Alberto O. Cappas, Columnist

Alberto O. Cappas: Publisher, Poet, Author, Journalist, Community Activist, founder & publisher of the Buffalo Latino Village; founder of the ” Educational Pledge: Questions to Self-Development”, based on the well-known and widely used poem, The Educational Pledge. 

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Alberto O. Cappas




  This is in response to a story by UB Spectrum reporter, Kayla Estrada, in the November 2022 issue (UB Student Newspaper). This is what happened:

This past year in November, the Spectrum (student) publication, published an article about the numerous problems faced by their Latino students – no Latino faculty, lack of recruitment for more Latino students, no Latino food in the cafeteria, and no support or care by the administration —  AND NOTHING WAS DONE!

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This reminds me of 1968, the year I and other Puerto Ricans/Latinos came to UB, and after a few months on the campus, we experienced the same reality Spectrum lays out in their article.

The one thing I noticed is that today’s students were complaining about the situation, but they have or had any plans of action. The students of 1968 did let the issue go away. They demanded, they organized, and they took over several administration buildings to make their point. Were they successful?

Yes, they were, but unfortunately, due to students moving on, and disconnection with Buffalo’s Puerto Rican/Latino leaders, the things accomplished faded away, things like more Latino students on campus, recruitment of Latinos interested in Law, Medicine, Engineering, and other professional areas, Black and Puerto Rican Studies, Radio Spanish programming (WBFO-FM), Office of Minority Student Affairs, thanks to the strong leadership of Roosevelt Rhodes, leader of the Black Student Union. Another vital program was EOP (Educational Opportunity Program), thanks to Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve, the only black and progressive elected official at the time.

I’m no longer connected to the social and political fabric of UB, but I know for sure that Latino students need many of these services to ensure a successful education and quality of life on campus. The students must reach out to the local Puerto Rican/Latino leaders and get them involved in their (Latino community) struggle for social, cultural, and educational equality. 

Contact the Buffalo Latino Village, we will put you in contact with the local Latino leaders, as it is their responsibility as leaders to care about what’s going on in the educational community in Buffalo, NY. Buffalo is a college town, with many black and Latino students on all the campuses.

I’m convinced that UB Latino students are not the only ones facing this disconnect with their institutions.  Perhaps the Latino professors and staff already working on these campuses can get the ball rolling.

These students are our sons and daughters.

Contact the Buffalo Latino Village ——646-248-2302.




 While I might appear to be biased and selective, I strongly feel the four people in the photo are the people that can move our community forward and free her from the political enslavement it has been in for many years, which has not allowed our community to prosper, grow, and develop as other communities in the city of Buffalo.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 318223300_10159420182574891_1312584432344702024_n.jpg
Jose Flores (Jiu-Jitsu instructor), Beatriz Flores (El Batey Puerto Rican Center), Geo Hernandez (Working Families Party), and Christian Parra (People’s Action Institute) are progressive and independent, and all four have a vision for how to involve the whole community and not just a few. And most importantly, they have strong respect and support from the grassroots community. When you attend their events or look at their community base, you see new faces and young people. It’s refreshing to see new faces get recognized or acknowledge for their work and not see the old inner circle — a recycling of the same faces and people.
(Photo: Jose Flores, Beatriz Flores, Geo Hernandez, Christian Parra)
Other people to watch in 2023, although not new or independent from the status quo, have people who have a degree of sincerity and a true agenda for change. You have Cesar Cabrera, an educator and well familiar with the community; Alexandre Burgos-Gonzalez, a young, dynamic, and talented individual who heads the Buffalo Black & Latino PRIDE Coalition, which is connected to a statewide organization. We also have Kelly Camacho, head of the local Citizen Action chapter; Talia Rodriguez, a Law School graduate and a strong community activist, a syndicated columnist with several Latino publications; QueeNia AsheeMa’at, also a writer and progressive with strong ties to both Latino and black communities; and Michele Agosto, an art and cultural advocate who has pioneered many projects in this city, one is the Artists de Barrio organization.
There are others, and I apologize for not including them, but it is my opinion, based on my position as publisher and community activist, these are the people to watch.
Our present leaders have a good understanding of politics, but very little understanding of our history, culture, and struggles.
In 2023, we need to support the people mentioned in this article and help them to educate our local political officials – they have been on an illusional ride with our people. The politicians have been misled and misinformed. Let’s educate them in 2023.
Keep your eyes open in 2023 and prove me wrong.
Feliz Año Nuevo!


Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch Library

280 Porter Ave.
BuffaloNY 14201

716-882-1537 / Fax: 716-882-1537

Located on the corner of Porter Avenue and Prospect Avenue

December 2022

The Isaías González-Soto Branch Library (formerly Niagara Branch) is a member of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System.
When the Hispanic Heritage Council (HHC) moved to rename the Niagara Branch Library several years ago, with the support of the lone Puerto Rican Niagara District Councilman, it was done in haste, and without any real community participation; when the resolution was approved by the City Council, very few community organizations were present to participate or rejoice in the making of this important event on the lower west side. 
While the Council gives the impression that it represents the participation of a wide number of community members and organizations, officially it is a non-profit organization and not a “Council.”

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We don’t know how and why they named the library after a community leader who passed away over two decades ago, but they did not give much thought and planning to the library. They renamed it, with no serious consideration about what the library should look like.   No provisions were made to add a section for Puerto Rican/Latino literature. It would’ve been nice to include the work of local writers and artists. In addition, no plans were made to utilize the library for community meetings and events, like the Frank E. Merriweather Jr.  Library on Jefferson (Utica Street, East Side) which is kept busy with students, visitors, and community organizations always using its facilities. 
In the new year of 2023, we urge all Puerto Rican/Latino community organizations to make use of the library, and we strongly recommend that HHC use their leadership to work with the Buffalo & Erie County Library to turn the Niagara Branch Library into a real Isaias Gonzalez-Soto” Branch Library, a library he would’ve been proud of, with a large section of Puerto Rican/Latino Literature, locally, Statewide, National, and the World: Literature, Art, History, Science, Music, Political Science, Latin America Countries, etc.
As a people, we have so much to be proud of our contributions – and the library should reflect that and make our Latino children and teens proud of who they are, having an immediate cultural impact the minute they step foot into the Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch Library.
  Let’s assemble a committee or team of local Puerto Rican/Latino educators and get the job done. Reach out to local colleges and universities to assist in this endeavor.  We have many Latino educators and Professors. Let’s utilize them.
And last but the least, we salute HHC for always taking the lead in the potential growth of our community, but they cannot do it alone.
As of September, the Library closed its doors to renovate and upgrade the building to better serve the community. The Branch is expected to re-open in mid-winter. — End
About Gonzalez: The Puerto Rican-born González-Soto, a World War II veteran, advocated for bilingual education in Buffalo, promoted higher education in the Latino community, and organized against discrimination. González-Soto became a restaurant and bar owner on the lower West Side, and he was a radio host on radio station WXRL, providing Spanish music and news from Puerto Rico. The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York selected González-Soto, who died in January 2006, after a nomination.


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November 2022

I wished I was blind like you
not able to see the obvious
I wished I could give back the wings
and not able to fly above your head.
I wished I came back from history with no clues
of Grito de Lares.
I wish I could do what you do
hide the sky with my hands.
It is not easy to be naked
refusing to wear their clothing
but in the long run
more dangerous to be covered
when the storm comes for your child.
You are not the culture you think you are
Nothing but a drop of ink on a blank piece of paper.
Your memory was politicized
not to pay attention to Attica
replaced by foreign roots
giving your mind a mental breakdown
breast-fed labels to redefine your celebration
giving you textbooks concealing
the obvious stagnation.
I’m on a team playing en mi viejo San Juan
you sit there in the bleachers
having your chicken wings and pizza
singing the national anthem.
I’m looking up at the bleachers ready to collapse.



 September 2022

By now you should know that there is a storm coming — and I’m not talking about the weather! The Republican Party has given up on democracy and decided to go all the way with the BIG LIE. I urge and plead with my community that we must all register to vote, be ready to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and prepared to vote in the 2024 presidential elections. We must begin today! Please register, and get your family, friends, and colleagues to register to vote as well.
The democratic political system is being challenged by a racist and right-wing conservative movement. They want to cleanse America of all people of color, of those that don’t think like them, they want to cleanse same-sex marriage, and eliminate the right of a woman to have her own choice when it comes to her body.
I know many people have problems with the Democratic organization, locally, statewide, and with our national leaders. I am not happy with President Biden, I’m not too happy with the way democrats have taken my people for granted (Puerto Ricans/Latinos), but believe me, it’s going to be a lot worst, like 1000% a lot worst under the Republican and Conservative politicians. Let us prepare to vote for the democratic candidates in the midterm elections and 2023. After that, we can all unite and put the democratic organization in its place.
Honestly, I would love to see another democrat run for president in 2024, he is too weak for me, but I will vote for him if he is the only democrat running against the madness of the other side. We need to protect the democratic experiment.
As for our problem with the democrats, after we defeat the madness, we can organize and go after the bad democrats. Believe me, I know many of them, but they are not racist or fascist. They are terrible for our local Latino community, but they are not a danger to America. 


My Community Observation:

August 2022
Community Vision: I would love to see “real” Latino educators and leaders in our community. We have too many Kool-Aid educators who graduate from higher education but leave their intelligence behind. We have too many religious groups associated with local politicians. There is too much social decay. I would love to see honesty and integrity in the people that are supposed to lead us into the future. They take us in the wrong direction while they move forward in the “right” direction for themselves.
We need to move toward self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and commitment to business and economic development, and we need to stop relying on social services as we already have an overdose of this political and social drug — we are feeding the body, but we are not feeding the mind.



