ABC Finally Issues Formal Apology to Boricuas for A Positive Image

Months after it began a protest against ABC for a controversial line from the canceled "Work It" sitcom that equated Puerto Ricans to drug dealers, Boricuas for a Positive Image finally received a formal apology from the network.

Here is a two-part segment from New York City's local ABC station that chronicles the efforts from BFAPI.

The weekly demonstrations continued every Thursday night in front of the ABC's New York City headquarters, and even though critics said that BFAPI would never get an apology from ABC's corporate team, they did, and as you can see from the interview, good things have begun to happen.

In the meantime, the movement gained attention, both on the mainland and on the island, including the following video from The Puerto Rican Alliance for Awareness (PRAA), which got over 30,000 views in a week, when it was released at the end of February.

All because of a few seconds from a sitcom. And you all thought it couldn't be done. 

From NYCLatinoPolitics: Latinos To ABC-TV “We’re Back”


Posted on March 9, 2012 by Julio Pabon

March 8 was a beautiful evening. Springlike temperature and it was still light at 5:30pm when over 100 Boricuas, Dominicans, Mexicans, Afro-Americans & Anglos came out to support our protest against ABC-TV.

It was almost like a family reunion after a two week grace period people seeing each other for the first time. We also had many new faces. Among them was the well respected religious leader, Pastor Lydia Lebrón who said a prayer for the protestors & for ABC ( who obviously have some lost souls) & Danny Figueroa who came from Albany. Figueroa is the Chief of Staff to AssemblymanPeter Riverawho is also Speaker Pro Tempore. Figueroa read a strong letter that went out to executives & Board Members of ABC & Disney urging them to apologize & meet with the community to resolve this highly explosive issue.

Boricuas For a Positive Image Enters 5th Week of ABC Protest: They Say They Will Only Get Stronger

Most of the online world has moved on after the Work It "Puerto Rican Drug Dealer" fiasco helped to cause the show's cancelation after only two episodes. Yet, the grassroots group Boricuas For a Positive Image continues to demonstrate every Thursday night in front of ABC's New York headquarters.

It appears that even if BFPI is the only group that is asking to meet with ABC and discuss how the network can move forward with the Puerto Rican community, they will eventually achieve their goal. On a side note, ABC recently announced a development deal with adopted Redeble John Leguizamo. Who know where that goes? But in the meantime, BFPI shows no signs of stopping, as reports:

5th. Protest At ABC! – Where Are We?

For the 5th consecutive week we had a very well organized and vibrant Demo in front of ABC yesterday. Again it was unexpected. It was obvious that the security personnel were not expecting anyone to show. Same with the NYPD. AS A RESULT WE SURPRISED EVERYONE & you should have seen the reaction when we began the chants with 5 then 10, eventually close to another 100 folks.

It’s obvious that while some think this issue is over (that is what ABC executives believe) this is not the reality. The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) has tried unsuccessfully to convince execs of ABC that this is not a movement that has gone away simply because the show was canceled and they too have found it difficult to get the message across. ABC no respeta a nadie en nuestra comunidad.

This incorrect view from ABC and others plus the fact that we have been ignored by much of the mainstream media would give the impression that we are a void onto ourselves, or like one reporter friend told me. “this issue in not important.” Something that could be no further from the truth. The mere fact that over 100 and up to 200, majority Boricuas have been demonstrating every week under all weather conditions and that is not news is incredible!

What none of these folks understand is that slowly this movement is touching the hearts & minds of Boricuas & others who once they are made aware of the facts are agreeing with us? Just like the many non-Latinos that walk by 66th St. while we are demonstrating and ask us about the issue and leave giving us the “thumbs up,” or the number of truck drivers that honk their horns when they drive by reading out signs.

This can also be seen from the emails & comments we get plus the new faces we have seen in the 5 demonstrations. Young, senior, male, female, labor & religious. I personally like going to an activity for our community and not seeing the same people all the time.

