Kickstarter - Bring to Light: Nuit Blanche New York
Nuit Blanche, the global, all-night public art festival that began in Paris, Berlin and St. Petersburg and illuminates cities around the world, has arrived in New York City. For the first time, Bring to Light will gather New Yorkers together for a community-based visual and performance art event that animates public space and illuminates the industrial waterfront in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
"Puerto Rican Obituary" was first read in 1969 at a rally in support of the Young Lords Party, an anti-imperialist Latino youth group in New York. Like the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords were community activists, supporting demands for fair and affordable housing and decent health care, and they ran free breakfast programs for children. They linked their neighborhood militancy to a program that called for the end of U.S. imperial adventurism in Vietnam and elsewhere, third world liberation, and end to the oppression of the poor and people of color, and the building of the socialist society. The Young Lords were destroyed by U.S. government provocations in the mid 1970s, but Pedro Pietri continued on as a radical activist and poet-he saw no distinction between these roles. Most notably he helped to found and sustain the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, an acclaimed center for oppositional arts and literature.
Pietri’s family moved to New York City in 1947, when he was only three years old. They settled down in the Spanish Harlem section of Manhattan where he and his siblings received their primary and secondary education. Pietri started writing poems as a student at Haven High School. After graduating from high school, Pietri worked a variety of jobs until he was drafted. The experiences which he faced in the Army, in Vietnam, and the discrimination that he witnessed while growing up in New York, were all major factors that would forge his personality and style of poetry.
On March 3, 2004, Pedro Pietri died of cancer at the age of 59.
The power, insight, and message of "Puerto Rican Obituary" continues to resonate among activist and dreamers all over the world. As the New York Times put it recently: "three decades ago, a poem ignited a movement." —Eds.