 August 2022
“The mission of the Hispanic Women’s League is to improve the quality of life, assist in personal and professional development, and advocate for the concerns of the Hispanic woman.”
Dear Hispanic women’s league:  why not establish a health committee to come to the aid of deserving Latinas in need of medical assistance? We have noticed several of your members become ill and left alone to deal with medical issues…
Latina sisters, especially those that are always giving and involved in community organizations, get very little support when they fall ill with a serious, threatening medical situation. We would love to see the Hispanic Women’s League (HWL) establish a fundraising health committee to assist their sister members with health issues. It’s an idea that should be explored. The Latino human infrastructure in our community already has the monetary system to provide financial donations. — HHC, PRACA, Bell Center, HUB, plus a challenge to individual community leaders to donate on an annual basis, whatever they decide to donate. They can begin with the present situation with several of your members experiencing health issues. It sounds complicated, but it’s a very simple initiative and structure to organize.

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Just recently, during the “Grease Pole Festival”, Assemblyman Jon Rivera issued a check of three hundred thousand dollars to the Pucho Social Club for their “good service to the community.”
Just recently, during the “Grease Pole Festival”, Assemblyman Jon Rivera issued a check of three hundred thousand dollars to the Pucho Social Club for their “good service to the community.”
Reach out to these groups and have them help. What are these community groups for?  That is the least HWL can do for our LATINA SISTERS. In situations like this, it’s our turn to come to their assistance.
The Buffalo Latino Village commits to contributing annually —if a health committee is established. We don’t need to beg outside groups to help jumpstart this project. We can do that ourselves. After that, HWL can solicit financial support and contributions from the public and private sectors.
 In the future, if properly planned, HWL can have its own public or private “Latina Mutual Society”, available to any citizen, Latino\a or non-Latino\a, who needs assistance or help, including in cases of disasters, like Hurricane Maria.
If the Puerto Rican Social Club and the Hispanic Heritage Council can get money from their political and corporate friends, it should not be that hard for HWL to entertain this idea. Use your community contacts.
Come on HWL! Take the lead and become the pioneer in making this project a reality.  The community would love you for it… and so will your Latina members. 


This editorial was inspired by the number of Latina sisters we see on Facebook requesting assistance with their medical or health issues, not able to raise the necessary funds to pay the high cost of medical treatment. 




JUN 20-JULY 3, 2022


July 2022

I usually have a hard time enjoying a theatre production when the play relies on one individual for the acting, the movement, and the energy.  Honestly, I try to always avoid one-person productions. Why did I go to this one?
The answer to the question is simple. I know the performer, I know the organization’s reputation, and I’ve enjoyed all the productions they’ve produced – and I was not disappointed.
Victoria Pérez is an amazing woman. She is a woman of all seasons, demonstrating repeatedly that she earned her gifts and talents from the universe. She is for real. If you are not familiar with Victoria, she is a Theatre Director, Actor, Writer, and Playwright. Oh yes, she is also the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Raices Theatre Company; with all these roles, her human experience added to her performance as wife and mother, and by the way, she also sings and dances.
What more can you ask for from this beautiful artist? She is truly enjoying her experience as a human being on this planet. She is a role model, and we can learn much from her, and I mean A LOT!  Her one-woman production, composed by Victoria and her sister, is an hour show, a show that will keep you awake, just in case, and it’s full of music, love, singing, and dancing some salsa. The play is about an individual struggling to fit in a world between Puerto Rico (Isleña) and Buffalo, a place with roots, a bilingual coqui cough in Buffalo trying to get back home, a cultural comfort zone, or a frog trying to get back to the “city of good neighbors”, a story of a confused soul searching for her permanent space – here or there?
It’s a pity they missed the deadline, and we were not able to promote this product in our June issue. This is a play that needs to come back, become a traveling theatre, and perform in our Puerto Rican/Latino institutions.  Her play started in the kitchen, but it moves your imagination to travel to her island and back to Buffalo, two places dominating her journey, starting when she was just a small girl, age nine.
We can go on, but the space in the Village is limited, and we need to stop here. You might miss this play, but you must reach out and get to know the wonderful work by Victoria and her theatre company, a gift to Buffalo’s Puerto Rican/Latino community — and the city of good neighbors.
I will keep my eyes open for their next production. Hats off to Victoria Pérez, her sister, and her wonderful team.



June 2022

It happened again! Innocent lives are forced to start their next journey prematurely, leaving behind their loved ones in disbelief.  It is not the way to go, but in this land of opportunities, in a land that gave power to a man named Donald Trump in 2016, bad things began to happen — the deep, rooted racism of America found its leader, their anti-Christ.  A mass shooting of families and children intensified like no other period in our history; nothing was off-limits: Churches, schools, community centers, nightclubs. Emotions aside, we should’ve seen it coming. Mass shootings are becoming an American pastime – something we do not want to see or accept. Shootings have taken place in many parts of the country; we are not alone.  The sad part is that people don’t care until it hits home-based. If I asked you if you still remembered any of the places attacked, you probably wouldn’t be able to remember. Call it what it is: White terrorism, White supremacy, or individuals with a mental history, all have been targeting and marginalizing communities of color since the founding of this country.
And that is the problem with America, a problem perpetuated by our local, state, and national elected officials with their inaction and etheric.  They take the time to demonstrate their emotion, interest, and condolences, and some visit families of the victims. Still, in the final analysis, they do NOTHING but only make love to the camera manifesting their concern, embrace the emotion for a few seconds or minutes and then move on to the next issue on their agenda for the day. THIS SITUATION DEMANDS FULL ATTENTION! The problem is severe. WE HAVE TO GET GUNS OFF THE STREETS!  Let’s strive to make the city of good neighbors into the city of the nation.  Let’s stay together, elected officials and community leaders, including community agencies and organizations. let’s put together a citywide petition and demand that our federal officials introduce it in Washington, dc. Let’s duplicate the petition and get it in the hands of every American to sign it, state-by-state.
The NRA, the Gun lobbyists, and the Republicans need to hear America’s cry: STOP THE KILLING! THE BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!  The blood of the victims is on the hands of Republicans, and on the hands of voters who continue to elect them to office year after year. We feel for the families of the young kids cut down, and for the families shopping at Tops Supermarket. America and Democracy need drastic change – good people better get ready because a storm is coming, and we are not talking about the weather. 



-First published in “Another Voice” column, the Buffalo News, April 16, 2022-

May 2022

Honest and loyal representation in our community will cost money to sustain, maintain and grow our communities. One of the significant problems we have in our communities is that we don’t invest in our candidates, and we don’t vote. Do you know what happens when we don’t vote or support decent candidates running for office? The interest groups, and people outside our communities, take the advantage and opportunity to invest, donate, contribute, and help them. By the time our candidates get elected to office, they no longer belong to our community. The interlopers that invested in them get the goodies and the right to control them.
The next time your local candidate comes to you for help, do the right thing for your neighborhood and yourself, and your family: Register to vote. This is a must in our democracy. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Research your candidate, find out about what your candidate stands for, and look at their experience with the community. Contribute if you like what you find out. Please get the word out to your friends and family to support your candidate and encourage them to donate to help them get elected. If you have the time, get involved directly by working with the committee to get them elected. There is so much you can do for the candidate as a volunteer. With our support, the candidate becomes a community product, not of the outside interest groups.
American politics are severe; the sooner we realize it, the sooner we can grow and advance the future of our city – socially, educationally, and economically. Look at the political principles at play in Buffalo: You must pay to play, and it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.
Register, educate yourself, and learn about who’s who in your neighborhood. Remember, when you say that you’re not interested in politics, that is a political statement. Help, and join those working to bring respect and quality representation to your community. Please do your homework and find out what groups in your community are genuinely looking out for your interest, not for themselves.
Too many people in our communities complain and cry about government service but are not registered, voters. We need to grow and develop; we need to be creative, imaginative, and work to make our young people proud of this city – the “city of good neighbors.”
We are entitled to a voice, but Buffalo communities must carve out that voice, not interlopers.
Help our communities, help yourself – become a registered voter.



January 2022

 This year in 2022, let’s open our eyes and be more alert and observant of the way our community functions and is treated by the political community.  Be responsible as a citizen. Since you pay taxes, find out who are the politicians or elected officials that represent the community you live in.
Get to know your community leaders and observe how they are doing. Are they legitimate community leaders or “self-proclaimed leaders produced by politicians always looking for easy votes, winning elections without opening their eyes, or accountable to anyone except the few who help in the manipulation and delivery of the community votes? (Empty promises).
Let’s start the new year with a commitment to get our house in order – socially, economically, and politically. Let’s get closer to our local organizations, like Hispanic United of Buffalo, PRLC, Father Belle, PRACA, Hispanic Heritage Council, Hispanic Women’s League, El Buen Amigo, El Batey Puerto Rican Center, Pushing Latinos Forward, etc.  Visit them, introduce yourself, ask questions, and request to see the budget, how they operate, what are the salaries of their top personal el, and who’s on their board of directors?  Ask about their mission and purpose in the community. Ask about employees, what they do, and how they get their jobs. What money are they getting from the city, state, and federal government? How is that money spent or utilized? 
You need to pay attention to your community. Did you know there are plans for a “Hispanic Heritage Center” planned for Niagara Street, sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Council? Ask them about who’s involved, and what they have in mind.  Have they talked to you or your neighbors about it, what community people are involved in? Who’s putting up or funding the project? Who’s handling the construction contracts? Who’s getting the jobs? These are all legitimate questions for you to ask, it’s the responsibility of the people, of a community to care.  Join and support some of them, especially if you like what you see and learn.
White communities will tell you, “Homie don’t play that.” They demand to be kept informed of what is happening in their communities. We need to do the same.  Unfortunately, the reason why black and Latino communities are always behind the 8 ball is that we don’t ask questions, and we don’t care. Change that in 2022, let’s make our community better, for our children, family, and community.  Let’s meet and talk to our leaders, let us build a better community.  In 2022, work on Transparency.   