Bottom line is that this movement has touched a nerve. Particularly in the Puerto Rican community. A nerve that appears to bother and create discomfort for some. Why? We can speculate all we want, but something to consider is that Boricuas being the second largest Latino sector in the USA (4.7 million) and attached (directly or indirectly) with another 3.7 million on an island (that is another political issue onto itself) makes a very dangerous brew if united on anything. There are many people including among our own that would prefer that our community be “undisturbed.” Why wake up a community that has so much to scream about. Just look at any statistic regarding the Puerto Rican community and if that does not affect you, or get you pissed you are not paying attention.

As such we are asking all of you to join us in re-doubling your efforts to show that our community is very much alive and ready to defend ourselves when insulted, or attacked. Please continue to Send notices to all your contacts, family members, neighbors. Invite some members of Boricuas For A Positive Image (BFPI) to talk at your meetings, or  schools. Bring up the issue in any meeting from Tenants Association, to union delegate meetings. Help us expand the information that is growing. Inform your friends through your Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube, etc. If you have contacts in another city, or state, let them know what is happening here in NYC. If you have still not called ABC, please do and tell them that they need to apologize and meet with our community.

Soon we will be meeting to discuss ways to move this struggle to its next level. We will share this information with everyone via this page. If you have any ideas, or comments that could help build this struggle please write a comment at and we will read it.

While many think this struggle is dying, or over they don’t understand that in reality it has not really begun. This might be the year of the Dragon, but this Pitirre is about to hit the eagle hard.

1 Hour For Boricua/Latino Pride & Respect!

Thursdays 5:30 to 6:30 PM 66th St. & Columbus. Come bring your family, come bring your class you will feel great upon leaving.

TONIGHT in NYC: “ABC Cancelled the Show, But Protest Will Continue”

The protest against ABC for it's airing of the now-defunct "WORK IT" show will still continue tonight at 5:30 at ABC's corporate headquarters.

Boricuas For A Positive Image

For Info: Mr. Rivera: 917-709-2219

ABC has cancelled the sitcom: “Work It.” Though they might believe that this will make the protest STOP, they are WRONG. The Boricua For A Positive Image, the founding group of community, labor and religious leaders that have been protesting the insulting comment, “I’m Puerto Rican I would be great at selling drugs,” stated that their protest against ABC that began over two weeks ago would continue.

“We never asked for the show to be cancelled, our demands are simple: 1. A public apology and 2. A meeting to make sure that this does not happen again,” stated Mr.Lucky Rivera the group’s co-founder.  He continued, “We don’t want to be here again next year, or sometime in the future because the problem has never been addressed by cancelling the show.”

Mr. Julio Pabón, the groups other co-founder stated, “The fact that ABC has not had the professional courtesy to respond to any of our communities concern is adding insult to injury,”. He added, “ABC – Network’s cancellation of the sitcom “Work It” is not enough for a community that is tired of being insulted.”

The group is adamant about an apology and meeting and has continued to organize for another demonstration this Thursday, January 19th, 2012 from 5:30PM to 6:30 PM sharp.

Other actions planned by the group are reaching out to other Puerto Rican organizations to also issue a statement. Reaching out to those elected officials who have yet to issue a statement and the organization is studying the possibility of a boycott of Disney who is the parent company of ABC.

WHAT: Third Protest Thursdays ABC TV network

WHEN: Thursday, January 19th, 2012

TIME:    5:30 to 6:30 PM @ 66th St. & Columbus Ave.


EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Boricuas for a Positive Image Demonstration at ABC Corporate HQ

This Thursday night, a committed group went out to ABC HQ in New York to demand that ABC apologize for its now infamous "Work It" Puerto Rican Drug Dealer Joke and ask ABC that they meet with them to discuss how one of the country's largest networks can begin to portray Puerto Ricans (and all Latinos) in a more positive light.

Photos by Rebecca Beard of and music is "Boricua en la Luna" by el GRAN SILVIO.

READER POLL: What Do You Think of @Amaury_Nolasco and What He Tweeted Out on January 11?

So, after we posted yesterday's post about Amaury Nolasco's tweet, our community spoke and gave us their opinions. Some say that Nolasco should clarify more while others said let's move on and focus on ABC.

So what do YOU think?

