Parades, festivals, fairs and cultural presentations celebrate and promote our shared Puerto Rican cultural and social identity, heritage and values passed down from generation to generation.
Cultural expressions and preservation organizations have long played an integral role in engaging our Puerto Rican communities across the United States. It is through our appreciation of cultural expressions that we can learn more about and communicate our history, culture, and traditions. They help to engage the Diaspora and showcase the creativity of individuals and groups. Cultural expressions include parades, festivals, fairs, music, dance, art, crafts, instruments, and narratives, or many other artistic or cultural expressions that form part of the identity and heritage of our communities throughout the United States.
In collaboration with the National Puerto Rican Agenda, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies will host, The Puerto Rican Cultural Preservation Roundtable - Encuento on Saturday, May 22nd 12:00 Noon – 3:00 PM EST (11:00 AM CST | 9:00 AM PDT). cultural preservation and expression practitioners from around the United States will discuss the challenges faced by organizations sponsoring and organizing parades, festivals and cultural events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following 3 panels are planned:
Best Practices: Forming & Maintaining Federal 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Status
- Adonis Banegas, Executive Director, El Concilio, Philadelphia, PA
- Ululy Rafael Martinez, Attorney, New York, NY
Cultural Preservation Through the Arts: Virtual Celebrations and Presentations during the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Billy Ocasio, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, Chicago, IL
- Carmen Febo-San Miguel, Executive Director, Taller Puertorriqueño, Philadelphia, PA
Parades & Festivals: Alternative Plans During the COVID-19 Pandemic
How Puerto Rican parades and festivals have adapted to the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Louis Maldonado, Board Chair, National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP), New York, NY
- Joe Rodriguez, President and Co-Founder, Puerto Ricans United, Inc. (PRU), New Haven, CT
Nilda Iris Ruiz, President, National Puerto Rican Agenda
Since 2018, Nilda Ruiz has been President of the National Puerto Rican Agenda, a national nonprofit advocacy organization created to unite, educate, and create solutions for the Puerto Rican people both state-side and on the island. She is a respected community leader and multi-award recipient for her transformative work with the Puerto Rican/Latino, African American, and other economically distressed families in Eastern Philadelphia, PA. As the President/CEO of Asociación Puertorriqueños En Marcha, Inc. in Philadelphia, Nilda has establish APM as one of the most prominent Puerto Rican/Latino founded agencies in the nation securing over a $150-million in investments the underserved community of Eastern Philadelphia. In 2013, APM completed Paseo Verde, a $48-million certified triple LEED Neighborhood Development, mixed-use, mixed-housing project which was the first in the country to receive that designation, and only second in the World. https://www.puertoricanagenda.org www.apmphila.org
Juan J. González, Esq. – Chair, NPRA Cultural Affirmation Committee
Mr. Gonzalez chairs the Cultural Affirmation Committee for the National Puerto Rican Agenda (NPRA), a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to serving the Puerto Rican community in the U.S. Juan has also served as Parade Coordinator for the San Juan Bautista Parade in Camden, NJ since 1989. He has held numerous official positions within the organization as a life-long member of the parade, including President and Vice President. “JuanGo” pursued his passion for celebrating, promoting, and preserving Puerto Rican culture by organizing annual conferences of the Puerto Rican Parades and Festivals (1997-2013), serving as Parade Coordinator of the Atlantic City Puerto Rican Parade (2008-2013), and volunteering on the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NYC), as well as parades in Philadelphia, PA, Trenton and Vineland, NJ. Mr. Gonzalez is a licensed attorney and sole practitioner specializing in Criminal and Family Law matters.