December 2021

Dear Buffalo Latino Community:

Time to upgrade the imagination and creativity of the people leading our Puerto Rican/Latino community and move to develop a short and long-term plan for business and economic development on Calle Niágara. 
We already have a small movement in that direction with HHC’s plans to build a cultural center. But unfortunately, that’s as far as they have planned, failing to see the business, arts, and cultural potential.  With the money that’s coming into Buffalo, thanks to President Biden, and the community leaders, including the emerging young progressive faction, what are the leaders able to do? We can plan and take Niagara Square up to Porter Avenue, just like the Cubans in Miami have “Calle Ocho.”
Imagine Puerto Rican and Latino shops, stores, art galleries, restaurants, bookstore, entertainment outlets, a library, cultural center (HHC), as well as secure government and private funding to get groups like El Buen Amigo, Buffalo Online Latino Art Gallery, El Museo, Los Artistas del Bario, and El Batey Puerto Rican Center, to relocate to Calle Niágara.  This includes Panorama Hispano, La Ultima Hora, and the Latino Village to have office space, and other related individuals or groups not mentioned here. 
El Batey Puerto Rican Center is the leading Puerto Rican Cultural organization, located in Riverside, we should be able to convince them to open a satellite center on Niagara Street, but also support their location on the upper west side; it’s an area with an influx of Puerto Rican/Latino residents.
 This is the time to make it happen. Let us not be overlooked this time; we have been overlooked for too long. As a point of information, you should know that past Porter Avenue, Niagara Street has over twenty (20+) development projects in operation: bookstore, restaurants, housing, and more. What happened to our side of Niagara Street, from Porter to Niagara Square?
Many of you have excellent relationships with Mayor Brown, State Senator Sean M. Ryan, Councilman David Rivera, Assemblyman Jonathan Rivera, State Senator Tim Kennedy, Congressman Higgins, and other elected officials.
Put them to the test and see if they truly support our community. Utilize them!
¡Sí Se Puede!



December 2021

I was researching Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Bill and suddenly realized the number of non-profits involved would be getting a piece of the action to provide services to our local Latino community.
Question: How many of these Non-profits, and there are MANY, include Latino representation on their board of directors, as well as on their administrative staff?
I urge our Latino progressive groups, like Pushing Latinos Forward, the Buffalo Dominican Committee (BDC), and the Puerto Rican/Latino Committee (PRLC), to investigate this issue.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE HAVE LATINO BOARD REPRESENTATION; if not, our community will have little input, if any, on how the “infrastructure” money will travel throughout the city.
Now is the time to reach out to our elected officials to advocate on the community’s behalf.  We need to also reach out to our local unions; they are going to play a leading and major role with the Infrastructure Bill.


 Our NYS Governor, Hon. Kathy Hochul gave out some goodies during the “Somos” conference in Puerto Rico this past week. A conference is an annual event where Latinos — “elected and community leaders” — take a vacation with your hard-earned taxes under the disguise of a “legislative, public policy business activity.
The Governor is going to need the downstate votes if she plans to be NYS governor. In that spirit, she wasted no time in trying to solidify the New York City vote by announcing the names of several Latinos to key appointments.
Since I live in Buffalo, NY, I would love to know what “goodies” she has under the Christmas tree for Latinos from “upstate” NY, as well as Syracuse, Rochester, and other upstate communities with a sizable Latino population. I strongly recommend that our progressive Latino groups take the lead in reaching out to the Governor to help her develop an upstate “Latino plan.”
I’m sure that some Buffalo Latinos are already working to attach themselves to her Christmas patronage tree; but to get the most mileage for our community, it’s vital to have the progressive and independent Latino voice at the table.
“Pushing Latinos Forward” (PLF), which represents several progressive Latino groups, must not take this too lightly, or else, the only thing our community will receive is “tokenism” handouts.
The Governor will be wise to listen to their voices.



November 2021

A long political stretch, but it’s time to begin again, regroup, observe, and review the political experience. From this past campaign, a beautiful thing happened, the progressive element of the Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Latino communities in general united. A group, by nature of its political philosophy, is more aggressive and independent.  And another thing happened — Young Latinos were attracted to the India Walton campaign, essential in building progressive community coalitions. 
The emergence of Christian Parra, Geo Hernandez, Louisa Pacheco, and Beatriz Flores, opens the door to a whole new Latino world in Buffalo, NY. The knowledge, intellect, community experience, and progressive passion they bring (including their creativity and imagination) are a large contribution to the emerging growth and development of the local Latino community. Geo Hernandez, a Canisius College graduate who recently completed her master’s degree, started working with the local chapter of the Working Families Party. Before the new job, she worked on Climate change, environmental, gentrification, and affordable housing issues with the Buffalo Push organization.  Louisa Pacheco, another dynamic Latina, made her mark by demonstrating her political and community organizing skills. She is the Regional Political Organizer for the New York State United Teachers, as well as a member of the Working Families Party. Beatriz Flores, a cultural icon, is the founder and executive director of El Batey Puerto Rica Center, a magical space full of Puerto Rican culture, history, education, and pure energy. This is the community and cultural place to support, the place to watch, follow, and help grow. Families and their kids are already enjoying the fruits of her gift and labor.  Christian Parra, who first came to play football in Buffalo, NY, found himself volunteering at Buffalo Push, involved in youth voter registration drives, gentrification, and affordable housing.  This experience led to the founding of Pushing Latinos Forward, which was the group that organized the “Latinos for India Walton Mayor” campaign. He is a workhorse. The visits of Oscar Lopez Rivera and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) to Buffalo happened because of this young man. He makes things happen. All this experience led to the national organization, “People’s Machine”, offering a national post, where he will be responsible for training communities on how to develop voter registration, organizations, etc. This young man is truly a “kingmaker” and is a gift for his presence in Buffalo.  The Senior Citizens Progressive Connection:  Another element that came together to work with these young people, is well-known in the grassroots community, due to a long-standing involvement in Latino services and political activity, but always in opposition to the leadership and conservative element of the established Puerto Rican/Latino leadership.  The likes of Santiago Masferrer, Luz Velez, Jose C. Pizarro, Cesar Cabrera, Roberto Quintana, Alberto O. Cappas, and others too many to list….
All represent important organizations in Buffalo, like El Buen Amigo, Puerto Rican/Latino Committee, and the Buffalo Latino Village.
I expect to see this combination of young and this older groups having a positive impact in Buffalo. Like the young Christian Parra said during the India Walton campaign: “We want to be sitting around the table, not under the table.”     


October 2021

 Buffalo has been a flat beer for too long — no creativity, no imagination, with a mayor who wants to be a dictator, ruling this city for too long, refusing to accept defeat, now acting like a kid crying for his lollipop; and supported by Trump-related roots or links. Buffalo needs a new dress, a clean and new face to complement New York State’s first female Governor. 
The reasons why we should support and vote for India Walton are obvious and essential. She has young people supporting her candidacy, young Buffalonians ready to help with the growth and development of this city, displaying lots of ideas and energy. It is something we have not seen in a long time. 
If we want Buffalo to grow and develop, to keep our young people here in the city, we need to jump out of the destructive comfort zone that voters have experienced for the past 15 years.
The mayor is tired, with no energy, old ideas, has the same story, with no vision or mission that will keep our young people in Buffalo, a college town, where upon graduation, these young people leave the city after receiving their education after 4 plus years. They hit and run!
With Brown, you get the same flat beer, a continuation of a comfort zone that holds on to the past, full of greed, and a selected small group enjoying the fruits of the controlled comfort zone.  With India Walton, you get new ideas and a future that our young people will work and live with.   We have a great opportunity to make history by electing the first female mayor, complimenting New York St which just confirmed the first female governor.
The time is here for us to accept a new journey, an exciting challenge.  With India Walton, this city will grow, create real jobs for everyone, and make it possible for college students to stay here instead of leaving for career opportunities elsewhere.    This is the time for Byron Brown to pass the torch to the endorsed Democratic nominee.
India Walton is the new Buffalo, the new challenge, our future, our children’s future. She is not perfect, (and neither was Brown), but India Walton represents an important and bright beginning. Please do not get manipulated by the mass of advertisements the Brown people are throwing at us.
In this new city, it will no longer be: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That will come to an end.  In this new city, it will no longer be: “You have to pay to play.” That will come to an end. In this new city, everyone will have the same opportunities, regardless of color, class, or political affiliation.  It would be wise to give your support and vote to India Walton’s mayor on Tuesday, November 2nd. If not for you, do it for education and our young generation.



September 2021

Today, Tino and I got together with Jaime Cueva, a longtime friend, and colleague. We were UB students during the 60s, involved in trying to make things right and just in the world. We talked about our community involvement, we talked about our work in the migrant camps in North Collins, Hamburg, and Dunkirk, and how PODER was able to convince some to pursue an education. Tino remembered the days he worked at the Bethlehem  Plant before he got the opportunity to attend UB.
He talked about WBFO-FM and the 4 hours of Spanish programming which disappeared without anyone putting up a protest.
We gossiped about Pucho Olivencia Sr., Carmen Rodriguez, Raul González, Ramon Gallardo, Esaias González, Confessor Cruz, and Carlos Olivencia, especially how he confronted PODER (Alberto O. Cappas) to make sure that we also advocated for and recruited Buffalo Puerto Rican students.
We talked about many things, we covered the difference between politics on the East Side and the Lower West Side. We talked about the mindset of yesterday in comparison to today. We concluded that yesterday’s students were a revolutionary generation. Today, unfortunately, we have a commercialized generation.
The gossip between these old men came to an end. Jaime looked at his watch and said it was time to leave. Jaime and I left a good tip, but Tino thought it was too much. We explained that we like walking into our favorite restaurant and getting a smile the minute that we walk in, and even a complimentary glass of red wine. Jaime and I concluded that Tino must get a lot of angry faces when he walks into his favorite places.
In the end, we all went our separate ways until we save enough money to have our next reunion. Jaime lives in Miami, Florida, Tino in Williamsville, and Alberto on the lower west side.
Uno de Ecuador, el otro de Mexico, y yo de Puerto Rico, bochinchando en Towne Restaurant, en Español, en ingle, y en Spanglish.
 Note: We covered so many topics that we promised to communicate with each other and try to put a book together, to document the hidden history of Buffalo’s Puerto Rican/Latino community. Stay tuned until these old men get together for bochinche part 2.


