The Nuyorican Youth: It’s Time We Help

By Efrain Nieves

The million dollar question is, who is helping our Puerto Rican youth?  I have read 3 articles stating a high percentage of  Puerto Ricans between the ages of 16-24 living in New York are dropping out of school, not registering for college and are unemployed. In fact, Puerto Ricans rate lower than any other Latino ethnic group in the city.

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

An article in The Epoch Times titled Report Points to Disparity in Puerto Rican Community states “groups plan to start a new campaign called “Pa’lante Boricua,” or “Moving Forward,” to call on government officials and the Puerto Rican community to direct resources to programs and services to reduce disparities.” Let’s help these groups get the resources needed to help our youth.

Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Rosie Mendez were at city hall Sunday supporting services for the Puerto Rican youth. They are examples of leaders getting involved and we need more like them to speak out for our youth.  But not all Puerto Ricans leaders will confess to the truth. Last year WNYC’s Marianne McCune  interviewed Angelo Falcon of the National Institute for Latino Policy  saying, “even some Puerto Rican leaders don’t want talk about Puerto Rican poverty.”

I can understand our Leaders focusing on the bigger picture, but the bigger picture holds no value when  it is viewed through a small window. Pa’lante!

Report Shows Plight of Puerto Rican Youth:

Puerto Ricans in New York Face Persistent Struggles:

New York City’s Future Looks Latino (PDF):

Report Points to Disparity in Puerto Rican Community:


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2 Responses to “The Nuyorican Youth: It’s Time We Help”

  1. Efrain…

    You bring up a great point, although I would expand it to “Latino Youth” only because the number of people who only identify with any one ethnicity is decreasing rapidly. I used to be part of an organization called MUEVETE that was very dynamic (but also very “Nuyorican”) and it became harder and harder to get kids to identify with the Nuyorican identity when so many of them were mixed (Afro Latino, PR-Dominican…ect.)

    I am sad to say that Muevete is not longer the powerhouse it once was, and may not even exist at all anymore.

    There needs to be a movement of Youth of Color, not only in NYC… but across the country… if we are to have a bright future.

    That is my cuchara de sofrito… (my two cents)

    Thank you…

  2. One thing that’s being lost is cultural identity. Cultural identity instills cultural pride. If you don’t know where you’ve been, how could you possibly know where you’re going? In my neighborhood here in Park Slope, many of the 30ish Nuyoricans don’t even listen to our music yet alone know who Pedro Albizu Campos was. I gave my son a copy of Piri Thomas’ “Down these mean streets” and sent him down the right path (he’s half Dominican by the way.) It was our music and culture that kept my feet grounded and motivated me to start college when I was 25 yrs old. I hate to say it, but we as parents have a lot to do with our children not faring well as a community. Let this be a wake up call.

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