The Young Lords
Puerto Rico. The U.S. seized the Caribbean island from Spain in 1898. Officially it is “a locally self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States.” Since 1917 those born in Puerto Rico have U.S. citizenship but they can’t vote in federal elections. Today, more Puerto Ricans live in the U.S. than on the island. The Young Lords was a U.S.-based Puerto Rican political organization advocating for justice and equality for Puerto Ricans. As one scholar wrote, “The Young Lords emerged to call out and confront the root causes of inequality and discrimination with incredible bravado. Effectively, they staged occupations and takeovers drawing attention to social injustice through savvy media coverage, and more.” By the mid-70s the Young Lords disbanded but their radical grassroots campaigns had long-lasting impacts.
Juan González was a founder of the Young Lords, an organization dedicated to justice and equality for Puerto Ricans. He went on to become an award-winning journalist. For many years he was a columnist for the New York Daily News. He is co-host of Democracy Now! and the author of Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.