Save the Date for DANR 16th Annual National Strategic Leadership Summit in Puerto Rico: Oct. 9-13, 2013
Washington, DC (May 22, 2013).–The Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) and its National Council (NDAC) happily announce that the 16th Annual Dominican American Strategic Leadership Summit will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from Wednesday, October 9th through Sunday, October 13, 2013.
The theme of the Conference this year is Breaking Barriers to Succeed/Venciendo Barreras para Avanzar.
Every year, the DANR and its Council (NDAC) host the premier national forum for Dominican Americans in the United States. With members in over 20 U.S. states, and Puerto Rico, the DANR and its National Council are America’s only national voices advocating on behalf of over two million Dominicans residing in the U.S.
“The gathering is considered to be among the most important events of the year on the Dominican American and Latino calendars in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said the Honorable Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos, who is currently DANR Treasurer and Vice President, and also the National Co-Chair of DANR 2013 Annual Conference.
“We are happy to host our national conference in Puerto Rico this year.”
During the Conference, sponsors will be able to take full advantage of the numerous opportunities to market, recruit from, and network with hundreds of Dominican American and Latino professionals, educators, artists, elected officials, community leaders, businesspeople, union leaders, sports celebrities, and college students coming from all over USA, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Europe and the Dominican Republic.
The Summit includes this year an impressive roster of speakers and a substantive agenda encompassing forums, an award ceremony, a Signature Dinner Concert, a DANR Fellowship Program Alumni Reunion, a dominoes tournament, special performances for the youth and students, a National Educators’ Network forum, a business and art exhibit, a Business Owners Special Forum, VIP receptions, a silent auction with unique priceless items, a power plenary session with Dominican elected officials from across the United States and Puerto Rico, and among many other highlights, a general national membership meeting, and the publication of DANR 16th Anniversary Commemorative Journal highlighting DANR history, accomplishments, strategic plans, policy statements, essays, sponsors’ special messages and reports about the state of Dominicans in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and mainland USA.
The inaugural program will kick off on Wednesday, October 9th with an extraordinary meeting of the DANR National Board of Directors, followed by a welcome reception.
On Thursday, October 10th, a delegation of DANR officers, community and business leaders, educators and students will participate at First ever Dominican American Legislative Day at the Capitol in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
On Friday, October 11th, there will be several meetings, forums, and activities at universities, government agencies and in neighborhoods where Dominicans reside in Puerto Rico.
Confirmed panel discussions include, for the first time in history, a plenary on “DOMINORICANS”. This important forum will follow up conversation about the existence and influence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are today of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent and or vice versa, but nobody is talking about it. It’s time for DOMINORICANS to come out of the shadows!”
This plenary session will be complemented with the screening premiere of a short documentary about the historical ties of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.
Panelists and experts listed to present at workshop tracks to be held on Saturday, October 12 will discuss issues about economic development, small businesses and trade, consumer protection and rights, education, technology, women, youth empowerment, health, immigration, civic engagement, political representation and other important issues impacting Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and Latinos in general.
DANR Chairman Nestor Montilla will deliver the State of Dominicans in USA Address via radio, television and the Internet.
The list of participants is growing by leaps and bounds, and will be published via www.danr.org.
Early bird registration will open last week of June.
DANR and its National Council look forward to seeing you, your family and friends in Puerto Rico October 9-13. We have partnered with several business organizations, and sponsors to provide an unforgettable and rewarding conference experience.
Please contact DANR Corporate Relations and Development Team at (202) 238-0097 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and sponsorship opportunities.
Stay tuned for more information and updates!
‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’, said DANR Chairman Nestor Montilla, citing the Bible.
Washington, DC. (May 16, 2013).—After four hundred years after his arrival in 1613, in the shores of what later became New York, and 12 years before the Dutch founded New Amsterdam, Juan Rodriguez was honored with a stretch of prominent Broadway Avenue re-named after him. The portion of Broadway extends from 159th Street in Washington Heights to 218th Street in northern Manhattan.
The honor by the New York City Council, made possible thanks to the leadership of NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, was prompted by original research about the untold story of Juan Rodriguez released last year by the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at City College.
“Juan Rodriguez was a Black immigrant from the Caribbean. The first immigrant settler in New York,” said Councilman Rodriguez.
“Kudos to Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez; kudos to Dr. Ramona Hernandez, Anthony Stevens-Acevedo and their research team at the City University of New York Dominican Studies Institute at City College!,” said Nestor Montilla, Chairman of the National Dominican American Council and the Dominican American National Roundtable, the only non-profit nonpartisan advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC, advocating for the socio-economic and political development of over 2 million Dominicans in the United States and territories, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The story of Juan Rodriguez is indeed an exceptionally extraordinary research achievement of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute,” said Chairman Montilla, quien actualmente tambien funge como Director de Relaciones Corporativas y Comunales de Lehman College of The City University of New York, the largest urban University system in the United States (CUNY). ”It definitely speaks well of the high quality research taking place at CUNY, and the Dominican American and Latino communities in the United States.”
“Dominicans and Dominican Americans are paying their taxes in USA in accordance to the biblical teaching of ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’,” added Chairman Montilla, citing the Bible at Matthew 12:17, and applying his Mother’s religious teachings. “In other words, as people say in the Bronx and urban America: ‘You gotta give credit where credit is due.’”
Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos, DANR Treasurer and Vice President representing DANR in Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands, stated: “With such a unique research study, Dr. Hernandez and her team are righting history in the United States and in the whole world. Schools, colleges, universities, institutions of learning and publishing companies around the world should update their curriculums and scholarship on migration to include the unprecedented research study about Juan Rodriguez.”
The event was attended by a sizeable group of elected officials, leaders, educators, higher education officers, people from New York diverse communities, and dozens of media representatives from the New York Times to Telemicro, a Dominican Republic international television network broadcasting live to regional and local newspapers and media outlets. The partial list of attendees included Dr. Ramona Hernandez, Executive Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, and her assistants Anthony Stevens-Acevedo and Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte, NYS Senator Adriano Espaillat, NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Councilwoman Diana Reyna, NYS Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, NYC Councilman Robert Jackson, DANR Chairman and Lehman College Director of Corporate and Community Relations Nestor Montilla, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, NYC Councilman Mark Weprin, Dominican Republic Consul General in New York Félix Antonio “Ronny” Martínez, Ana Garcia Reyes, Associate Dean at Hostos Community College, NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez’ Chief of Staff Seny Taveras, Esq., community Leader Maria Luna, community leader Dr. Nurys DeOleo, cherished Dominican American photographer Eduardo Hoepelman, and among dozens of others, community leader and Executive Director of the Dominican Women’ Development Center, Rosita Romero.
Following are some links to press coverage articles published about Juan Rodriguez and the May 15, 2013 street unveiling event in New York:
NOTED & QUOTED: The White House Honors Dominican Scientist Praised as a Global Leader in Freight Modeling, Transportation Economics, and Humanitarian Logistics
Washington, DC (May 13, 2013). The Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) and its National Dominican American Council (NDAC) congratulate Dr. Jose Holguín-Veras for his many professional accomplishments, exemplary leadership in the field of transportation, and recognition by the White House for being a transportation champion of change.
