Oscar Rosado

For the very first time in the state of Ohio, LCCC is offering an Intro to Puerto Rican Studies course on campus. 

“We’re excited because it is first in Ohio. The fact we live with a bigger Hispanic community; it is long overdo. Our goal is to reach out more to the Puerto Rican community in the county of Lorain,” said Program Director of Foreign Languages Gregory Rivera.

The course is offered is multi-disciplinary, will focus on the racial, historical, linguistic, religious, social, and cultural realities of the Puerto Rican diaspora. It will also have special focus on the migration to Lorain. Students will also learn the history, culture, literature, contemporary society, and politics of Puerto Rico.

This is a partnership with Hunter College in New York City with Centro, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Because of the partnership, after students take the course they will be able to become Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors. According to Rivera, as an ambassador, students will be able to share and teach about the people, stories, struggles, and triumphs of Puerto Rico and the diaspora, who are people who belong to that community, in other words people of their original and native homeland.

Learning history

“We hope to reach out to students and want people to be interested in taking the course to learn about the history, why Puerto Ricans moved to Ohio, and the struggles and triumphs that came along the way,” said Rivera. Ultimately, the course will show how the Puerto Rican diaspora enriched Lorain County. Rivera has thought about having a course like this “for a very long time.”

The course is currently planned to run every Fall semester, and has already begun this semester on Sep. 30., with Dr. Raquel Ortiz teaching the course who was the bridge between Hunter College and LCCC.

Knowing your roots

“You’re a better person when you know where you come from, and I am glad I can teach it through my books and my class,” said  Anthropologist, Published Author, and Instructor Raquel Ortiz, Ph.D.

Born and raised in Lorain, OH, Dr. Ortiz was formerly a faculty member at Hunter College, apart of Centro, and is currently teaching the Intro to Puerto Rican Studies course, and said she is excited to share the good things about Puerto Rico.

“It is about learning about ourselves. Learning about our people,” said Dr. Ortiz. “It is also to have a connection, not just to learn for learning’s sake, I want them to share.” Dr. Ortiz added, “I am very grateful to Greg. We both realized the need for it. It was a nice fit. He helped make it happen.”

The class has a multimedia approach such as having documentaries, mini documentaries, episodes of a television program called “Puerto Rican Voices” which is currently in its fourth season, videos of conferences, and a piece of a radio podcast, all to educate students about Puerto Rico, its people, and its culture.

“I have a real hope we will try to strengthen the Puerto Rican community. There is a big Puerto Rican community in Lorain, and I want to help them understand the crisis and educate them to take action. Everyone can do something,” said Dr. Ortiz.

According to Program Director of the International Initiative Shaun Marsh Ph.D., “I welcome the opportunity to work with Greg Rivera and Dr. Raquel Ortiz and reach out to the Puerto Rican community.” Dr. Marsh added, “It is a wonderful opportunity to have more people involved and turn it into something much bigger.”

The course number is HUMS 295, is offered online and requires no prerequisite. It is a 10 week course currently held in the Fall, but if there is enough interest, it can be offered in the Spring as well. The class is running from Sep. 30 to Dec. 15. Those interested can contact Dr. Ortiz via email: rortiz@lorainccc.edu.