This Latin@ Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) I’m looking forward to seeing one of the sites of the exhibit Presente: The Young Lords in New York. Inspired by the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords were a youth-led organization founded on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that advocated for the rights of Puerto Ricans. In addition to exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts and El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, there is art and archival materials at the Loisada Center. The Loisada site focuses on the LGBTQ members of the organization and the Young Lord Party’s support for Gay and Lesbian rights.
While some of YLP’s positions, such as are still considered radical 40 years later, some are now considered baseline for democracy today. Their motto Palante Siempre Palante – Forward Always Forward drove their brave vision of a world in which everyone enjoys human rights and Puerto Ricans in particular are free from imperialism and subjection. I find that when I remind myself, Palante Siempre Palante I can embrace the possibilities of the future more than I grieve time that has been lost in the past.
Yours in Solidarity,
Robin J. Hayes
Executive Director, Progressive Pupil
Writer/Director/Producer, Black and Cuba