“Kudos for the White House and President Obama for Honoring Jose Holguín-Veras, a Dominican-born scientist praised as a Global Leader in Freight Modeling, Transportation Economics, and Humanitarian Logistics,” said Nestor Montilla, Chairman of DANR and NDAC.
“Please join us in congratulating Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Holguín-Veras for being selected by the White House to receive a citation of honor lauding his research and leadership in the development of a sophisticated off-hour freight delivery system,” stated Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos, DANR Treasurer and Vice President representing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Send your congratulations to email@example.com.”
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where Dr. Holguin-Veras is currently a faculty member, published the following press release available at http://news.rpi.edu/update.do
-NOTED & QUOTED-
Rensselaer Professor Jose Holguín-Veras Honored by White House as “Transportation Champion of Change”
Holguín-Veras, the William H. Hart Professor at Rensselaer, was one of 12 individuals recognized for “exemplary leadership in developing or implementing transportation technology solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety, and facilitate communication across the transportation industry at the local, state, or national level.”
As part of the honor, Holguín-Veras visited the White House and participated in the two-day Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century event. Additionally, the White House will soon feature a blog post by Holguín-Veras titled “Taking Steps toward Sustainable Urban Freight Systems.”
“These champions represent the very best in American leadership, innovation, and progress,” said Ray Lahood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “I’m proud to recognize these transportation leaders who work every day to grow our economy and help us reach our destinations more quickly, efficiently, and safely.”
“It is a tremendous honor for Dr. Holguín-Veras to be recognized by the nation’s highest office as a Transportation Champion of Change,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “His transformative, multifaceted research in the area of traffic and freight systems is a shining example of the world-class, world-changing research taking place at our university. We congratulate Dr. Holguín-Veras on this outstanding achievement.”
In its citation, the White House lauded the leadership of Holguín-Veras toward the development of an off-hour freight delivery system in Manhattan that combines global positioning system (GPS) remote sensing monitoring with GPS-enabled smart phones. This transportation technology solution has facilitated a shift in deliveries from the congested daytime hours to the off-hours of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Since the system has been implemented, freight receivers enjoy the superior reliability of off-hour deliveries, carriers benefit from increased productivity, and daytime travelers and pedestrians enjoy reduced congestion, noise, and pollution. Holguín-Veras’ influential research has led to substantial improvements in the ability to model and induce changes in the behavior of the freight industry, the citation read.
“The entire School of Engineering family—faculty, staff, students, and alumni and alumnae—joins me in congratulating Dr. Holguín-Veras on this recognition,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “Jose is known around the world as a leader in transportation systems, policy, and economics and his research is having a significant impact on the way urban traffic systems and disaster response logistics are understood by academics, lawmakers, and the public.”
Holguín-Veras is known as a global leader in the areas of freight demand modeling, transportation economics, and humanitarian logistics. He also studies behavior relating to sustainability policies and the impact of transportation on the environment. As part of his supply chain research, Holguín-Veras led the multidisciplinary teams that investigated the cause of logistical failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan. He is the director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment and the Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems at Rensselaer, and is actively working to develop new theories and methods for expediting the flow of critical supplies to the site of extreme events.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recognized Holguín-Veras in 2001 with a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. In 1996 he received the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers, and in 2001 was the recipient of a proclamation from the City Council of New York, honoring his research accomplishments and contributions to local communities.
Holguín-Veras is active in leadership positions at several key international research organizations. He is president-elect of the newly created Pan-American Association of Transportation Research, an elected member of the Council of the Association for European Transport, and a member of the board of directors of the Intelligent Transportation Society of New York. Holguín-Veras is a fellow of the International Road Federation (IRF), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Organization of American States (OAS).
He served as conference chair of the 13th Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute on Transportation Sciences, as well as vice president for the Pan-American Conferences of Traffic and Transportation Engineering. He is a member of the board of directors of the University Transportation Research Center, Transportation Infrastructure Research Center, and the Community University Consortium for Regional Environmental Justice. Additionally, Holguín-Veras was appointed by former New York Governor David Paterson to serve on the New York State Thruway Authority Board. He is also a member of several journal editorial boards.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Holguín-Veras received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, his master’s degree in transportation from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and his doctoral degree in transportation from the University of Texas at Austin.
|Published May 13, 2013||Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161
Washington, DC.– The U.S. Census released its Current Population Survey May 2013 report titled The Diversifying Electorate—Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections).
The report focuses on presidential elections since 1996 to provide analyses about how the American electorate is becoming increasingly more diverse. The report also highlights patterns of voter turnout by race and Hispanic origin.
The full report is available at:
OVERALL VOTER TURNOUT (1996–2012)
Since 1996, the number of citizens eligible to vote has increased in every presidential election, as has the number of citizens who have reported voting. Table 2 displays these relative increases by race and Hispanic origin over the five most recent election cycles.3 Overall, 133 million people reported voting in 2012, a turnout increase of about
2 million people since the elec- tion of 2008. Between 1996 and 2008, turnout increases varied but were always larger than in 2012, reaching a high of about 15 million additional voters in 2004.
In comparison to the election of 2008, about 1.7 million additional Black voters reported going to the polls in 2012, as did about 1.4 million additional Hispanics and about 550,000 additional Asians. The number of non-Hispanic White voters decreased by about 2 million between 2008 and 2012. Since 1996, this is the only example of a race group showing a decrease in net voting from one presidential election to the next, and it indicates that the 2012 voting population expansion came primarily from minority voters.
For a copy of the report, visit the following link:
Honoring U.S. Senator Schumer’s Recommendation, President Obama Nominates an Attorney of Dominican-Jamaican & Puerto Rican Descent to Federal Court in NY
Washington, DC (April 22, 2013). The White House announced on April 15th that President Barack Obama has nominated Vernon S. Broderick, Esq. to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“I am proud to nominate this outstanding candidate to serve on the United States District Court bench,” said President Obama (see press note released by the White House). “Vernon Broderick has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident he will serve on the federal bench with distinction.”
Broderick was recommended to President Obama by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.
“Vernon Broderick is a proven leader with a strong legal and public service background,” said Senator Schumer in a press note. ”Mr. Broderick has a clear commitment to justice, outstanding dedication to public service, and broad experience that makes him an exceptional choice for a position on the bench in the Southern District.”
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) and the National Dominican American Council, I praise both President Obama and Senator Schumer for considering Broderick to the U.S. District Court for Southern District of New York ,” said Nestor Montilla, DANR Chairman. “He is indeed a groundbreaking nominee. If confirmed by the U.S Senate, Broderick would become the first Dominican-Jamaican-Puerto Rican American Federal Judge in New York, and possibly in the United States.”
Broderick and his parents were born in New York City. His mother’s parents were born in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and his father’s parents were born in Jamaica.
For more about Vernon S. Broderick, visit: http://www.weil.com/VernonBroderick/
About Vernon S. Broderick
Vernon Broderick concentrates his practice on white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions, regulatory investigations and proceedings, and business litigation. He is a member of the White Collar Defense & Investigations Group and the Complex Commercial Litigation Group.
