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.