Category Archives: Press Release

Lambda Brother Jonel Gonzalez Loses Seven In Crash; Donation Campaign Raises $125,000

Bronx, NY — May, 2012

On Sunday, April 29th Jonel Gonzalez, Hermano of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (Beta Gamma Chapter, Spring 2012), suffered a devastating loss when his mother, sister, aunt, two young cousins and both grandparents (7 in total) were involved in a fatal car accident in Bronx, New York. Fraternity members started on online donation campaign with the hopes to raise enough money for proper funeral services for all seven family members. In the three days since the campaign began, the brothers have raised approximately $125,000 and counting.

Jonel’s family was on its way home to celebrate the arrival of the grandparents from the Dominican Republic and his sister’s upcoming First Communion. The SUV his mother was driving suddenly flipped over a barrier of the Bronx River Parkway at the edge of the road and plunged into a section of the Bronx Zoo. The cause of the crash, which happened around 12:30 p.m., was unclear according to officials.

Upon learning of the tragic accident Hermanos Keith Garcia, Lizardo Uribe and Gianni Marci quickly began local efforts in order to assist our fellow Hermano in his time of need. An online donation campaign was started on PayPal.com and WePay.com for Hermanos to help ease the financial burden that comes with funeral services for 7 family members. Through the power of social media Jonel and his family received an unprecedented amount of support and donations not only from Hermanos, but a national community as well. In only three days of the #SupportJonelGonzalez and #ForTheLove campaign, the fraternity has been able to raise approximately $125,000 surpassing their initial goal of $100,000.

“We based our goal on what the average cost of a funeral can be,” Garcia said. “We also have to take into account that the family is not based in New York City, they have relatives in the Dominican Republic, and the grandparents were from there – transporting the bodies to the D.R. is going to cost more.”

The national leadership of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (LUL) have also made a generous donation to Hermano Jonel’s family and has assisted with all current local efforts.

“Through this emotional time, we have been extremely touched by the generosity and support toward our organization, and most importantly, Jonel and his family,” said Mario Rivera, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “On behalf of La Unidad Latina, I humbly thank you for walking next to us during this tough time,” added Mr. Rivera.

The national support was especially plentiful from that of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) board and it’s members. “Almost every President has contacted me, expressed their condolences, and pledged a national donation, as well as promising to pass the message on to their memberships,” said Manuel Cabrera, National Council President of LUL.

The services arranged for the Gonzalez family are as follows:

  • The Wake will be taking place at Parkchester Funeral Home located at 1430 Unionport Road, Bronx, NY 10462 on Thursday May 3rd from 4pm-9pm.
  • The Funeral will be taking place at St. Raymond’s Church located at 1759 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx, NY 10462 (between East Tremont and Castle Hill) on Friday May 4th at 9:45am.

All Hermanos are encouraged to wear their fraternal Arm Band in solidarity and support for Hermano Jonel Gonzalez even if they are not able to attend the wake or funeral services.

The support of Hermanos and the community nationwide is giving Jonel strength to carry on. “I will never be able to express how grateful my family and I are,” Gonzalez said. “Throughout all the sorrow and darkness, this support is the only light I see.”

For more information or to make a donation and continue your support please visit the official website www.SupportJonel.com

Lambda Alumni Conclave To Be Hosted At Rhode Island Senate Chamber

Providence, RI — March, 2012

The Gamma Delta Chapter of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Incorporated in conjunction with Rhode Island Senator Juan M. Pichardo will host the 2nd Alumni Conclave on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012. The Rhode Island State House Senate Chamber will be the site of this momentous event as the Fraternity prepares for the future of the organization.

The day will begin with a Presidential Address by Hermano Manuel Cabrera followed by a Keynote Address by Senator Juan M. Pichardo. A Medical Guild presentation will detail our upcoming Medical Mission trip in April as well. Community service at Central Falls High School will conclude the day’s events by working alongside students and faculty to help repair their school. As a follow up to the 1st Alumni Conclave held last December in New York, the Fraternity will focus on a detailed plan that will carry out the goals it has set for itself.

Hermano Juan M. Pichardo, Senator of Rhode Island, was excited about the opportunity to host an event of this magnitude in his state.

“It is an honor to be selected as a state for the Fraternity to conduct a meeting of Hermanos to discuss and plan for the future of the organization” he said.

Hermano Julio Carballo, Director of Alumni Affairs and Hermano Rick Quiles, M.D. have also worked diligently to ensure that this weekend’s Alumni Conclave is a great success. The Gamma Delta chapter will provide Lambda Alumni from all over the country with all the necessary accommodations for a great experience.

