible. They refined my patience, balance, and thoroughness. Most importantly, they have proved to me that I am capable of being a positive influence and help in the lives of our youth.
In the past eight months, I have been lucky enough to create a relationship with all of the students who walked into our classroom last October. I was proven wrong willingness of each student to accept our help, share their personal struggles with us, and their interest in getting to know us beyond the title of “College Coordinator.” The students engaged us in discussions about community, activism on our respective campuses, and our youth work. Our students willingly participated in the multi-media cell project calling for the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera held in Batey Urbano. They asked questions, signed and had their friends sign petitions, and demanded that they were kept well informed on the status of the campaign to free him. When the process of creating this edition began, our students were excited to have their reflections and accomplishments published. My students were are going to be attending NEIU in the Fall told me how dope they thought the QOS office is and how they really want to get involved when they get to the university. Their raw enthusiasm and passion for the community work that us mentors are dedicated to only strengthened my love for this work and gave it even more meaning.
As this year is winding down and our students are ready to graduate and embark on their journey into academia, I find myself reflecting on the amazing year I had of firsts. It was my first time working with students at Roberto Clemente and my first year as editor-in-chief of Que Ondee Sola. For me, the fact that these two events coincided with each other speaks to purpose of both this magazine and the pipeline. Forty-one years ago, a group of young Puerto Ricans from Humboldt Park felt the need to create a space of reflection, growth, hope, and change at the university level. These students mentored each other emotionally and academically, paved a path for Latin@s to re-connect with their communities, and realized the importance of assisting the youth in their community through their college career while simultaneously teaching them the history of their people and communities. Two years ago, the College Pipeline came into fruition at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, a school founded forty years ago by some of the same people who created the Puerto Rican/Latin@ presence in NEIU. The Pipeline strives to create a space for home-grown university students to guide high school seniors through the college process while teaching them about resources available to them on campus, the history of student involvement on campus and in the community, and paving a way for them to root themselves in community.

These avenues have allowed me the opportunity to offer the guidance that previous QOS members gave to me when I walked into E-041 during my freshmen year of college.
I am so proud and excited for all of the students who passed through our classroom at Roberto Clemente. I feel like each of them has given me priceless, countless experiences that have made my year extremely amazing. I do not doubt that all of them will succeed in whatever they chose to persue in life. I hope that each of them holds on tight to this experience and doesn’t forget any of us mentors and Humboldt Park! Here is my gift to you. Good luck!

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EDITORIAL http://queondeesola.org/editorial/ http://queondeesola.org/editorial/#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:24:44 +0000 http://queondeesola.org/?p=1019

editorialpicture1On Saturday, January 26th, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School celebrates 40 years since its foundation with an all day symposium and gala. What began as a small experiment of building an organic educational practice has since become a pedagogical model for reflection and emulation.  From its inception, the school’s educational program was framed on the philosophical foundation of self-determination, the methodology of self-actualization, and the ethics of self-sufficiency.  Contrary to the predominant societal motto of “Live and let live,” this is best expressed in the words of our great poet, Consuelo Lee Corretjer: “Live and help to live.”

Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) began its operation in 1972 in a dingy church basement located at 2048 West Augusta with 12 students and no budget, at a time when the dropout rate among Puerto Rican youth in the public schools was an appalling 72.9%.  First named the Puerto Rican High School, it later took on the name of Rafael Cancel Miranda, the Puerto Rican national hero who was then a political prisoner, before its final renaming for El Maestro, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos. After one year it moved to a rental space at St. Aloysius School at 1520 North Claremont with nearly 60 students.  Three years later it would occupy its own building at 1671 North Claremont, and in 2003 it moved to its present location at 2739-41 West Division on Paseo Boricua.  These moves were informed by encroaching gentrification that has displaced the Puerto Rican presence in West Town and Humboldt Park.

Que Ondee Sola is proud to dedicate this issue to the 40th anniversary of the founding of this unique educational experience of the Puerto Rican diaspora.  PACHS is the only school in the US with a curriculum focused on Puerto Rican culture, while continuing innovative learning practices—for example the emergent program in urban agriculture— which speak to the future of any educational model.  Without a doubt, Pedro Albizu Campos High School has remained true to its precepts, which the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire articulated in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.   

