Latina activist to speak at Wendell Earth Day event

  • Iris Morales contributed photo

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WENDELL — For Iris Morales, the longtime New York activist, writer and publisher who became one of the first female members of the Puerto Rican nationalist group The Young Lords, the devastation wrought by last year’s hurricanes “has been a defining and turning point in Puerto Rican history. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have laid bare the result of centuries of colonial control, austerity, and exploitation.”

Nearly eight months later, says Morales — who will speak at an Earth Day event Sunday in Wendell — “people in Puerto Rico are organizing themselves, creating communities of support.”

Her 5 p.m. talk at Wendell Town Hall will be the centerpiece of the Earth Day program, “Communities in Contact: Western Mass. and Puerto Rico,” that will also look at local environmental struggles, from the takeover by colonialists to the battle over the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.

It will be followed at 7 p.m. by a community potluck supper.

The event is sponsored by the Wendell Energy Committee, North Quabbin Energy and the Traprock Center for Peace & Justice.

Morales, who has worked to gather support from the Puerto Rican diaspora for communities on the stricken island, says that during her visits to the island since the hurricane, she was “filled with a mix of emotions from rage to sadness and compassion. I gained strength and inspiration from the resiliency of the Puerto Rican men, women, and children bringing their creativity to overcome extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and showing love and kindness to each other.”

Morales is founder and editor at Red Sugarcane Press.

Her latest book, “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA,” has been described as “a timely collection of poetry and prose reflecting on women’s lived experiences and the ways that Latinas address the relationship between gender and social change.”

The book will be on sale, along with Through the Eyes of Rebel Women: the Young Lords, 1969-1976, which she wrote and edited.

Morales’s award-winning documentary, “!Palante Siempre Palante! — The Young Lords! premiered on public television in 1996 and continues to be screened across the United States and Caribbean.

Child care is available by contacting info@wloe.org or phoning 978-544-3686