¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York, one of the most timely art exhibits of the year, is launching July 2 in New York, co-presented by three separate institutions – the Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, and Loisiada Inc. With activism around issues of race/racism, police brutality, healthcare, the educational system, and gentrification reaching levels of intensity and community involvement unseen in decades, the time is ripe for a look back at one of the most potent and political organizations of the 20th century.
The Young Lords Organization, modeled on the Black Panthers, was founded in Chicago in September 1968 to bring political and cultural issues of the embattled Puerto Rican community to the fore; a New York City chapter launched in July 1969. Taking a cue from the Black Panthers’ Ten Point Program, the Young Lords created their own 13 Point Program and Platform, which included:
- We want self-determination for Puerto Ricans–Liberation of the Island and inside the United States.
For 500 years, first spain and then united states have colonized our country. Billions of dollars in profits leave our country for the united states every year. In every way we are slaves of the gringo. We want liberation and the Power in the hands of the People, not Puerto Rican exploiters.
Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!
- We want self-determination for all Latinos.
Our Latin Brothers and Sisters, inside and outside the united states, are oppressed by amerikkkan business. The Chicano people built the Southwest, and we support their right to control their lives and their land. The people of Santo Domingo continue to fight against gringo domination and its puppet generals. The armed liberation struggles in Latin America are part of the war of Latinos against imperialism.
Que Viva La Raza!
- We want liberation of all third world people.
Just as Latins first slaved under spain and the yanquis, Black people, Indians, and Asians slaved to build the wealth of this country. For 400 years they have fought for freedom and dignity against racist Babylon (decadent empire). Third World people have led the fight for freedom. All the colored and oppressed peoples of the world are one nation under oppression
The rest of the platform can be read here.
A history of the organization – its triumphs, misfires, in-house tensions and struggles, and where it and its legacy stand today – can be read here.
The ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York exhibition, focusing on the activism and community work of the New York chapter, brings assorted imagery and rich context to what has been written (and often obscured) about the Young Lords.
The exhibit is at the Bronx Museum of the Arts July 2- October 15. El Museo del Barrio, and Loisiada Inc. will each build on the Bronx exhibit by showcasing additional materials relevant to the Young Lords’ work in their part of New. The El Museo del Barrio component runs July 22 – October 17; the Loisiada Inc. component runs July 25 – September 23. The institutions participating were all chosen because they are located in the parts of the city where the Young Lords Organization was most active.
Ernest Hardy is a Sundance Fellow whose music and film criticism have appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Vibe, Rolling Stone, LA Times, and LA Weekly. His collection of criticism,Blood Beats Vol. 1: Demos, Remixes and Extended Versions (2006) was a recipient of the 2007 PEN / Beyond Margins Award.