July 2021

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We congratulate the first (soon-to-be) Queen of Buffalo, India Walton, on defeating the long-time mayor, Byron Brown, who is now acting more like Trump in his refusal to accept the defeat like a gentleman. Instead, he declared his candidacy to run as a “write-in.”
Buffalo did the right thing in voting for India, and we hope Buffalo will do the right thing again in November.
While the Buffalo Latino Village did not endorse any candidates in the primary, we want to make it clear to our Puerto Rican/Latino community that INDIA WALTON is Buffalo’s candidate for Mayor. She is the candidate that we need to support and vote for, especially if we want to see real and substantial positive changes, not only for our Latino community but for the city of Buffalo as a whole. 
We have young people in place, people who were right there with India Walton from the beginning, Latinos who led and reached out to our community to support India Walton – and did a great job!
LATINO COMMITTEE: Christian Parra, Luz Velez, and Geo Hernandez, are the leading Latinos on India’s team from the beginning, and they will be there with her to the November election. We must work to get India Walton to the finish line in November. Let us make sure that India Walton makes it to the finish line.




June 2021

We should not honor Spaniards by calling ourselves “Hispanics.” Our ancestors were enslaved, tortured, raped, and killed by the Spaniards; the term is directly linked to their roots.
This information is well documented, but it has been twisted and manipulated by government and educational institutions.
Our conditioned community leaders, educators, and our non-profit community organizations and agencies are paid via government grants to perpetuate and implement this orientation.
We are “Americans now” while Borinquen becomes a paradise for the American corporations, dispersing our people to different states in the union. The same applies to our Mexican, Dominican, and Cuban families.


For Candidates Only:


May 2021

Election time is here again, with the primary elections on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, and the general elections on November 2nd. For the candidates looking for the Puerto Rican/Latino vote, here are a few pointers to know about Buffalo’s Puerto Rican/Latino community. When you look for the Latino vote, know that over 90% of the Latino vote is Puerto Rican, followed by Dominicans and Cubans, with the rest from Latin America. Many Puerto Ricans do not like the term “Hispanic.” You are better off using the term, Puerto Ricans, Boricuas, or Latinos (inclusion of all Latino people) when addressing our community.
Education is a major concern for our children and young people. The schools lack quality educational programs and there is a great need to recruit Puerto Rican/Latino educators, administrators, and teachers. It does not hurt to hire non-educational staff as well. We can add Latinos to the overall staffing of the institutions. There are many jobs where a degree is not needed.  Language is a concern in interacting with the public and private sector for many in our community whose dominant language is Spanish.  Jobs are lacking. Because of our weak political representation, public and private sectors overlook our community when hiring “people of color.” You can see this reality when you walk into a bank for service. You see all colors, but none are Latinos, and very few, if any, speak Spanish to make our visit productive and meaningful.
While Buffalo is a college town, these educational institutions do little in recruiting Latino students. Their advertising budget is spent on white and black publications, but little, if any, on our community publications (La Ultima Hora, Latino Village, and Panorama Hispano). We do give credit to Buffalo State which does advertise in one of our local publications. Criminal Justice. That speaks for itself. Spanish faces are completely absent in the local criminal justice system unless we are speaking about inmates. Political representation. We have two elected officials and several community leaders with an excellent relationship with the Buffalo & Erie County political system. But unfortunately, that has become a “clique or connection” relationship. Only a few within the circle benefit, having first offer an opportunity before opening to the community, leaving many qualified Latinos unemployed due to a lack of personal connection. As the saying goes: “It’s not what you know, it is who you know”, or “You have to pay to play.”  Consequently, we lose good and qualified Latinos who have no choice but to leave Buffalo for better opportunities. We get stuck with a Latino leadership that lacks creativity, imagination, and vision. Things have not changed for over 40-50 years.  The inner circle continues to feed itself at the expense of the community.  In closing, these are issues that candidates should address if they want to work with the Buffalo Latino community. Latino Resources Online: webpages for new and independent information:,,,,



December 2020

We are sure that each month you visit your local retail store for your shopping needs you come across our three (3) Puerto Rican/Latino papers, Panorama Hispano, La Ultima Hora, and the newest kid on the block, the Buffalo Latino Village.
The work to get these publications to you is not easy, it’s a labor of love, of social sacrifice, especially when advertisers (public & private) are not knocking on their door to place an advertisement. You should know that advertisement pays for the life of the paper. If you only see a few ads, you should know the paper is investing its own money to bring you their publication every month. It’s a personal investment on their part. Besides the labor in putting the paper together, they take money out of their pocket. You should know that. Sometimes when you see an announcement, you might think it’s an ad, but it’s just an announcement, courtesy of our hard labor and kindness — published as a public service.
When you read this, if you are a businessperson, work as a manager for government, or the private sector, go out of your way, use your contacts, and see what you can do to help these publications get paid advertisement.”
We have many community leaders, community organizations, and community activists. We give our community a public platform. I can’t believe these publications have a hard time attracting advertisements.
Where is our COMMUNITY POWER?  These Latino papers invest in you… Why not invest in them?



Octubre 2020

El 3de noviembre vamos a las urnas para votar en las elecciones presidenciales. En estas elecciones, hay un buen y un mal candidato. Uno continuará destruyendo el experimento de nuestra democracia y constitución, preparándose para borrar algunos de nuestros mayores logros como una democracia joven.
No somos perfectos, pero hemos demostrado la voluntad de mejorar el espíritu humano. Este actual presidente, Donald Trump, ha demostrado ser una fuerza negativa en el desarrollo del espíritu humano, introduciendo una América diferente, llena de odio, racismo, violencia y fascismo.  En esta elección tienes la opción de traicionar el espíritu positivo del universo, para ayudar en el desarrollo del nuevo orden oscuro, sin compasión, sin empatía, como el que ocupa la Casa Blanca.
El otro, Joe Biden, aunque no es un individuo excepcional, ha estado en un cargo público por más de 40 años, y esos 40 años, no ha dañado el clima, no ha provocado ningún mal trato a la democracia y la constitución de los estadounidenses.   Nosotros podemos ir a dormir por la noche y saber que nuestra democracia y constitución estarán allí cuando despiertemos. No se puede decir lo mismo de Donald Trump.
Por lo tanto, por favor, ahora es el momento de entregar su verdadera arma americana – su VOTE para ayudar a derrotar esta pesadilla estadounidense. Envía a Trump a prisión donde pertenece, y deja que el pueblo estadounidense se lleve la casa del pueblo.
Vota JOB BIDEN para el próximo presidente de los Estados Unidos de América.



October 2020 Issue

On November 3rd we go to the polls to vote in the presidential elections. In this election, there is a good and bad candidate. The latter will destroy the experiment of our democracy and constitution, and attempt to erase some of our biggest achievements as a young democracy.
We are not perfect, but we have demonstrated the will to improve the human spirit. The current president, Donald Trump, has proven to be a different America: one full of hate, racism, violence, and fascism.  In this election you have a choice: one to betray the positive spirit, giving us a new political order — with no compassion, no empathy, just like the one occupying the White House; or one that will protect our American democracy and values as reflected in the United States Constitution.
Our Choice: Joe Biden. while not an exceptional individual, has been in public office for over 40 years, and in those 40 years, has not harmed the climate, has not provoked any ill-treatment of American’s democracy and constitution.  With Joe Biden, we can go to sleep at night and know that our democracy and constitution will be there when we wake up. You cannot say the same for Donald Trump.
Therefore, please, now is the time to deliver your true American weapon – your VOTE, to help defeat this American nightmare. Send Trump to prison where he belongs, and let the American people take back the people’s house.
Vote JOB BIDEN the next president of the United States of America.


August 2020

Tino Mejía está escribiendo actualmente una introducción al libro, “GALLARDO”, que será publicado por el Buffalo Latino Village a final del año. El libro es una colección de columnas mensuales de Ramon Gallardo que fueron presentadas en el Latin Journal. Ambos eran miembros activos del Lackawanna Mexican Club. Tino fue el que presentó y sugirió que Ramón escribiera para el Latin Journal, que le proporcionó una plataforma para escribir sobre su perspectiva sobre los líderes puertorriqueños y sobre los funcionarios electos en ese momento. No dudó en abordar la falta de liderazgo, la corrupción pública y privada, y la falta de apoyo de la comunidad local puertorriqueña/latina.
Su escritura tuvo un impacto de que la gente recogió el diario sólo para leer sus columnas, y la prensa local, al igual que el Buffalo News, llamó su atención e hizo toda una página difundida sobre él.
El editor del Latino Journal, Alberto Cappas, recibió una llamada del editor de Buffalo News e inmediatamente Alberto duro que querían hacer un artículo sobre la revista.  “No”, dijo el editor de Buffalo News, “Estamos interesados en entrevistar a uno de sus escritores, Ramon Gallardo, entendemos que es un escritor excelente y único para su publicación”.
Tino Mejía fue  miembro de PODER y también fue el fundador del Club Estudiantes Chicanos de la UB (1970).  También  fue profesor del Departamento de Estudios Puertorriqueños de la UB..
Un defensor de los migrantes, con la ayuda de Alberto O. Cappas, fundador de PODER, WBFO-FM Latino programación, y PRCC, Tino fue capaz de organizar un grupo para ayudar y trabajar con los trabajadores migrantes en Dunkirk y North Collins, que en ese momento, se enfrentaban al racismo y las dificultades, y problemas para  encontrar vivienda  digna.
Tino pudo invitar a César Chávez, un líder laboral estadounidense y activista de derechos civiles, a Buffalo, donde habló con los estudiantes de la UB sobre los migrantes y sus condiciones de trabajo en Estados Unidos. Bajo el mando del Dr. George Rivera, un profesor mexicano, juntos escribieron un artículo sobre trabajadores migrantes en el estado de Nueva York.