Mr. Broderick represents corporations and individuals in white collar criminal matters involving alleged environmental law violations, securities fraud, RICO, money laundering, bribery, and mail and wire fraud, and conducts internal investigations for corporations. He has conducted investigations on behalf of an international corporation that was accused of wrongdoing by “whistleblowers,” and supervised similar investigations conducted by in-house compliance counsel for this same corporation. He also regularly advises companies and individuals on corporate and regulatory compliance issues.
Mr. Broderick’s practice also includes representing clients in civil business litigation, many of which are parallel or related proceedings filed in connection with criminal and regulatory matters. Mr. Broderick has handled complex civil cases, including matters involving breach of fiduciary duty and securities fraud. He has also worked on bankruptcy litigation matters in various bankruptcy cases, including Global Crossing, Adelphia, Lennox and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
Mr. Broderick was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York for eight years. While at the United States Attorney’s Office, he served as chief of the Violent Gangs Unit and investigated and prosecuted cases involving organized crime, international narcotics trafficking, and violent crimes, including murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion and assault. Mr. Broderick has conducted as first or second chair 10 federal jury trials and argued 12 times before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Mr. Broderick was a recipient of the Justice Department’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney in both 1997 and 1998. Prior to serving as an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Broderick was an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Mr. Broderick was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January 2011 to the New York State Commission on Public Integrity and served until new legislation created the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. He has been a Commissioner on the Commission to Combat Police Corruption in New York City since his appointment by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers, and serves on the Board of Directors of the LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the Board of Directors for the Justice Resource Center of New York City.
Mr. Broderick graduated from Yale University, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
- Bar Admissions
New York State
Yale University (B.A., 1985); Harvard Law School (J.D., 1988)
Councilman Rodriguez received accolades from residents and attendees in recognition for his effective representation on behalf of all New Yorkers and particularly of the residents of northern Manhattan communities.
Washington, DC (April 22, 2013). On Sunday afternoon, April 21, 2013, over one thousand people filled to capacity Yeshiva University’s Lamport auditorium to hear New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez deliver his 3rd annual State of Northern Manhattan Address.
Councilman Rodriguez, who was elected in 2009 to represent over 160,000 people residing in NYC Councilmatic District 10 comprised of Marble Hill, Inwood and Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, spoke about his accomplishments, partnerships, current and new projects and his vision for the future of Northern Manhattan.
“On behalf of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) and the National Dominican American Council (NDAC), I would like to congratulate Councilman Rodriguez for his stellar performance in representing the interests of northern Manhattan diverse communities and for serving as a shining example of effective and outstanding leadership in the Great State of New York,” said Nestor Montilla, DANR Chairman. “He has earned praise and respect for being a tireless community advocate with an excellent track record of exemplary leadership and selfless dedication to all people without regard for their socio-economic and political standing.”
Councilman Rodriguez received accolades from residents and attendees in recognition for his effective representation on behalf of all New Yorkers and particularly of the residents of northern Manhattan communities.
The list of elected officials, dignitaries, leaders and people who attended the event included Yeshiva University President Richard Joel, Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa, Assembly Member Denny Farrell, Senator Adriano Espaillat, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Comptroller Jhon Liu, NYC Public Advocate DeBlasio, former NYC Comptroller William Thompson, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, City University of New York Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, and hundreds of officials, representatives from the public and private sectors and residents of New York City.
Following is a transcript of Councilman Rodriguez’s address:
The State of Northern Manhattan Speech
By Ydanis Rodriguez
NYC Councilman, District 10
The Future of Northern Manhattan
Good Afternoon, how are we doing today? Thank you Scott (Manhattan Borough President) for that great introduction! Before we begin, I would like to ask everyone to please stand for a moment of silence for the victims of the tragedies that took place in Texas and Boston this past week.
Thank you all for being here today! Let’s give our artists another round of applause. Our community is blessed to have such great talent.
I would like to begin by thanking President Richard Joel, of Yeshiva University for allowing us to use this beautiful space.
I also want to thank all my partners in government, the elected officials here today
I also want to thank my staff and the staff of the offices of Senator Espaillat and Assemblywoman Rosa, who work hard every day to make our community better and to our volunteers and interns that have dedicated their time to support our work. Most especially, I would like to thank my family: my parents, Lidia and Ydanis, and my wonderful life partner Cristina and our daughters Yarisa and Ysla, who not only put up with me but make me a better man and councilmember EVERYDAY. Thank you all!
In 1613, Juan Rodriguez became the first non-indigenous immigrant to settle here in, NYC. Juan Rodriguez’s journey was the first of millions of people looking to create a better life for themselves and their families. In 2013, we can all say that we are related to someone like Juan. Personally I am still trying to figure out if Juan is my long lost uncle.
Juan Rodriguez journey shows how similar we are and how we have all taken our own paths to end up in Northern Manhattan, a community built by immigrants of many ethnicities.
Today we are here to discuss The State of Northern Manhattan, and I can tell you, it looks very promising. You can see this in the faces of our residents, in our local businesses and even on National TV, with the cast of MTV’s Washington Heights showing pride in their community across the country. They are here today and let’s applaud them for having kept their show positive.
In our neighborhoods, we are witnessing new investments, new infrastructures, projects and businesses, strengthening the bonds that give meaning to the word “community”. The work of our community-based organizations is visible providing quality services and creating hundreds of jobs that will make a difference in our communities for decades to come.
Northern Manhattan will be one united council district; from river to river. The accomplishments of the past year are not the work of one but the result of many. Whether it be:
- Bringing new state of the art buildings to the Community Health Academy of the Heights, Alianza Dominicana and the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation;
- Renovating J. Hood Wright Park and Playground;
- Rallying to ensure funding was restored to our daycare centers and head start programs;
- Raising our voices loud to support the DREAM Act; Fight gun violence; and decry domestic abuse;
- Developing the United Palace Cathedral into a cultural hub in Washington Heights;
- Or advocating for more funding for our schools, libraries and after school programs;
Community Based Organizations, elected officials, small business owners and neighborhood residents, have all contributed to making Northern Manhattan one of the best places to live in New York City.
Regardless of the nature of the future and present challenges, we know that when we work together, we can look forward to and be proud of what the outcome will be—because our culturally diverse community is united and strong.
Today, I will be sharing our vision for the future of Northern Manhattan, one that we can all be a part of. But I want to be clear; this is the vision of our team, Senator Adriano Espaillat and Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa. And of course, this team will always be open and flexible to work with the complete universe of other elected officials representing Northern Manhattan.
Over the past 4 years as your Council Member, I have found that we share many similar ideas and values. We can all agree that everyone deserves:
- A Quality education,
- A suitable and affordable place to live;
- A well paying job
- A clean and vibrant community,
- Equal rights in the workplace
- And our right as residents to have a voice in matters of our community and beyond.
In 2007, when Mayor Bloomberg released his report, Plan NYC, to visualize what our city would look like in the year 2030, our community’s greatest needs were left out. With the help of Senator Espaillat, Assembly Member Rosa, other elected officials, academics, the business sector and community leaders like George Fernandez, chair of Community Board 12, we have started the process of putting together ideas for our own, Northern Manhattan, 2030 plan!
Allow me to go over some elements that will appear in the blueprint.