Adonis Banegas, Executive Director, El Concilio
Since 2016, Adonis Banegas has served as the Executive Director of The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (El Concilio). As Executive Director of El Concilio, Banegas oversees programs that provide social, educational, cultural, preventative and intervention services to underserved families in the Philadelphia region. www.elconcilio.net/
Dr. Carmen Febo-San Miguel, Executive Director, Taller Puertorriqueño
Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel became Executive Director of Taller Puertorriqueño in 1999. Under her tenure the organization has grown from a budget of $600,000 to a budget of $1.3 million. During this time she has also led the artistic program by: developing new collaborations to exhibit Taller’s art collection off-site; expanding artist residencies into the Philadelphia School District and nearby charter schools; established the Visítenos arts outreach program; coordinated the annual arts festival, Feria del Barrio; overseeing conceptualizing and installing of nearly 130 exhibitions; and garnered national recognition through grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Knight Foundation, NEA and others. https://tallerpr.org
Louis Maldonado, Board Chair of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Louis is an award-winning marketing strategist and communications professional that specializes in multicultural advertising and marketing. Louis currently serves as Board Chair of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, where he has been instrumental in ushering in a new era for this iconic institution. In 2020, City & State, the premier media organization dedicated to covering New York’s local and state politics and policy, named Louis as one of the “Latino Power 100,” a list of distinguished leaders that have helped promote and shape diversity in New York. He was also recognized by the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF) as one of their “50 AEF Talent Champions,” which includes noteworthy individuals that represent Fortune 100 companies leading advertising agencies, publishers and other media companies that have helped promote the study of marketing and advertising by fostering ties between their industries and academia. www.nprdpinc.org/
Ululy Rafael Martinez, Attorney and former Vice Chairman of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Ululy Rafael Martinez began his legal career in public service as a staff attorney for the Bronx Defenders. Ululy’s interactions with the local community, as a public defender, lead him to accept a position as General Counsel to a New York City Council Member. Ululy acted as a legal resource to constituents trying to navigate housing, debt, bankruptcy, social security, judicial proceedings and not-for-profit matters. He has served as Vice Chairperson and Executive Board member for the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.
Billy Ocasio, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
Billy Ocasio has served as Executive Director of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC) since 2012. NMPRAC is the only museum in the country outside of Puerto Rico dedicated exclusively to Puerto Rican arts and culture. Under Billy Ocasio’s leadership, the museum’s budget has tripled, staffing has grown, and visitor attendance has increased 67%. In 2012, NMPRAC was named the latest City of Chicago’s Museums in the Park, making history as the first new addition in over 20 years. He was recently spotlighted in Americans for the Arts.
Billy Ocasio is a former senior advisor to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn appointed to work on social justice issues, served as the Director of Community Affairs for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, as well as the 26th Ward alderman in the Chicago City Council. https://nmprac.org
Joe Rodriguez, President, Puerto Ricans United: Puerto Rican Festival of New Haven
Joseph Rodriguez is currently the President and Co-Founder of Puerto Ricans United, Inc. (PRU), the umbrella organization that sponsors the Puerto Rican Festival of New Haven, Connecticut. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, working with his board of directors, sponsors, and community partners, and the City of New Haven, a collaborative initiative was launched called, “New Haven 4 Puerto Rico”. This initiative was a success raising over $100,000 and two advocacy trips to Washington D.C. and continues to promote the Puerto Rican culture while actively engaging the broader Puerto Rican community in Connecticut on the importance of civic engagement. Joe has previously served on the FLECHAS Inc.’s (Loiza Festival) Board of Directors and was a Board Member with the former CT State Puerto Rican Day Parade. He currently serves on the National Puerto Rican Agenda’s Board of Directors and is a regular at many cultural parade/festival discussions held by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. https://www.facebook.com/PuertoRicansUnitedInc
The Puerto Rican Cultural Preservation Roundtable - Encuento is co-sponsored by the National Puerto Rican AgendaNational Puerto Rican Day Parade
Website: https://www.nprdpinc.org/Virtual Gala – Scholarship fundraiser: https://www.nprdpinc.org/gala/
Puerto Ricans United, Inc. — Puerto Rican Festival of New HavenFacebook page: https://m.facebook.com/PuertoRicansUnitedInc/
Where: Virtual Event
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Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program and Engagement through Education
Centro is the primary academic institute producing research on the conditions of stateside Puerto Ricans, preserving their heritage by maintaining a library and archives. Centro education programs focus on the development of curriculum and educational materials, such as videos, posters, and teaching guides, which disseminate and promote the use of historical and cultural heritage content for colleges, middle and high schools, and the general public. These tools help teachers and students learn about Centro’s vast archival collections and promote Puerto Rican studies. Our web-based open courseware, videoconferences, and other pedagogical resources provide the necessary supports for classroom success.
