Wednesday, May 24, 2017

THE USE OF PUERTO RICAN / HISPANIC / LATINO
By Alberto O. Cappas

Introduction:

"I'm not Hispanic, because I'm not from Spain. I'm not Spanish,
but I do speak Spanish.
I'm Puerto Rican or Boricua, from the island of Borinquen,
the place you call Puerto Rico in the United States.”

If I had to choose between Hispanic and Latino, Latino is the choice. Latin American, South America, and Puerto Rico is the family tree -- all part of the diaspora."
 
I've noticed that Puerto Ricans in Buffalo, NY identify themselves as Hispanic, especially the leading Puerto Rican leaders and community organizations, which helps to perpetuate ignorance of our people and culture among our children, youth, and the outside community, and unfortunately, it’s the same in other parts of the state and country. Its not isolated to Buffalo alone.

If we keep this up, while the time you and I are gone, our people and culture will be erased from the minds of our next generation. Instead of saying, "I'm a proud Puerto Rican or Boricua, or a proud Puerto Rican American", they will say, "I'm a proud "Hispanic" with no clue to their culture or origin.

HISPANIC relates to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Latin and South America.
LATINO is a person who was born or lives in South America, Central America, or Mexico, or a person in the U.S. whose family is originally from South America, Central America, or Mexico.

BORICUA comes from the Taíno name for Puerto Rico, Borikén. Boricuas were the natives who lived in what is known today as Puerto Rico (Borinquen). Boricua (Puerto Rican) means "Brave and noble lord". Borinquen means "Land of the brave and noble lords".

PUERTO RICANS often call the island Borinquen, a derivation of Borikén, its indigenous Taíno name, which means "Land of the Valiant Lord." The terms Boricua and Borincano derive from Borikén and Borinquen respectively, and are commonly used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage.

Finally, over 80% of the "Hispanic” population in Buffalo & Erie County are PUERTO RICANS. What good are you doing to our Puerto Rican children and youth when you neglect this fact.

Yes, we are Puerto Ricans, part of the Latino totem pole. When all together, we should celebrate as LATINOS, but not as HISPANICS.

If you want to give notice and pay respect to our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters, let us use the term, "Puerto Rican & Latino (instead of Puerto Rican & Hispanic), which is more accurate, more factual, found in our Puerto Rican and Latino historical roots.

The year 1505 marked the year of Spanish colonization in Puerto Rico, claimed for Spain in 1493. The colonization continues today, but not by Spain, but by the USA, responsible for pushing “Hispanic Heritage Month”, and we felt into it, conditioned by American colonialization.

Yo soy Boricua, soy un Puertorriqueno, no soy hispano.

Feel free to submit your opinion or contribution to this subject matter. This is an issue we need to ignite and create general interest, especially among our young kids and children in the public-school system.
So, there you have it!  "Ay Bendito."

Note: Alberto O. Cappas, poet/writer, and Co-Chair, Puerto Rican Committee for Community Justice, and author of “To Think is to Grow, Quotes to provoke the Mind”, available this June 2017. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

English and Spanish Versions:

By Alberto O. Cappas

Images by Hafeesa Nettles, creator of the Doll, "FETA."


English: The Educational Pledge


 Espanol: La Promesa Educacional


The Work of Puerto Rican Poet/Writer Alberto O. Cappas: Books by Alberto O. Cappas

The Work of Puerto Rican Poet/Writer Alberto O. Cappas: Books by Alberto O. Cappas

Books by Alberto O. Cappas

All four (4) Books are available online, especially on Amazon.com and other Book outlets. For a personal and signed copy, send check payable to:

Alberto O. Cappas
PO Box 742, Station C
Buffalo, NY 14209

(*) Please add $3.00 to handle shipment and  delivery -- within two weeks of order. Please do not forget to specific which book you are ordering. If gift for someone, we will mail directly with your direction and message. 




(*) 1. To Think is to Grow, Quotes to Provoke the Mind (release in June 2017, published in 2017)



(*) 2. Never too late to make a U-Turn: An Educational Pledge & 15 Questions to Self-Development, $12.00
(published in 2005)



(*) 3. Lessons for Myself, getting out the Box, $12.00
(published in 207)



(*) 4. Dona Julia: A Collection of Published Poems
(Second printing, 2008)

From the back cover of "To Think is to Grow"


The Rooster and the Child

From a private Collection....

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Support the Black and Latino Arts

Support our Black and Latino Poets/Writers/Artists/Illustrators Community
By Supporting Black and Latino Arts, you're supporting yourself!