English Translation



 Tino Mejia is presently writing an introduction to the book, “GALLARDO”, to be published by the Buffalo Latino Village by the end of the year. The book is a collection of Ramon Gallardo’s monthly columns which were featured in the Latin Journal. Both were active members of the Lackawanna Mexican Club. Tino was the one that introduced and suggested that Ramon should write for the Latin Journal, which provided him a platform to write about his perspective on the Puerto Rican leaders and on elected officials at the time. He did not hesitate to address the lack of leadership, public and private corruption, and the lack of support from the local Puerto Rican/Latino community.
His writing had an impact that people picked up the journal only to read his columns, and the local press, like the Buffalo News, caught his attention and did a whole page spread on him.
The Journal publisher, Alberto Cappas, received a call from the editor of the Buffalo News, and immediately Alberto thought they wanted to do an article about the journal.  “No”, said the Buffalo News editor, “We are interested in interviewing one of your writers, Ramon Gallardo, we heard he’s an excellent and unique writer for your publication.”
Tino Mejia was a member of PODER, and he was also the founder of UB’s Chicano Student Union (1970). He also was a lecturer with UB’s Puerto Rican Studies Department.
A migrant advocate, with the help of Alberto O. Cappas, founder of PODER, WBFO-FM Latino programming, and PRCC, Tino was able to organize a group to assist and work with the migrant workers in Dunkirk and North Collins, who at the time, were facing racism and hardship and problems in finding decent housing. Tino was able to invite Cesar Chavez, an American labor leader & civil rights activist, to Buffalo where he spoke to UB students about the migrants and their working conditions in America. Under Dr. George Rivera, a Mexican American professor, together they wrote a paper on migrant workers in  New York State, at the time, the people had little information about migrants working on farms in western New York, mostly in Dunkirk and North Collins. The workers came from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the south.
Both the Chicano Student Union and PODER used some of their student budget or funds to help the migrant workers. Later, Tino went on to host the Mexican hour with WBFO, and worked with the BUILD organization, at the time, the only advocate and civil rights group in the Black Community.
The book, “GALLARDO”, is scheduled for publication at the end of the year. To reserve or purchase a copy email



June 2020

This past month, a golden opportunity opened at Herman Badillo Public School 76 to hire a Puerto Rican as the school principal, but unfortunately, the school will continue to be led by a non-Latino in a school that is 90% Puerto Rican/Latino.

The candidate many community people expected to see selected, was Maria Rosario Cala, who served as their temporary principal for eight months from 2017 to 2018 and did an exceptional job! When this vacancy became available, people thought she was the obvious choice.
According to many parents, she is the unofficial voice of the school, always reaching out and working with the Puerto Rican/Latino parents and students, communicating both in English and Spanish, and serving as the unofficial “Community liaison.”
For the past several years she has been the school face at the Puerto Rican/Latino Day Parade, representing Herman Badillo. She also represents the school at community functions involving the Puerto Rican/Latino community. She has had an impact on developing a positive link between the school and the community. In this role, she has helped solve potential problems with teachers and students. While not part of the job requirements, translating or interpreting has become part of her role at the school. All morning announcements, 5 days a week, are done by Maria – in English and Spanish.
According to her colleagues, Maria has taken the lead in supporting cultural diversity. She led and promoted Multi-cultural Ecology, School Climate, and understanding the different cultures. She is the one that coordinates and initiates cultural school activities for students, teachers, and parents.
All this is important considering that 90% of the students at Herman Badillo are Puerto Rican/Latino and there is an absence of Latino administrators or Latino role models at the top chain of the school system – not only at Herman Badillo Public School 76.
The voice of the community must come together and put a stop to this obvious case of discrimination against the Buffalo Puerto Rican/Latino community and take the opportunity to meet with the Board of Education to develop a “Puerto Rican/Latino Affirmative Plan” to identify, recruit, and hire Latino Educators/Administrators to address this problem.
But first, let us make sure Maria Rosario Cala is given her date in class, and move to hire her for the position she proved, repeatedly, to be able to lead with flying colors.
This problem is not isolated to Herman Badillo. There are 6 Bilingual Schools in the District; only 3 of them have Latino Principals: Frank A. Sedita Community School, BPS30 – Principal, Rafael Perez; D’Youville-Porter Campus School BPS3, Principal; Freddy Barrera BPS48 @ 39 – Principal, Miguel Medina; Frederick Law Olmstead, BPS64 – Principal, Marquita Bryant; Bilingual Center, BPS33 – Principal, Hadassa Bachelor; and Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy, BPS76 – Principal, Kathryn Foy, who is leaving this July.
We have more related facts, but we want you to do your research to learn the numbers of schools with a predominantly Latino student body with no Puerto Rican/Latino principals or administrators. The Buffalo Puerto Rican/Latino community is not the same community of yesterday. We have the numbers, we have the education, we have the professionals, and we have the educators/administrators to lead many of the Buffalo Public Schools.
The Buffalo Latino Village challenges our Puerto Rican/Latino community and Educators, to raise their voices and make sure that the Buffalo School system will do the right thing, not for you or me, but for our children and our young people. Groups like the Hispanic Heritage Council (HHC), Hispanic Women’s League, Puerto Rican Latino Committee (PRLC), and the Hispanics United of Buffalo (HUB) must demonstrate their community leadership and say: “enough is enough!”
 The Puerto Rican/Latino community has an opportunity to let the School Board know how it feels about this issue. The next Board of Education meeting (virtual) is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17th. Community leaders must support this committed and qualified woman for the principal position. 816-3568 is the number to sign up to speak.
Looking at her resume and years of teaching, combined with her many years of student and community service, Maria Rosario-Cala has paid her dues. Show her we CARE…



June 2020

Quintana is no stranger to controversy and no stranger to life’s ups and downs, an experience close to our own home. He relates to and feels what we feel on the West Side. He is not an outsider; he is a legitimate West Sider.… He is one of us!
Background: Former City police officer who served in various roles for 24 years ranging from School Resource Officer to serve as Community Police Officer.
In 1994, Robert Quintana became a Nationwide Ambassador for United Way. He appeared in television commercials with Buffalo Bills’ Thurman Thomas and crossed the country to share his story of how his life was impacted by the years of community service. He found himself running for the Niagara District. He was elected and served two full terms devoting himself to better opportunities and a better future for the residents of the West Side. While serving on the Council, Roberto Quintana also served as Chairman of the council committees of Legislation, Crime, and Reorganization. Simultaneously, he served as a member of various other committees.
 Why we need to support Quintana: As you can see, he has the track record to do us proud if he is allowed to represent us in Albany as our State Assemblyman.  We do not need someone who is going to take direction from the political machine. We need someone who is going to take directions from our community. He has experience governing, effecting positive legislation, and dealing with difficult budgets, and he does not need on-the-job training. Most importantly, he is NOT A YES PERSON. He has the strong character to play by the community’s game, and not by the political machine’s game.  Under his leadership, our community will be present at the table, not under the table. He is exactly who we need to represent us.
The West Side is the only Buffalo community that represents true cultural diversity. Help us keep it that way! With Roberto, we can begin to carve out a business and economic development plan to help our businesses and our residents.  Vote Quintana: Assemblyman for the 149th District.



May 2020

The endorsed candidate, Jon Rivera, has no direct ties with our Puerto Rican/Latino community. He lives far from our community and has no idea of our daily struggles. His only ties are his father, Niagara District Councilman David Rivera.
On the date of Jon Rivera’s endorsement, there was no, not even one, Puerto Rican or Latino standing by his side, only an all-white cast of political characters. This is a sign of things to come if you elect a Puerto Rican/Latino controlled by the democratic political machine.
On the other hand, it was a breath of fresh air to see Roberto Quintana surrounded by Puerto Ricans/Latinos, and others, as he announced his entry into the race to become the next NYS 149th Assemblyman. The announcement was made right on Niagara Street, which is the heartbeat and soul of the Latino community.
Roberto brings to this race what we need: experience, west side residence, and understanding of the social, economic, and political needs of our people and community.
While Jon Rivera was endorsed by politically controlled Latinos, Roberto Quintana was endorsed by Latinos from all walks of life, including Dr. Raul Vazquez, Alberto O. Cappas, and Raul Hernandez, three people that live or work in the lower west side community.  Dr. Raul Vazquez runs the family health facilities on Niagara Street, Raul Hernandez is the owner of the well-known restaurant, “Niagara’s Café”, and Alberto O. Cappas is the publisher of the monthly publication, Buffalo Latino Village, as well as the founder of the Puerto Rican/Latino Committee (PRLC). They are all politically independent individuals and well-known advocates for the Latino community. (See photo on May issue of the Buffalo Latino Village)
You are not going to get that quality of leadership or service from the endorsed candidate.
Quote from Roberto Quintana: “The important thing is that we keep serving our community in these difficult times of crisis. The safety, health, and security of Mi Gente, Mi Pueblo, is the most important priority right now. This is a time where Leaders stand up and Lead! I applaud you, Dr. Vazquez, Cappas, and Pizzaro, and all the volunteers from our community, who quietly and without hesitation, have been on the streets making a difference. Take the time, do your research, talk to people, and make the right decision. It’s your choice, it has a direct impact on the growth and development of our community.”
 When the time for election comes, it should not be a difficult choice, cast your vote for Roberto Quintana as your next New York State Assemblyman for the 149th Assembly district.



