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NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

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Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

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Que Ondee Sola: An NEIU Legacy

An Interview with Xavier Morales-Greene, the Editor-in-Chief of QOS
%5BLeft+to+Right%5D+Picture+of+Xavier+Morales-Greene%2C+Clay+Cofre+and+Miles+Sennett+at+Meet+the+Media+Fall+2022%0A
Derek Ramos
[Left to Right] Picture of Xavier Morales-Greene, Clay Cofre and Miles Sennett at Meet the Media Fall 2022

On a warm, sunny day in Humboldt Park, I sat in front of Nellie’s, a Puerto Rican restaurant on the corner of Division and Campbell. I was sitting with Xavier Morales-Greene, the freshman Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Que Ondee Sola (QOS), NEIU’s Puerto Rican magazine. Morales-Greene had recommended the lechon asada, Puerto Rican-style pulled pork, and as the tender meat melted in my mouth, he told me about Que Ondee Sola and what it means to himself and the Puerto Rican community.

Que Ondee Sola translates to “may it wave alone.” According to QOS’s manifesto, it refers to the Puerto Rican flag and the self-determination of the Puerto Rican people. Established in 1972, QOS is the longest-running Puerto Rican and Latinx university student publication in the nation. Its mission is to shed light on the struggles of the island and the people of Puerto Rico, a territory that has been under colonial rule since 1493, first by Spain, and now by the U.S. Puerto Rico is currently a Commonwealth of the United States, and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens without voting representation in Congress or the ability to participate in the presidential election.

According to Morales-Greene, QOS serves two purposes. First, as a place for Puerto Ricans to see their issues discussed openly. Second, as a publication specific to Chicagoland and the Humboldt Park community. QOS does advocate for Puerto Rican independence, though Morales-Greene recognizes that recent attitudes on the island have been shifting towards favoring official statehood.

“When you are a group of people who are suffering from human rights issues and discrimination, and dehumanization, and colonialism,” Morales-Greene said, “nothing feels better in the world than to see your struggles being talked about.”

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 QOS was started by people from the Humboldt Park community and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC). Many prominent figures in the community, including NEIU Alumna Jessie Fuentes, Alderperson of the 26th Ward, were a part of QOS. Fuentes, who gained a dual Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from NEIU, is herself a former EIC of QOS.

Due to declining rates of Puerto Rican enrollment at NEIU, previous EICs of QOS expanded the magazine’s scope to cover general Latinx issues. However, over the past year, QOS has rebranded itself, returning to its Puerto Rican roots and building a new ideology and staff, including a new managing editor, Jasmine Rodriguez, who Morales-Greene described as essential. 

“None of this would have been feasible without Jasmine,” he said, “she’s a champ.”

Morales-Green was quick to point out that QOS does not exclude other Latinx cultures or communities. While QOS focuses on the Puerto Rican experience, it maintains a broader perspective on human rights issues in general.  

“There are human rights violations going on, day to day in Puerto Rico, that people have no idea about,” Morales-Greene said, “and so you can’t imagine what would happen in the future if we allowed them to just keep going.”

The new incarnation of QOS has already reestablished its connection with the Humboldt Park community, a bond that had waned in recent years. Morales-Greene shared, “I get stopped on the street, when I’m in this community, by people who know what QOS is…and they’re like, this new one is beautiful. It’s everything that it used to be.”

Morales-Greene has been politically active for most of his life, frequently attending protests with his mother. He even had multiple opportunities to speak with Oscar López Rivera, a political prisoner and member of Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña, a Puerto Rican independence group, while López Rivera was imprisoned under federal charges. The community protest efforts lead to his release, resulting in no remaining political prisoners from Puerto Rico, as Morales-Greene claims.

Assuming the role of Editor-in-Chief as a freshman at the age of 19, Morales-Greene plans to spend the next four years expanding the magazine, growing its staff, and publishing more frequently. He envisions QOS becoming more involved on campus and hosting events with the PRCC. He is confident that QOS can expand its reach to Puerto Rican communities in New York, Florida, and California, becoming a nationwide publication. Additionally, he sees QOS as a valuable piece of NEIU, attracting Puerto Rican students to the university and serving as a resource for the broader Puerto Rican community.

When asked if he had a message for the NEIU community, Morales-Green was uncompromising: 

“Give a shit… Care,” he said, “I hate when people are like, ‘Oh, politics stress me out too much, blah, blah, blah.’ It’s like, yeah, I get it. It’s stressful to know the truth. But that is essential if you want your life to get any better. If you are tired, exhausted, because you’re at fucking work, you know, that’s capitalism, that’s politics. Get a little bit more educated on it and figure out how to make some change.”

 

Morales-Greene invites anyone who is interested to join QOS, regardless of their background. QOS can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 773-442-4583. QOS can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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About the Contributor
Dan Maurer
Dan Maurer, News Editor
Dan Maurer is the News Editor for the NEIU Independent. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s in  Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University. He got his associates degree from the College of DuPage. His goal in life is to position himself to be able to speak truth to power and provide analysis and facts for informed decision making. He spends his time reading, listening to podcasts, and engaging with science-fiction media. He also hosts karaoke multiple evenings throughout the week.

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