Patrick Mateo is a Young Lord who was born in the United States but lived many years in Puerto Rico.
His family is from Salinas. But he and his siblings grew up in Chicago starting at Van Buren, the old La
Madison barrio, and in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is currently living in Puerto Rico. Mr. Mateo fixes his
own cars and studied carpentry and building maintenance. He can build you a house from scratch. His
mother lived in a convent for some time and attends church regularly at St. Joseph’s in Grand Rapids.
Mr. Mateo, who also dabbles in music, has played and sung for the church choir. He is a community
organizer. Mr. Mateo has also worked on several Young Lords projects including the Latino Support
Group that became the first bilingual, bicultural support group in Grand Rapids. The Latino Support
Group was a volunteer program that received referrals from the courts and probation departments to
assist Latinos with substance abuse issues. Mr. Mateo also helped to organize the KO CLUB, an
afterschool neighborhood program to prevent youth from becoming involved with gang violence. And
he also helped to organize several Lincoln Park Camps in Michigan, to educate people about the Young
Lords and to recruit volunteers who would assist in documenting their history. Each of the camps were
self-supported by a donated fee, provided a weekend get-away, and proved positive and memorable
events. Mr. Mateo has a large family that looks to him as its leader. The Fernández side is also large and
well established in Grand Rapids. They include church pastors, school principals, and businesspersons.
He describes rough times and perseverance. And he remains a role model and pacesetter for others in
Grand Valley State University. University Libraries. Special Collections & University Archives