April 2020

CHRISTIAN PARRA. As always, you find this young man out there in the street, in the community working to make life better for our communities. If you don’t know Parra, you should!
He is the founder of PUSHING Latinos Forward and the Peoples’ Machine, as well as a member of the Puerto Rican/Latino Committee, and a ‘guest writer’ for the Buffalo Latino Village. He recently worked for the PUSH organization, leaving to work with the Citizens Action organization.
He called me during the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis (this past month, March), early on a Saturday afternoon to see if I had a list of senior citizens that needed help or food. He explained that there were “too many senior citizens living alone and isolated, and we need to identify them and get to them with food and any assistance we can provide. We just can’t stay home”, he said.
He, along with a group of young men and women, and assisted by his partner, Geovaira Hernandez, a Latina who is becoming well-known throughout the state for her work with climate change and environmental issues.
A fundraising apparatus was organized, including social media, Facebook, and PayPal, plus direct donations.
With the help of their community contacts, the group was able to go shopping for food, and have teams to make food deliveries.  They organized the project into several steps, the first was the purchase of carts; phase two was the preparation of individual care packages, and phase three was the delivery of the food to the elders and large families in the community. They even called me to see if I needed anything, seeing that my wife and I are both senior citizens, but with God’s blessing, we were ok and did not need anything.
According to Parra, this effort “will continue until this Coronavirus crisis is over. We can still use support and donation so we can continue. Please help us help our senior citizen community. If you want to donate, go to Paypal or All the money goes directly for food. We are all volunteers, doing this for free, and we feel very good about it, knowing that we are fulfilling a vital role during the time of need.”
Parra said he was grateful that many came to help, which includes Adam Bojak is running for NYS Assemblyman in the 149th NYS Assembly District. Other helpers include Eric Antony Maldonado, Avi, and Keith.
For information:


March 2019 Issue

Dear Black community: I’ve noticed that several black businesses, but not many, are popping up in different parts of Buffalo, but not in the Black or East Side community.
While this looks positive on the surface, and take my word for it, the business might not complete a year.
Some of these new businesses will fail before the year is over. We must designate several blocks in the black community, like Jefferson or Fillmore, and develop a black business and economic development district with art and cultural theme, Restaurants, Black Cultural Center, Book Store, Boutique Shop/s, College satellites (UB, Canisius, Buffalo State, etc.), Library, Bank/s, Art Galleries, Retail businesses, and barbershops. Many of these black businesses exist already, but they are scattered all over the city struggling to survive, with very little consumer traffic.
These businesses, if located in the district, or black businesses that relocate, will generate consumer traffic. It will also, which is very important, leave the money in the community, building a strong economic base. Having an isolated black business in a non-black community is not the thing to do, at least not currently.
We need to think collectively. Otherwise, our businesses will continue to fade away, one by one, and without notice. The Black community leadership must commit to a collective business and economic plan. Without it, ghettos will not go away.
The same applies to the Puerto Rican/Latino community. Imagine if El Museo, El Batey Dance Company, Hispanic Heritage Council, La Ultima Hora, Panorama Hispano, Buffalo Latino Village, La Cueva Restaurant, and other Latino businesses, were all located on Niagara Street.



November 2019 Issue

Honest and loyal representation in our community is going to cost money, to sustain, maintain, and grow our communities.
One of the major problems we have in our communities is that we don’t invest in our candidates, and we don’t vote!
Do you know what happens when we don’t supply our support to our candidate/s running for office? The interest groups, and people outside our communities, take the advantage and opportunity to invest, donate, contribute, and support them. By the time our candidates get elected to office, they no longer belong to our community. The people that invested in them get the goodies and the right to control them.
They got him or her elected — not us!
The next time your local candidate comes to you for help, do the right thing for your people, yourself, and your family:
Register to vote – this is a must in our democracy. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain! Research your candidate, find out about what your candidate stands for, and look at his or her experience with the community. Contribute If you like what you find out, contribute what you can, $5, $10, $15, etc., and if you can, give more. Get the word out to your friends and family to support your candidate and encourage them to donate what they can to help him, or her get elected.  If you have the time, get involved directly by working with the committee working to get him or her elected. There is so much you can do for the candidate, just by volunteering one to three or four hours per day or for the whole week. The little time you give your candidate can turn out to be beneficial to you and our community.
If we do all these things, the candidate becomes a product of the community, becomes your candidate, and not of the political machine, not of the outside interest groups.  American politics is very serious, and the sooner we realize it, the sooner we can grow and advance the future of our community — socially, educationally, and economically. Look at the political principle of this city: “You have to pay to play, and it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Well folks, let’s stop the political abuse, and let us begin to develop our own “game in the interest of our people, our children, and our youth.
 Remember, when you say that you’re not interested in politics, that in itself is a political statement. Help, and join those that are working to bring respect and quality representation to your community. Do your homework and find out what groups in your community are truly looking out for your interest, not for themselves. Too many people in our community complain and cry about government service, but are not registered, voters.
We need to grow and develop, we need to be creative, and imaginative, work to make our young people proud of their Puerto Rican Roots, their Dominican Roots, their Cuban Roots, their Latino Roots… We must carve out a piece of the action for our community. All other communities have their territory, their commissioners, their elected officials, and their countless businesses and services.
We too are entitled to have a dream, but that dream must be carved out by us, not outsiders. We can use their support, but not their handouts.
Help your leaders! Help yourself! Register to VOTE!



November 2019 

Dear Emerging Poets and Writers: I’m writing this piece of information directed at poets/writers who are ready or interested in getting their work published.
In answer to the question, ’how do I find a publisher for my book?’ This information should be able to help you in your decision process.
Many literary organizations will help you with your interest in getting published in your local community. Don’t take shortcuts. Do your research and locate these literary groups. They exist locally, state, and nationally. Examples, Poets & Writers, Poets Society, Poetry Foundation, and Just Buffalo. You may have to pay a membership fee, but it is worth it, it’s a good investment, take advantage and enroll in their seminars, and workshops, and attend their programs when they invite, and feature establish poets or writers.
This is all part of the journey to being a published poet or writer. For those with a complete manuscript, these groups will help you to identify legitimate publishers. Sometimes, you need to pay a small fee ($10 to $50) to have your work reviewed and consider for publishing.  Don’t take shortcuts, otherwise, you are going to find yourself spending a lot of money to print a book that is not going anywhere.
Now, if you have good skills in editing, marketing, promotion, etc., you might want to consider publishing the book yourself (it’s called “self-publishing”) using Amazon, and other online semi-publishers will print your book as is, and only charge you to purchase your book at a low rate while selling to customers a said price that you agreed to.
Make sure to do the proper research before going this route, and don’t take any shortcuts. Remember that even great writers or poets have to depend on an editor to make them look good in the revision and formation of the book (front and back cover), but their legitimate publisher assumes the complete cost, not the writer. The publisher even invests money in marketing and promotion. Do your research, it is right under your nose.
Again, do not take shortcuts, and don’t pay hundreds or thousands to book printers that disguise themselves as legitimate publishers. Do your research.



 October  2019 Issue

First, it was the San Juan District, then came the cultural art mural, after that came the Isaias Soto Gonzalez Library, in addition to their annual fund-raisers, plus all-year events, which includes the Latino Heritage Month in September…and now comes the “Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute”, their biggest ambitious project so far – the construction of a 3-floor building to serve as the “Hispanic Cultural Center”, and by the way, did anyone in the community decide on the name? As for me, I hate the term “Hispanic” – but that’s another story for a history lesson.
The proposed new project will be located on the corner of Niagara and Hudson Streets (lower west side), which will be green energy efficient with solar panels and other energy savings, it will encompass about 33,000 square feet on three floors.
The primary architectural design objective (designed by Snyder Architecture) is to create a friendly, modern, and sustainable facility with Latino elegance. The conceptual exterior images depict a variety of natural materials such as stone and wood, accented with bold colors, reminiscent of the Caribbean. The facades also incorporate expansive sections of glass to deliver abundant natural light and encourage visual connections to the internal activities, promoting inclusivity for a diverse user group.
Interior spaces include a museum, café, gift shop, performing arts theater, activities space, broadcast media center, learning labs, and administrative spaces spread over the first two floors. The third floor will be allocated for tenant-leased space as means of generating revenue, to support economic sustainability – the heart and soul of the Center.
Since it is designated a “public facility”, all the codes have or will be addressed, so the project should move forward without any setbacks or obstacles.
 A REAL CHALLENGE:  The city of Buffalo has been growing and developing for quite some time now, but unfortunately, the Puerto Rican/Latino community, along with the Black community on the east, have been left behind.
We too, need to get a piece of the action, and this center, hopefully, can serve as the jump-start engine to begin the economic development process of our community. While most of the community groups are in fear of competition, we believe that competition is good, based on the nature of HHC’s concept, there is absolutely no competition.
While we were not too happy with the history and cultural banners project on Niagara Street, and we were disappointed with the planning process of the naming of the Niagara Branch Library, we believe the Center is essential in moving toward establishing “our Puerto Rican/Latino District”, to provide the economic & cultural visibility, desperately needed on the lower west side, adding our contribution to the diversity of the city.
HHC has done a great job on behalf of the lower west side, with or without support, and they have displayed a level of community arrogance. While we know HHC means well, most of them don’t reside in the community they claim to serve. Neither have they ‘truly’ tried to recruit ideas, suggestions, or opinions from the Puerto Rican/Latino residents, but it’s not too late to incorporate their participation or involvement; it would be great for “Council members” to live on the lower west side, especially when they claim to love and advocate for our community so much.
Having said that, it’s an excellent move for HHC, but this must be only the beginning. Raices and El Batey, for example, should occupy space in the center, but only temporarily. They need their own “economic space” to control, plan, perform, to help generate human traffic (consumers) to spend money on the lower west side, to benefit our already established Latino and non-Latino businesses and community.
With the right marketing and promotion, the San Juan District should have no problem attracting tourists from Canada and other parts of New York State – the Peace Bridge is only a few blocks or seconds away.
In addition to Raices and El Batey, HHC should work on an economic plan to attract el Museo, Amor y Heritage, el Buen Amigo, and other related groups to be part of the Puerto Rican/Latino Renaissance, getting them to relocate to the San Juan District. New York State has an economic program that helps businesses with tax abatements, renovation, and a period of free rent if one relocates to a designated economic zone. I believe the San Juan District can if not already, become a designated zone for economic, art, and cultural growth and development; this is where HHC can get “creative” and use their political connections wisely.
As a writer, I would love to see a Latino literary bookstore where one can come for a reading or purchase a book published by one of our local poets and writers – Jose Vega, Olga Karman, Rosa Gonzalez, Jorge Guitart, Laura DeJesus, Alberto O. Cappas, and feature non-local Latino authors.
We depend too much on non-profit groups or the private sector to serve us, instead of ‘us’ serving the community with our own independent, economic spirit, as providers, and not as consumers.
That must be the vision and mission of HHC, but it must involve PRACA, Hispanic United of Buffalo, Belle Center, Hispanic Women’s League, and El Buen Amigo. HHC has a challenge on its hands, an overdue challenge, and no other Puerto Rican/Latino group has displayed that level of leadership.
The Buffalo Latino Village extends its support and appreciation to the HHC gang (Casimiro Rodriguez, Michele Agosto, Maritza Vega, and company) for the hard work demonstrated on behalf of the community. They need our support on this cultural project!
We need to see the light on this one!