Lambda Upsilon Lambda Sponsors Homage To Piri Thomas

New York, NY — February, 2012

La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (LUL) has joined GDS Arts, El Museo del Barrio and HBO Latino to co-sponsor “A Homage to Piri Thomas.” This tribute is in memory of our Hermano Piri Thomas who passed away on October 17, 2011. Hermano Piri published a memoir in 1967 that would become his most popular and controversial work, “Down These Mean Streets.” The memoir, which chronicled his childhood struggles with prejudice, racism, identity and crime, eventually became a staple on high school and college reading lists. It examined themes of race and class in America and showed that everyone is capable of turning their lives around and achieving success.
In 1995, upon review of his work within the Latino community and his commitment to goals in line with that of La Unidad Latina, Piri Thomas was inducted as a distinguished Honorary Hermano of LUL at the fraternity’s National Legislative Convention in Albany, NY. As a stalwart supporter of La Fraternidad Hermano Piri often worked with many chapters of LUL and spoke at their engagements. It was this level of commitment, passion and dedicated service to the goals of La Fraternidad which made Hermano Piri such a shining example of what La Unidad Latina stands for. He encouraged a whole generation of young people to be socially conscious and expressive.
The tribute will take place on Saturday, February 18, 2012, at El Museo del Barrio on Museum Mile, hosted by Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, Founder and President of the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute and Felipe Luciano, former Young Lord, news anchor and poet, and curated by Rich Villar. Poets include Martin Espada, Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Junot Díaz, Willie Perdomo, Mayda del Valle, Emanuel Xavier, and others.
The National Council of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. will also be making a generous donation to the Piri Thomas Memorial Fund and will continue to promote the work of a truly inspiring Hermano who influenced the lives of many.

The Great Author and Poet, Hermano Piri Thomas Dies at Age 83

New York, NY — October, 2011

The Hermanos of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (LUL) regrettably announce that on Monday October 17, 2011 the great author and poet Hermano Piri Thomas passed away. He was born on September 30, 1928 in Harlem, New York City, to a Puerto Rican mother and Cuban father. In 1967 he published a memoir that would become his most popular and controversial work, “Down These Mean Streets.” The memoir, which chronicled his childhood struggles with prejudice, racism, identity and crime, eventually became a staple on high school and college reading lists. It examined themes of race and class in America and showed that everyone is capable of turning their lives around and achieving success. Hermano Piri is also the author of two novels, “Savior, Savior, Hold My Hand” and “Seven Long Times,” and a compilation of short stories, “Stories from El Barrio.” He is also the author of several plays and set his poetry to music.

In 1995, upon review of his work within the Latino community and his commitment to goals in line with that of La Unidad Latina, Piri Thomas was inducted as a distinguished Honorary Hermano of LUL at the fraternity’s National Legislative Convention in Albany, NY. Hermano George Bouldin Gates (Iota, Spr’91) recalls his induction at convention stating that “you could tell [that] what he appreciated most about the gesture of Honorary Hermano was the bond and connection [shared] as well as the support of Latino men. I think that moved him more than being in a fraternity; he was a very humble and sweet man.” As a stalwart supporter of La Fraternidad Hermano Piri often worked with many chapters of LUL and spoke at their engagements. It was this level of commitment, passion and dedicated service to the goals of La Fraternidad which made Hermano Piri such a shining example of what La Unidad Latina stands for. He encouraged a whole generation of young people to be socially conscious and expressive.

Hermano Piri Thomas was born John Peter Thomas in Harlem Hospital, where he was given the Anglo-Saxon name. “They wanted to assimilate me,” he said in an interview in 1995. “Whoever heard of a Puerto Rican named John Peter Thomas?” Piri was the name his mother called him as a child. Hermano Piri Thomas died of complications from pneumonia at his home in El Cerrito, CA. He is survived by his wife, Suzie Dod Thomas, six children, seven grandchildren, three stepchildren, and two step grandchildren.

Tha National Council of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. will be making a generous donation to the Piri Thomas Memorial Fund and will continue to promote the work of a truly inspiring Hermano who influenced the lives of many. “La Unidad Para Siempre Hermano Piri” – Los Hermanos de La Unidad Latina.

The family requests no flowers or gifts. Written sentiments may be sent to Cheverote@aol.com or 2503 Edwards Ave. El Cerrito, CA 94530. Tax deductible donations (payable to Social Justice, earmarked for the Piri Thomas Fund) may be made in his name and sent to:

Piri Thomas Memorial Fund
C/O Social Justice/Global Options
PO Box 40601
San Francisco, CA 94140

To date, memorials are being planned for the Bay Area, New York, and Orlando, Florida. Dates to be announced.

For more information, please e-mail:
Suzie Dod Thomas at Cheverote@aol.com
or view his website, www.Cheverote.com

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