To start, education in District 6 must improve. Not all of our students are receiving the quality education that we expect as parents. To close this gap, we must build a pre-k to college pipeline and this begins, with early childhood education. Studies have shown that children who receive education early in life are more likely to,
- Perform better during their educational career,
- Have higher income levels and
- Rely less on government services later in life.
A substantial investment in early childhood education will cut our city’s costs in the future. Yet, our city continues to try to cut these programs instead. Last year, my colleagues and I, with the help of Speaker Quinn, were able to save a daycare center that has served our community for 40 years, the Washington Heights Childcare Center.
But clearly, we need more! This is why I support the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families in their work training staff at childcare centers to provide the best early childhood education possible. We need every child in our community to have a seat in a full day early childhood education program!
Next, we must ensure that our elementary schools are given the support they need. We faced this problem at Juan Pablo Duarte, a school that has struggled in recent years, and where the Department of Education initiated steps towards closure. However, through the leadership of Northern Manhattan’s elected officials and parent activism, PS 132 was saved. A new dual-language school will be sharing its space, one designed to assist students of all ethnicities in learning a new language. With the opening of this school, Castle Bridge and Kipp NYC, and our support of all schools in our district, new options for parents and students further our goal of seeing every student in this community provided with a quality education.
To overcome budget cuts in arts and music programs, I allocated $200,000 in funding to local cultural institutions over the past two years, to put them where they can help most, in the classrooms. Now, the Center for Arts Education at P.S. 5, and Midori and Friends at P.S. 4 are ensuring children still receive creative arts education; and at the Washington Heights Academy in P.S. 366, Children’s Arts and Science Workshops is teaching our kids about playwriting in after school programs, building the confidence, creativity and character that will resonate later in life.
To help our children get into specialized high schools, I along with Columbia University have been a supporter of the Science Schools Initiative Program. In their 2012 class, over 65% of their Northern Manhattan students were admitted to a specialized high school; and for those that did not, they are now attending some of our city’s top high schools. Their class of 2013 is here with us today, let’s recognize them.
This is a great program, that is why I’m doubling my funding to them this year so that they can keep expanding their valuable services.
We want those top schools to be here in Northern Manhattan and that is why I am working hard with the principals of all our high schools to ensure they have the resources necessary to achieve this goal. This year I have allocated a total of 5.1 million dollars in capital funding to all schools that made a request, to ensure that they can be successful as they strive for student achievement.
While, I have a special place in my heart for Gregorio Luperon, where I taught with its principal Juan Villar and other colleagues before being elected, I have dedicated time over the past year to the George Washington Campus.
We are privileged to have one of the most beautiful school buildings in New York City; but in recent years, this campus has faced a number of hardships. Now, through the leadership of great principals, there has been a slow but consistent transformation. Mr. Sloman is using his creativity to encourage achievement through educational incentives like trips to Pennsylvania and Broadway shows. Mr. Politis floor brings stimulating programming to students related to Law and Public Service. We have been in discussions with the DOE to build on these programs. When schools—such as Health Careers and Sciences led by Mr. Trejo or Media and Communications by Ms. Michelen—focus on a particular specialty, they should find trusted partnerships with Columbia Presbyterian, or with television and music studios, to fully immerse their students in interesting curriculum. This is the future not only of George Washington but of all high schools in Northern Manhattan. We must create an environment where students are engaged in what they study so that they arrive at school every morning excited to learn. To continue my commitment to George Washington and the surrounding community, I am still working hard to renovate the indoor swimming pool!
When it comes to higher education, we have a serious problem in our city. Our students have not been prepared for college. Currently, only 26% of students starting high school will be prepared for their freshman year in college. This number falls to 13% for Black and Latino students. Right now only 1 out of every 4 students in community college will earn their degree within 6 years. We cannot allow it to happen! I have been working with a number of partners like City Comptroller John Liu, to address where the greatest roadblocks lie and find ways to push through them. When students face struggles early in their college careers, they are more likely to give up and choose another route.
This is why I have worked to:
- ensure budget stability for community colleges,
- incentivize increased diversity in the enrollment of not only CUNY students but of its faculty and administration as well,
- and have aimed to keep CUNY institutes such as: the Dominican Studies, the Puerto Rican Studies, and the Black Male Initiative fully funded.
This year, I will also work with CUNY, Columbia, Efe America, Bank Street College, Sloan-Kettering Hospital, Pace University, the business sector and one of my former students, Noquel Matos, now in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, to hold the first of many summits on college readiness; to discuss strategies, policy and programming designed to better prepare our students for college. This will be a vehicle to share the best practices around the city, putting our community and New York on the map as the college readiness capitol of the country.
We also worked to bring CUNY in the Heights to a new building at 5030 Broadway in Inwood. This building now provides a state of the art facility for Hostos and Borough of Manhattan Community College students looking to take credits to get ahead in their degree programs, and many services available to the Northern Manhattan community, including a robotics program for kids starting in September. A big thank you to Aldrin Bonilla for your great work!
I am proud to announce, that CUNY has agreed to continue expanding its CUNY in the Heights campus providing hundreds more students the opportunity to learn, explore and prepare themselves for a professional career.
We cannot stop there. In 2010 almost 65,000 people between the ages 18 through 35 lived in Northern Manhattan. Close to 50% of that group, have a high school diploma but are not attending college. We need to enroll them in an institution of higher learning. We must do this so that we can add this group to the new middle class of Northern Manhattan. This number and other factors justify the need to build a new CUNY campus, right here in our community! I envision a campus that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—the STEM fields—as well as a musical engineering program, to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future.
Along with education, my other top priority is affordable housing. As we all know, too many of our residents and businesses are being forced out of the neighborhood with rising rents. I am still struck by the census numbers showing that over 18,000 of our former residents have moved away. If we want to retain our dynamic community, we must find solutions to the affordable housing crisis. I have worked with a coalition of a number of local community organizations to identify several locations around the district where affordable housing can be built. This Wednesday, April 24th, we will hold a major rally to call for true affordable housing in Northern Manhattan!
Part of the struggle for affordable housing also lies in fighting negligent slum lords, something I have worked on with Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio in our community. We stood together to denounce the 200 worst slumlords in New York City, many of whom own buildings here.
More recently, I stood with tenants from 183rd street—led by Miriam Ribera—whose landlord had cut off their utilities, literally leaving them in the dark and cold during the depths of winter. Miriam and the tenants could have given up and moved away, but instead they chose to organize and stand up for their rights! With the help of my office, other elected officials, the SRO Law Project and HPD Commissioner of Code Enforcement, Vito Mustachiuolo, the services were restored to all 3 buildings. The tenants have taken their notorious slumlord Hugo Eduardo Juarez to court and I will continue to stand with them this Thursday as they seek justice.
To truly solve this affordable housing crisis, it is time we let our next Mayor know that we expect at least 10,000 new units of REAL affordable housing in our community. This can happen with a committed investment here. Through the rezoning of Sherman Creek and the transformation of the 207th Street rail yards into affordable housing; retail and community space; and an early childhood education center, we can secure Northern Manhattan’s future!
A big part of keeping tenants in their homes with rising rents is making sure our community has a wide pool of quality jobs.
