María Romero video interview and biography


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María Romero video interview and biography



María Romero first joined the Young Lords on Wilton and Grace Streets. She was recruited by then Angie Lind-Rizzo (later Angie Adorno) and the other Young Lord women members. It was 1973 and the Young Lords were emerging from two long years of being completely underground, or inoperative publicly as a human rights organization. There were no longer remnants of the Young Lords Movement left in the Lincoln Park neighborhood that gave birth to them in 1968. The Lincoln Park neighborhood had been cleaned out of Puerto Ricans and the poor, in just a few years, by city hall and the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association. A directive was given by the leadership for the Young Lords members to move and to establish themselves as a base of operations in the Lakeview Neighborhood, at Wilton and Grace Streets. Many Young Lords moved there with their families. Prior to that, a group of about 25 Young Lords had moved to a rural, rented farm near Tomah, Wisconsin. The farm camp was called a “Training School,” and their sole purpose for their camp was to train new Young Lord’s leaders who would step in and lead the Young Lords. Repression had hit extremely hard within the Lincoln Park Movement, splitting it in several directions. This was aided by pending trials of several Young Lords leaders and the still unsolved murders of United Methodist Rev. Bruce Johnson and his wife Eugenia, of the Young Lords People’s Church. Rainbow Coalition leader of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, and Mark Clark were also assassinated in a raid organized by the States Attorney. The Lincoln Park Movement had seized to exist. José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, who was then in hiding from the police after being sentenced to one year in Cook County Jail and who had 17 more felony indictments still pending, called for the organizing of a training school in a secluded farm near Tomah, Wisconsin. After members received their training in the farm camp for one and a half years, it was decided that Mr. Jiménez would voluntarily turn himself in, begin serving the year and start to fight the remaining cases which included bond jumping and many trumped up charges of mob actions for demonstrations. The Young Lords would raise his bond, hire attorneys, and then switch their organizing in Lakeview and Uptown where many of the Puerto Ricans of Lincoln Park had moved. They had also moved to Wicker Park and Humboldt Park but the Young Lords wanted to concentrate their forces. If this move was not done, the movement started in Lincoln Park would completely collapse. After serving the year, Mr. Jiménez announced his Aldermanic Campaign for the 46th Ward, as an Independent Democrat. He would use the election not as an electoral revolution but, “as an organizing vehicle for change.” Among other things the campaign would focus on Mayor Daley’s forced displacement of the Puerto Rican Community from the near lakefront and near downtown areas of the city. It not only boldly opposed the banks, the developers, the neighborhood associations but implicated Mayor Richard J. Daley in urban renewal plans that clearly were racist, being utilized to cleanse these areas of lower income minorities. Because of this, María Romero volunteered to serve as Young Lords Office Coordinator. It was Ms. Romero’s job to pass out assignments and to provide support and referrals for services for residents of that Lakeview area of Wilton and Grace. She herself had lived in Lincoln Park but had grown up in Lakeview. There most of the Puerto Ricans knew her family, as her father was a businessman, who for years had owned several Latino botanicas, or stores that sell religious potions and candles of saints, and provide consultation services. Ms. Romero was instrumental in getting a large amount of persons registered to vote. The Jiménez Aldermanic Campaign received 39% of the vote on the first attempt. It was not the 51% needed, but it was still victorious in uniting the community and beginning to expose the prejudice behind displacement. It also opened wide the doors for future Latino political candidates. As Ms. Romero moved west to Humboldt Park she was hired as a community organizer for Bickerdike, a non - profit development corporation. She used her Young Lords organizing skills and passion to promote their mission of being, deeply dedicated to preserving the ethnic and cultural character of their neighborhoods, providing quality affordable housing, preserving jobs, advocating for resources and struggling against gentrification and displacement. One of the main issues that Ms. Romero advocated for was the “Chicago Affordable Set Aside.”





Grand Valley State University. University Libraries. Special Collections & University Archives


Jiménez, José, 1948-






Moving Image




María Romero vídeo entrevista y biografía


Young Lords (Organización)
Puertorriqueños--Estados Unidos
Derechos civiles--Estados Unidos--Historia
Lincoln Park (Chicago, Ill.)
Puertorriqueños--Relatos personales
Justicia social
Activistas comunitarios--Illinois--Chicago


Romero, María, “María Romero video interview and biography,” Digital Collections, accessed September 18, 2021,
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