Young Lords Party

civil and human rights organization

The Young Lords (also known as the Young Lords Party; formerly the Young Lords Organization (YLO) ) was a civil and human rights organization transformed by the leadership of Jose Cha Cha Jimenez from a Chicago turf gang on September 23, 1968, 100 years after the Grito de Lares. The group's mission is to fight for neighborhood empowerment and self-determination of Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and colonized ("Third World") people.


  • The concept of Protracted War best describes the history of the Puerto Rican people. For many centuries our people have been invaded by one nation or another. Two oppressors were successful, the spaniards in 1493, and the yankees in 1898.
    • "Protracted War in Puerto Rico"(1971)

The Thirteen Point Program (1968)

    For 500 years, first spain and then the united states have colonized our country. Billions of dollars in profits leave our country for the united states every year. In every way we are slaves of the gringo. We want liberation and the Power in the hands of the People, not Puerto Rican exploiters. QUE VIVA PUERTO RICO LIBRE!
    The Latin, Black, Indian and Asian people inside the u.s. are colonies fighting for liberation. We know that washington, wall street, and city hall will try to make our nationalism into racism, but Puerto Ricans are of all colors and we resist racism. Millions of poor white people are rising up to demand freedom and we support them. These are the ones in the u.s. that are stepped on by the rulers and the government. We each organize our people, but our fights are the same against oppression and we will defeat it together.

The trouble with unity : Latino politics and the creation of identity (2010), Cristina Beltrán

  • As Iris Morales notes, "Even those who disagreed with our tactics had to agree the injustices we pointed to were clear.... The organization touched people of conscience in our community."
  • the Young Lords' emphasis on group advancement provides a compelling counternarrative to the politics of liberal individualism.
  • Of the various organizations that constituted the Puerto Rican movement, the Young Lords left the most lasting legacy.
  • Its effectiveness in using the mass media helped the Young Lords to organize some of the largest and most successful demonstrations of the Puerto Rican left (including a 1970 march of 10,000 from El Barrio (East Harlem) to the United Nations to protest police brutality and the colonial status of Puerto Rico).
  • While Chicanos in the Southwest sought to emulate the paramilitary style of the Black Panthers by forming groups such as the Brown Berets, it was Puerto Rican organizations like the Young Lords that most self-consciously modeled themselves on the Black Power movement.
  • the Afro-Caribbean origins of Puerto Ricans make them people who have had to continually negotiate the black-white racial divide, both in the United States and in Puerto Rico. In the organization's analysis of race, the Young Lords explored the differences between Afro-Boricuas (Puerto Rican blacks) and Jibros (light-skinned Creoles). Capturing this distinction between light-and dark-skinned Puerto Ricans, Pablo Guzmán claimed, "before they called me a spic, they called me a nigger." The resignation of Young Lords leader Denise Oliver and her subsequent membership in the Black Panther Party is further testimony to the close and interconnected political and racial relationship between Puerto Rican and African American leftists during this period.
  • The Young Lords understood themselves to be a revolutionary nationalist party with an internationalist vision. According to Melendez, three texts formed the core of the Young Lords' political education program: Franz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book, and Che Guevara's Man and Socialism: Transformation of the Individual. Grounded in Mao's critique of nationalism and Fanon's analysis of colonialism, as well as Vladimir Lenin's writings on imperialism and the national question, the nationalism of the Young Lords was much more ideologically explicit than that of most Chicano leaders.
  • Inspired by Che Guevara, the Young Lords sought to engage the internal struggle of the individual "to manifest change within himself in order to create a revolution in society."
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