Recently, when walking through the district on St. Nicholas Avenue, I passed a number of vacant storefronts between 183rd and 193rd streets. But with the new expansion of the Washington Heights Business Improvement District—through the work of Angelina Ramirez and my partners in government—we expect to see businesses opening with the full support of the BID and the community behind them.
Just last month, with our support, the Washington Heights BID launched a new marketing campaign to increase its presence as a hub in Northern Manhattan. The Explora Initiative will attract shoppers and restaurant goers from across the city to 181st Street and the surrounding area, boosting our economy and showing off all that our beautiful community has to offer.
Now, I am working with the department of Small Business Services to create two new Business Improvement Districts in Inwood and Washington Heights. On Dyckman Street with the help of Ariel Ferreira; and on Broadway between 159th and 179th streets with Community League of the Heights. This means more support for our local businesses, cleaner streets, summer festivals, promotional events and best of all, more jobs.
I thank all of the business owners who have dedicated themselves to this community, our great taxi base owners and people like Dr. Eduardo Pignanelli of the Amsterdam Medical Center. This past March, Dr. Pignanelli donated 200 copies of Junot Diaz’s books and invited the Pulitzer Prize winner to sign and give away the books himself. It is this dedication from our small business owners that makes me proud to live in Northern Manhattan.
And to ensure our neighborhood does not lose businesses that have roots in our community, I will be submitting a new bill to the City Council to provide incentives to landlords who offer favorable lease renewals to existing businesses. This bill, the Community Business Stability Act, will ensure our mom and pop shops are not forced out of the neighborhood by high rents.
Two new projects ready for groundbreakings are the opening of a new hotel and the renovation of the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal. The hotel, located on 168th Street between Amsterdam and Audubon, will be a great job producer in Washington Heights. And we have received a commitment from the developer and the Port Authority that prospective businesses will hire locally.
Every day, Northern Manhattan is becoming a better place to start a new business. But with every new business, we must place a premium on respect for and awareness of the immediate surroundings. Our residents must be considered, particularly when a restaurant or bar opens in a residential area. We must strive to find the right balance. I encourage residents and business owners to work together to ensure concerns are addressed and businesses are supported. This will keep our community both respectful and productive for all.
Making our community more attractive to businesses starts with keeping it beautiful. While Business Improvement Districts may tackle this challenge in their immediate areas, it falls on us as the residents of these neighborhoods to keep our streets, sidewalks and parks clean. Over the past 2 years, my office has held several events to educate our young people about maintaining a healthy, and clean community. My daughter and I joined them in picking up trash from our streets, getting our hands dirty, for the sake of a more beautiful environment for all. I started this initiative as a teacher at Luperon HS and today, two of our great partners in this effort are youngsters from Fresh Youth Initiatives and Centro Altagracia de Justicia y Fe. Getting kids engaged in public service teaches values of respect and community, that can last a lifetime. We will continue to make the clean streets initiative a priority in the future; holding cleaning days throughout the summer with local organizations.
But ensuring our health does not stop there. When obesity rates in Northern Manhattan are higher than anywhere else in the borough, we are setting ourselves and our children up for a painful and expensive future. To stop these problems before they start, my office has worked hard to expand the number of sports programs offered to children, such as the Inwood Little League, Jaybies Sports League and the Officer Buczek Little League. And I am happy to say that through a growing partnership with the Armory, our community will have an opportunity to use a world- class track and field facility right here in Washington Heights.
I must thank Dr. Sanders of the Armory and the New York Road Runners for opening their doors to our community. I can also announce that this year the Armory will be hosting a celebrity basketball game for charity sponsored by UNIVISION RADIO, with the proceeds to be directed to educational programs. Also at the Armory, for the second year in a row, through coordination with Senator Espaillat and Assembly Member Rosa, the Uptown Games were a huge success. Over 1,000 students from our local schools participated this year and next year we are working to get every school in the district to participate.
We must also take note of our eating habits and those of our children. I encourage everyone, especially our youth, to make conscious decisions when choosing what to eat and drink. The overconsumption of unhealthy choices can lead to dangerous conditions like diabetes and heart failure. We will be looking to partner with Columbia University, CUNY, DOE, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and our CBOs to promote healthy lifestyles and nutritional education. Additionally, through council funding, programs such as Community Visions Council are working to open more farmers markets, where residents can buy fresh and inexpensive produce. It is about the future of our community, we must sustain healthier lifestyles to ensure we live longer and maintain our quality of life as seniors.
Speaking of our beloved seniors, during my time in office, I have worked hard to see that our senior centers provide the best service possible. This past year, we helped ARC Fort Washington to implement a new transportation system for homebound seniors to keep them engaged in many services available in the community. For our seniors and disabled communities, the Dyckman Street 1 train station will soon be wheelchair accessible. And I will continue to push for elevators at the 181st station and especially at the 168th station for wheelchair-bound hospital patients to have easier access to transportation.
Something we are very proud of, coming soon, is the new cultural center at the Alianza Dominicana Triangle Building. This building, administered by Catholic Charities, will house the Washington Heights Community School of the Arts, People’s Theatre Project, Teatro Stage Fest, and others, bringing a central site for our wonderful cultural programming and giving local artists another forum to show their great work. The Alianza building will remain a shining example of cultural pride in our community. Along with the Betty Shabazz Malcom X Center, the Morris Jumel Mansion, the Community League of the Heights, and Gregorio Luperon, we will make 165th street a cultural place where we can attract tourism
In Marble Hill, I have been in discussions with developers of the River Plaza shopping center about an expansion of the property that should offer more jobs to our community as well as more space for local businesses to rent and increase the support to community groups. The Marble Hill community is also anxiously waiting for the co-naming of Broadway between 225th and 228th streets as Ted Corbitt Way in honor of the great Olympic long distance star, first president of New York Road Runners and former resident of the Marble Hill Houses.
Next month, in honor of Juan Rodriguez, we will be holding a day of celebration with CUNY’s Dominican Studies Institute and Harlem and the Heights Historical Society, to mark the 400-year anniversary of our beautiful city of immigrants. To commemorate this great figure, we will be renaming a stretch of Broadway from 159th Street to 218th Street, Juan Rodriguez Way. I want to thank Speaker Quinn and my colleagues at the council for helping us make this a reality.
With the support of the NYC Economic Development Corporation we will revive the Sherman Creek project so that our waterfront looks like that of Battery Park, with playgrounds and walkways, gardens and recreational facilities.
In our beautiful parks, many damaged by Hurricane Sandy, we will re-plant hundreds of trees to protect our air quality and environment, hoping to work in partnership with the NY Restoration Project. And we remain committed to keeping our parks safe. This means more foot patrols, better enforcement and brighter lights at night so that everyone can feel comfortable enjoying the treasures of Northern Manhattan.
Although I believe that One Police Plaza should make major reforms on its STOP and FRISK policies, I support our inspectors and the police officers they work with to keep our community safe.
Last year, I stood on the stage of the George Washington campus to deliver this address, and this is very fitting, as not only has George Washington come a long way since then, but together, as a community, we have progressed as well.
I truly believe that a community united can produce amazing results, and through strong community empowerment, that is what I expect to see in the coming years!
