¡SE SIENTE!, ¡SE SIENTE!, Slim está Presente

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By Luis Alejandro Molina

It is with deep pain that the entire Puerto Rican Cultural Center joins Reverend Emma Lozano and her family in mourning the physical loss of their beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Slim, Reverend Coleman, and his entire family have been close allies of our Puerto Rican community for decades. Slim, as we lovingly called him, was one of the towering and bravest figures of Chicago’s history of social justice, anti-racist, and anticolonial practices, as well as other forms of oppression. He and his family have been a beacon of hope for our undocumented brothers and sisters. We have truly lost one of our greatest warriors, however, his indomitable and unswerving spirit will forever inspire us and future generations. Slim passed away on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, and a city-wide memorial service was held at Operation PUSH on May 30th. The following collage gives you a glimpse of Slim’s commitment to the Puerto Rican community:

1. Circa mid- 1990s: Elvira Arellano and Cong. Luis V. Gutiérrez at a downtown press conference during a rally at the Dirksen Federal Building demanding national immigration reform.

2. Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera and Rev. Coleman at FCI Terre Haute prison in Indiana. Rev. Coleman and Rev. Pedro Windsor visited Oscar in 2013.

3. Emma Lozano and Rev. Coleman renewing their vows on their 25th wedding anniversary at the Lincoln United Methodist Church.

4. Members of the Café Batey Urbano formed an honor guard during the initial months of Elvira Arellano and her son Saul’s drive for sanctuary at Adalberto United Methodist Church, A representative of the Chicago office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) remarked that while Elvira was in the Puerto Rican community, it would be very difficult to raid the church and take her out. “We have no plans to enter the church to arrest Mrs. Arellano.” said a government official speaking on the condition of anonymity.

5. Circa 2007: Rev. Coleman and Jacqueline Jackson of Operation PUSH, surrounded by Latino and African-American elected officials and community leaders defending Elvira and the campaign for immigration reform.

6. Members of the Café Batey Urbano formed an honor guard during the initial months of Elvira Arellano and her son Saul’s drive for sanctuary at Adalberto United Methodist Church, A representative of the Chicago office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) remarked that while Elvira was in the Puerto Rican community, it would be very difficult to raid the church and take her out. “We have no plans to enter the church to arrest Mrs.
Arellano.” said a government official speaking on the condition of anonymity.

7. Circa 2009: Rev. Coleman and Rev. Jesse Jackson at the Operation PUSH office during a meeting on immigration reform.

8. Circa February 2005: Rev. Coleman speaking at the wake of Rev. Torres at The PRCC Andrés Figueroa Cordero Library and Informatics Center Library. Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez and Dr. Steve Whitman can be seen speaking to each other in the audience. In a rare exception for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres, who would be released in 2010 after serving 30 years in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, was allowed to view a videotape of this event several months later.

9. Rev. Coleman with sanctuary activist Flor Crisóstomo, the second person to seek sanctuary in Adalberto United Methodist Church next to former Puerto Rican political prisoner Alicia Rodríguez, at a service celebrating Flor Crisóstomo, campaign for sanctuary and immigration reform and Alicia Rodríguez’s recent freedom after serving 20 years in state and federal prisons struggling for Puerto Rican independence.