Thursday, February 17, 2011


Piñero was born on December 19, 1946 in Gurabo, Puerto Rico to Miguel Angel Gomez Ramos and Adelina Piñero. In 1950, when Miguel was four, he moved with his parents and sister Elizabeth to Loisaida (or Lower East Side) in New York. His father abandoned the family in 1954 when his mother was pregnant with their fifth child. His mother then moved into a basement and began receiving welfare. He attended four different schools, three public and one parochial. He would steal food for his family to eat. His first of what would be many criminal convictions was at the age of eleven for theft. He was sent to the Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx and also to Otisville State Training School for Boys. He joined a street gang called "The Dragons" when he was 13, and when he was 14 he was hustling in the streets.

He would move to Brooklyn, where he and three other friends would commit robberies (according to Piñero, they did over 100), until they were caught at a jewelry store. He would be sent to Rikers Island in 1964. After this, he joined the Job Corps and was sent to Camp Kilmer for training. It turned out the opportunity was, as Piñero put it, "Dope City, Skag Town." He returned to New York City and became affiliated with the Young Lords, similar to the Black Panthers. He was back in Rikers for drug possession not long after, and even went to Phoenix House. After his second stint at Rikers, his mother sent him to Manhattan State Hospital where he would receive his high-school equivalency diploma.

SHORT EYES will be staged in Bahasa Malaysia at The Actor's Studio, Lot10, Kuala Lumpur, 16-20 March 2011.

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