Seven-week Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Program coming to Sunset

SUNSET PARK — Puerto Rican history will be in the forefront in Sunset Park thanks to a new collaboration between El Grito de Sunset Park, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies-CUNY Hunter College and the Sunset Park Library which will bring the Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Program to the neighborhood’s branch, 4201 Fourth Avenue.

Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 16, the branch will host a series of events highlighting Puerto Rican history, including several documentaries on the history of Puerto Ricans in the United States.

Noting that Sunset Park is a “historically Puerto Rican neighborhood,” the center stressed, “As a waterfront community, it was home to early Puerto Rican migrants to New York City whose lasting impact can still be felt. The Cultural Ambassador Program offers four, self-paced courses online that serve as a foundation for those eager to learn about the stateside Puerto Rican experience.”

El Centro’s Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program is, “a free, multimedia course in Puerto Rican history, culture and traditions, with a focus on the migration experience of the stateside diaspora with the goal of the program is to inspire the next generation of Puerto Rican leaders to become a driving force of change for themselves and their communities.”

The first course offered through the program includes a viewing of the Pioneers/Pioneros Documentary Series, which will tell the stories of significant pioneers of Puerto Rican culture.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, “Pura Belpe” will be shown. On Wednesday, Oct.23, “Tato Laviera” will be screened and on Wednesday, Oct. 30, “Plena is Work, Plena is Strong” will be shown. All viewings run from 6-8 p.m.

In addition, the program includes reading assignments on Puerto Rican history, culture, and traditions. Essays will be presented that explore the experience of Puerto Ricans in the United States; the program will also provide information on important dates and historical events that have shaped the diasporic experience.

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, the program will explore “The Historical Narrative” and “Labor Migration & U.S. Policies.” On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the focus will be on “Puerto Rican New York during the Inter-War Years” and “The Great Migration at Mid-Century.” Then, on Wednesday, Nov. 20, the essays will highlight “Community and Organizations” as well as “Resistance and Empowerment.” Finally, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, the subject will be politics; closing ceremonies will also be held.  The events begin at 6 p.m.

Every participant that passes a short quiz at the end of each lesson will receive a certificate of completion and designation as a Cultural Ambassador.

The courses are free. For more information or to register, visit or email info@elgrito.

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