ATTENTION: OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA ACTIVISTS/SUPPORTERS! THIS IS A CALL-TO-ACTION! In honor of respected political activist and community leader, Oscar López Rivera, Rich Villar, Jani Rose and 35+ Poets Raise Their Voices for President Obama to Free Oscar López Rivera @ La Marqueta Retoña — in a Live Stream Poetry Marathon: NYC Edition – FREE! Saturday, May 28, 2016, 1:00pm – 6:00pm, in East Harlem, NY.
Hosted by: Rich Villar, Jani Rose, Not4Prophet, and Mariposa.
“After the family, what i miss most is the sea. Thirty-five years have passed since the last time i saw it. But i have painted it many times, the Atlantic part as well as the Caribbean, that smiling foam of light mixed with salt in Cabo Rojo. For any Puerto Rican, it is almost incomprehensible to live far from the sea.” – Oscar López Rivera
As part of a national campaign to raise awareness for Oscar’s cause, between New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, 35+ poets will read a poem for every year of Oscar’s incarceration. This is a FREE EVENT. ALL ARE WELCOME!
Featuring and reading at the Live Stream Poetry Marathon: NYC Edition will be Poet/Author/Literary Activist, Rich Villar, Poet/Writer/Actvist, Jani Rose and 35+ Poets/Writers/Authors/Activists of ALL NATIONALITIES AND BACKGROUNDS – from all over, including NYC – advocating to FREE OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA.
**All events will be livestreamed at BoricuaHumanRights.org.
BE SURE TO RSVP — LET THEM KNOW YOU’RE COMING!
ABOUT POLITICAL PRISONER, OSCAR LÓPEZ RIVERA:
In 1948, when Oscar López Rivera was five, the Puerto Rican legislature made it a crime to own a Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic song, or speak in favor of independence. The law was repealed in 1957. At the young age of fourteen, Oscar López Rivera moved to Chicago. He fought in the Vietnam War, earning a Bronze Star. Afterward, he worked to establish Illinois’ first Latino cultural center and organized to improve housing for Puerto Ricans in Chicago.
In 1981, political activist, community leader, Oscar López Rivera was convicted of conspiring against the US government as part of the FALN — a group that was fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico. Today, few Puerto Ricans want independence from the United States — less than 3 percent, according to a 2012 referendum. Statehood is a much more popular goal. Still, Puerto Ricans across the political spectrum have called for López Rivera’s release.
He has served 34 years of a 75-year sentence for “seditious conspiracy” related to his participation in the FALN — a Puerto Rican nationalist group that claimed credit for a series of bombings in the 1970s and 1980s. (He was not charged with participating in any bombings, nor injuring anyone.) During his 33 years in prison, López Rivera has served 12 years in solitary confinement in some of the highest security prisons in the country. In 1999 President Clinton offered clemency to 13 Puerto Rican political prisoners including López Rivera. Oscar rejected this offer clemency because two other co-defendants were not included in the offer. Since then, all except Oscar have been released.
“Most people here think his sentence is very disproportionate.”
Nobel laureates Desmund Tutu and Mairead Maguire have called on President Obama to release him. So has the government of Puerto Rico, the American Association of Jurists, the AFL-CIO, the United Church of Christ, and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. Four members of Congress have called on President Obama to let him go. “Oscar has served 33 years in prison,” Rep. Gutiérrez emailed me. “He is being imprisoned for deeply held political views that resonate powerfully in the Puerto Rican community and beyond.”
So far over 65,000 petitions to Obama have been collected.
**Learn the NYC LINEUP OF POETS on the NEXT PAGE…