A report from the Latin American Herald Tribune. Imprisoned Puerto Rican independence militant Oscar Lopez Rivera, who earlier this week was pardoned by US President Barack Obama, meets the conditi…
Sunday afternoon, I sat in my living room watching the live streamed video of Clarissa Lopez Ramos, Jose Lopez and campaign leaders’ thank you’s to the greater community. In an era of political and economic uncertainty for Puerto Rican Chicago, Oscar’s release feels like a light in the midst of a great deal of darkness.
When, on Thursday, I finally got on the phone with the Xicano leader who dedicated his life to the campaign to get news of this, tone of voice was ‘normal’ a sign of the work ahead of us. Even during Sunday’s event, he was running errands, reminding me that todavia hay trabajo por hacer.
Still, as someone who’s been writing him since 2004 and writing about him since 2010, more questions that answers loom my mind. As a person who’s personally benefited from his counsel and insight, my heart is brimming with joy and excitement at being able to meet someone who’s given so much to me. As a researcher who knows how much his family and close friends have waited for this day, I remind myself they come first and that seeing their joy is so much more important. As someone who’s learned so much from his ethics and his vision, though, larger questions loom that may take a lifetime to answer.
On the phone with a friend today about the looming third life crisis befalling both of us, I let her know this decision changes and transforms my life. Making sure Oscar’s legacy and vision live beyond the letters on the page and the few books others have written with them and about his life’s work is more than a professional desire. It is a personal responsibility because he’s more than who he was; more than the hero his family, his campaign construct him to be. With his contradictions, humility and resilience, he is a testament of determined hope. An example of a struggle overcome that should be remembered by more than those who bore witness to this shift.
Here’s to my grandchildren being able to know what a man who remained committed to his convictions and to loving something bigger than himself can achieve.