Graciela Rivera on Celestino Jimenez

Celestino Jimenez_IMG_2687.jpg

Dublin Core


Graciela Rivera on Celestino Jimenez


Celestino and the Hartford Public Library


Celestino Jimenez was a strong advocate for his community in Frog Hollow, especially for the youth. He was an advocate, an athlete, a poet, and a musician, and a father. He shared his poetry at Luis Cotto's bakery, El Morro. In the membership of many community organizations such as the Hartford Public Library, the CICD, NRZ, and churches, he was always sure his voice was heard and was not afraid of going directly to large leaders to advocate for the betterment of his community. He was particularly passionate about the new Park Street Library branch at the Lyric, and the health and wellbeing of the youth.


Frog Hollow Oral History Research Team




Trinity College Liberal Arts Action Lab


November 16, 2021


Frog Hollow Oral History Research Team








Hartford Public Library, Puerto Rican Community, Frog Hollow Neighborhood, Advocate

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Trinity College Liberal Arts Action Lab Students: Emeline Avignon and Catherine Doyle


Graciela Rivera


Hartford Public Library: Park Street Branch


Graciela Rivera on Celestino:

Interviewer (Catherine)[00:33:21] So the first person is Nygel mentioned a man named Celestino who he said he was very loved by the commuity and he said he passed away from COVID-19. So, we were just wondering who he was and like why he was this figure in the community? If you know anything about him.

Graciela[00:33:33] Yeah, so Celestino was an amazing advocate for for free for resources and things foor the youth in this neighborhood. And he actually died pre-COVID. He was an avid runner and one day he he was running and he just collapsed. And yeah, this was pre-pandemic. I believe he died the year before COVID came. And yeah, it was very unfortunate because I'll always remember. [aside with Graciela and someone who works at the library: See you tonight, right? OK, I'll see you tonight virtually then. Take care.] So going back to Celestino, he he was an amazing advocater for, for resources, for, for the city and for the community. And he was a big lost. I remember, remember ain NRZ (Neighborhood Revitalization Zone) meetings how he would like really just, you know, put his heart on his sleeve and really express. OK, so, Celestino would really put his heart on his sleeve and really express his concerns and the need, the need for more resources for this neighborhood? You know, when we were at that, at that small branch before we moved here, the children computers were on the windowsill. We had no tables for the children, computers and things like that. So Celestino, he said, the last time I saw him was actually at an NRZ meeting, and that was the last time I saw him. And he said, I won't. I will never forget when he said, I will never. He's like, ‘I will fight for this library until the day I die.’ Like, ‘I hope to see this library before I die.’ Something along those lines, and I will never forget that. And I'm so happy that other people in the neighborhood have been bringing him up. And that just reminded me that when we interviewed a local barbershop owner, I forget his name, but it's the barbershop right next to Viva Mexico. I think so to let me say because. Oh, consider. I can't see the name from here. It's right next to the the brostrom, right next to the restaurant. So we were interviewing him and he he was saying how he didn't know that Celestino had passed away. So we were giving him the news that Celestino had passed away, and he shared how how devastated he is knowing that Celestino passed away because, you know, Celestino was a mentor for many people. He touched so many lives. And, you know, during that interview, I was just in shock of the fact that he had not known that Celestino had died and we were sharing that with him at that moment. And, you know, that was really, really sad. But what really made me feel really, really proud of Celestino was, you know, although he's passed away, he's still like, we keep his we keep his story alive, we keep his story alive. And and the fact that people are sharing how impactful he was and in their lives is really priceless. So I hope there's a way we can commemorate continue to commemorate him.

Interviewer (Catherine) : Do you know how old he was?

Graciela: You know, I don't think he looked his age, probably maybe late 50s or early 60s.

Interviewer (Catherine) And, do you know like if he grew up in Frog Hollow?

Graciela : What I do know is he was a boxer in Puerto Rico, so he's always been into sports. Yeah, and his son, Celestino Jr. is a firefighter. I think of the neighborhood over, but at this point I believe his family, like his, his ex wife and his kids, have moved to Puerto Rico. Yeah.

Interviewer (Emeline) Oh wow. And has he moved? Do you know?

Graciela His son? Oh yes, I believe so. Yeah, we've been trying to get in a get in touch with them because whenever we plan, you know, special events and things, we'd like for them to be present.

Interviewer(Emeline)[00:37:59] Yeah, I know it's interesting. I don't remember like all of the heros who were nomincated on that list but I wonder if he was one of them.

Graciela[00:38:11] I don’t think so and I should have nominated him it at the time, it was like all a blur. But there will be other opportunities to honor Celestino I’m sure.

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