The Young Lords, a militant Puerto Rican group of the Civil Rights Era based mostly in New York and Chicago, were adept at attracting media coverage to get their message out. In addition to forcing city officials to institute Puerto Rican history in schools and free breakfasts at local hospitals, the Young Lords ran their own radio program and learned useful methods of propaganda. Decades later, several Young Lords leaders have become journalists themselves, including WCBS News 2 reporter Pablo Guzmán, New York Daily News columnist Juan González and Daily Kos blogger Denise Oliver-Vélez. For them, it’s a way to continue working for social change.
ADVISORY: THIS REPORT CONTAINS A RACIAL EPITHET THAT MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME LISTENERS.
Photo via Will Salomon Orellana, Vimeo
The crown of the Statue of Liberty will again be accessible to the public this month after a year of renovation. But in October 25, 1977, it was the stage for a surprising, even poetic protest that has been forgotten by many. A look back at the day Lady Liberty was taken hostage.
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Miguel “Mickey” Melendez is an activist for Latino and Puerto Rican rights and a founding member of the Young Lords. He has taught in the Black and Hispanic studies department at CUNY, Baruch and John Jay colleges. He has a MPA from Baruch College and a Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa) from CUNY, Queens College Law. He is the recipient of the Charles Revson Fellowship at Columbia University. And he is the author of We Took the Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords (St. Martin’s Press, 2003, Rutgers University Press 2006). Currently he can be heard on Pacifica Radio’s Con Sabor Latino on Sundays at 2 p.m. on WBAI 99.5. FM. He is also Assistant to the President of Local 372, NYC, DC37, AFSCME. Photo courtesy of Will Salomon Orellano.