 “Let the welfare of the people be the highest law

(the motto of Puerto Rico)

The Journey of Puerto Rico

 September  2019 Issue

Besides being labeled or forced to be called “Hispanics”, we are truly Puerto Ricans, Puertorriqueños, Tainos, and boricua.  We were originally known as Borinquen before we were invaded by Christopher Columbus on November 19, 1493, and claimed the island for the rulers of Spain, at the time, King Ferdinand, and Queen Isabella.
 In the American history books, it says that Puerto Rico was discovered, which is far from the truth.
In that same year, 1493, they erased the name Borinquen and named it San Juan Bautista, but they changed it to Rich Port (Porto Rico) when they found there was gold in the water.
By the way, the meaning of Borinquen means “land of the brave lord, which was what the original natives called their country at the time.
Spain continued to own and oppress the people of the colony until the beginning of the Spanish-American war in 1898, and as you should know, Spain lost that war to the US and was forced to give up their rights to Puerto Rico, becoming a possession of the US, and it has been a US colony since then.
You should know that during that war, Spain granted independence to all their other colonies in Latin America and was in the discussion of granting Puerto Rico a process leading to their independence, but the United States never honored that agreement.
Today, Puerto Rico is a unique country with rich cultural diversity, composed of black, white, and brown faces. The historians and the politicians try to color it as a “beautiful melting pot of cultures due to the influence of different cultures like Spanish, Asian, Taino Indians, and Africa”, but they leave out the slavery, the rape of our women, and the on-going violence imposed on us.
We like to say, “we come in all colors”, although there is a percentage of light-skin Puerto Ricans who deny their African heritage. There are also black Puerto Ricans who are beginning to appreciate and speak out celebrating their black roots. Like me, although I look very white, I celebrate my cultural roots and I’m proud to say that I’m not white by the nature of those cultural roots.
The United States is about 1,080 times bigger than Puerto Rico, just so you know.
Puerto Rico is located on the northeastern side of the Caribbean Sea. The population of Puerto Rico was about 3.4 million before 2019, but it has been decreasing in population due to US control, local government corruption, and the recent Hurricane Maria, finding many Puerto Ricans moving to the mainland, mostly to Florida, where you will find over 1 million living in Orlando.
Puerto Rico continues to be the most highly populated of all US territories.
Puerto Rico is found in the Caribbean region of North America. It is a popular travel destination for many across the globe. Many say it is the future paradise colony for the rich and large corporations.
We are still a territory, a colony of the United States. It is not a state. We do not have all the rights of regular Americans, for example, Puerto Rico does not vote in the presidential elections. They cannot vote for a president, however, Puerto Ricans who are born in Puerto Rico are US citizens.
The Puerto Rican flag, designed in 1892, was proclaimed the official flag of Puerto Rico in 1952. The governor at the time was Luis Munoz Marin, at one time he lived on the mainland, as a poet, and writer in New York, but influenced by American politics, and corporations, moved to Puerto Rico, becoming the first “Puerto Rican” governor of the colony.
You should know that before becoming the official flag of Puerto Rico, it was a violation or crime to carry or wave the flag in public. The flag is very much like the flag of Cuba, as both were designed at the same time.
The red stripes are symbolic of the “blood” that nourishes the three branches of its government: Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary. The white stripes represent individual liberty and the rights that keep the government in balance.
The first known incarnation of the symbol was made by Puerto Rican Manuela `Mima’ Besosa. She is our Puerto Rican Betsy Ross. The motion to adopt the flag was approved unanimously by the Puerto Rican revolutionaries. In 1895, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the only two Spanish colonies left in the Western Hemisphere.
As a point of fact, and not too many people know this, the Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party founded by Jose Marti, agreed upon using the Cuban flag as the model for the Puerto Rican flag.
The colors of the Puerto Rican flag are:
  • Red Stripes – The blood from the brave warriors of the revolution.
  • White Stripes – Victory and peace after obtaining independence.
  • Blue Triangle – Our sky and sea.
  • White Lone Star – Our beautiful Island.
As their first Puerto Rico governor, Luis Munoz Marin was mandated to eliminate the revolutionary movement led by a man named Pedro Albizu Campos, who was a trained lawyer who also served in the US military as a loyal soldier but hated the US treatment of Blacks in the south, resigned his commission, and returned to the colony to fight for its independence, becoming the leader of the Independence Party. He was highly loved and respected.
Eventually, he was arrested by the federal government, served time, and released to die a few years later in his homeland. While in prison, he was poisoned or injected with radiation. Today, Pedro Albizu Campos is considered the father of Puerto Rico.
Some facts you should know about Puerto Rico:
  • The World’s Largest Single-Dish Radio Telescope is in Puerto Rico.
  • El Yunque is the Only Tropical Rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System.
  • Puerto Rico was not discovered by Christopher Columbus, it was invaded
  • Puerto Rico’s Unofficial Mascot Is a Tiny Tree Frog Found Only on the Island, and it makes a unique sound like coki, coki, coki, meaning that it is calling a mate to have sex.
If you do not know by now, some of the Puerto Rican last names are:
Rivera, Rodriguez, Garcia, Diaz, Fernandez, Hernandez, Martinez, Lopez, and of cause, Cappas
The Reality of Puerto Rico Today
Today, Puerto Rico is in a state of emergency.

There is a real political and economic crisis in the colony today.

In the first decade of the 21st century, Puerto Rico’s economic growth slowed, even as its national debt rapidly expanded.
 In 2015, the worsening economic crisis led its governor to announce that Puerto Rico could no longer meet its debt obligations.
In 2017, under legislation passed by the US Congress to help Puerto Rico deal with its economic crisis, the commonwealth declared a form of bankruptcy, claiming debt of more than $72 billion, mostly to U.S. investors. Puerto Rico’s economic crisis was compounded when Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 hurricane.
In Maria’s aftermath, Puerto Rico’s inhabitants—some 3.4 million American citizens—found themselves with a shortage of water, food, fuel, and an uncertain future.
 Its public debt is over $73 billion, and it continues to increase at an alarming rate. Unemployment is at a dismal 14 percent and 46 percent of the island’s inhabitants are living below the poverty line, a rate higher than that of any state on the mainland.
Puerto Rico’s serious and worsening economy is largely rooted in its colonial status. As a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico’s insolvent municipalities and public corporations cannot declare bankruptcy.
And because Puerto Rico is not independent, it is prohibited from seeking help from international financial institutions, leaving it with few options in the face of what seems like inevitable default. Yet while the right to declare bankruptcy is important in helping the island restructure its mounting debt, it is only part of a short-term solution to a crisis that is, at its core, deeply structural.
Puerto Rico’s economy is both limited by and dependent on Washington. Constrained by U.S. federal laws and regulations, the island’s economy lacks the structural capacity to thrive on its own. Puerto Rico has no control over its monetary policy and little control of its fiscal policy.
Issues that have to do with immigration, foreign policy, and trade are controlled or dictated by U.S. law and U.S. regulatory agencies.
In 2019, Puerto Rico has no actual representation in Congress, decisions are made with little to no consideration for the needs and general welfare of the island’s residents.
Puerto Ricans must obey laws passed by a government in which they do not participate. Independence would grant Puerto Rico a platform to address the debt crisis on its terms and afford the island’s 3.5 million inhabitants the right to self-determination.
As for Statehood, economic and cultural arguments aside, statehood has never been a real option for Puerto Rico. Contrary to Alaska and Hawaii, which were deemed “incorporated” territories to move toward annexation to the Union, the decision to keep Puerto Rico as “unincorporated” was a ploy to avoid statehood.
Puerto Rico’s status as an unincorporated territory means that it “belongs to, but is not part of the U.S.” And that is unlikely to change.
A Republican-controlled Congress would never admit Puerto Rico — with its massive debt and overwhelmingly Democratic (and non-white, Spanish-speaking) voting base — into the Union, even if such a determination is made by the island’s residents.
In addition, too many states have fewer people than Puerto Rico. If Puerto Rico was admitted as a state of the union, all the states with smaller populations would lose some representation in Congress, losing political pull.
For far too long, the people of Puerto Rico have chosen to accept the comfort of a familiar yet broken status quo over the uncertainty of real, revolutionary change. Many on the island and in the diaspora adhere to a colonized mentality, one that believes an independent Puerto Rico is economically unsustainable. But liberated nations across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America have demonstrated otherwise.
Singapore is a prime example. With a size 14 times smaller than Puerto Rico, less natural resources, and a significantly higher population density, Singapore has thrived socially and economically since gaining independence — even exceeding the per capita income of the United States.

 An independent Puerto Rico would more readily protect the welfare and the rights of its people than the United States.

Since the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, Washington’s relationship with Puerto Rico has been one of exploitation and convenience. From the Ponce Massacre and government-sanctioned programs aimed at forcibly sterilizing working-class Puerto Rican women to unethical testing and human radiation experiments on Puerto Rican prisoners, the U.S. government has a shameful track record of transgressions on the island.
And let’s not forget Vieques: for more than 60 years the U.S. Navy used the island of Vieques as target practice. Though the bombings stopped in 2003, the U.S.’ legacy on Vieques continues in the form of destroyed land (over half the island is dilapidated), shattered livelihoods, and increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and illnesses — the result of contamination from years of continuous bombings.
Yet because Puerto Rico lacks any real autonomy or representation, these and other travesties — both social and economic — are largely ignored. Independence would hold accountable elected representatives at all levels of government and restore power to the people.
Absent an act of Congress, the Federal Reserve is prohibited from lending Puerto Rico money. The U.S. Treasury officials and the White House have publicly ruled out aid packages to save the island’s government from default, instead advising Puerto Rican officials to just keep searching for “credible” financing plans.
The United State Congress continues its anti-bailout position, refusing to extend financial relief by extending Chapter 9.
You should know that some of the biggest stakeholders in Puerto Rico’s financial crisis can be found on the U.S. mainland.  The island’s municipal bonds have been widely traded in U.S. markets due to their triple tax-exempt status — exempt from federal, state, and local taxes, they’ve been an attractive bet for long-term investors. Despite the growing economic instability and the rumblings of a potential default, investment banks, and hedge funds have continued to view Puerto Rico that way.
Last year, the island sold some $3.5 billion in municipal bonds even though they were given junk status — the largest junk-rated municipal offering in history, according to Bloomberg. And earlier this year, Goldman Sachs’ asset management division boosted its stake in Puerto Rico’s government-run power company, PREPA, from $351 million to $1.3 billion.

