Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 10, 2012

Young Lords' testimonies collected

Grand Valley project will document group


---- — GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A team of students, professors and activists from Grand Valley State University have completed the first stage of a lengthy project focused on the Young Lords, an organization that helped preserve Latino civil rights.

Melanie Shell-Weiss, assistant professor of liberal studies, explained that the project started in September 2011 and now the first stage, which was focused on collecting testimonies from people involved in the Latino human rights movement, is almost over.

"We have oral testimony from 88 people that lived in Lincoln Park, Chicago, when all this started. Now we are working on making all these documents accessible, and translate it into English or Spanish," she said.

The Young Lords movement started in the 1960s in Lincoln Park, Chicago and it was founded by Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez, a Grand Valley graduate and the project's co-director.

The push Jimenez led grew out of the ongoing struggle with the "Richard J. Daley Machine" for fair housing, self-determination, and human rights, according to Grand Valley.

At that time, Shell-Weiss said the Young Lords were fighting against displacement, which means that the people in Lincoln Park were forced to leave their residences due to an increase in their rent.