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The Pledge

By Alberto O. CAPPAS

Alberto O. Cappas

(Harlem Prep graduate, Class of 1966
Dedicated to our Children and Youth)

I pledge to maintain
A healthy mind and body,
staying away from the evil of drugs.

I pledge always to try my best to understand
the importance of knowledge and education,
painting a positive picture of where
I plan to be tomorrow,
not allowing obstacles to stop the growth
of my plans for the future.

I pledge to seek answers to questions,
understanding that the answers to questions
sometimes lead to other discoveries.

I pledge to work hard,
with the awareness and confidence
that hard work today will serve
as the seeds for my strong tree tomorrow,
a tree no one will ever be able to tear down.

I pledge to learn proper languages,
beginning with my mother's,
always prepared to appreciate others.

I pledge to gain a better understanding
of myself,
by understanding my cultural roots,
to fully accept who I am as a human being,
a rainbow of many cultures and colors.
I pledge to overcome any personal misfortunes,
always striving to become
A wiser person.

* * *

"The Pledge: Dedicated to our children and Youth", by  Alberto O Cappas, is dedicated to children and youth, especially students enrolled in the inner city public school system. 


From: Cappas@aol.com
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 01:12:46 EDT
Subject: Submission: Bio and poetry of Alberto O. Cappas
To: contact@lightmillennium.org

Clear. Natural. Poignant: These words accurately describe
Alberto O.  Cappas and his work and achievements

by Jaira PLACIDE, New York University


Alberto O. Cappas understands the suffering and struggles of Puerto Ricans living in Mainland America as well as in Puerto Rico. His poetry traces their hopes, problems, and misconceptions from the island to the mainland where they discover that dreams do die hard.

Alberto O. Cappas: Cappas is a poet and entrepreneur in several diverse areas. He is the author of Echolalia, a collection of poems, published in 1989, author of Disintegration of the Puerto Ricans, published in 1997, and author of The Pledge: A Guide for Everyday Living, published in 2001. His poetry has been included in many publications and anthologies in the United States and Canada.        

Cappas is the recipient of the "Keepers of Our Culture" Award for Literature, presented to him by the New York State Hispanic Heritage Month Committee -- on September 15, 1994. His talents and skills as a writer, interest in the human condition and concern for those socio-economic issues which impact the Puerto Rican/Latino community, have served to foster in him an active interest and involvement as a journalist. This has led to his role as co-publisher and co-editor of the Latino Village Press, a monthly publication designed to educate and inform the Puerto Rican/Latino community about the importance of going into business and developing their own economic institutions and infrastructures. His accomplishments and achievements lists him as the founder and

Chairperson of the AOC Speakers Bureau, the only Latino and African American speakers bureau in the country (now known as A&L Speakers & Consultants). He is also founder and Chairperson of Don Pedro Enterprises, the makers of Don Pedro Cookies; and he was co-founder of A Place for Poets, a national publication that featured aspiring Latino and other emerging writers and poets.

Further, his works have achieved wide interests, growing appeal and numerous accolades. It should be noted that his work has been featured and preserved in the City of Buffalo's new Metro subway system, with a commissioned work by the Niagara Frontier's Transportation Authority of an artistic "vignette" with two other Latino artists. The work is a thirty-foot steel tile mural that reflects the search for a sense of belonging in this city. Also, his early works have been included in the renowned Schomburg Library's archives.

Alberto O. Cappas is an alumnus of the State University of New York at Buffalo and a recipient of the NYC Urban League's Charles Evans Hughes Award for Creative Writing -- presented to him by Harlem Preparatory School in 1967.  Doña Julia is Alberto's third book of poems.

About Alberto's work: In the poem "Suicide of a Puerto Rican Jibaro," one need not be Puerto Rican to identify with the alienation faced when entering a cold, foreign, and jungle-like world. Cappas successfully explores what such a drastic change can mean for a Puerto Rican away from his island, where he is the majority. In "...Jibaro", for the Puerto Rican man who emigrates to the United States, "A million times his body was raped by the unfriendly cold... to pursue the American Dream..."

Cappas is a relentless observer and commentator of what happens when a people leave their homeland, or forget where they come from, to pursue the uncertainties of the American Dream. His poetry, ironic at times, questions whether this dream does exist. In "A Spoken Secret", "Light skin Puerto Ricans forget to speak Spanish... and dark skin Puerto Ricans adopt hot combs to straighten their hair." In "Doña Julia", a woman is trapped like a mouse in America and so commits suicide as a last attempt to return to her

homeland. And in "Maria" a young girl sits patiently thinking about her experiences in New York since leaving Puerto Rico and now waits "for the overdose (of a drug) to take effect."

This is not to say that all Puerto Ricans who come to the United States end up killing themselves. It does show that Cappas is keenly aware of a sort of cultural and spiritual death that happens to Puerto Ricans and other Latinos when they leave the tropical scenes and adopt certain American values. In the ironic humorous poem, "Her Boricua", a woman buys the Moon, tax-free, and invites her relatives and friends on weekend nights to "admire the beauty of her new possession." She tells them that in America, "you have the freedom to buy anything you want."

"Haiti in Puerto Rico" explores the death theme even further. "I recited useless words of a poem to an audience of Puerto Ricans, turned into zombies, refusing to break the spell of all the misfortunes."

Doña Julia and Other Poems by Alberto O. Cappas is a book filled with poetic stories, forceful and powerful imagery and messages that will stimulate all minds that come into contact with it. Cappas' language is original and refreshing, which makes his writing very natural and uncluttered with abstractions. Cappas is correct, knows what he needs to say and clearly makes his point.

_ . _

More info on Alberto O. CAPPAS

A Collection of Poems by Puerto Rican American
Poet Alberto O. Cappas

And Other Selected Poems
by: Alberto O. Cappas
"A collection of poetic short stories"

"Finally, an evergreen poet gives an insight as to what happened to so many Puerto Ricans and Latinos when they made New York City their new home. An extremely heart felt and thought provoking insight! Gift of a good writer!"

Alberto O. Cappas is available for poetry readings and speaking engagements - for high school and college audiences. Contact NubianVoicesMT@aol.comNubianVoicesMT@aol.com

Bio: Alberto O Cappas: a graduate of Brendeis High School, Harlem Prep School, and SUNY@ Buffalo. He has been widely published in magazines, journals and is the author of several collection of poems, including: Echolalia: Verse & Vibration; Disintegration of the Puerto Ricans; The Pledge: A Guide for Everyday Living.

(*) Alberto O. Cappa is also the Director of Community Affairs for the New York City Human Resoures Administration. A very interesting characater to address your students.

E-mail to Alberto O. Cappoas: cappas@aol.com

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