Film screening and Panel:
50th Anniversary of the Struggle for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY

Full Panel

Q and A  Tami Gold, Pam Sporn and Ricardo Gabriel

María Elizabeth Pérez y González and Dr. Virginia Sanchez Korrol

Q and A  María Elizabeth Pérez y González, Dr. Virginia Sanchez Korrol and Ricardo Gabriel



Making the Impossible Possible, chronicles the story of the student-led struggle to win Puerto Rican Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY, in the late 1960s. The documentary is a mosaic of voices, film footage, and photographs taken by student activists. This important intergenerational story highlights how students and faculty seized the moment to build upon an alliance of Puerto Rican, African American, and other progressive students forged in their communities and the civil rights movement. Together they changed the face of higher education, transforming the curriculum and expanding who gets educated. The film sheds light on the 50-year history of struggle that started with the founding of one of the first Puerto Rican Studies departments in the nation, and documents the continued movement to maintain their gains.

Speakers will also talk about their research on the 50 years of Puerto Rican studies for the City University of NY book project, as well as a current overview of Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY.


50 Years of Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York
Editors: María E. Pérez y González and Virginia E. Sánchez-Korrol

This book project will focus on the creation of Puerto Rican Studies and its founding leaders; its birthing of academic journals, the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños (Centro)/Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, and the Puerto Rican Studies Association; it’s often misunderstood mission to study the stateside Puerto Rican diasporic experience as connected to Puerto Rico, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and Latin America; the forging of a space within the “Ivory Tower” academy; its survival tactics in the face of austerity and elimination; its current status; and its future in the 21st century.

The editors seek the submission of photos, brochures, events flyers, relevant links/resources, and faculty and student reflections (written and audiovisual) from each of the PRS departments, programs, and institutes noted herein; they will be linked to the book project on the Centro website, resulting in an online archive of PRS in CUNY.

For more information contact María Pérez y González or Virginia Sánchez-Korrol at [email protected]



Tami Gold Professor at Hunter College CUNY,
Tami is an award-winning filmmaker and educator. Her films have been at the forefront of social justice, focusing on issues of race, gender, sexual identity, labor and police brutality and have screened at the MOMA, Whitney, Chicago Arts Institute, Sundance, Tribeca and The New York Film Festival and have been screened on television worldwide. She is recipient of Rockefeller, Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships. [email protected]

Pam Sporn Director/Producer at Grito Productions 
Pam is an award winning filmmaker and who taught in NYC high schools for 28 years. Her films have screened on PBS and at US and International film festivals. Some of her films include Detroit 48202, Cuban Roots/Bronx Stories, and With a Stroke of the Chaveta. Pam is a member of New Day Films and the Bronx Filmmakers Collective and New York Women in Film and Televisions. [email protected]

María Elizabeth Pérez y González, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Brooklyn College, CUNY,
María is an Associate Professor in the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY, where she has served as faculty for 29 years with 17 of those years as Chairperson. Her research includes the Puerto Rican diaspora, Latinxs, women in ministry, and Pentecostals. She has published Puerto Ricans in the United States (2000) and scholarly pieces on Latinas in ministry. She is the co-editor of Puerto Rican Studies in CUNY: The First 50 Years (forthcoming 2021). Contact info and to submit to the digital archives: [email protected] [email protected]

Dr. Virginia Sanchez Korrol Professor Emerita, Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College, CUNY
Virginia is Professor Emerita at Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Brooklyn College, CUNY. Dr. Sanchez Korrol writes about the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Among her extensive publications, she authored From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City, and co-edited Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. Recipient of the Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Contributions to New York History, 2020, she serves as historical consultant to media projects, government and cultural institutions. She is the co-editor of Puerto Rican Studies in CUNY: The First 50 Years (forthcoming 2021). Contact: [email protected], [email protected]

Ricardo Gabriel Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at The Graduate Center CUNY,
Ricardo is a scholar-organizer and a PhD candidate in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research interests include social movements, decolonial education, and climate justice. Ricardo’s dissertation uses oral histories and other qualitative research methods to analyze the movement for Puerto Rican studies at The City University of New York, from 1969 to the mid-1970s. He has written for NACLA: Report on the Americas and other publications. Contact: [email protected] [email protected]

Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College
Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department at Brooklyn College
Third World Newsreel

Making the Impossible Possible is a production of the Alliance for Puerto Rican Education and Empowerment and was directed by Pam Sporn and Tami Gold and co-produced by Gisely Colón López. It is available from Third World Newsreel,  

6:00 PM Eastern Time


Virtual Event:


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