Centro Honors 23 Puerto Ricans At Two Events in Chicago and Massachusetts


As part of its 100 Puerto Ricans Campaign Preserving Our History, Centro recently honored 23 leaders in the Puerto Rican community at affinity events in Chicago and Worcester, Mass.

Sixteen leaders from Chicago and seven from Worcester were recognized for agreeing to join Centro’s 100 Puerto Ricans by donating their papers or oral histories to the Centro Archives. The donations allow the Centro Archives to continue documenting the experiences that are the living history of Puerto Ricans in the United States. And will be the sources of information about Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. for future historians, researchers, students and the community.

Honorees at both events received Centro’s 100 Puerto Ricans gold pin and certificate. More than 100 people attended our August 29 event in Chicago and 60 attended our September 5 event in Worcester.

In Chicago

At the Chicago event, co-sponsored by The Puerto Rican Cultural Center and held at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC),  16 achievers were honored.  Billy Ocasio, CEO of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and Edwin Meléndez, Centro director, issued the welcoming remarks.



The Chicago honorees were: Jaime Delgado, project director, Humboldt Park Diabetes Prevention Project; Wilfredo De Jesus, pastor, New Life Covenant; Evelyn Sánchez Figueroa, National Conference of Puerto Rican Women Chicago; Hilda Frontany, community leader; Dr. Aida Giachello, mental public health, Northwestern University; Antonio Irizarry, community leader; Ray Rubio, composer, Radio NYC/Chicago; Ada López, trustee, University of Illinois; Dr. Jose E. López, community activist and IPRAC founder; Pablo Medina, director of Intergroup Relations, Chicago Commission on Human Relations; Roberto Medina, union leader; Peter Muntaner, Sr., police officer;  Mirta Ramírez, founder, ASPIRA Chicago; Roberto Rivera Rodríguez, student retention officer; Ronaldo Sanabrias, inventor; and Ray Vásquez, former commissioner, Chicago Department of Human Services.

“It was a very warm and receptive community,” said Roseni Plaza, affinity coordinator for Centro. Guests enjoyed a wide array of foods from the local Puerto Rican restaurants, including jibaritos, sandwiches made with tostones (pork, chicken and steak).

“Excitement about our campaign was felt throughout the weekend,” she said, adding that Centro displayed our Puerto Rican Cultural Heritage Poster Series at the event as well as at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s gala. Also during the weekend was the Boricua festival and the famous Paseo Boricua was closed off for two days to be used for performances and a variety of vendors and artisans highlighting Puerto Rican culture and art.   

In Worcester

Seven leaders were honored at the Worcester reception, hosted by Clark University. Ramon Borges-Mendez and Maria Acosta-Cruz of the Clark faculty and Centro’s Edwin Meléndez delivered the remarks.

“The community was humbled by our efforts to collect their local history and honor their work in the community,” Plaza said, adding that a highlight of the evening was that honorees received a  key to the city from the mayor, which was presented by City Councilor Sarai Rivera of District 4, who was also one of our 100 Puerto Rican honorees.

In addition to Rivera, the other Worcester honorees were: Maritza Cruz, a business owner; Concepcion Cruz, community leader; Roberto Diaz, Worcester Youth Center; Carmen Melendez, South High School, Worcester; Ivette Olmeda, Center for Women Enterprise; and Carmen Rosado, Worcester Public Schools.

For more information about 100 Puerto Ricans, visit http://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/about/centro-news/join-centros-100-puerto-ricans



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