Lolita Lebrón ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!

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“The La Raza Silkscreen Center collective was a founded in San Francisco’s Mission District in the 1970s by young artists and student activists who viewed art as a tool for organizing as much as a means of self-expression. These turbulent years were marked by political and social issues that included civil rights, the Vietnam War, United Farm Workers movement, women’s rights, and police brutality; as well as the struggle by people of color and the poor for equal access to education, housing, health, and political representation. Revolutionary movements in the Philippines, Vietnam, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salva-dor, Puerto Rico, and China were in the news daily, and making waves locally. Political exiles from Central and South America joined local activists in the Mission District to form international solidarity groups. During this time, the Vencerémos Brigade was organizing annual contingents of US citizens to break the US government’s economic and cultural blockade of socialist Cuba–a punishing blockade that continues today. In 1975, I traveled to Cuba via Mexico with the eighth contingent of the Vencerémos Brigade, joining White, Black, Chicano, Native American, and Puerto Rican activists from the US and Puerto Rico. The brigadistasin-cluded union organizers, longshoremen, nurses, actors, artists, journalists, radio djs, attorneys, photographers, teachers, etc. During the day, we joined Cuban construction workers to build housing. On the jobsite over lunch, we brigadistastalked about the Chicano, Black Power and feminist movements in the US. After dinner, we heard various presentations on Cuba’s history and culture, including its antiracist and anticolonial movements. On Saturday nights and Sundays, we sang and made music, ate ice cream, danced to the hottest Cuban bands, and engaged in more political and cultural discussions with other brigadistas and the Cubans. While in Cuba, I learned about several political prisoners held in United States prisons. Among them, Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebrón made a lasting impression. While yelling “¡Viva Puerto Rico!,” Lebrón and her comrades led an armed assault on the US House of Representatives in 1954, resulting in the wounding of five members of Congress. Lebrón was convicted of attempted murder and other crimes. President Carter granted Lebrón clemency in 1979” Excerpt From: “Feminae.” Apple Books.
Lolita Lebrón ¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre!