As some of you may know, I grew up extremely poor and there were many days when the free lunch I had at school (which was offered year-round in my area) was the only ‘real’ meal I had.
I just read that today “Nearly 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches in the nation’s schools, an all-time high, federal data show, based on data from the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which subsidizes the programs.”
I am sad to see so many in need of the free meal but I am glad that we, as a nation, are able to provide it for our nation’s neediest and youngest, our future scientists, artists, civil servants and community leaders.
Ironically, even though I grew up in El Barrio, it wasn’t until I was in college and taking an African American History course at Marymount College that I learned about the The Young Lords (and more about The Black Panthers), a Puerto Rican civil rights group equivalent to The Black Panthers party based primarily in Chicago and New York’s Spanish Harlem in the early 1970s.
For those of you who are unaware, it was these two alliances who created and set up community projects like the free breakfast and lunch programs.
Many Young Lords are still active today in media and community issues; for example: Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News and Democracy Now!, Pablo “Yoruba” Guzman at WCBS-TV New York, Felipe Luciano, Miguel “Mickey” Melendez of WBAI-FM New York, and Geraldo Rivera
For those of you interested in learning more about The Young Lords, please visit: younglords.info