In this issue you will find reflections of this incredible educational experiment from scholars, students, teachers, administrators, community activists, and founders of the school.  From these the reader will be able to surmise how the school has engaged students and community in a Freirian “dialogistical” process.  Its innovative vision projects into the future an education premised on a holistic approach, based on a social ecology model, in a school that has indeed served as a “sanctuary” for generations of our youth.

 

 

 

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Speak the Truth and Set the Path http://queondeesola.org/speak-the-truth-and-set-the-path/ http://queondeesola.org/speak-the-truth-and-set-the-path/#respond Sat, 14 Apr 2012 16:31:56 +0000 http://lavozprcconline.org/qos/?p=432

Reflection by Xavier “Xavi” Luis Burgos, former editor of QOS, Class of 2012

“Pueblo que olvida su pasado no alcanzaránunca la grandeza de sus fines.” – José De Diego

In my life, there is no political work that I have internalized the most than that of taking the leadership of Que Ondee Sola (QOS) and the Union for Puerto Rican Students (UPRS) at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). In high school I dreamed of and aspired to be a part of an organization that actively engaged, head-on, the socio-political issues facing the Puerto Rican community. I also sought-out a space in which critical reflection on inequalities and colonialism was encouraged, celebrated, and discussed. I found this when I walked in the office of QOS in the fall of 2005, which left an undeniable mark on my existence.

Among the staff of the magazine, there were diverse characters and personalities: poets and activists, intellectuals and cultural workers. Above all, there was a youthful exuberance and zeal in the air. This manifested itself in protests and initiatives designed to build a more humanizing discourse and space for Boricuas, Mexicans, and other Latinas/os on campus. The first activity I participated in with QOS, UPRS, and ChiMexLa (Chicano Mexicano Latino Student Union) serves as a prime example. A dozen of us organized a silent march, dressed in black and with our mouths taped-shut, through the various public venues of NEIU. Two or more people carried a black-painted cardboard coffin; theatrics to raise consciousness on the militarization of communities of color and our Latin American homelands. In hindsight, I ask myself: how effective this was in actually changing the situation? Miniscule, of course! Nonetheless, we effectively confronted and challenged the issue, brought it to the forefront of students’ mind, and instilled among us the notion that complacency is not an option. To struggle, to envision, to make a presence – how small a contribution it may seem – can be stepping stones to more tangible goals.

As a publication we thus had a responsibility to embody the very values that we critiqued our society for lacking. As editor, I ensured the continuation of a legacy of publishing what was rarely published anywhere else: the voices of the subaltern, the marginalized, the invisible. We did this in subtle ways, such as making it a point to always write “Latina/o” instead of “Latino” or even “Latino/a,” as a nonconformist gesture to gendered and sexist language. In more explicit ways, we published yearly an edition – as tradition dictates – dedicated entirely to the experiences and contributions of Puerto Rican and Latina/o women. We also covered the multiple manifestations of Puerto Rico’s colonial situation, the campaign to free the Puerto Rican political prisoners, the unfolding events of the immigration movement, and the progressive and left-wing struggles of our Latin American compatriotas. In addition – outside of tradition but in accordance with the magazine’s philosophical foundation and mission – we dedicated entire editions to unravel the story of Puerto Ricans, Latinas/os, and Latin Americans of African descent. We also reserved editions to highlight the varied contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Boricuas and Latinas/os. This was all done utilizing a critical framework. To the extent possible we sought not to essentialize our cultural identities and historical experiences. We presented them with nuance and complexity, beauty and dignity, but never shying away from affirming our national identity.

Whatever we did in our publication we certainly carried into our organizing work on campus. The two most important QOS-led initiatives – torches set fire by generations before us – were to transform the Latino and Latina/o American Studies program (LLAS) into a major and construct a Latina/o Cultural & Resource Center (LCRC). When I entered the university, these topics were rarely discussed outside the offices of QOS or that of sympathetic faculty. I could not count how many times university administrators told me, personally, “no, we cannot have a LCRC, there’s no funding or space, and, besides, its exclusionary.” It is undeniable that without our yearly Plantando Semillas event, campus forums, magazine editorials, surveys, and meetings with faculty, staff, and elected officials that a LCRC would have been built. I remember an occasion when the university leadership organized a forum to discuss a multicultural center and had to cancel it for lack of attendance while simultaneously we organized fifty students – Black, White, and Latina/o – to discuss and gain support for a LCRC. The administration even sent a student representative to hear what we had to say.

