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Hero's Sandwiches

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Zenaida Lopez, one of the "local heroes" in a photo exhibit at Artemisia Gallery, was born in Puerto Rico. Her family moved to Humboldt Park when she was eight, and she's been there virtually ever since. Seven years ago she opened Boriken Bakery on West Division Street, and it has become a gathering place for the Puerto Rican community, particularly its activists. Lopez--whose political-activist brother Oscar Lopez Rivera is still in prison, having refused President Clinton's clemency offer--has organized numerous political events herself, including the May 4 demonstration in which about 50 people blocked traffic on Division to protest the U.S. military's bombing of Vieques. But most of her time is spent baking pastries, making sandwiches, and chatting with the people who stream through the bakery. "It's an anchor in the community," she says. "You come in here and you get not only food but a history lesson. And it's not only political things we speak about--people will come in and ask where they can find assistance with their heating bill, where they can find an apartment, where their kids can find a certain book for school."

The "Local Heroes" exhibit at Artemisia Gallery, 700 N. Carpenter, runs through May 27. Gallery hours are 11 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday. For more information call 312-226-7323. --Kari Lydersen

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