As we bridge the gaps between old lines and build connections between neighborhoods,
- we will see our children learn and grow to become our future leaders;
- we will boost our economy so that it is sustainable,
- we will ensure homes are affordable so that residents can live comfortably;
- we will maintain the beauty of our parks and streets
- and we will stand united to make our community great for our generations to come!
Thank you so much for your support and God bless you all!
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez outlines a sweeping vision for the rebirth of Northern Manhattan
ABOUT YDANIS RODRIGUEZ
Ydanis Rodriguez has a long track record of fighting and winning for the community he represents. For more than 20 years he has served his community with transparency, honesty and integrity. As a Council Member, he continues to fight for much-needed services for Northern Manhattan, including immigration reform, higher quality education for all children, affordable housing and health care, and a more transparent and efficient government.
Ydanis was born in the Dominican Republic and came to Washington Heights when he was 18 years old. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at the City College of New York, paying his way working as a taxi-driver. He then went on to obtain his Master’s degree in Bilingual Education at City College.
In 1992, Ydanis successfully helped to found Gregorio Luperon High School, a school dedicated to the success of immigrant families, where he became a public high school teacher. Although Ydanis began his activism in the Dominican Republic fighting for a new school in his hometown, Licey Al-medio, and continued during his tenure at City College, working to fight against tuition increases and budget cuts through student government, his 14 years of experience teaching refined and strengthened his passion for serving the community.
As a founding teacher at Gregorio Luperon High School, Ydanis became very aware of the growing problems of overcrowding and the lack of resources at his school and others in the area. With his fellow teachers, students, and community members, he advocated for increased school capacity and higher quality facilities. He took the fight to City Hall, resulting in the construction of a new state of the art facility to house Gregorio Luperon High School.
After winning this fight, Ydanis continued to work for change in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill. Whether it was to improve translation and interpretation services in local hospitals, to shut down a proposed correction facility on 182nd street, or to keep open the 180th Street Post Office, Ydanis was actively involved. On behalf of the community, he worked with the Straphangers Campaign to oppose public transit fare increases, exposed abusive and corrupt landlords with tenant associations, and founded a program which provides access to academic and extra-curricular resources to first generation high school and pre-high school students and their families—a program acclaimed by former Governor Paterson.
Ydanis and his family currently reside uptown in Inwood. As a City Councilman, Ydanis continues to fight for District 10 residents and the progressive movement, in partnership community residents and organizations. He has taken strong stances on diversity in higher education, increased college readiness amongst high school students, denouncing stop and frisk policies, providing more affordable housing options in Northern Manhattan, calling for smart and progressive immigration reform, and giving a greater voice to the working and middle classes of New York City.
His participation in the Occupy Wall Street movement earned him recognition in Time Magazine’s 2011 edition of Person of the Year: Year of the Protester. He has been a champion of worker’s rights, civil rights and human rights; ensuring the dignity of all people is maintained regardless of their circumstances.
During his time in office, Council Member Rodriguez has placed a focus on 5 policy initiatives for district 10 including increased college readiness, more affordable housing, better health and nutrition, job creation and clean streets and quality of life improvement.
DANR and its National Council Support President Obama’s Nomination of Tom Pérez as the U.S. Secretary of Labor
At the announcement President Obama introduced Perez as “the son of Dominican immigrants and a lawyer who helped pay his way through college by working as a garbage collector, to the American people.”
President Obama said: “His story reminds us of this country’s promise, that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try. And Tom has made protecting that promise — for everybody — the cause of his life.”
“On behalf of DANR board and our national Dominican American community, I would like to commend President Barack Obama for nominating today Mr. Pérez as U.S. Secretary of Labor,” said DANR Chairman Nestor Montilla.
“Republicans and Democrats, agree that Mr. Perez is highly qualified, and that he has an excellent track record of accomplishments as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. Members of our diverse communities should join us in urging the U.S. Senate to quickly approve this nomination. You should contact your senators in your home state and urge them to support Mr. Perez,” said Chairman Montilla.
Click here to contact your U.S. Senators.
THOMAS E. PEREZ BIOGRAPHY
Known throughout his career in public service as a consensus builder, Thomas E. Perez was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and was sworn in on October 8, 2009.
Mr. Perez previously served as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), which protects consumers through the enforcement of a wide range of consumer rights, workplace safety, and wage and hour laws. He collaborated with businesses and workers to address critical workforce development needs and continue to build a world-class workforce. Mr. Perez was a principal architect of a sweeping package of state lending and foreclosure reforms to address the foreclosure crisis in Maryland.
Mr. Perez has spent his entire career in public service. From 2002 until 2006, he was a member of the Montgomery County Council. He was the first Latino ever elected to the Council, and served as Council President in 2005. Earlier in his career, he spent 12 years in federal public service, most of them as a career attorney with the Civil Rights Division.
As a federal prosecutor for the Division, he prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of some of the Department’s most high profile civil rights cases, including a hate crimes case in Texas involving a group of white supremacists who went on a deadly, racially motivated crime spree. Mr. Perez later served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Among other responsibilities, he chaired the interagency Worker Exploitation Task Force, which oversaw a variety of initiatives designed to protect vulnerable workers. He also served as Special Counsel to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and was Senator Kennedy’s principal adviser on civil rights, criminal justice and constitutional issues.
Then, for two years, Mr. Perez served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Mr. Perez was a law professor for six years at University of Maryland School of Law and was a part-time professor at the George Washington School of Public Health.
He received a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1983, a Master’s of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1987 and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1987. Mr. Perez lives in Maryland with his wife, Ann Marie Staudenmaier, an attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and their three children.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION
UNDER THOMAS E. PEREZ
On March 31, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Thomas E. Perez to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. The full United States Senate confirmed Perez on October 6, 2009 in a bipartisan 72-22 vote.
Over the past 3 1/2 years, Perez has led the Civil Rights Division, building consensus with various stakeholders to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin. Highlights include:
- A settlement agreement with the nation’s eleventh-largest school district to prevent and address discrimination in school enrollment and student discipline.
- Joining the fight to end bullying and harassment against students in schools and obtaining a major settlement to protect children from school bullying in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota.
- Obtaining The Department’s largest-ever disability-based housing discrimination settlement: a $10.5 million settlement to resolve allegations that a construction company based in Irving, Texas discriminated on the basis of disability in the design and construction of multifamily housing complexes throughout the United States.
- The largest recovery ever in a sexual harassment suit brought by the Department under the Fair Housing Act: three Manhattan landlords will pay $2 million to their sexual harassment victims.
- Settling the three largest fair-lending cases in the history of the Fair Housing Act; as a result, the Division in 2012 recovered more money for victims under the Fair Housing Act than in the previous 23 years combined.
- Successful implementation of the landmark Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which provides additional tools for federal prosecutors to combat hate crimes. As a result, the number of defendants the Division convicted on hate crimes charges increased 74% during the past four years over the previous four years.
- Handling more new voting cases in 2012 than any year ever, including critical cases defending the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
- Increasing the number of human trafficking prosecutions by 40 percent during the past four years, including a record number of cases in 2012.
SUPPORTING OUR MILITARY FAMILIES
Under Perez’s leadership, the Department continued to bring record numbers of Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) cases, protecting the civilian job rights of our nation’s returning service members and veterans.