AN UPDATE ABOUT CAPPAS

Alberto is a published poet, and author of several books of poems, including a self-help book,"Never too late to make a U-turn: An Educational Pledge and 15 Questions to Self-Development", and Dona Julia: A Collection of Published Poems." 

Alberto was the student leader that led to the development Puerto Rican Studies at SUNYAB, in 1971; during that same period, he was a member of the Attica Observers Committee, a group that was invited by the Attica Prison inmates to negotiate with Governor Nelson Rockefeller during the Attica Prison uprising.

Alberto will release his new book, "TO THINK IS TO GROW", a book of his 65 original quotes, provoking the young Mind to think, observe, analyze, and to begin looking at the world around him or her.

An excellent tool for the public schools.

Alberto lived in the Lower East Side and East Harlem until 2010. He now lives in Buffalo, NY, but continues his NYC involvement with several projects.







Day of the Child

The Educational Pledge of Allegiance

by Alberto O. Cappas

The Thinking Board


THE THINKING BOARD,  by Alberto O. Cappas

The Thinking Board, created by Alberto O. Cappas, will be available in Mouse Pad and Refrigerator Magnet. An excellent educational tool for the school system.  

To start, in a classroom setting, select a word and begin a discussion of the meaning, as well as see if it connects with any of the other words on the Thinking Board. Will keep you posted when available..... 

A NEW BOOK BY ALBERTO O. CAPPAS

TO THINK IS TO GROW, A BOOK OF 65 QUOTES TO PROVOKE THE YOUNG MIND!






The new release of the author's first book of 65 quotes, "To Think is to Grow", a book to provoke the young Mind. Available in June 2017 at amazon.com and other book outlets. Some of the quotes have become very popular with people on social media, including Facebook. An excellent book for teachers, counselors and youth groups. 

To get your own personal and signed copy, send $15 payable to:

Alberto O. Cappas
PO Box 742, Station C,
Buffalo, NY 14209. 

Delivered within 1-2 Weeks.

Book is also available in Amazon.com. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Educational Pledge of Allegiance Gift Bag

Designed for students, parents and schools;
also excellent resource for juvenile correctional facilities.....

The Work of Alberto O. Cappas

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life in Progress, Inside the Box

From the Puerto Rican/Latino Journal

By Alberto O. Cappas
I remember when poets were messengers of vision and information, not always positive, but always providing us a mirror to see clearly and get us to move forward… but now, all I see are evil spirits, rappers, and self-made entertainers passing as poets, penetrating their spells on the youth, and continuing to keep them inside the box.

But they never provide you answers to solutions or visions that will show you the light or guide you to your personal journey on this planet.

I don’t have all the answers, but I will try to remove some of the layers of bricks between us and see if I can leave you with some clues to your confinement inside the Box.

You should be happy to know that the box has no locks or chains. It is completely opened and you can walk or jump out any time your heart desires, and become the person you were born to be…the person you are supposed to be…..

You can do and be anything you want to be, just forward your dreams and aspirations into your hands and activate an action forward. Like the Congressman Adam Clayton Powell once said:

“What’s in your hands?”
"What's in your hands?”

After 60 plus years on this planet, the least you can do is listen to my crazy poems, full of people not able to get out the box, hit hard by not learning or applying the secrets of having balance in their lives, and consequently, were destroyed by self-conflict, lack of proper health, and lack of emotional control.

The following poems are about you and me, our family and friends, especially those that are in the box, manipulated into the box by invisible but strong forces, like our local community leaders, our so-called elected officials, our rapper poets, M-TV, Television, which I call the idiot box, especially when we watch too much of it…

Listen to these poetic stories:

Poetic Story #1: Borinquen
Doña Rivera, The one everybody comes to when
They run into unresolved situations
Was sold the Moon yesterday
She was very happy ‘cause the
Salesman gave her a break
Telling her she did not have to pay taxes on it
“It was tax free”
He told her
All her neighbors were surprised
That she accomplished such a big thing
So they assembled and celebrated her new fortune
They decided that Doña should
Keep it a secret or else the welfare department
Would come and take the Moon away from her
Time passed and Doña Rivera became a very proud woman
At night, especially when the
Moon was bright and in full view
Doña Rivera would stay up late and admire the beauty of her new possession
On weekend nights
She would invite her relatives and best friends over to share the experience with them….
“See”
She would tell her friends and relatives
“In this country
You have the freedom to buy anything you want”


