Juan Ramos, former Philadelphia city councilmember and a founder and leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the Young Lords, has died at the age of 71 after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Ramos was just 2 when his family moved from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia, and became active in civil rights in high school. Ramos spoke out against racism, police brutality, as well as poverty and housing issues in communities of color.
Ramos later helped lead efforts in the Puerto Rican community to defeat Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo’s attempt to eliminate term limits. He went on to found and lead the Puerto Rican Alliance, which fought for bilingual education, against police brutality, and spearheaded a large squatters movement in abandoned government-owned houses. This led to over 150 Puerto Rican families eventually winning titles to those homes. He also served as a Philadelphia city councilmember, a union organizer and a church deacon.