SERVING AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
The Civil Rights Division continued to pursue agreements to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act’s mandate, focused on safe, individualized, and cost-effective community-based services that promote integration and independence and enable individuals to live, work, and participate fully in community life.
Under Perez’s leadership, the Division launched an aggressive effort to address the unjustified segregation of people with physical, mental, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. The Division has reached landmark settlement agreements with the states of Virginia, Delaware, and Georgia that will allow thousands of individuals with disabilities to receive services in community settings, and will serve as models for comprehensive agreements with other states going forward.
PROSECUTING HATE CRIMES & POLICE MISCONDUCT
The Department increased prosecution of criminal civil rights cases under hate crimes enforcement statutes; vigorously prosecuted human trafficking cases aided by partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners and NGOs.
The Division has continued to investigate systemic misconduct in police departments. It has various pattern or practice investigations underway nationwide and is doing more work in the area than at any time in the Division’s history.
PROTECTING OUR VOTING RIGHTS
The Division’s voting enforcement program continued to use all the tools at its disposal, including litigation, guidance, public education, and outreach with a diverse array of stakeholders to ensure access to democratic participation for all legally qualified voters, and to ensure equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process free from discrimination.
The Division’s Voting Section has handled more new cases than in any fiscal year during at least the last 35 years. In addition, the Department continues to devote significant resources to promoting access to voter registration and the accuracy of the rolls through comprehensive enforcement of the NVRA.
ENSURING EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
The Division continued to use Title IX to support access to justice for individual victims and hold schools liable for discrimination, prevent retaliation against those who exercise their rights, eliminate discriminatory school policies that deny women admission, ensure equal opportunities for men and women in sports, and hold schools liable for addressing and preventing sex-based harassment. In addition to the Division’s enforcement work, it has drafted new Title IX regulations; created a Title IX legal manual to assist public understanding of the law and its procedural requirements; and worked with other federal agencies to create a Title IX Science, Technology, Education, and Math in Higher Education Initiative.
Under Perez’s leadership, the Division has been actively working to address the school-to-prison pipeline, investigating numerous complaints of disparate discipline in schools and co-hosting, with the Department of Education, a first-of-its-kind convening of researchers, advocates and policy makers to address best practices for keeping students in school.
ENSURING EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
The Division continued its work to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that all individuals have equal access to employment opportunities. Under Perez’s leadership the Division has opened myriad employment discrimination investigations, including “pattern-or-practice” investigations and increased the number of consent decrees entered.
Perez also led the Division in establishing and strengthening partnerships to combat pay discrimination and other forms of employment discrimination. This includes the establishment of a pilot program to work with EEOC field offices earlier in investigations to ensure the most efficient and effective application of each agency’s resources.
SECURING FAIR LENDING
Since the Attorney General established the Fair Lending Unit with the Civil Rights Division in early 2010, the Division has responded forcefully by filing complaints in or resolving matters in the wake of the housing and foreclosure crisis.
Under Perez’s leadership, the Division reached three of the largest fair lending settlements in its history. In fiscal year 2012, the Department reached the three largest residential fair lending settlements in the history of the Fair Housing Act, including landmark cases against Countrywide Financial and Wells Fargo.
Washington, DC (April 9, 2013). On Thursday, April 18th, the Honorable Carlos Aguasvivas will be sworn-in as Mayor of the Borough of Bergenfield in Bergen County, NJ, where he is currently serving as councilmember and Chairman of the City Council’s Police Standing Committee. The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the Municipal Building located at 198 North Washington Avenue Bergenfield, New Jersey.
Aguasvivas will replace Timothy J. Driscoll, who passed away on March 19th after serving as Mayor of Bergenfield since 2007.
Aguasvivas was elected by the local Democratic Party to fill Mayor Driscoll’s vacancy and will be confirmed by the Council on April 18. He will run in forthcoming November 2013 to complete Mayor Driscoll’s remaining term.
Aguasvivas will become the fifth Mayor of Dominican American descent in USA. The first was the Honorable Marcos A. Devers, who served as acting Mayor of Lawrence, MA in 2001; he is currently State Representative in Massachusetts. Devers was followed by the Honorable Dr. Alex Blanco, who was elected Mayor of Passaic City, NJ in 2008. Blanco was elected after winning a special election held to complete an unexpired term left by former Mayor Samuel Rivera, a Puerto Rican leader who was indicted, found guilty of bribery and corruption and forced to resign his post.
Other Dominican Americans currently serving as mayors of U.S. urban cities are the Honorable William Lantigua elected in 2010 in Lawrence, MA, and the Honorable Angel Taveras, Esq., who was sworn-in as Mayor of Providence, RI in 2011.
“Join the Dominican American National Roundtable in congratulating Aguasvivas who will be the fifth Dominican American leader to serve as Mayor in the United States,” said Nestor Montilla, Chairman of DANR and the Dominican American Council (NDAC). ”His political ascendancy adds up to the success of over 40 U.S. elected officials and hundreds of appointees of Dominican American descent currently serving at different levels of government in the United States. Against all odds, old and new generations of Dominican Americans continue to achieve political ascendancy by occupying positions to influence the politics and socio-economic realities they are involved in in urban America.”
Dominican ongoing achievements and resulting apparent commotion could be illustrated with the following famous quote distilled from Spanish literature and popularly attributed to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the main characters of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha (El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha):
At a point in their imaginary journey in the middle of the night, while riding on a donkey and a skinny horse, Don Quixote and Sancho were passing by Toboso, a small village in rural Central Spain. The galloping strides woke up some neighbors and dogs.
Sancho said worriedly: ’Señor, los perros nos ladran’. (Sr. the dogs are barking at us.)
Don Quixote calmly replied: ‘Dejad que los perros ladren Sancho, es señal de que estamos avanzando’.
(Sancho, let the dogs bark at us, it means that we are moving forward.)
About Carlos Aguasvivas
Carlos Aguasvivas emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1989 at the age of 15. He graduated with honors from Memorial High School in West New York and was awarded the Dr. James E. Dorsey Scholarship to attend Kean University. Carlos has a B.S. in Computer Science and a Minor in Mathematics.
Carlos held several positions as a software developer before he was employed by the State of New Jersey as Director of Internal Systems Support at the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. During that time, he served on the Hispanic Advisory Council, relaying the community’s message to the Governor. He advised the Governor on substantive policy matters that affected Latinos throughout New Jersey. Issues included health, education, economic development, employment, housing and urban revitalization. This experience allowed me to contribute to the Hispanic Advisory Council’s 2003 Policy Report.
Carlos is currently a computer consultant for MG Design Studio, Inc. He is also pursuing a Masters degree in Administrative Sciences with focus in Diplomacy and International Relations at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He is married to Myra Gatchalian and have two children. They have been Bergenfield residents since 2001.
Join us in Congratulating Junot Diaz for Winning the World’s Richest Prize for Authoring Single Short Story Miss Lora
Washington, DC.(March 27, 2013).— The Guardian, the third most read newspaper website in the world, reported that Dominican-American author Junot Diaz won the world’s most lucrative award granted for a single short story.