Poetic Story #2: Doña Julia
Doña Julia Committed suicide last night cause the welfare department
Demanded too many documents she did not know existed
The utilities were removed
The landlord proudly gave her eviction papers
The friendly bodega accused her of trespassing
Holding on to hope
Doña Julia visited Puerto Rican leaders with fancy titles
Promising her things that never arrived
Doña Julia
Always made it a point to vote with the democrats,
The party of the poor, she used to say…
Doña Julia
Committed suicide last night because life was angry with her
Revealed to her by the spirits…
That is what she said…
And the people that didn’t know her
always found things to say about her….
With fancy titles
Her daughter Evelyn disappeared with this dude named Hector who promised her every thing he didn’t have
And her son Josè
Who dropped out of school at the age of 10
Always took money from Doña Julia
To pay his expenses and other things for the dead head
He too disappeared looking for his friends who were never around when he didn’t have anything
Doña Julia
Committed suicide cause life was angry with her
Her dead face had a smile that police officers did not understand
Someone that did not know how to read found a note and flushed it down the toilet thinking it had something
To do with the numbers
The note said something about
“One way or the other
I’m going back to Puerto Rico.”

Poetic Story #3: Maria’ Journey
She was sitting there
The lonely traffic passing by
Thinking of yesterday when Mommy
Used to cry in protest
The warm air freezing her body
Listening to broken down voices of edited confusion
Subway rides traveling to nowhere
The wino on the corner learning to read
The New York Times
The polluted smell of everything hanging around her body
Thinking of yesterday when Fernando told her
“If you love me – you have to prove it”
She was sitting there
Hating the endless hours of the night
Those that passed looked at her with inviting eyes
That wanted to come out after her
Black and Puerto Rican kids playing Cowboys and Indians
After dark in the backyard streets
Where all of them
The Rats, the Dogs, the Cats, and the Pushers
Hold their daily meetings
She was sitting there
Hating herself for accepting a defeat that loved her
The lonely traffic passing by
Bars and liquor stores on every corner conditioning the younger victims
While the drug dealers count their money of death
Thinking of yesterday
Her trip from Puerto Rico and her first introduction
To the New York cold that ravaged her body
Sitting there
Thinking of yesterday when Freddie played her wrong
Accusing her of being a Puta for no reason at all
He is now happily married to a girl
From Queens who makes love to the dog next door
Thinking of yesterday
The dances, the parties, and the James Bond movies
She loved so much
And now
Waiting for the overdose of everything to take effect…

Poetic Story #4: Letter for Iris
It was long ago yesterday
The oldies, the gangs, the wine
Trying to find definitions to everything
Everyone refusing to speak Spanish
Stupid heavy accents
Keeping our welfare secrets to ourselves
You didn’t reveal anything until years later
It was long ago yesterday
The oldies, the gangs, the wine
Going to sets during school hours
Drinking that terrible wine that you disliked so much
And the Ricans and Dominicans from downtown
Rapping to you behind my back
The Latin Knights against the Young Lovers
The Sinners against the Viceroys
The Dragons against the Assassins
Jitterbugging into oblivion
Willie a junkie on Columbus Avenue
Eddie a homo on 72nd Street
Carlos a revolutionary at Attica
Sara a community leader in Washington Heights
Jose a capitalist on Wall Street
Mimi a housewife in Puerto Rico
Carmen a Puta in the South Bronx
And Miguel
Demonstrating in front of the United Nations
With fifty buttons on his jacket
It was long ago yesterday
The oldies, the gangs, the wine
Remembering those wonderful nightmares
The playground, the backyard, the roof
The fire hydrant, the basement, and those
Silent trips to the park where we made
The plans that never came
I leave you now
The oldies, the gangs, the wine
Hoping you found your definitions without regrets
I only found new inventions of ignorance by many
Refusing to open the path to their growth and development

Poetic Story #5: Suicide of a Puerto Rican Jibaro (In Mainland Buffalo)
They didn’t understand.
They were all Americans now
He would smile sometimes
Thinking about his youth in Ponce
Carmen, Rosa, Teresa and Liza
Holding on to dreams
That helped him stay alive
The tropical music that was killed
By the new sound of “salsa”
But they didn’t understand
His children didn’t understand
A million times his body was raped
By the unfriendly cold
The farm he sacrificed
To pursue the American Dream
Trying to buy some dignity in the trade
Of the unemployment office
Shoveling the snow that invaded
His tropical existence
He would walk up Virginia Street
And down Hudson Street
Searching
For some clues of understanding
But
Only
Found
New inventions of nightmares
That wanted to destroy his dreams
The dead dreams
That helped him stay alive
Were too weak
For the American nightmare
They didn’t understand
They were
All Americans now

Poetic Story #6: Milagros – A Love Story
When she was born
Her mother named her Milagros.
Her father was never around.
The neighbors said she was beautiful
but it was sad that her hair was a little kinky.
When she was fifteen years old,
she had dreams to go after.
When she was seventeen,
she dropped out of school
’cause it was the groovy thing to do.
When she was almost eighteen
she opened her legs to Papo — who told her he loved her
The night after, he told her to get the hell away.
When she was almost eighteen
she was cool, she partied, she smoked
and got down a few times
hoping someone would tell her
‘I love you’ — and means it
but time passed (and no one ever did).
When she was nineteen
she had five abortions.
When she was nineteen
she was cool, she was beautiful
selling her wasted body on forty-second street
to buy American dreams
hating the ugly smell of polluted breath
and old men telling her:
‘I love you, you Spanish girl.’

