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Statement from Centro Director Edwin Meléndez on the Passing of Juan Flores

Centro, Hunter College and CUNY have lost a dear friend and supporter with the passing of Juan Flores. In 1975, shortly after the creation of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Juan became its Research Director of Cultural Studies. Having worked with Centro Director Frank Bonilla while in the faculty of Stanford University, he was instrumental in shaping the intellectual foundation of Centro and the nascent fields of Puerto Rican and Latino/as studies. A prolific writer and the author of numerous papers and books, he translated the Memoirs of Bernardo Vega, a classic text and mandatory reading for scholars in the field. After fifteen years at Centro, Juan moved to the Sociology Department at Queens College and also became a member of the CUNY Graduate Center where he taught Latino and Cultural Studies. Juan returned to Centro in 1994 when he was appointed its Director, a position that he held until 1997. As a pioneer in the field of Latino cultural studies, his work on the intricate relationship between diasporas and cultural identity influenced a new generation of scholars. His more recent interest on Afro-Latino/as paved intellectual bonds with other African diasporas and helped raise the profile of what is often a neglected topic in the literature. But Juan went beyond the purely yet so important intellectual exercise to encourage a younger generation of scholars and community activists to engage in practices that question racial hierarchies while building more egalitarian relations among and within our communities. For those of us who had the privilege of knowing Juan, his sudden, too soon passing away saddens our hearts. Our hearts go out to Miriam, his wife, and to all friends and family during these difficult times. Juan, we will miss you deeply.