“We want self-determination for Puerto Ricans: liberation on the island and inside the United States. We want self-determination for all Latinos and liberation of all Third World People.” – 13 Point Program 1969

Influenced by the Black Panther Party and fed-up with colonialism in Puerto Rico and the injustices Puerto Ricans faced in the States, the Young Lords Organization emerged as one of the most controversial politically driven groups of the 20th Century in New York.

In January of 1969 college students met in Harlem to discuss the systemic problems and injustices that were occurring within those very neighborhoods they stemmed from. Yoruba from New York and David from Chicago joined these discussions in Harlem in May of that year. At the time this group was called Sociedad de Albizu Campos (named after the Harvard University graduate, United States veteran, president of the Nationalist Party who sought freedom for Puerto Rico).

During the same time Jose Martinez from Florida was at a convention in Chicago where he met members of the Rainbow Coalition. The Rainbow Coalition included the Black Panther Party, The Young Patriots Organization, and the Young Lords Organization. Jose Martinez met Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez who was the Chairman of the original Young Lords organization started in Chicago under his leadership. Martinez was headed to live in New York and asked Cha Cha for permission to start the chapter in New York.

While Martinez was meeting on the Lower East Side, the Sociedad de Albizo Campos  met in East Harlem. Both groups found out about each other and hit the streets of Harlem together the next day in what is known as the Garbage Offensive. These groups became one and were now a mixture college students, former prisoners, men and women united through a common purpose: to put their minds, hearts, skills and gifts together in order to uplift their people: to organize ways to bring justice to their streets, and oppressed people everywhere.

In July 26, the Young Lords headquarters in Chicago recognized the group as the ’New York Chapter of the Young Lords Association’.

Now that I have given you a brief and hopefully informative introduction of the Young Lords I hope that you will consider your role in your community. Know that history can be made by someone like you and me. How are you connecting to people who have a yearning to bring love and healing and education back to the home, back to the block, back to black and brown and oppressed and marginalized countries?

My next post will be on the Garbage Offensive that took place the Summer of 1969 in El Barrio (East Harlem)… I will be writing posts on The Young Lords between September and October for Latino Heritage Month focusing specifically on the New York Chapter. Continue to read, learn, and share. 


Richard Harmond. “Campos, Pedro Albizu“; http://www.anb.org/articles/11/11-01225.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.

Abramson, Michael. Palante: Young Lords Party. Chicago: Haymarket, 2011. 4-11. Print.


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