“Join us in congratulating our Pulitzer-Prize winner and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Junot Diaz for earning another prize: the world’s largest award for writing single short story Miss Lora,” said, Nestor Montilla, Chairman of the Dominican American National Roundtable. “With this story, Junot proves once more that he is indeed one of the best and most successful writers of our time.”
Written in Spanglish, Miss Lora talks about a relationship between a high school age boy and an older woman in 1980s in New Jersey.
The award was granted by the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2013.
For more information visit The Guardian’s website.
NOTED & QUOTED: NJ Governor Chris Christie Nominates Dr. Maria Teresa Feliciano to Civil Service Commission
Washington, DC (Monday, March 11, 2013).–The following press release was issued by the Office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announcing nominations and appointments to various commissions, task forces and committees.
Among nominees, the list includes Dr. Maria Teresa Feliciano, immediate past president of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) and Vice President of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ).
Dr. Feliciano has been nominated to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, an unbiased, independent body that hears and rules on appeals filed by State, county and municipal civil service employees, candidates for employment, and appointing authorities.
The Commission, referred to as CSC, is a five member, bipartisan, public body appointed by the Governor with the consent of the State Senate. Commissioners serve a four-year term.
Governor Chris Christie Files Appointments
For Immediate Release Contact: Michael Drewniak
Monday, March 11, 2013 Kevin Roberts
Trenton, NJ – Today, Governor Christie filed the following nominations and direct appointments with the State Senate and Secretary of State’s Office. The Governor’s nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the State Senate.
BRIGADIER GENERAL OF THE NEW JERSEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD
Nominate for appointment Colonel Kevin J. Keehn (Bayville, Ocean)
CERTIFIED PSYCHOANALYSTS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Nominate for appointment Professor Roland Armando Alum (West New York, Hudson)
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
Nominate for appointment Maria Teresa Feliciano (Paterson, Passaic)
DOMESTIC SECURITY PREPAREDNESS TASK FORCE
Nominate for appointment Alan J. Robinson (Brookside, Morris)
LAKE HOPATCONG COMMISSION
Nominate for appointment Fred L. Steinbaum, D.O. (Hopatcong, Sussex)
NEW JERSEY ADVISORY COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Nominate for appointment Deborah Berry-Toon, M.S.W. (Andover, Sussex)
Nominate for appointment Catherine E. Rendfrey (Riverside, Burlington)
Nominate for appointment the Honorable Susan Cohen (Manalapan, Monmouth)
Nominate for appointment Robin Sakina Mama, Ph.D., L.S.W. (Moorestown, Burlington)
Nominate for appointment Aline M. Holmes, RN, MSN (Plainsboro, Middlesex)
Nominate for appointment the Honorable Jennifer Giattino (Hoboken, Hudson)
Nominate for appointment Amy Heath Lovato (Westfield, Union)
Nominate for appointment the Honorable Helen R. Le Frois (Newton, Sussex)
Nominate for appointment Kye-Eun C. Ma, M.D. (Tenafly, Bergen)
Nominate for appointment Jane M. Hanson, Esq. (Montclair, Essex)
Nominate for appointment the Honorable Tana M. Raymond (Garfield, Bergen)
NEW JERSEY COMMISSION ON CAPITAL BUDGETING AND PLANNING
Nominate for reappointment Anthony F. Annese (Watchung, Somerset)
Nominate for appointment James M. Rutala, PP, AICP (Linwood, Atlantic)
NEW JERSEY HISTORIC TRUST
Nominate for reappointment Kenneth Alan Miller (Morristown, Morris)
Nominate for reappointment Deborah Marquis Kelly (Crosswicks, Burlington)
Nominate for reappointment Meme Omogbai, CPA, MBA (Franklin Park, Somerset)
Nominate for appointment Patricia Anne Salvatore (Cape May, Cape May)
Nominate for appointment Janet W. Foster (Madison, Morris)
Nominate for appointment Elliot Dee (Ridgewood, Bergen)
Nominate for appointment Peter Lindsay, P.E. (Wantage, Sussex)
Nominate for appointment Katherine Ng (Moorestown, Burlington)
NEW JERSEY HISTORICAL COMMISSION
Nominate for reappointment Joseph E. Salvatore, M.D. (Cape May, Cape May)
NEW JERSEY STATE BOARD OF MEDIATION
Nominate for appointment Joseph L. Verruni (Wall Township, Monmouth)
PALISADES INTERSTATE PARK COMMISSION
Nominate for reappointment James E. Hanson, II (Bernardsville, Somerset)
Nominate for appointment the Honorable Steven B. Harz, Esq. (Closter, Bergen)
POLICE AND FIREMEN’S RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF NEW JERSEY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Nominate for appointment Steven K. Brisgel (Short Hills, Essex)
STATE EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING COMMISSION
Nominate for reappointment Dennis M. Bone (Madison, Morris)
Nominate for reappointment Jody Levinson (Hillsborough, Somerset)
Nominate for reappointment JoAnn Trezza (Madison, Morris)
Nominate for reappointment Nicholas P. Gacos (Metuchen, Middlesex)
Nominate for reappointment Andrea B. Karsian (Fort Lee, Bergen)
Nominate for appointment Melanie L. Willoughby (Lawrence Township, Mercer)
Nominate for appointment Sally J. Nadler, SPHR (Piscataway, Middlesex)
Nominate for appointment Robert P. Wise, FACHE (Lebanon, Hunterdon)
Nominate for reappointment Tapas K. Sen, Ph.D. (Mountain Lakes, Morris)
Nominate for reappointment Tresa A. Duda (Hawthorne, Passaic)
Nominate for appointment Kevin M. Brown (Cherry Hill, Camden)
Nominate for appointment John G. Donnadio, Esq. (Hillsborough, Somerset)
STATEWIDE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Representative from Delaware River Homeland Security Region (Public Member)
Nominate for appointment Richard K. Dreby (Palmyra, Burlington)
THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Nominate for appointment Treby McLaughlin Williams, Esq. (Princeton, Mercer)
VETERANS’ SERVICES COUNCIL
Nominate for appointment Kerri A. Long (Toms River, Ocean)
Nominate for appointment Robert W. Looby, RPA (Pittstown, Hunterdon)
Nominate for appointment Neil Van Ess (Totowa, Passaic)
Nominate for appointment Robert S. Swain, Sr. (Sicklerville, Camden)
Nominate for appointment Susan Vervaet Riveland (Branchville, Sussex)
Nominate for appointment Michael B. Berman, Esq. (Lakewood, Ocean)
Nominate for appointment Commander Robert G. Pinto (Burlington, Burlington)
Nominate for appointment Colonel Nelson L. Mellitz (Cherry Hill, Camden)
Nominate for appointment Major Marc Krauss, (Ret.) (Springfield, Union)
WILLIAM PATERSON UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Nominate for appointment Lourdes Cortez (Elmwood Park, Bergen)
NEW JERSEY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Appoint Jerrold I. Langer, Esq. (Montville, Morris)
CAPE MAY COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
Appoint the Honorable Arthur Stig Blomkvest (North Cape May, Cape May)
Reappoint the Honorable John B. Feeley (Sea Isle City, Cape May)
# # #