Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PR Young Democrats headed to DC for YDA Summer Meeting

San Juan-The Puerto Rico Democrats have confirmed their presence for The Young Democrats of America National Summer Meeting to be held next July 16th - 18th 2010 in our nation's capital Washington, DC. During the meeting, young democrats from across the nation will converge to attend political and organizational workshops, caucus meetings, political training sessions, participate in voter registration and will also elect YDA's National Committee members to the DNC. Puerto Rico Chapter founder and Past President ,Francisco Domenech and Stephanie Hausner are up for re election. Puerto Rico State President Arroyo has signaled the island's support for both candidates during the meeting's General Session.

"I will be voting for Francisco and Stephanie. They've got the job done. It's an exciting moment for young dems across our great nation. It's always great to network with young democratic minds, learn new political strategies and promote our party's principles, but its even better to have Washington, DC as our setting", expressed Puerto Rico Chapter President Phillip Arroyo. The island's local chaper has been focused on boosting membership and creating an effective fundraising mechanism to assure increased chapter participation in national meetings.

"Fundraising is key in order to guarantee our participation and representation at this level, that is why we have been busy hosting various events with the help and collaboration of our party's leadership in Puerto Rico in order to meet our goals," concluded Arroyo.

The island's local chapter has scheduled their final fundraising event before the national meeting for July 7th, 2010 with the participation of Puerto Rico's Secretary of State and State Party National Committeeman Kenneth D. McClintock. For more info on how to contribute feel free to visit their website at http://www.ydapr.net/ , their Facebook page at http://m.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2418413105&reedd1a0f&refid=46 or contact the chapter's state treasurer Josean Feliciano at 787-604-0702.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hate Crime Committee established in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A special committee to investigate hate crimes has been created in Puerto Rico, where advocates say gay and transgender people are the victims of an "epidemic" of violence.

The announcement by the attorney general was cheered Saturday by activists who complain the government has yet to invoke 2002 legislation establishing harsher penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"I think this is a step in the right direction to start to collect statistics that are vital to curb the crisis of violence against the gay community in Puerto Rico," said Pedro Julio Serrano, a native of the U.S. territory and spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Serrano said 25 slayings of gay and transgender people in the past eight years may have been motivated by bias - including the decapitation in November of gay teen Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, whose killing inspired vigils as far away as New York and Chicago.

The new government committee involves agencies including the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Juan, police officials and the island's civil rights commission, according to a statement release by the attorney general late Friday.

"With the creation of this committee, we will document the extent of hate crimes," said Attorney General Guillermo Somoza Colombani, who added that the data will help develop policies to attend to the victims.

Puerto Rico is known as a welcoming place for gays, particularly in comparison with more socially conservative Caribbean islands where homosexuals often live in hiding.
A recent string of high-profile slayings, however, has put pressure on the government. Some of the cases have received broad local news media coverage, including the April killing of a 31-year-old transgender beauty salon owner.

"It's sort of an epidemic," Serrano said. "It's too much to be ignored."