Puerto Rico has been in the media spotlight in the last year for several reasons. First, the island is undergoing its most severe and prolonged economic recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Between 2006 and 2016, Puerto Rico’s economy shrank by nearly 16 percent, and its public debt reached more than 73 billion dollars in 2017. Second, the island is experiencing a substantial population loss, largely due to emigration.
Between 2000 and 2016, the number of Puerto Rico’s inhabitants decreased by 10.6 percent, from 3.8 to 3.4 million people. Third, in June 2016, the US Congress approved the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Act (PROMESA), which effectively placed the island’s government under direct federal control. Finally, in September 2017, two major hurricanes, Irma and Maria, struck the island, wreaking havoc in a country already ravaged by economic misfortunes.
Juan González has been a journalist for more than 30 years and a staff columnist at the New York Daily News since 1987. He is also the co-host of the award-winning daily radio and television news program, "Democracy Now!" A two-time recipient of the George Polk Award for commentary, Mr. González was the first reporter in New York City to consistently expose the health effects arising from the September 11th attacks and the cover-up of these hazards by government officials.
He is a founder and past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), and a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame.
A founding member of the Young Lords Party in the 1970s, and of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights in 1980s, Mr. González has twice been named by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the country’s most influential Hispanics and has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Puerto Rican Coalition.
Mr. González has written five books: "Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Collapse;" "Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America;" "Roll Down Your Window: Stories of a Forgotten America;" "Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities." His book, "News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media," co-authored with Joseph Torres, is a landmark narrative history of American media that puts race at the center of the story.
The lecture will be presented by Dr. Rubén González, Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Modern Languages Department at SUNY Old Westbury.
To attend, please RSVP Dr. Angel Lara at laraa [at] oldwestbury.edu.
Founded in 2003 by the Modern Languages faculty, the Hispanic/Latino Cultural Center of SUNY College at Old Westbury celebrates the entire Spanish-speaking world including its Hispanic, Amerindian and African heritage. The Center serves the metropolitan New York area by presenting academic events, art exhibits, theater, concerts, educational forums geared towards improving the overall understanding, among people from all walks of life, of the contribution to world cultures made by the people of Hispanic, Latino, Afro and Indigenous heritage.