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Happy Land Social Club Memorial

About this listing

Monument to the eighty-seven victims of the 1990 Happy Land Social Club fire

Place Details

Borough : Bronx
Neighborhood : East Tremont
Parks and Gardens, Social Movements, Caribbean/ American, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

In 1988, while on a software sales trip to Los Angeles, Jose Francisco Avila had an epiphany. “I had to stay over the weekend unexpectedly,” he recalls. “I knew there were other Garifunas in L.A., but I didn’t actually know anybody. I didn’t have a single name or telephone number that I could call.” Even as he sank into frustration alone in his hotel room, the inspiration began to swell. Although he had achieved almost all of his professional goals, Avila couldn’t escape one disappointed self-reflection - Jose, what have you done for your people? “That was the moment. That directly lead to my involvement in Garifuna activism,” he says. Four short years, and much blood, sweat, tears, and community organizing later, Avila co-founded the Garifuna Coalition, a pioneering non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Garifuna culture and language, and advocating on behalf of the Garifuna community in New York City...

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Interview with Jose Francisco Avila, March 4, 2015 by Molly Garfinkel

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