Centro’s Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program is a free, self-paced, multimedia online course in Puerto Rican history, culture, and traditions, with a focus on the migration experience of the stateside diaspora. The goal of the program is to inspire the next generation of Puerto Rican leaders to become a driving force of change for themselves and their communities. The program engages youth and educational institutions in promoting the teaching and learning of our heritage. Participants not only gain knowledge but also develop leadership, research, and presentation skills.
After enrolling online, participants complete a number of assignments that include viewing the Pioneers/Pioneros Documentary Series; complete reading assignments on Puerto Rican history, culture, and traditions; and learn key dates and historical events that have shaped the diasporic experience. At the end of each lesson, participants are required to complete and pass a short quiz. Upon successful completion of all required lessons, the participant receives a certificate of completion and designation as a Cultural Ambassador.
Beginning March 2018, participants who have completed the course will be eligible to enroll in the next series of lessons. In this series, participants will learn how to access and use our teaching guides, educational and curriculum tools, archival collections, and other library resources.
We are proud that the Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program has been incorporated in history courses in schools, colleges and libraries.
We encourage all educators to include this web-based open courseware in their curriculums.
Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Bootcamp
Centro will sponsor a one- day Cultural Ambassador Bootcamp with schools and other partners that would like to offer an intensive tutorial to review all components of the course.
Participants are required to complete the online course and then be prepared to demonstrate mastery at the Bootcamp. Facilitators modeled presentation and engagement techniques that participants could replicate with their peers.
Participants that complete both the online and the on-site components are awarded a Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Certificate.
Puerto Rican Heritage Teaching Toolkit
Pioneers/Pioneros: Documentary Series featuring Pura Belpré: Storyteller, A Revolt through Letters: Clemente Soto Vélez, the Legacy of Frank Bonilla, and Plena is Song; Plena is work. The documentaries tell the stories of important pioneers of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Each documentary has an accompanying teaching guide available online.
History of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. (Open courseware)
Open courseware makes core teaching materials available online. Our online course Teaching U.S. Puerto Rican History includes a comprehensive overview of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States, incorporating the most recent scholarship on the subject.
Puerto Rican Heritage Poster Series
Our poster series documents the history of Puerto Rican migration and the experiences and contributions of Puerto Ricans to U.S. society. The seven posters provide an attractive visual educational tool for teachers, professionals, and anyone interested in the great history of Puerto Rico. These posters are complementary to the courseware.
Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Brief Chronology
This booklet, based on the poster series described above, provides a complementary educational tool for teachers and others to use in the classroom or community settings, and to introduce students to major events, themes and concepts that are important to understand Puerto Rican history. The chronology also accompanies the courseware.
For more information on becoming a Cultural Ambassador please fill out the form below or email [email protected]
Centro is creating an online community to strengthen the network of stateside Puerto Rican communities. Our nation will connect organizations across the country who are working to address Puerto Rico’s economic and humanitarian crisis.
Why join? The Center for Puerto Rican Studies is the only academic research institute solely devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. When you join us, you tap into a network of individuals and organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico with the shared interest of linking data and scholarship to policy and social action. You'll be subscribed to our Voices newsletter, featuring the latest news affecting our community and interesting profiles of members of our diaspora. You'll also receive invitations to special events.Sign up