Puerto Rican Actor @Amaury_Nolasco Apologizes on Twitter for His Character’s Drug Dealer Joke

The Twitter silence for Puerto Rican actor Amaury Nolasco is over. The actor, whose ABC show "Work It" face a social media controversy for a line about Puerto Rican drug deal ears, tweeted out an apology today around 5pm EST. The apology appeared on Nolasco's stream in both English and Spanish. It was more than 140 characters, so the entire apology tweet showed up on the WhoSay website (Spanish version):

Like we reported a few days back, we had always said that we were rooting for Nolasco to do the right thing. And he did. This apology is sincere, humble, and honest. But there are still questions: will Nolasco divulge what went through his mind when he read the line on the script for the first time? What did he think about the line? Was he just an actor doing his job? What will he do to repair the firestorm he recieved?



Boricuas Reps Withdraw Apology Demans, ABC Demonstration Still On

Upon hearing of Nolasco's tweet, Reps. José Serrano and Nydia Velázquez withdrew a demand for an apology from ABC, even though ABC has not formally commented on the grassroots movement that has been created regarding the show and its offensive line.

We guess that without an apology from ABC, plans to demonstrate tomorrow night will still continue. As of this initial post, no plans to cancel tomorrow's demonstration in New York City have occurred. In fact, a press release from The National Institute for Latino Policy was issued today with more details about the Thursday demonstration:


Boricuas for a Positive Image
Join The Protest!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
5:30 Pm
ABC Television Corporate Headquarters
77 West 66th Street & Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
against the blatant offense by ABC television’s portrayal of the Puerto Rican community!The ABC show “Work It” blatantly offends the Puerto Rican community by portraying Puerto Ricans as “good drug dealers”
“Boricuas for a Positive Image” a newly formed ad hoc group of activists, will hold a second protest outside ABC television corporate headquarters this coming Thursday, January 12th in a continued effort to call attention to the inflicted offense that ABC’s “Work It” pilot sitcom has caused the Puerto Rican/Latino community . . . where Puerto Ricans were stereotyped as expert vendors of narcotics. A character called Angel, played by the actor Amaury Nolasco, is scripted as saying to be an expert on selling drugs because he is Puerto Rican.
Protest organizers will be announcing their demands from the television network, including calling for a public apology.
Stand Up For Dignity & Justice!
Be at the Protest!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
5:00 PM Press conference with elected officials
5:30 Pm Protest
ABC Television Corporate Headquarters
77 West 66th Street & Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
¡En La Unidad
Está La Fuerza! ¡Sí Se Puede!
The following is the latest statement we have received
“It is unfortunate that ABC would choose to look for humor by exploiting misleading stereotypes about Puerto Ricans, rather than highlight the positive contributions Puerto Ricans have made to the well-being of this nation. This unfortunate, unfunny attempt at humor is both reprehensible and something that ABC should apologize for, without delay,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Partial List Of Organizations That Have Signed On to be there tomorrow:
Local 372/DC-37, Latin Leadership Institute, LACLAA, Casa De Las Americas & the South Bronx Community Congress.

VIDEO: Boricuas for a Positive Image in New York City

Originally posted on NYC LATINO POLITICS.

Boricuas for a Positive Image will join the NYC Chapter of  the Labor Council of Latin American Advancement on Thursday January 12 at 5:30 pm at the front of the ABC Building on 66th and Columbus in New York City.

Here is a video of the initial demonstration from January 5. At the end WABC's TV José Torres gives the group a thumbs up.

GUEST POST by “Work It: The Reactionary Backlash”


Originally appeared on Reprinted with permission of the author.

Ed Morales is a journalist who has investigated New York City electoral politics, police brutality, street gangs, grassroots activists, and the Latino arts and music scene.  He has been a Latin music Newsday columnist and longtime Village Voice contributing writer whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Miami Herald,San Francisco Examiner, The Los Angeles Times and The Nation. He is a frequent contributor of editorial columns for The Progressive Media Project. For more about Ed (and his bio is IMPRESSIVE, click here).



