Immediate releaseCelebrate Culture at Puerto Rican Artisans Fair & Exhibit in the Bronx, NYComite Noviembre celebrates its annual Puerto Rican Artisans Fair & Exhibit in the Bronx on Saturday, Nov. 20th. Free event. Master percussionist Obanilu Allende and the son of world renowned singer Danny Rivera, Daniel Rivera, Jr. will perform.PR artisan fairFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPRLog (Press Release) â€“ Nov 16, 2010 â€“ Immediate release5th Annual ComitÃ© Noviembre Puerto Rican Artisans Fair & ExhibitSATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2010Hostos Community College – 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY11AM â€“ 9PMThe Puerto Rican Artisan Fair & Exhibit was established in 2006, in celebration of ComitÃ© Noviembre’s, 20th anniversary. Over 40 artesanos puertorriqueÃ±os from throughout the US and Puerto Rico participated and the event boasted an attendance of over 5000 people in this very first Fair. Last year’s Fair continued to exceed CN’s expectations with over 60 artisans participating and a steady 5000 people.The artisan fair this Saturday will include the following workshops:â€¢ TaÃno Storytelling by Bobby GonzÃ¡lezâ€¢ Story of the 3 Kings and making of boxes and crowns by Teresa Santiagoâ€¢ Wood Working. Making Santos de Palo by Marta Iris Rodriguezâ€¢ Spirituality and TaÃno Petroglyph Art by Jose MuÃ±ozâ€¢ Introduction to Puerto Rican Genealogy by Charlie FourquetPerforming at the fair:â€¢ Master percussionist Obanilu Allende and the son of world renowned singer Danny Rivera, Daniel Rivera, Jr.For the past four years, CN has transformed, Hunter College West Building and the Church of St. Paul the Apostle into a typical Puerto Rican plaza with a fountain, palm trees, piragua and coquito carts and artists, sculptors, vejigante mask makers promoting and selling their wares while musical and cultural acts entertained throughout the day. This year will be no different at Hostos. CN will also continue to conduct cultural workshops for children and adults, like mask making, the history of the three kingsâ€™ celebration, TaÃno storytelling in order to make sure that our youth learn about our culture.This free fair is an opportunity to kick-off the holiday shopping season by supporting our artesanos.For more information visit us online at: ComiteNoviembre.org. If you are on Twitter, follow us @comitenoviembre.# # #
Bloggers Clarisel Gonzalez of Puerto Rico Sun Communications and Ed Garcia Conde of Welcome to Melrose and entrepreneur Darada David of PeaceLove Cafe are joining forces to host “Bronx Blogger Fiesta: A Community Mixer,” on August 31st. This free event at the PeaceLove Cafe in the Bronx is open to bloggers as well as community and business leaders.
For more information,
Looking for all types and ages — especially teenagers and young adults. Bilingual (English-Spanish) a plus. Deferred payment.
Attn: Clarisel Gonzalez
161 East 106th Street, First Floor
New York, NY 10029
“Bronx 3M” is produced under the auspices of MediaNoche’s Digital Filmmakers Program and is made possible with the support of NY Foundation, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, NYSCA and individual donors.
The Senate votes 68 to 31 to confirm Sotomayor, who will be the first Latino and third woman ever on the nation’s highest court. Nine Republicans cross party line to support her confirmation.
By James Oliphant and David G. Savage
Los Angeles Times (August 6, 2009)
Reporting from Washington – Sonia Sotomayor completed an unlikely and historic journey today, one that began with her birth in a Bronx, New York, housing project 55 years ago and culminated in her confirmation as the Supreme Court’s 111th justice.
When she is sworn into office, Sotomayor will take her place as the high court’s first Latino and just its third woman. She was approved by a 68-31 Senate vote after three days of debate. Nine Republicans crossed party lines to support her.
Sotomayor was nominated in May by President Obama to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter. A judge on the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals for the last 11 years, Sotomayor worked her way through two Ivy League schools and was a Manhattan prosecutor and corporate lawyer before joining the federal bench.
But the pride felt by Latino groups over her historic nomination quickly gave way to a firestorm, as critics seized upon a speech Sotomayor gave to a group of students in 2001. Sotomayor suggested that her life experience as a Latina shaped her judging, and her remarks became known, almost notoriously, as the “wise Latina” speech.
Sotomayor’s opponents charged that the speech and some of her decisions on the bench showed an inclination to use the law to favor disadvantaged minority groups. And they pointed to one case in particular — in which Sotomayor’s appellate court panel threw out a discrimination suit brought by white firefighters in New Haven, Conn. — as evidence of their claim.