We got LLAS to be a major but did not get our full vision of a LCRC. We wanted to concentrate the current Latina/o-focused resources and cultural initiatives on campus in a single space (visible resources beg not to be forgotten or bulldozed, which was the unfortunate fate of the Office for Adult and Women’s Services). This included offices for Latina/o-focused student organizations, LLAS, Proyecto Pa’Lante, and ENLACE, including classrooms. We did, however, open a pandora’s box. Students and faculty are now clamouring for a LGBTQ and Women’s Center and the main campus has a stronger Black student presence than ever before. It is up to the next generation of QOS and UPRS to ensure that we get a fully realized LCRC, for it is just and right. May the pages of QOS and the historical memory of student struggle, which this organization transmits so well, speak the truth and set the path.

Struggle is never romantic. It is draining, time-consuming, annoying, threatening, but not romantic. It is, however, cathartic, prophetic, and valuable. In an oppressive and dehumanizing context, to struggle is to construct meaning and community. Thus, to struggle is to envision what seems impossible: a liberated future.

Originally Published in QOS April 2012 Special Edition, Vol. 40 No. 4

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Oscar López Rivera Reflection on QOS http://queondeesola.org/oscar-lopez-rivera-reflection-on-qos-history/ http://queondeesola.org/oscar-lopez-rivera-reflection-on-qos-history/#respond Sat, 14 Apr 2012 16:31:44 +0000 http://lavozprcconline.org/qos/?p=433 Oscar López Rivera

Decorated Vietnam Veteran, community activist and Puerto Rican political prisoner; serving his 31st year of federal prison for struggling for Puerto Rican independence.

The fact that we are commemorating the 40th anniversary of Que Ondee Sola illustrates how significant the founding of this publication has been for our community and for Puerto Rican and other NEIU students. It also teaches us how important ideas and creativity are, and makes us aware that the need to continue struggling is infinite.

Que Ondee Sola is the byproduct of a group of Puerto Rican students at NEIU who saw the need to create it and dared to make it a reality.  They saw the need of having a publication that represented their interests and concerns and could contribute to the preservation of their identity and culture. Today we can see how visionary they were, especially seeing how successive generations have followed in their footsteps and have made the publication even better. In order to better appreciate the significance of Que Ondee Sola we need to look at some of the history of the relationship between NEIU and the Puerto Rican community.

Many Puerto Ricans don’t know that there was a teachers’ college in the heart of our community – on Hirsch and Leavitt in Humboldt Park – that was made part of NEIU when the latter was built. Once the college was closed, the building was used to house the freshman class of Tuley High School and later became Sabin Elementary School. The community lost the college without getting another academic institution of higher learning to substitute it. More than a decade later (late ‘60s and early ‘70s) a small storefront – close to California and North Avenues – was being used by NEIU for an outreach program in the community. It was such a token program that the person in charge of running it was a man working full-time for a Settlement House, working on his master’s degree full-time at Williams College, and even known for being contemptuous and disdainful of his Puerto Rican identity and the community. Fortunately, there were Puerto Rican students at NEIU who were concerned with their plight and decided to struggle in order to make the university more responsive and relevant to their needs and the needs of other Latino students and the community. They founded Proyecto Pa’lante and joined with other Latino students to force the university to create Latino Studies programs.

What the students did and what Que Ondee Sola has become is an example of what tenacity and the willingness to follow ideas with action can accomplish. Their example allows us to appreciate the potential we have to create institutions for the benefit of our community and other Latino communities. Let’s put our ideas to work. Let’s talk the talk and walk the walk. Let’s dare to try to make this a better and more just world.