Work It: The Reactionary Backlash

“Life would be much simpler if people who are subjected to persistent marginalization and disparagement weren’t so “sensitive” and just took their insults and degradation, or pretended they weren’t really about them. Persistently marginalized and disparaged people should not speak up because they are to blame for their own problems. Identifying with marginalized victimhood prevents them from enjoying the benefits of the American dream.”

These are the voices of the reactionary backlash against the idea of protesting the dehumanizing joke uttered by Amaury Nolasco in last week’s episode of the largely tasteless sitcom “Work It,” soon to be canceled by its creators, the American Broadcasting Company. The reactionary element that still has so much power in American discourse suggests that presenting “the other side of the story” involves the reasonable assumption that well, after all, Puerto Rico is a drug-riddled island, so is the joke really offensive?

A Huffington Post (Latino/a) column puts it this way:

The 3,515-square-mile island has an average of three violent deaths per day. According to U.N. figures for 2008, the island averaged 20.3 murders per 100,000 residents. Mexico, by comparison, had 11.5 murders per 100,000 residents in that same year. And the documented corruption of the island’s police force corruption has even lead to fears of it becoming a ‘narco state.’

The reality painted by these disturbing figures should be a focus of debate among Puerto Ricans, said Mariana Vicente, Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2010, in defense of Nolasco.

“We are not in a position to demand that the media guard our reputation when in our country we don’t even respect ourselves, brutally killing people, firing bullets in the air and so much violence in the home,” she told Primera Hora. “Let’s start out by caring for ourselves and demonstrating the contrary to the rest of the world.”

I’m not sure about the logic of setting up Ms. Universe as a spokesperson in a political debate, or someone to initiate a serious dialog, but i guess that’s what happens in a celebrity driven culture and the media outlets that promote it. It’s telling that the post uses a link to Fox News Latino to establish the idea that Puerto Rico is in danger of becoming a narco state, and not the more informative piece in the Christian Science Monitor, nor one of its major sources, the DOJ National Drug Intelligence Report , which clearly states that the increase in drug traffic in Puerto Rico has been caused by a shift by Venezuelan and Colombian drug traffickers to points in the Eastern Caribbean to avoid the DEA’s ineffective machinations. It is clear that the drug problem that has exploded in Puerto Rico is not self-generated, unless you think Puerto Rico is such an integral part of the US that it deserves partial blame for the largely disastrous decades-long failure known as the War on DrugsHere’s one argument against that idea: Puerto Rico has never had a single elected representative in Congress who could even exercise the right to vote for or against the disastrous failure known as the War on Drugs!

So, let’s have a debate on this: Should we agree or disagree on the deployment of the War on Drugs? We have no choice in the matter. Should we limit our own consumption? The major cause of the drug problem is the fact that Puerto Rico is a transshipment point for the distribution of drugs to the mainland US, and not the island population’s consumption of drugs. Should we ask Americans to limit their consumption of drugs? Wait a minute..we are Americans. If we stop firing bullets in the air, will that help the DEA shift the transshipment point somewhere else?

I won’t even mention how the current government cut 20,000 government jobs and used Obama’s ARRA (stimulus) funds as a way to boost the island’s employment figures even though their rhetoric claims that the private sector is the best hope for job creation. More jobs = less drug dealers. The absolute silence of the Puerto Rican government on the “Work It” controversy speaks volumes.

Finally, let’s talk about the drug dealers, who make up a tiny percentage of the Puerto Rican people. Let’s talk about how the Amaury Nolasco character was someone living in the U.S., and the fact the overwhelming majority of Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. have nothing to do with drug dealers in Puerto Rico. And let us note that while there have been some Latino characters in network television network shows over the last few years, I can’t remember a single one that was Puerto Rican! Not Ugly Betty, not Desperate Housewives, not Sofia Vergara. The last thing I can remember is that flag burning on Seinfeld, and because some of us chose to speak out they will never show that on the air again. And this really hazy memory of Freddie Prinze. So, when there finally is one, the first thing he says is “I’m Puerto Rican, I’d be great at selling drugs”?