And last but not least, a poem, a pledge to help us become magical and powerful, able to become what we are supposed to become, based on what we want to do with our journey in life. If you can buy into this pledge, at least introduce it to our students, and to our young kids so they can begin to understand at an early age the concept of setting goals, and understanding the essence of an education, and finally, understanding the system of values and standards.

The Educational Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge to maintain a
Healthy Mind and Body
Staying away from the Evil of drugs
I pledge always to try my Best to understand
The importance of Knowledge and Education
I pledge to paint a Positive picture of where
I plan to be tomorrow
Not allowing obstacles to stop the growth of my Plans
I pledge to seek Answers to Questions,
With the understanding that they
Will lead to other discoveries
I pledge to work diligently
With the Awareness and Confidence
That hard work today will serve
As the seeds for my strong tree tomorrow
A tree that no one will be able to tear down
I pledge to learn proper languages,
Beginning with my Mother's
Always prepared to appreciate others
I pledge to gain a better understanding of who I am
By understanding my Cultural roots
I pledge to fully accept who I am as a spiritual and human being
A Rainbow of many cultures and colors
I pledge to overcome any Personal misfortunes
Becoming Stronger from such misfortunes
Always striving to become
A wise person.

An Education and a Plan: A note for our Youth

Try always to remember that Life is a game to learn, appreciate, and complete the journey... The setbacks you experience are actual tools that try to educate you and teach you how to play the game.

By Alberto O. Cappas:
However, if you are not aware of the game of life, you will not be able to understand the value of the setbacks and they will work against you, not for you.

Once you are born and able to think for yourself, you must understand your purpose for being here.

You should be able to find clues to your purpose by thinking of your Dreams. One has many dreams, but only one is a purpose. The right dream is the one that gives you a positive picture of where you see yourself in the space of the future.

A negative dream is a distraction to your purpose. Without an education, you may not be able to understand or defeat the distraction.

However, to make the purpose and/or the Dream a reality, you must take two very critical and important steps. These are steps that would give you all the power and magic you need to make the Dream come true, but you must take the steps!

One is Education.

And the second one is a Plan.

It is very simple! All you need to make a positive dream come true is an Education and a Plan.

Education is not what many people tell you it is. For example, you don’t go to school to get an education in order to find a job, or prepare for a job.

An Education is a journey! it is a lifetime trip you take as a human being. You meet new friends, friends who look different than you and think different than you, friends with different ideas and opinions. And some dress different and speak a different language then you.

If you keep your mind open, and if you listen to what you are hearing, and give vision to what you see, your education is on the way track! An education is a preparation for enjoying life, to open your mind to all the options available to you.

An education gives you a real vision to what you may like or not like, to prepare for a job or to prepare to have your own business or corporation; to become a consumer where you work for someone, or to become a provider where you have your own company and have people working for you. You can decide to be a worker, a supervisor, a manager, a president of your own company, and much more.

The main thing to remember is that an education introduces you to the world of possibilities and options. It gives you a realistic imagination to work with. To have an education is to have a system of values and standards, and you are not afraid to face hard and difficult challenges; as well as the ability to think and make right choices and decisions.

With an education, you should be able to have the discipline to have a plan to navigate, step by step until you reach the realization of your Dream. The plan is a roadmap of proper choices and decisions to get to your Dream.

Life is that simple, as well as magical and fun.

Life stops being magical and fun when you bypass and ignore the dream and the plan. Without the dream and a plan, you make choices and decision that has nothing to do with your purpose. You become lost in the world.

Take a look outside the window and you can see the number of misguided and unfortunate people who made wrong choices and decisions.

An Education and a Plan provides you an opportunity to appreciate and understand the spiritual value and gift of your presence on this planet.

You are a gift to this world. Make the right choices and decisions and make the marks, leave footprints for the generation following you.

I leave you with The Education Pledge which I hope you will embrace and use it as a guide in your journey. I dedicate The Educational Pledge to all the children and youth of the world:

The  Educational Pledge, An instrument to help you defeat ignorance: