Democracy Now! co-host Juan González remembers his longtime friend and comrade, Juan Ramos, a founder and leader of the Young Lords chapter in Philadelphia in the early 1970s who recently died after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. “It’s really not possible to overestimate the influence that Juan Ramos had on the social and political and liberation struggles of the Puerto Rican, Latino community, but also all communities, in Philadelphia,” shares González. Ramos was a lifelong activist and became a founder and first president of the Puerto Rican Alliance, which led numerous battles to defend bilingual education, oppose police brutality, and which spearheaded a large squatters’ movement in abandoned HUD-owned houses that eventually won titles to those homes for more than 150 Puerto Rican families. He also helped found the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights in the 1980s, served in the administration of Mayor John Street and was himself elected to the Philadelphia City Council for one term, and became a union organizer and a deacon of a Catholic Church in his parish in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia.
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