The New York Chapter In June 7, 1969, the Black Panther newspaper published an article about the formation of the Rainbow Coalition, an alliance made up of the Black Panthers, the Young Patriots Organization, white working class youths, and the Young Lords Organization in Chicago. Inspired by the Chicago Young Lords, a group of young people established a chapter in New York City in July 1969 and subsequent branches in Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Newark, Boston and Puerto Rico. The Young Lords set up community programs: free breakfast for children, community testing for tuberculosis and lead poisoning, free clothing drives, cultural events and Puerto Rican history classes.
The Young Lords addressed issues concerning prisoners, women, the working poor, Vietnam war veterans and high school students. They summarized their political beliefs and goals in a 13-point program, published and distributed a newspaper called PALANTE and produced a weekly radio show on WBAI also called PALANTE.
The People's Church In late 1969, the Young Lords took over a church in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) that had refused use of its available space for a breakfast program for neighborhood children. The Young Lords renamed it the "People's Church," and it became a symbol of the fight for social justice by Puerto Rican people in the United States.
Health Programs The Young Lords exposed the horrible health conditions faced by poor people in New York City. In April and July, 1970, the Young Lords organized several actions (Offensives) at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx. A takeover of the hospital resulted in the establishment of a drug rehabilitation program that served about 500 patients weekly. For 25 years prior, the hospital had been scheduled for demolition, yet it was the only facility available to local residents. As a result of the takeovers, an agreement was reached to build a new Lincoln Hospital. (See 10 point Health Program.)
Free Puerto Rico! The Young Lords also organized for the independence of Puerto Rico. In 1971, the Young Lords together with the Puerto Rican Student Union (PRSU) mobilized 1,000 students for a conference held at Columbia University. The purpose was to set up "Free Puerto Rico Now Committees" in high schools and colleges. Subsequently, they organized a mass demonstration in which 10,000 people marched from El Barrio to the United Nations to demand the independence of Puerto Rico, freedom for political prisoners and an end to police brutality. Through direct community action and education, the Young Lords made an impact on the conditions and consciousness of Puerto Rican and Latino/a communities across the United States.