It’s been big week for The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation. On December 11, the book was reviewed in Centro Voices (the e-magazine of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies), featured on their 2015 “Essential Boricua Reading for the Holiday Season” list, and recommended as the starting point on that list.
In The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano offers both an important contribution and intervention to Puerto Rican, Latina/o, and Communication Studies, by further contextualizing “the critical engagement of the Young Lords’ grassroots rhetoric and political actions” (Wanzer-Serrano 2015: 8). Although other important works on the Young Lords exist, what Wanzer-Serrano is careful to offer here is not merely another historical analysis of the ways in which activism is performed (or enacted) but how decoloniality emerges, is imagined, and is lived through the words and actions of the Young Lords. Through extensive archival research, oral histories, and theoretical unpacking, Wanzer-Serrano’s book situates the critical importance of the rhetoric behind the organizing work of the Young Lords and how affective strategies became central to their struggle for community control. To be sure, Wanzer-Serrano’s contribution is an important one, and very timely, as we are again witnessing a rise in community based activism in these very communities.
To make things even better, the book was first runner-up for the Inside Higher Education Readers’ Choice Award. Losing out to T.S. Eliot and besting Umberto Eco and Santa’s Elves (I’m not even joking), it was a tremendous honor to be nominated let alone rank so highly amongst real and mythical figures.
All of this news is so exciting as the semester winds down. This was a big term for the book, which kicked off with a three-site tour in New York and finished with a two-site tour in San Francisco — both of which are covered on the Speaking Schedule page.
Next semester has some fun things in the works, starting with a two-day event at Dickinson College, sponsored by the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity, which will include former Young Lords Iris Morales and Denise Oliver-Velez!