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Press Release: Street Corner in El Barrio To Be Renamed For Nuyorican Poet Tato Laviera 

For Immediate Release: October 20th, 2017

Contact: Rosa Cruz Cordero, Rc1941@hunter.cuny.edu

[New York, NY] On October 28th at 1pm, Tato Laviera, one of the leading poets of the Nuyorican movement, will be honored with a street renaming ceremony. The corner of 123nd St. & 2nd Avenue will become Tato Laviera Way in honor of the late poet. There will also be readings of his work and the unveiling of a new mural by Puerto Rican artist Don Rimx. All are invited to join the the Office of the Honorable Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Councilwoman, the Laviera family, and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, in celebrating this joyous occasion. To visit the event page, click here.

Jesus Abraham Laviera was born in 1950 in Puerto Rico. He was raised in Santurce until the age of 9 when he and his family relocated to the Lower East Side of New York City. He was involved with community work and activism before dedicating himself to poetry. In 1979, he released his first collection, La Carreta Made A U-Turn, the title of which references the landmark theatrical work by Puerto Rican playwright Rene Marquez.

Laviera published five poetry collections in total and at least a dozen plays. AmeRícan, which was released in 1999, is considered to be one of his important works. Laviera’s papers, including an extensive collection of unpublished materials, are held by the Library and Archives of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. Highlights of the collection include photos, many of his plays, varied poems and personal treasures such as letters from his students.

After years of battling illness, Tato Laviera died in 2013. Taino Towers were his last residence and where his image now appears on the side of a building within the housing complex. The Red Carpet Theater was also renamed in his honor in 2014. Centro Press also released "The AmeRícan Poet: Essays on the Work of Tato Laviera", a collection of thirteen essays, an introduction and a foreword by fifteen established and emerging scholars. 

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About Centro: The Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) is the nation’s leading university-based institution devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Centro is dedicated to understanding, preserving and sharing the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Centro also collects, preserves and provides access to library resources documenting Puerto Rican history and culture. We seek to link scholarship to social action and policy debates and to contribute to the betterment of our community and the enrichment of Puerto Rican studies.