Pena del Bronx Closed
From Noticias del Mundo
March 4 2002
The Bronx Community Center, La Pena del Bronx, known for its pro-immigrant
activism, was shut down by police in early March. The center has
served Latinos for the last 15 years.
Victor Toro, one of its founders, said police from the 40th precinct
have repeatedly harassed La Pena members throughout the years. Police
shut down the center after finding people were selling alcohol within
Nieves Ayress, the president of the organization, said that on
Friday, March 1, a 40th precinct sergeant along with three other
people, including a lawyer, went to the center to evict program
directors, Joel Perez and Victor Toro. In the past, she added, other
members have been tossed to the ground and frisked.
LA Pena offered English classes, silkscreen workshops and lent
its space to theater and folkloric dance groups, Perez said. Over
the years, its members have supported a various number of human
rights and workers rights campaigns in New York and Latin America.
Ayress said that in the last month, the organization received at
least 30 fines. On March 1 they received another.
"People who come to our center are hardworking and peaceful,"
Since the closure, members of the center have sent letters to Police
Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Governor George Pataki and Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton. In early March, Ayress, Perez and Toro were scheduled
to appeal their case in the Bronx Supreme Court.
Translated from Spanish by Angelica Medaglia.
Back to The Citizen page!