US Senator Bob Menendez 0f New Jersey Sworn-in Bishop Alejandro Benjamín as President of the Dominican American National Roundtable
Washington, DC (Sunday, February 11, 2018).–U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey administered the oath of office to Bishop Alejandro Benjamín as the 10th President of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR), the only Washington DC-based nonpartisan organization advocating for the socio-economic and civic empowerment of Dominicans in the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
When administering the oath, Senator Melendez said:
I am thrilled to be here again…. I was here for the first CODA, and for every one of the conferences since then, along the past 18 years, and I think that speaks volumes of the importance of this community and the work that you do.
I am so proud of what Dominican-Americans have done in our state and in our country. If you look at every part of our society…if you look at the medical profession, if you look at the entrepreneur spirit, business people, if you look at those who have served our country in the armed forces of the United States, if you look at those involved in education from this community, you’ll see incredible growth in a short period of time. In terms of those who have been elected to public office at the local, county level and beyond, my colleague in congress, Adriano Espaillat is an example of this, is an expression of the vitality of the Dominican-American community in the United States.
I am glad that we, the Latino community, come together at these challenging times in our country. Every time I hear the words of our president, I shudder. We are a nation of immigrants. One of the elements of American exceptionalism is that we come from different parts of the globe, and with our intelligence, commitment, hard work and sacrifice we have built this nation into the most exceptional country in the world. When we forget that history and seek to divide people based on the color of their skin, who they love or where they come from, we are moving in the wrong direction.
Your work is incredibly important, yes, to the Dominican community, but collectively, to our country.
It is my privilege to swear-in your new president, the 10th president of the Dominican American National Roundtable, Bishop Alejandro Benjamin.
Bishop Benjamin has the academic credentials and lifetime of experience to succeed in this role. Like so many of us, he came from humble beginnings. He was born in Barahona, Dominican Republic, immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s and built a life in New Jersey that is emblematic of the state’s diversity and that immigrant experience I’ve been talking about. Today, Mr. Benjamin is a professor of sociology at Bergen Community College, where students benefit from his experience in community building and individual empowerment. Beyond the respect he commands in the academic field, he commands respect in his community as Senior Pastor of the Rock of Salvation Church in Paterson. He is an educator, a faith leader, a family man. He and his wife Yolanda have three great children, who have every reason to be proud today. Simply put, the story of Bishop Alejandro Benjamin is a shared story by generations of immigrants who achieve the American dream and made America great.
Bishop Benjamin, I wish you success and look forward to working with you to advance the priorities of the roundtable.
The Swearing-in Ceremony took place at Rutgers School of Law at noon on Sunday, February 11, 2018 during the Luncheon Reception of the 18th Annual Conference on Dominican Affairs (CODA) coordinated by the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS). The conference took place from 8:30am to 4pm Rutgers School of Law located at 123 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07201.