Over four decades after Puerto Rican youth in New York City began their fight for social justice, New York’s Young Lords will have a street in El Barrio named in their honor. On Saturday, the New York City Council will change the name of 111th Street and Lexington Avenue to Young Lords Way. The intersection lies in the heart of El Barrio, the section of East Harlem that has historically been a cultural home for Puerto Rican residents of New York City.
On the corner of the new Young Lords Way stands the First Spanish Methodist Church, which served as the operating base of the Young Lords movement when it began in late 1969. Inspired by the Chicago movement of the same name, the Young Lords worked to achieve Puerto Rican self-determination throughout the 1970s and early 1980s and to improve services for Latinos across the city, stressing greater access to health care and tenants rights. Many members of the Young Lords would later become well-known figures, including journalists Pablo Guzman and Juan Gonzalez. Recently, Guzman and Mickey Melendez were interviewed by Gerson Borrero in an interview for City And State.
— Jacob Passy