You Wanted to Know
About NYC's June 11th
National Puerto Rican Day Parade
NiLP Note: In the article below is the latest on the upcoming National Puerto Rican Day Parade 2017 as they mark their milestone 60th anniversary on June 11th. After some time under the
cloud of controversy
over its management and finances, it appears to be finally normalizing its operations.
There are, however, a few issues of concern. It is not clear whether they have fully complied or followed up on the agreement they reached with the NYS Attorney General after his investigation of their finances and management practices that resulted in their adoption of new Bylaws in 2015. These are issues that community leaders like the late
and the current Council President
Melissa Mark Viverito
had raised publicly that resulted in this investigation and the major reforms of the Parade that followed.
The other issue is the recent appointment of Lorraine Cortés-Vazquez, the Parade's Chair, as a
Senior Advisor to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
. Will this create a conflict-of-interest if the Parade winds up honoring or favoring the Mayor in some way during his reelection campaign this year? Will she be populating the Parade Board and volunteers with de Blasio campaign people? Some think it is suspicious that in his official announcement of her appointment, the Mayor failed to mention that she heads the Parade while pointing to all of her other jobs. There are enough questions raised to ask if she should be stepping down as Parade Chair given this relationship with the Mayor that can easily politicize what should be a cultural and nonpolitical community event.
After all, as
they tell the IRS
, the mission of the Parade is "to create a national awareness and appreciation of Puerto Rican culture and its contribution to the United States."
A growing concern is with the apparently increasing ties between the Parade leadership with the MirRam Group, a political consulting firm headed by Luis Miranda and Roberto Ramirez, whose clients include Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and with whom Parade Chair Cortés-Vazquez has had a very close long-term association. The concern is that their promotion of specific candidates for office would be introducing politics in the Parade's operations. This relationship has even raised questions about the propriety of the Parade promoting the sale of the beloved Lin-Manuel Miranda's TeeRico t-shirts to fundraise for scholarships (he's Luis Miranda's son)!
On a more positive note, there was talk about the Parade honoring recently released political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera, which we understand they definitely plan to do, despite not being mentioned below. There are also many community activists who feel that Ramon Jimenez,
who passed away May 10, 2016
and did so much to get the Parade moving the right direction, along with his many other contributions to our community, should be among this year's honorees as well.
As the article below shows, a lot of work went into the Parade this year by the many volunteers and staff to make it the special event it is meant to be. Let's hope these potential problems don't get in the way of a successful 60th anniversary of the Parade. After all, we can all agree that the Puerto Rican community sorely needs a break these days to celebrate about something positive, especially given the massive debt crisis facing
nuestra Isla del Encanto.
Gilberto Santa Rosa, Monica Puig
& More Announced for
PUERTO RICAN PARADE 2017
by BWW News Desk
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) announced that the upcoming Parade scheduled for June 11th, 2017 on Fifth Avenue, will mark 60 years of celebrating Puerto Rican history, tradition, and achievement.
Since 1958, the NPRDP has united the Puerto Rican community, as the Puerto Rican Parade of New York, which was expanded to the national level in 1995 as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
At a press conference hosted by NPRDP's Board of Directors at the Taller de Fotoperiodismo of Puerto Rico (an organization that provides professional and educational support to members of the press), and under its theme: "One Nation, Many Voices", the Board announced that the Grand Marshal of the Parade will be multiple Latin Grammy Award-winning singer, actor and producerGilberto Santa Rosa, "El Caballero de la Salsa" ("The Knight of Salsa").
The Board of Directors also announced that Hormigueros, a rural town in Western Puerto Rico, was selected as the honored Puerto Rico township for 2017. The municipality also known as "El Pueblo del Milagro" (Township of the Miracle), will be represented by its mayor, the Hon. Pedro J. García Figueroa, at America's largest cultural celebration, June 11th on 5th Avenue.
"The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is arguably the soul of the Puerto Rican community. We are the largest cultural event in the country, gathering the most people in a single day and in one place. This year, as part of the national and local celebrations that have united millions of Puerto Ricans, a special recognition is dedicated to the National Baseball Team of Puerto Rico, finalist at the World Baseball Classic. We hope to have our 'Team Rubio - as they are affectionately known - marching up Fifth Avenue, as they have given us so much glory and who have definitely given us reason to celebrate",said Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, President of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
"With great joy, on the 60th anniversary of the Parade, we honor the people of
Hormigueros, who are part of the DNA of the Parade. In commemoration of our history as a cultural entity, we extend a special recognitionto community leader and activist from Lares, Gilberto Gerena Valentín, who passed away last year, and the outstanding son of Hormigueros, Ramón Santiago Vélez Ramírez. Both were part of the group that gave life to the Puerto Rican Parade of New York, and since 1995, known as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. With great pride we share their history and legacy for the benefit of the Puerto Rican people", added Cortés-Vázquez.
Present at the conference, the Mayor of Hormigueros, Hon. Pedro J. García Figueroa, said: "The fact that the 60th Anniversary of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade is dedicated to the community of Hormigueros is enough reason to feel deeply grateful and proud, as the recognition honors its history, and its people, the only town on the island that has its origins linked to a religious miracle."
