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Jiménez, José, 1948-

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Jiménez, Juan

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2012-06-25

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Juan Jiménez is the younger brother of Antonio “Maloco” Jiménez and currently lives in Barrio San Salvador of Caguas, Puerto Rico, in the secluded road behind the tienda, or store, of the Trinidads. His home is newly built and sits on cement blocks like stilts, carved right into the hill but sitting halfway on air. It is difficult to turn your car around the dead end road as there are more hills to the other side. And he has a beautiful view of the center of San Salvador’s Monte Peluche, a tall, rocky mountain covered with vegetation. It is his section of paradise and what Mr. Jiménez worked for all his life when he lived in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, on La Armitage. Mr. Jiménez is content, still raising his college-aged daughter. His son is a proud Illinois State trooper. Mr. Jiménez was part of Council Number 9 of the Caballeros de San Juan and Damas de María at St. Teresa’s Church on Kenmore and Armitage. He played well and was a proud member of their softball team. It instilled character in the players, kept the community stable, and kept the youth away from hard drugs and off the streets. Each team had their own chanting cheerleaders, coaches, and managers. It was also good for small entrepreneurs who sold pasteles and pastelillos, rice and bean dinners, and T- shirts and flags and banners. The Catholic softball leagues provided the Puerto Rican version of the college town football game for the entire Puerto Rican family. It kept them united and parents knew at all times where they could find their children. It was a cost effective, after school fun that today would have eliminated the few existing after school programs. And it was a true community program that did not have to be funded by the federal government or by city hall. But the leagues and the Caballeros and the Damas were being weakened and destroyed by discriminatory plans to “cleanse for profit” the lakefront and near downtown areas of Puerto Ricans, other minorities and the poor. And along with their displacement and destruction of neighborhood networks and the disenfranchisement of Puerto Rican and poor voters, breeding grounds for today’s super gangs were created.

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