A rally calling on President Obama to release from prison Oscar López Rivera will be in Springfield on September 16 at 4:45 p.m. The rally will be outside city hall, at 36 Court Street.
United States senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said earlier this year, “Oscar López Rivera has served 34 years in prison for his commitment to Puerto Rico’s independence. I say to President Obama: let him out.” Rivera is 73 years old.
Lifelong Springfield resident Jafet Robles is one of the event organizers. “The other goal of the rally is to address the crisis in Puerto Rico,” Robles told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on September 8. Congressman Luis Gutierrez will speak at the rally.
Another speaker at the rally is Melissa Vargas Echevarria. She was recently featured on the national TV show Democracy Now:
The USA invaded Puerto Rico in 1898. Ever since, the USA has controlled Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican people have been drafted to fight in the USA's wars. That can legally still happen. Puerto Ricans are not allowed to vote for president of the USA. They elect symbolic, non-voting "members" of Congress.
“The government dropped the minimum wage to $4.25 this year,” Robles said. “Hospitals and schools are facing major cutbacks. Lots of people here in the Valley have family in Puerto Rico. Holyoke is 52 percent Puerto Rican.” Holyoke is home to about 40,000 people.
For more information about the rally, contact Robles by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (413) 654-0055.