Mónica Puig Marchán, winnerof the First Gold Medal for Puerto Rico in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the first Latin American tennis player to win the coveted tournament, will be recognized as Athlete of the Year.
Today March 27, International Theater Day, the Parade announced the following recognitions:
Ana Isabelle, outstanding dancer, singer, and actress, is recognized as Ambassador for her successful artistic career both in Puerto Rico and now on Broadway.
Julio Monge receives the recognition of "Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts", for having made his way onto the most important stages around the world as choreographer, artist, key figure in theatrical and musical shows, and who has participated in multiple films. Mr. Monge participated in shows such as "West Side Story", "Peter Pan" and "Fiddler on the Roof".
Modesto Lacen will be recognized as Ambassador, a tribute to his 23 years of successful career. He has worked on 30 films and multiple television series, in both the United States and Puerto Rico. His participation in plays, television series and movies has led him to receive multiple awards and mentions.
Jeimy Osorio, an outstanding actress, dancer and singer who was recognized in last year's Parade, returns to join the 60th Anniversary celebration as an "All-Star Honoree". Jeimy is currently in Puerto Rico after shooting a new film, and she is now working on the musical BORIKEN, that will premiere in April at the Center of Performing Arts of Santurce, Puerto Rico.
The Parade also presented JetBlue as the Official Airline of the 2017 National Puerto Rican Day Parade, expressing gratitude for the airline's ongoing support and for helping to unite the Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities to join the celebration on Fifth Avenue year after year. JetBlue Airways, which started its services in 2000 with two routes, now offers affordable flights to more than 100 destinations in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America including Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan on the island of Puerto Rico. "In fact, this was the airline that offered a specially chartered flight to bring Puerto Rico's National Baseball team back home, which we consider to also be winners of the World Baseball Classic; even though they are officially the runners-up", said the Parade's Board.
"At JetBlue we are very proud to be the official airline of the Parade. We are honored to be able to support and continue our commitment to the communities we serve, both within and outside our territory. Joining families is something that fills us with a lot of excitement at JetBlue, and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade is a great example of that. We wish them a day of great fun and unity to all attendees," said Hector Camacho, General Manager of JetBlue Airways in San Juan.
Celebrating the efforts to promote the pursuit of higher education, this year the National Puerto Rican Day Parade fulfills its goal of granting the largest number of scholarships in its history, presenting 100 scholarships of $2,000 each, to exceptional students of Puerto Rican descent.
In 2016, sixty scholarships were presented; thirty scholarships in 2015, and fifteen scholarships in 2014. This educational initiative was supported by the actor, singer, songwriter and award-winning writer of the musical "Hamilton", Lin-Manuel Miranda, with whom a specially designed T-shirt was created for NPRDP 2017. Sales of the shirt will benefit the NPRDP Scholarship Fund, and these items can be obtained through TeeRico.com, the popular line of t-shirts and accessories launched by Lin-Manuel.
During the Annual Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York, scheduled for Sunday, June 4, a special posthumous recognition will be made to the memory of distinguished Puerto Ricans, many who have contributed to the success of the NPRDP. These include:
- Miriam Colón (1936-2017): Legendary actress, co-founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.
- Gilberto Gerena Valentín (1918-2016): Born in Lares, Puerto Rico, Defender of Civil Rights and Workers.
- Miguel Ferrer (1955-2017): Outstanding actor of television and Hollywood films.
- Dave Valentín (1952-2017): World-famous flutist musician.
- Robert García (1933-2017): Former congressman and co-founder of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
- Ismael Fernández Reyes (1960-2016): President of the Taller de Fotoperiodismo (The Photojournalist Workshop) of Puerto Rico, founder of the Association of Photojournalists of Puerto Rico, and tireless collaborator of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
- Iris Martínez (1924-2017): Outstanding actress and former president of the Colegio de Actores de Puerto Rico(Puerto Rico Actors' Association).
- Ramón Luis "Papo" Brenes (1953-2017): Iconic entertainment journalist, former director of "Teve-Guía" magazine.
- Northeast Ohio to be Honored as Stateside Community
The Parade announced that the Puerto Rican community in Lorain and Cleveland, Ohio will be recognized as Honored Stateside Community 2017, thereby confirming its participation on Fifth Avenue, on June 11. These localities have robust Puerto Rican communities, representing more than half (55%) of the Puerto Rican population of Ohio, the tenth largest among all States.
"The Puerto Rican community in Ohio has helped shape and add dimension to our history and collective accomplishments, and we are excited to help tell their story in this key year," said Louis Maldonado, member of the NPRDP Executive Board.
The 60th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be held on New York City's Fifth Avenue, on Sunday, June 11, starting at11:00 AM (EST). The event will be aired live via WABC-TV, Channel 7 in New York, as well as through its affiliates in Orlando, Florida on WFTV / WRDQ , and in Puerto Rico ABC5(WORA-TV 5.2), from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm (EST). Live streaming on the Internet will be available at
NOTE: For more information about the Parade, participant applications, Scholarship Fund, TeeRico Scholarship Fund T-shirt, and other initiatives, visit
, as well as our