Table of Contents

Institute Overview

The Somos Boricuas Institute will be structured around morning lectures and afternoon hands-on activities, demonstrations, workshops, field trips and discussions. Both the morning scholarly lectures and the afternoon activities will explore key humanities questions of belonging, conceptions of home, identity and citizenship in the lives of New York’s Puerto Rican communities. Somos Boricuas asks participants to consider how the geopolitical, linguistic, and economic landscape of Puerto Rican migrant communities affects these still largely marginalized American citizens. How are Puerto Ricans ’senses of identity, opportunity, belonging, and home explored, negotiated, shared, and conveyed through the arts? Finally, the Institute explores the central roles the arts have played not only in areas of education, community building, and identity formation, but also in the important realm of advocacy, protest, and promise for improved social conditions, educational opportunities, economic advancement, and political change. From a focus on a single community of Puerto Ricans in New York City, K-12 teachers will be guided to explore similar humanities issues within their own migrant/immigrant communities through the stories, music, visual arts, foodways and vernacular architecture in their midst. City Lore’s nearly half a century of experience presenting and exploring such humanities issues through a concentration on the everyday arts of the city will provide the framework for the Institute.

The pedagogical framework for the Institute will be overseen by City Lore’s K-12 education specialist, Dr. Amanda Dargan, who has over four decades of experience developing curricula and working in the public schools with programs that center traditional arts as catalysts for exploring key humanities and social studies themes in the classroom and Sahar Muradi, City Lore’s current Education Program Director and former director of our Poetry Program. Each day of the Institute will include a morning lecture and presentation, followed by a discussion of classroom applications. In the afternoons teachers engage in participatory workshops followed by late afternoon and evening fieldtrips and performances. Throughout both weeks, teachers will learn through lectures by scholars, whole-group and small-group discussions, workshops by City Lore staff and teaching artists, performances by artists, community fieldtrips, and visits to cultural and historical institutions in New York City. During both weeks, City Lore staff will introduce tools and skills they have used in researching and documenting New York City communities and history, and in teaching in K-12 schools. These include: interviewing, ethnography, documentation with digital media, analyzing primary and secondary resources, designing community fieldtrips, teaching with objects, and close listening, looking, and interpreting live and recorded performances.

Institute Schedule

July 14th – 27th 2024


Sunday July 14th

Introduction & Reception

Meet: Bronx Music Hall
Performance: la musica jibara/danza: Carlos Espada, Matthew Gonzalez, Bobby Sanabria,cuatro

Monday July 15th

19th Century Beginnings—Early 20th Century Migration

Meet: City Lore
Faculty: Dr. Virginia Sanchez Korral
Excursion: Washington Square Park—shortened 19 th c. tour: Dr. Orlando Hernandez and Elena Martinez

Tuesday July 16th

The Great Migration post WWII

Meet: Bronx Music Hall
Excursion: East Harlem: Center for Puerto Rican Studies: Ralph Mendez steamship
collection/oral histories
Evening event: Mary Whelan and music OPTIONAL

Wednesday July 17th

Who is a Citizen?

Meet: City Lore
Faculty: Dr. Suzy Seriff, Dr. Charles Venator-Santiago
Excursion: Brooklyn: Caribbean Social Club/Schwinn Club

Thursday July 18th

Afro-Antillian Poetry to the Nuyorican Poets movement

Meet: City Lore
Faculty: Sery Colon, Urayoan Noel, Eddie Rosa
Evening event: Poetry at La Sala de Pepe/film screening: Casa Adela by Gary Cruz OPTIONAL

Friday July 19th 

The Lyrics of Migration Afro-Puerto Rican Musical Forms

Meet: Bronx Music Hall
Faculty: Dr. Cesar Colon—plena, Victor Hernandez Cruz—Mediterranean; Sinuhe
Padilla—corrido workshop
Excursion: Taller Boricua print workshop—Nitza Tufino/Plena Portfolio

Saturday, July 20th

The Music of Bomba/Building Community

Meet: Bronx Music Hall
Faculty: Elena and Molly
Excursion: Casita tour: El Coqui Garden (Kaila), Jardin de la Roca (Lillian); Rainbow Garden
(Maxi); Rincon Criollo (Desseree)—bomba band performs—Alma Moyo (Alex LaSalle)
Evening event: BMH: Bronx Rising: El Que no Tiene Carabali. . . : Haiti and Puerto Rico—tumba
frances  OPTIONAL


Monday July 22nd

The History of the Harlem Hellfighters/West Side Story: Bridging the Gap

Meet: City Lore
Faculty: Basilio Serrano, Bobby Sanabria, Clara Rodriguez, Elena Martinez
Excursion: Lincoln Center exhibit at David Geffen Hall: San Juan Hill Legacies 

Tuesday July 23rd 

Building Community: Parades and Parrandas

Meet: City Lore
Faculty: Elena Martinez. (parades)
Afternoon event to prepare for Wednesday topic:
PANEL and film screening: Brooklyn College: screen Pam Sporn film, Making the Impossible
Possible about the formation of Puerto Rican Studies.  Meet with Dr. Carla Santana, Maria Perez
& Gonzalez, Tony Nadal

Wednesday July 24 th : Arts & Activism

Meet: Bronx Music Hall

PANEL: Vanessa Perez Rosario (Julia de Burgos), Wilson Valentin (NewRican Village), Nydia
Edgecombe (Evelina Antonetty), Lillian Jimenez (Antonia Pantoja or El Comite/MINP), Ponce
LaSpina (Nationalists)
Excursion: Young Lord’s Church with Felipe Luciano and Johanna Fernandez
Readings: “Rediscovering Julia de Burgos: The People’s Rebel Soul Poet” by Vanessa Perez
Evening event: BMH: Evelina’s Heart/Titi Strikes Back play by Sandra Rodriguez OPTIONAL

Thursday July 25th

Beyond New York: Puerto Rican Diaspora and Latino Immigrants

Meet: BMH
Faculty: Lilia Fernandez
Excursion: En Foco/ Seis del Sur/Djali Brown-Cepeda & Nueva Yorkinos
Evening event: BMH:  Nuevas Voces: Emerging Voices in Latin Jazz OPTIONAL

Friday July 26th

Roots of Afro-Latin Musical Traditions

Meet: BMH
PANEL: Bobby Sanabria, Hector Morales, Fabiola Mendez (PR cuatro), James Lovell
Bobby: Clave presentation
Excursion: SBLM sites: Casa Amadeo and 52 Park
Evening event: El Fogon: Bodoma performance (Parranda con Paranda) OPTIONAL

Saturday July 27th

Closing reception

Meet: Bronx Music Heritage Center
Debbie Quinones and Coquito Masters (foodways)/performance Fernandito (trova)