Originally Published in QOS April 2012 Special Edition, Vol. 40 No. 4

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Mexican Roots Uplift Puerto Rican Passion http://queondeesola.org/mexican-roots-uplift-puerto-rican-passion/ http://queondeesola.org/mexican-roots-uplift-puerto-rican-passion/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2012 16:14:17 +0000 http://lavozprcconline.org/qos/?p=381

Mexican Roots Uplift Puerto Rican Passion

Irma Romero

Former editor, Class of 1982

By Reina M Salcedo

Irma Romero, a 72-year-old Mexican woman, has helped shape the lives of not only students from NEIU but in her community as well. Irma realized that helping her Puerto Rican brothers and sisters was of crucial importance during her time at NEIU and afterwards. By the time that Irma got involved with Que Ondee Sola (QOS) and the Puerto Rican community she was already living in Humboldt Park; she felt that as a Latina it was her responsibility to make the community aware of many situations in Chicago and in Puerto Rico. After many protests at the university, Irma was ordered by what she calls the “White Student Legislation” to leave the campus because she was a “danger” to the students. Her peers felt that an injustice had been made and took her case to the Federal level, where a judge ruled in favor of Irma. This allowed her to obtain her Bachelor’s degree. Now a few decades later she has earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from NEIU after serving for AmeriCorps, which helped pay for this accomplishment. She is a woman who has experienced it all, including cancer, and continues to be an integral part of the history of the Humboldt Park community and NEIU. Irma Romero currently serves on the board of the Angelina Pedroso Center for Intercultural Affairs and Dr. Pedro Albizu High School and works at Roberto Clemente High School.

QOS: Describe NEIU during your year at the university. What were the major issues or most memorable student and community struggles during this period?

Romero: During my time at NEIU, students were worried about the U.S. Navy bombing routines and training on Vieques, Puerto Rico, which caused cancer among many Puerto Ricans. People protested and Angel Rodríguez Cristóbal got arrested and was killed in Tallahassee, Florida. Angel was a Puerto Rican activist who was part of an organization that protested against the issue.

Another big struggle was and continues to be Puerto Rico’s independence. Since there is no sovereignty, the U.S. and anyone could use Puerto Rico, because it is a colony. During this time, the students’ mission was not to become rich [individually] but to help their community progress.

QOS: What challenges did UPRS and QOS face and how did you try to address them? What alliances were important?

Romero: UPRS and QOS, along with the Chicano-Mexicano-Latino Student Union (CHIMEXLA), helped with any issue that was important to the students. It was not only about helping our Puerto Rican community but any student that felt that their needs were not being met by the university.  We did everything from conducting programs to talking with students about the issues occurring at the university.  A big issue was women’s rights along with helping and opening the doors to immigrant students because of the problems that the U.S. was causing in Latin American.  We formed alliances with all of the student organizations such as the Pakistani club.

QOS: What kind of impact did UPRS and QOS have on campus and the community? What accomplishments were you most proud of during your time?

Romero: Back then the plan was to design a minor in Chicano, Mexican, and Puerto Rican Studies and hopefully one day making it a major on campus.  We fought through the university and brought it up to President Ronald Williams, who then ended the positions of professors teaching Latin American and Puerto Rican history [in an attempt] to eliminate us from campus.  At the time, we had two spaces on campus – one for UPRS and the other for CHIMEXLA – and the President had these spaces closed-off, but we managed to still meet.

QOS: What is the importance of a Latino and Latin American Studies major and the recent building of a Latina/o Cultural & Resource Center?

Romero: When we fought for the Chicano, Mexican, and Puerto Rican Studies program we aimed to make it a minor which now I believe is Latino & Latin American Studies but what people don’t see is that we have been fighting for this for over 20 years along with a Latino Resource Center. People think that this just came about but it was decades of struggles that we went through.

QOS: Are there any ideas or experiences you would like to share with the present membership of these organizations and the broader Puerto Rican/Latino community?

Romero: When I was kicked off campus it was because I was accused of pushing the Vice-President of Student Affairs when I didn’t even touch him. It was really because we took over the Beehive building to demand our rights as students. It was so extreme that the FBI was on the campus. Now, I look at President Hahs and she hears us and is willing to work with us. So, the only piece of advice or idea that I can give the students now is to help us as a community fight for the freedom of Oscar López Rivera. He is still in jail after 31 years because of conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government when that was never his intentions; he just wants to see Puerto Rico free. Not even Nelson Mandela served that long. I’m asking for the justice of our brothers in jail, justice in our community, and justice for immigration. Last piece of advice for students is “one needs to know who the enemy is and have them present.”

My interview with Irma Romero was so powerful, especially when her voice cracked and she came to tears recollecting on what she has been through with the university and the community. The passion that she has for the Puerto Rican community is immense. She says that she is proud of her Mexican roots but has found a home within the Puerto Rican community.  This goes to show that in order to make a change you do not have to share the exact background as someone else. My conversation with Irma was so inspiring that we will be continuing our conversation but in a more casual setting.

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Forty years of an ever lasting struggle…From the beginning http://queondeesola.org/forty-years-of-an-ever-lasting-strugglefrom-the-beginning/ http://queondeesola.org/forty-years-of-an-ever-lasting-strugglefrom-the-beginning/#respond Sat, 14 Apr 2012 16:13:36 +0000 http://lavozprcconline.org/qos/?p=427

Jaime Delgado

Former QOS staff, former advisor, Proyecto Pa’lante. Class of 1976

Program Director, 72 Block by Block Program

by Brandon Thomas

Being that I am a relatively new addition to the Que Ondee Sola (QOS) team the sheer magnitude of what I had the honor of doing has actually brought a new light to my every day thought process. I was fortunate enough to interview Jaime Delgado, an original founder and member of QOS and the Union for Puerto Rican Students (UPRS) from 1972 to 1976. He would be at the university until 1988 with Proyecto Pa’Lante. In the brief time that we spent on the interview I could clearly tell from his tone and dictation the impact the struggle and the success of his organizing had on him. It was truly a remarkable experience.

QOS: Describe NEIU during your time at the university. What were the major issues or most memorable student and community struggles during this period?

Delgado: We were part of the first students that came in through Proyecto Pa’lante. The university was seriously under-representing the Latino population. It was an unusual climate on campus because there had never really been a Latino presence. Without the program I may have never been able to get into the university.  With this first group came a lot of things like the establishment of UPRS and QOS. I feel like I identified as being Puerto Rican and identified with being part of the struggle. We were instrumental in trying to put pressure on the university to create Latino [focused] classes like Puerto Rican history.

QOS: What challenges did UPRS and QOS face and how did you try to address them? What alliances were important?

Delgado: There were issues where there may not have always been consensus. There were struggles with trying to organize different groups of students. We were not trying to force any type of ideas or ideologies on people. There were many barriers that were even set up against us by the university. We tried even setting up English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for people to address the language barriers. There were many instructors that seemed to be unsympathetic towards us. There was definitely administrative challenges and resistance.

I think at the time the most core alliance was between the Puerto Rican and the Mexican students. The second core was that of us and the faculty.

QOS: What kind of impact did UPRS and QOS have on campus and the community? What accomplishments were you most proud of during your time?

Delgado: I think it generally had an impact on helping create changes that were necessary at that time. Most of them were in the name of Puerto Rican students. I believe that we were able to push for a more international curriculum, which was an aggressive push to get change brought on campus. I think it impacted on the future hiring and recruiting processes of the university and also on the administration. For lack of a better term I believe that UPRS was the muscle for Proyecto Pa’Lante who could be used as a recruiting tool for the University.

QOS: What is the importance of a Latino and Latin American Studies major and the recent building of a Latina/o Cultural & Resource Center?

Delgado: I’m extremely proud [of this accomplishment] that QOS has been working on for forty years. I am also proud that both UPRS and QOS were mechanisms of change for the university campus and community. I have seen the product and the outcome.

QOS: Are there any ideas or experiences you would like to share with the present membership of these organizations and the broader Puerto Rican and Latina/o community?

Delgado: I believe that there was a period of time where people were turned off by the idea of working collectively. I think that we need to find a way to get leadership to be better equipped to understand the idea of collectivity. I feel that we need to find a way to get more people to work harder and work together towards collectivity. If there is any failure that I have seen over the last forty years it was that people seem to be more dispersed since time as passed. I think that there really needs to be more collectivity.

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