Here at Centro, we’re excited to announce that CUNY TV will begin broadcasting each of the four documentary films that make up our Pioneer/Pionero series as part of their special holiday programming. The series is set to premiere on Monday, December 11th, followed by regularly showings three days per week (for the full schedule, scroll down below). The documentary films will also be picking up where the third season of the award-winning TV series Puerto Rican Voices is leaving off. The show, which profiles members of the Puerto Rican diaspora, had premiered earlier in the semester.
The four documentary films of the Pionero series include: Pura Belpré: Storyteller, A Revolt Through Letters: Clemente Soto Vélez, The Legacy of Frank Bonilla, and Rafael Hernandez in New York. Each film is also part of the Puerto Rican Cultural Ambassador program launched by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in 2016 (to learn more about the program, click here). As a result, there are educational materials such as teaching guides to accompany the documentaries.
Together, the films cover a wide range of topics related to the history of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Pura Belpré, for example, was the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library. She was an advocate for bilingual education, as well as a pioneering author of Spanish-language children’s books. Writer and community activist Clemente Soto Vélez is also a prominent figure of the early Puerto Rican community in New York City. Then there is Frank Bonilla, who is of course the founder of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. The last film in the series explores legacy of Rafael Hernandez, one of the most important Latin American composers of the 20th century.
Moreover, the Pionero series serves as a wonderful introduction to the Cultural Ambassadors Program, which is described as “a national partnership of youth, community leaders, cultural and educational institutions devoted to promoting Puerto Rican culture.” Those interested can access the program via the Centro website and complete the first level, “Ambassador.” Stay tuned for subsequent levels that are scheduled for release in 2018.
So we invite you, la diáspora, young and old, to join Centro and CUNY TV this month as we highlight some of the most important icons of the Puerto Rican diaspora. It’s fitting addition to the holiday season as our families celebrate the many Puerto Rican traditions we enjoy each year.
The schedule is as follows:
Mondays: 6am, 12pm, 10pm
CUNY TV is Channel 25.3 for over-the-air viewing. For cable subscribers, tune into Channel 75 (Spectrum and Cablevision/Optimum), Channel 77 (RCN) or Channel 30 (Verizon).
Episodes can also be viewed online at www.cuny.tv