This is not an insignificant grievance that can be compared, as this misguided Chicago columnist did, to the drug-dealing white suburban dealer in Weeds. (“Get a grip,” she says. “If you go around looking to be insulted, you’ll never be disappointed”.) But for every Mary Louise Parker weed pusher, there’s…well, there’s just about every other character on network television to contrast her with! The entire cast of Friends, The Office, Cheers, Seinfeld, Married With Children, How I Met Your Mother, Mary Tyler Moore, Will and Grace, Taxi, The King of Queens, Beavis and Butthead.

As a drug dealer, she is an exception. A shining example of American exceptionalism. The one who can deal drugs and remain attractive and upscale without being imprisoned. For Puerto Ricans, there’s Amaury Nolasco and…no exceptions.

We live in an era where synagogues are being trashed with swastikas, nooses turn up in parks and universities, people are given receipts in fast food places that read Lady Chinky Eyes, young people are committing suicide over their sexual identity, and our freely elected President has been portrayed in every racist way imaginable by right-wing Republican activists. While this backlash cannot be blamed on sitcoms, they demonstrate that somehow messages of intolerance are being transmitted with increasing velocity, and network television shouldn’t be part of laying the groundwork for this.

When is it going to stop? It’s certainly not going to stop if reactionaries discourage people from speaking out against these things, by pining away for a return to time when people weren’t constrained by “political correctness.” Their time, thankfully, is 30 years past.

NYC Chapter of Labor Council on Latin American Advancement Calls for ABC Demonstration

This just in from the New York City chapter of the Labor Council on Latin American Advancement:

The New York City Labor Council on Latin American Advancement has called for a demonstration against ABC's portayal of Puerto Ricans as "good drug dealers" on their show "Work It."

The gathering will be this Thursday.

When: This Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM


66th Street & Columbus Ave


ABOU THE LCLAA (From their site)

LCLAA’s roots

5The 1950’s brought many Latino activists to the forefront of the civil rights movement. These trade unionists struggled to open the doors of opportunity for Latinos. They fundamentally believed that through the labor movement and the electoral process, Latinos would be able to strive for social dignity, economic equality, access to the political process and a higher quality of life for every Latino working family.

2These ideals became part of the “American Dream.” With this dream in mind, Latino trade unionists from throughout the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico convened and made a commitment to promote the social, economic and political progress of the Latino community. In 1972 they founded the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). This organization would devote itself to making the American dream a reality for all working people. It aimed to meet those goals by working collaboratively to empower Latinos in unions and help strengthen the labor movement by educating Latino and immigrant workers about the role of unionization in achieving just and safe workplaces.

1Since its inception in 1972, LCLAA has remained a grassroots organization driven and directed by Latino labor leaders who understand the importance of unionization in helping workers secure rights and protections on the job, empowering them to become voices for justice and change in their communities. We are committed to the growth and progress of the labor movement and the Latino community. This commitment combined with the relentless work ethic of our chapters and leaders has helped LCLAA play a major role in the historic elections of Latinos at all levels of government.  LCLAA has made it its mission to transmit the assets of the Latino community to the labor movement, the government and beyond. As a result, from local city mayors to Federal Congressional positions, Latinos are now better represented in the political life of this country. 

Maria Portalatin (AFT)- co-founder and National Secretary-TreasurerOur growth is attributed to the courageous and devoted men and women that sought a better future for working families, ascended through the union ranks and used their leverage to help Latino workers nationwide assert their right to leadership and representation.

LCLAA has remained on firm ground by bringing unity where there was division and providing a voice to fight the injustice that prevailed in our community’s silence.  We continue the fight for quality jobs with living wages and the right to organize in the workplace without the fear of retribution.  We are committed to achieving immigration reform because without it we are failing to advance the rights of all workers. We will embrace victories but will remain vigilant because challenges will continue to arise. As always, however, we will be ready to confront them. 

Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIO Executive VP Emeritus and former LCLAA Board MemberLCLAA’s work has ranged from marching for union recognition in our workplaces to advocating in Congress for a range of issues that affect working families. It has rallied for healthcare reform, immigration reform, workers’ rights for all, and quality jobs that protect our workers and our environment.  Through these fights, it has encountered tremendous resistance but it has always looked after the well-being of the Latino community, holding no regard for the size of the battles ahead.