A Message from Melissa on the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center

Dear Constituent:

On September 30, 2010, New York City Economic Development Corporation (“NYCEDC”), on behalf of the City of New York, will be issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (“RFEI”) for the programming and operation of the theater and event space located in the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center.    I am fully supportive of this effort.  To help facilitate this process and ensure the community’s ongoing involvement, I will be sponsoring a visioning discussion on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6pm at the SCAN La Guardia Senior Center (307 East 116th Street).

As you may know, Julia de Burgos was approved for disposition for non-profit cultural and educational uses in 1992.  It was envisioned that the building would serve the surrounding community by providing classes, workshops, studio and performance space to neighborhood artists and residents and would be available for use by theater, music and art cultural groups.  There is no question that a great deal of exciting programming and important work has happened at the Cultural Center over the years.  However, by further expanding the capacity of the center, its potential can be more fully realized.

In response to my sharing the community’s ongoing concerns about the lack of access to this community space, NYCEDC is issuing an RFEI.  The RFEI seeks proposals from qualified individuals, companies or organizations to operate, program and maintain the multi-purpose community space and two classroom spaces adjacent on the first floor and the theater space on the second floor.  Goals for the Space include, but are not limited to:

  • Activating the Space with a variety of programming;
  • Strengthening local arts and cultural organizations;
  • Providing access to the local artistic community; and
  • Providing programming for the local community.

For more information about submission requirements and to download a copy of the RFEI, please visit http://www.nycedc.com.

I look forward to a more inclusive partnership and a cultural center that is truly reflective of our community.


Melissa Mark-Viverito
Council Member – District 8

8 thoughts on “A Message from Melissa on the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center

  1. Let’s not allow inclusiveness to undermine a puerto rican institution. Maintain the leadership of julia de burgos puerto rican but hire any culture under that p.r. Leadership.whomever that p. R.leadership may be.

  2. It seems totally unfair that the center was closed for Salsa Wednesdays. Many of us enjoyed the music (which is a true testament of our Latino heritage), and a legacy which should be allowed to continue at Julia De Burgos. Music is truly a cultural experience that belongs in the center. Hearing different artists, and partaking with other Latinos at the center, is representative of our Latino culture. Hence, Salsa Wednesday, should not be discontinued at a whim, but incorporated along with other events at the Julia De Burgos Latino Cultural Center. Don’t spoil a good thing, lets work together to make everything possible without stepping on someone else!

    • Ms. Sanchez, thank you for your comment. The City has not asked for Salsa Wednesdays to be suspended. Taller Boricua’s lease for this space will continue to be renewed until an operator is selected under the RFEI process. They are free to continue holding these events each week. Given the importance of Salsa Wednesdays to the community, the Council Member has pledged to work with the organization selected under the RFEI to ensure that this tradition continues into the future.

  3. Taller has had that space for 15 years, and the record shows that is as far as they can take it. What have they used all those spaces for?

    The Julia de Burgos multi-purpose room is mostly being rented out for private weddings and birthday parties, social clubs, and private dances with a cover charge. The 2 classrooms in the back are used by Taller for storage and private friends.

    The rental income from those goes into who knows what pockets at Taller? Out of 7 or 8 spaces Taller controls they must give up 3 and keep the rest, the 4 galleries and the 1 office upstairs.

    Why can’t there be 3 new cultural tenants? Taller is not being evicted, their month-to-month lease is up. The city owns the building and the city has OPENED up the process to add more and new cultural tenants with more variety of programming. I say: OPEN THE DOORS!

    The Community wants the space BACK!

  4. Dear Melissa and supporters of Julia de Burgos:

    I am in agreement and support the re-opening of this vital cultural center. JDB is dedicated to the arts, its artists, its children and community center in the name of a woman who used her talent for the betterment of her people.

    Let us remain faithful and open the doors to this center by offering, not just dances and private parties, but workshops for children, seniors and adults who can benefit from learning their Puerto Rican history, and institute arts and science programs so that all could benefit. This is a landmark space and worthy to continue to serve its community and maintain the rich heritage, legacy and pride of the Spanish-speaking people.

    Thank you!

    Ay ay ay of black grifa

    Ay ay ay, que soy grifa y pura negra; Ay ay ay, I’m tap and pure black;
    grifería en mi pelo, cafrería en mis labios; faucet in my hair, my lips Kaffraria;
    y mi chata nariz mozambiquea. mozambiquea and my flat nose.

    Negra de intacto tinte, lloro y río Intact black dye, I cry and laugh
    la vibración de ser estatua negra; the vibration of being a black statue;
    de ser trozo de noche, a chunk of night
    en que mis blancos dientes relampaguean; when my teeth white lightning;
    y ser negro bejuco and be black vine
    que a lo negro se enreda that the black tangle
    y comba el negro nido and combat the black nest
    en que el cuervo se acuesta. when the raven lies.
    Negro trozo de negro en que me esculpo, Black black piece in which I sculpt,
    ay ay ay, que mi estatua es toda negra. ay ay ay, my statue is all black.

    Dícenme que mi abuelo fue el esclavo They tell me that my grandfather was the slave
    por quien el amo dio treinta monedas. for whom the master gave thirty pieces.
    Ay ay ay, que el esclavo fue mi abuelo Ay ay ay, that was my grandfather’s slave
    es mi pena, es mi pena. is my pain, my grief.
    Si hubiera sido el amo, If it had been the master
    sería mi vergüenza; to be my shame;
    que en los hombres, igual que en las naciones, than in men, as in nations,
    si el ser el siervo es no tener derechos, if being the slave is having no rights
    el ser el amo es no tener conciencia. being the master is having no conscience.

    Ay ay ay, los pecados del rey blanco Ay ay ay, the sins of the white king
    lávelos en perdón la reina negra. wash them in forgiveness the black queen.
    Ay ay ay, que la raza se me fuga Ay ay ay, that the race escapes me
    y hacia la raza blanca zumba y vuela and toward the white race and flies buzzing
    hundirse en su agua clara; plunge into its clear water;
    tal vez si la blanca se ensombrará en la negra. maybe if the white shadowed in black.

    Ay ay ay, que mi negra raza huye Ay ay ay, my black race flees
    y con la blanca corre a ser trigueña; and the white runs to become bronzed;
    ¡a ser la del futuro, To be the future,
    fraternidad de América! Fraternity of America!

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