Washington, DC— The Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) hosted its Board of Directors’ annual retreat on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at Rutgers School of Law, 123 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102.
Members travelled from across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to attend the retreat and participate on the 17th Annual Conference on Dominican Affairs to set the national Dominican American empowerment agenda.
The meeting was presided over by DANR President Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos and Chairman Nestor Montilla, Sr.
DANR President Martinez-Marmolejos sworn-in the 2017-18 Board of Directors. Current board members are Raul Acosta, Adolfo G. Cuevas, Ph.D., Ernie Domínguez, Esq., DANR Vice President Dr. Miguel Hernandez, Heidy Hernandez, Fiordaliza Frías, Isidro Medina, Antonio Martinez, Esq., DANR President Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos, Dr. María Teresa Montilla, DANR Chairman Nestor Montilla, Sr., Dan-el Padilla, Ph.D., Angelina Ramírez, Dulce Ramos, DANR National Youth President Janna Rodriguez, DANR Youth Vice Presidents Augusto Suarez and Franklin Ventura, Seny Taveras, Esq., Joseline Pena-Melnik, Esq., Nestor Guarien Taveras-Sepulveda, María Trusa, Juan Villar, DANR Senior Vice President Rev. Alejandro Benjamin, Rev. Alvin Bridgewater, Francesca Pena, Jose Aleman, and Ana Medina. Corporation Counsel Patricia Bombelyn, Esq.
The Retreat’s Agenda also included orientation for new board members, election of new officers to the Executive Committee, the setting of this term’s agenda, DANR President’s 2017-2018 Action Plan, projected budget, fundraising plan, debriefing on board members fiduciary responsibilities, collaboration agreement between DANR and a coalition of health professional organizations, and among other items, a joint session with the Board of Directors of the National Dominican American Council (NDAC).
The priorities advocacy issues of this term’s agenda were determined to be: education, economic development and political representation.
The Officers of current DANR’s new Executive Committee are President Claribel Martinez-Marmolejos, Vice President Dr. Miguel Hernandez, Senior Vice President Rev. Alejandro Benjamin, Youth National President Janna Rodriguez, Treasurer Maria Trusa, Secretary Dan-el Padilla, Ph.D., and Chairman Nestor Montilla, Sr.
The unveiling and submission of DANR President’s 2017-2018 Action Plan concluded with the reactivation of the By-Laws Committee and the establishment of twelve working commissions charged with carrying out specific objectives and goals on behalf of US Dominicans: Board Development, Chaired by María Teresa Montilla; Census & Redistricting 2020, Chaired by Néstor Montilla; Education, Chaired by NYC School Principal Juan Villar; Economic Development, Chaired by Dulce Ramos; DANR 2017 Annual Conference, Chaired by Dr. Miguel Hernandez; Finance, Chaired by Treasurer María Trusa; Grants, Chaired by Angelina Ramírez; Health Chaired by Alfonso G. Cuevas, PhD; Immigration, Chaired by Antonio Martínez, Esq., Marketing & Public Relations – Chaired by Raúl Acosta; Representation, Chaired by Fiordaliza Frías; and Youth Initiative, Chaired by Youth President Janna Rodríguez.
At the public session several groups addressed the board and discussed possibilities for collaboration with DANR. One was Florinda Rojas, Executive Director of Instituto National de Migración from the Dominican Republic.
Ms. Rojas made a presentation about Executive Order # 631-11, emitted by the President of the Dominican Republic, creating The National Institute of Immigration known in Spanish as “El Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM-RD)”. She indicated that El Instituto’s main objective is to help formulate immigration policies in the Dominican Republic that would better address the status of immigrants and visitors, and particularly Dominicans from around the world. The INM-RD aims at recommending efficient, transparent and safe migratory services, while promoting respect for human and civil rights in accordance to international laws.
Other public session presenters included Irma Nicasio, Ph.D., professor at Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo and Advisor to the Dominican Republic Senate. She proposed to the DANR Board considering paying close attention to the issue of immigration.
Dominican Republic Congressman Alfredo Rodríguez, Alexis Lantigua, DR Ministro de Politica Social Exterior, and Mr. Juan Familia attended the meeting to greet DANR board directors.
Camden Councilman Angel Fuentes, and a delegation of leaders from the New Jersey faith-based community, including Rev. Cesar Martinez, Rev. John Muniz, and Rev. Julio Roman addressed the DANR Board about the Church as Agent of Social Change. A passionate discussion and exchange of ideas characterized presentation; questions were asked and entertained; one was why the active participation of the faith-based community is essential in carrying out the Latino Agenda in New Jersey and in the United States; and another was how should it be done?
Of those present during the public session, Dr. Alberto Correa from Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico contributed to the discussion generating a passionate exchange of ideas regarding how the Church and faith-based leadership and civic groups should collaborate on advancing an agenda geared towards the advancement of Latinos and US diverse communities.
A delegation of the Board of Directors of the National Dominican American Council (NDAC) attended a portion of DANR Retreat to introduce themselves to DANR Board Members.
On Sunday, February 12th, Council Board Directors attended the Conference on Dominican Affairs and met in plenary session to swear-in new board members and discuss the Dominican American agenda.
US Civil Rights Leader Martin Perez, Esq., administered the oath of office to NDAC Board of Directors, including Chairman Nestor Montilla, Julio Guridy, Alexander Bejarán, Victor Coronado, Alberto Correa, Ph.D., Juana Edmond, Peter Fontanes, Leodany Inojosa, Ana Marchena, Ph.D., Yohanny Méndez, Belkis Peña, Ana Perdomo, Hector Ramírez, Mildred E. Rojas Disla, Delfín Vásquez, Ailin Rivera, Ing. Francisco “Pachín” Ramírez, and dozens of local council members.
The swearing-in ceremony took place before an audience of conference participants, among whom were New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Congressman Alfredo Rodriguez, RI Senator Ana Quezada, Maryland State Representative Joseline Pena Melnik, Florida State Representative Daisy Baez, Paterson Councilman Alex Mendez, several other elected officials and members of the DANR Board of Directors.
At the lunch plenary of the Conference on Dominican Affairs, DANR President Martinez-Marmolejos and Vice President Miguel Hernandez signed a collaboration agreement on behalf of the Dominican American National Roundtable with a coalition of health professional organizations.
The list of signatory organizations and representatives included the Dominican Medical Association (DMA) NY represented by Dr. Francisco Roa, CEO; Dominican Medical and Dental Society represented by Dr. Juan Tapia; Association Hispana de Professionals de la Salud (AHPS) represented by Dr. Diogenes Fermin, CEO, and Dr. Aritmedes Restituyo, Chairman; Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (AHHE) represented by George Zeppentel, Chairman; Colegio Medico Dominicano, Republica Dominicana (CMD) represented by Dr. Leonardo Paula Cabrera; and the Dominican Health Care Association of Florida (DOHCAF) represented by Daisy Baez, Executive Director and founder.
“I would like to congratulate the DANR Board of Directors for strategizing to set the Dominican American agenda for the next couple of years,” said President Martinez-Marmolejos. “I would also like to thank DANR Board of Directors for its decision to sign a collaboration agreement with a coalition of health professional organizations seeking to advocate for better health policies for our diverse communities and to afford meaningful opportunities for the advancement of health professionals.”
The Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR) is the only national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, advocating for the socio-economic and civic development of Dominicans in the United States.
DANR is presided over by a National Board of Directors led by an executive committee composed of a president, two vice presidents, a youth president, a chairman, a treasurer, and a secretary.