The sad reality is the following:

Puerto Rico’s political system and its economic structure are completely controlled by the United State government, policies that are influenced by greedy US corporations.
Under this nightmare, the Puerto Rican government officials are corrupt, as you can read from current publications.
Did you know, for example, that New York City, with a population of over 8-9 million people, has only one mayor, while Puerto Rico, with a population of a little over 3 million, has 78 mayors?
In the United States, mainland Puerto Ricans, are divided between Independence and statehood, and I believe, statehood wins today.
Let us look at the effect of the US and Puerto Rico on the Mainland, Buffalo, as an example:
Let me give you a profile of Puerto Ricans in Buffalo, NY, which should give you a good idea of what is going on in other states, as Buffalo Puerto Ricans reflect what is going on throughout the US mainland.
The population of Latino population in Buffalo & Erie County is about 33,000. 85% to 90% of that Latino population is Puerto Rican.
Yet, over 95% of your Puerto Rican leaders in Buffalo identify themselves as “Hispanic.”
All their federally funded “non-profit” community organizations also classify themselves as Hispanic organizations. This indoctrination is not by accident.
I believe in the early 1980s, for the US to have better control and management of the Latino population, it devised three strategic policy actions:
It created Hispanic Heritage Month. This slowly erased the ethnic and cultural identity of the Puerto Ricans.
 Before the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month, 90% of Puerto Rican organizations identified themselves as Puerto Rican organizations.
 The US convinced the “non-profits” that if they wanted to fund their programs or projects, they would be in a better position to get funding if they identified themselves as “Hispanic.”
 If you look at the Buffalo Puerto Rican organizations today, this is what you get:
  1. Hispanic Heritage Council
  2. Hispanic United of Buffalo
  3. Hispanic Women’s League
  4. Hispano Panorama Newspaper
  5. Puerto Rican and Hispanic Parade
If you ask a Puerto Rican kid today “what is your nationality, he or she will tell you that he or she is Hispanic.
This issue may not be clear or understood by people who do not know the political practice of mental and political colonialism, which is well alive today.
As you can see from the brief outline I layout for you today, Spain is the evil root responsible for the invasion of our country, creating slavery, rape, and violence.  The United States continued the practice when they took over Puerto Rico in 1898.
Puerto Ricans never invaded Spain; Spain invaded Puerto Rico. I never went to Spain; Spain came to me. I’m not Spanish, but I do speak Spanish.
Let me leave you with this poem I wrote back this past year:


(c) 2017 by Alberto O. Cappas
Not Hispanic
Not from Spain
Not born in Spain
We did not go to Spain
Spain came to us
Introducing us to slavery.
We are not Spanish
We speak Spanish
I’m Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban & Mexican
From a place called Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Cuba, & Mexico.
Unclutter the pages in the head
To wake up to the history of the past
To heal the mind to think again
To educate the present to have a future.
Let us dare to embrace the image in the mirror
Let us be a family again
Let us adopt our lost generation
Enslaved by foreign ships
I’m Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, and Mexican
Not Hispanic.
Open the pages hiding in the mind.
Erase the curse of Hispanic Heritage Month
A plot designed on the American golf course

To protect their colonies.

I’m Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban & Mexican
From a place called Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Cuba, & Mexico.
I’m not Hispanic,
Just like the Black is not a “Negro.”



Honest and loyal representation in our community is going to cost money, to sustain, maintain, and grow our communities.

One of the major problems we have in our communities is that we don’t invest in our candidates, and we don’t vote!

Do you know what happens when we don’t supply our support to our candidate/s running for office?

The interest groups, and other people outside our communities, take advantage and take the opportunity to invest, donate, contribute, and support them.

By the time our candidates get elected to office, they no longer belong to our community. The people that invested in them get the goodies and the right to control them.

They got him or her elected — not us!

The next time your local candidate comes to you for help, do the right thing for your people, yourself, and your family:

Register to vote – this is a must in our democracy. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!

Research your candidate, find out about what your candidates stand for, and look at his or her experience with the community.

If you like what you find out, contribute anything you can, $5, $10, $15, etc., and if you can give more, give more.

Spend the word to your friends and family to support your candidate and encourage them to donate what they can to help him, or her get elected.

If you have the time, get involved directly by working with the committee working to get him or her elected. There is so much you can do for the candidate, just by volunteering one to three or four hours per day or for the whole week. The little time you give your candidate can turn out to be a big thing for our community.

If we do all these things, the candidate becomes a product of the community, becomes your candidate, and not of the political machine, not of the outside interest groups.

American politics is very serious, and the sooner we realize it, the sooner we can grow and advance the future of our community — socially, educationally, and economically.

Look at the political principle of this city: “You have to pay to play, and it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Well folks, let’s stop the political abuse, and let us begin to develop our own “game in the interest of our people, our children, and our youth.


Remember, when you say that you’re not interested in politics, that in itself is a political statement. Help, and join those that are working to bring respect and quality representation to your community.

Don’t wait for me to say, “I told you so?”

Too many people in our community complain and cry about government service, but don’t do anything about it.

This year, we find a lot of young and committed individuals running for office, and many of them will not make it to the June Primary, but their energy and spirit will remind us, and we can begin to plant a seed from that effort.

The Buffalo Latino Village has many public statements and even has endorsed independent candidates running against the Democratic machine, and because of that, we have lost some support and advertisement for the publication, but we are willing to take a stand, and sacrifice, because we know that these are things that must be done to develop respect for our community; yes, even if I take a hit.

We are committed to being around for the long run, we are not going anywhere.

This is a rough draft, a work in progress….

Read, review, and share in discussion with your friends and family members.

I came to Buffalo in 1967 to attend UB, and before I left in 1987, I was a man, no longer a student. Yes, from 67-85, I gave it my best to help bring the Puerto Rican/Latino community a respectable standing in the political community. We create many programs and services, many that are around today with a different names, and with different “so-called” founders, who were not around to be founders of anything.

But that is another story.

We just need to grow and develop, we need to be creative, imaginative, and work to make our young people proud of their Puerto Ricans, of their Dominicanism… We must carve out a piece of the action for our community. All other communities have their territory, their commissioners, their elected officials, and their countless businesses.

We too are entitled to have a dream.



 I’m a jack of all trades, but master of none, but one thing I know. I’m Puerto Rican, not Hispanic.

The two terms, Hispanic and Negro, were not terms that both our communities selected. They were assigned to us by the United States.

The term Hispanic is what the conquistadors used to label and oppress the natives (Boricua or Taino) when “discovering” the land about 500 years ago. Hispanic embodies the bloodshed of the Indigenous and discredits the culture that was native to the lands before being stolen by the colonizers.

During the 1970s, for the US Census, to have effective control in counting the numbers of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans, came up with the term “Hispanic.”

Then the US reinforced it by convincing the three groups that by using the “Hispanic” term, umbrella, they would be in a much better position to get federal funding.

After that, Hispanics appeared all over America. Here in Buffalo, you find that although over 80% of the Buffalo & Erie County Latino population is Puerto Rican, they classify themselves as Hispanics. You can witness this by the names of your local Puerto Rican/Latino organizations: Hispanics United of Buffalo, Hispanic Women’s League, Hispanic Heritage Council, Association of Hispanic Art, and the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Parade (added Hispanic a few years ago, when they were told it was easier to get funding if they used the term Hispanic).

What do these organizations have in common? Non-profit organization status and government funding.

The government even developed “Hispanic Heritage Month” to cement the deal, which was easily adopted by 90% of Latino groups.

The term Latino describes a geographically derived national origin group. It refers to people originating from or having a heritage related to Latin America. “Latin” refers to the romantic languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and French) spoken by Latin Americans.

 Puerto Rico is part of Latin America. Latin America includes Mexico, Central, and South America, and all the barrier islands of the Caribbean that speak Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

Furthermore, Puerto Rico, along with Cuba, and Santo Domingo, are part of the Latin American experience — human slavery, violence, torture, and genocide. That is why they are all part of the “African and Latino Diaspora.”

It is very hard, but many Puerto Rican groups, including writers, poets, and musicians, are trying to bring consciousness back, but it’s difficult due to the many years of mental conditioning, mental colonialism, and the tons of money the Feds throw at these organizations.

It is an uphill battle.

I would like others to add their take on this subject, pro or con.

Feel free to inform me, educate me, or correct me, as I’m always willing to learn from my community and colleagues.


A Puerto Rican in Buffalo by way of New York City by way of PUERTO RICO….



Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Issues/Concerns…. Are they the same in both communities?

We are both abused and manipulated by the same political system, of cause, with the blessing and support of our elected and community leaders. 

We are one family but divide and conquer has done a good job at keeping us separated. Our communities need to take the time to reach out to each other, and work on a common political agenda to improve our social, economic, and political situation. 

The funded agencies in both our communities are nothing but political posts taking orders from city hall and provide no essential service except for the overdose of social services. Both our communities have been stripped of our imagination, creativity, leadership, and vision to create a better community. 

We should have an all-day Black and Puerto Rican/Latino conference to begin to address and identify the work we need to do “together” to secure a healthy and “thinking” future generation. 

I hope this answered your question. If not, let this serve as the beginning of the talks we need between both communities….

Read Monthly Issues of our Buffalo Latino Village HERE!

Our Columnists/Writers:

Cian Gonzalez /  Virginia McIntyre Vianca Colón-Barreto /  Solomon Joseph Luz Velez /  Roque Pizarro / Dinah Aponte /  Angelica Aquino, Esq./MPA / Arthur Dawn /  Alberto O. Cappas Carmen Rodriguez /  Lillia Orsini Jose Yrizarry /  Victoria Ross / QueeNia AsheeMa’at /  Talia Rodriguez  / Juan Carreras  / Rocco Anastasio
Guest Writer: Howard Jordan, Political Contributor  

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