But the controversy never appeared to seriously threaten her nomination.
With Democrats in control of the Senate, there was little possibility of a Republican-led filibuster. And Sotomayor’s supporters pointed to thousands of opinions in her long judicial career, few if any of which showed the sort of liberal-leaning that her detractors alleged existed.
Over three long days of confirmation hearings, Sotomayor pledged “fidelity to the law” and rejected the “empathy standard” that Obama invoked when the Supreme Court vacancy arose. The president had said that justices need to sometimes utilize empathy to understand the effect the court’s decisions have on the lives of ordinary Americans. But Sotomayor broke with Obama over that notion, a moment her conservative critics said was particularly significant.
Still, most Republicans weren’t mollified — and during this week’s debate, they said they doubted Sotomayor’s ability to remain impartial on the bench.
“This is a question of the true role of the judge. It is a question of whether a judge follows the law as it is written or how they wish it should be,” Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said shortly before today’s vote.
But Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the committee that oversaw Sotomayor’s nomination, said on the Senate floor that the judge had answered her critics and proved her suitability for the court. He called on Republicans to support the nominee to honor “our national promise.”
“Judge Sotomayor’s career and judicial record demonstrates that she has always followed the rule of law,” Leahy said. “Attempts at distorting that record by suggesting that her ethnicity or heritage will be the driving force in her decisions as a justice of the Supreme Court are demeaning to women and all communities of color.”
By DAVID GONZALEZ
New York Times (August 3, 2009)
Befitting a scrappy, independent political pioneer – in 1978 she was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to a state legislature in the United States – her funeral attracted the governor, the mayor, several members of Congress and countless local officials. She was lauded for many things: her tenacity; her willingness to cross party lines; her embrace of labor, housing and educational rights for the poor. She was eulogized as a loyal friend, a fierce competitor and a proud Puerto Rican.
Outside the Church of the Holy Agony, on Third Avenue at 101st Street, beyond the honor guard of construction workers that flanked her hearse, groups gathered by the housing projects to remember La Senadora, and the friends and relatives who got a hand up because of her.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see another one like her,” said Monin Paez, who said she always voted for Senator Méndez. “When she spoke, you had to listen. The politicians today don’t talk to us. They only come by when they want your vote.”
Senator Méndez died from cancer last week at age 84. Married into a politically savvy East Harlem family – and possessed of no small measure of education and determination herself – she found her resolve tested in the State Senate, friends said. But she threw herself into her work, giving as good as she got.
“Many of you have gone toe to toe with her in political battles,” her niece, Annette Vasquez, told the mourners. “But later you would walk away with her arm in arm in friendship and respect.”
Just don’t play games with her.
“When you played Risk with Olga, it was never a game,” she said. “It really was about world domination!”
Among the politicians attending were Representatives José E. Serrano, Nydia M. Velázquez and Charles B. Rangel; the former Bronx borough president Fernando Ferrer; the city comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr.; and State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. Efraín González Jr., Mr. Espada’s predecessor, who recently pleaded guilty to using $200,000 in state funds for vacation homes and other personal expenses, was also there.
Some may have felt themselves in the crosshairs as Gerson Borrero, a fire-breathing columnist and political commentator, delivered his eulogy praising Senator Méndez.
“She worked hard behind the scenes while others pranced around like peacocks,” he said. “They still prance around like peacocks.”
Outside, there was a plainspoken pride among the construction workers who sweated for the duration of the Mass.
“Olga always did the right thing for El Barrio,” said one worker, Marty Torres. “She was about change. She was no punk.”
The plain setting for her funeral was fitting: not the marbled St. Patrick’s Cathedral – though she was well-connected enough to have had her service there – just the simple linoleum tile and plywood walls of Holy Agony, where she had been a loyal parishioner since the 1950s. Opened in 1953, it was built for the Puerto Ricans settling in El Barrio – old timers said it was the first local church where they celebrated in the main sanctuary, not hidden in some basement.
In the days before the funeral, friends recalled Senator Méndez, too, as visible and approachable. She asked about your children and treated you like family. She relished telling stories with a mischievous smile and a raspy voice. And she was fiercely Puerto Rican – not Latina, not Hispanic.
“She is the last of her kind,” said Gloria Quinones, a lawyer and activist often on the far left of the senator. “She represented reassurance that the community had a fighting voice and someone who loved them.”
Ms. Quinones remembers when she finished law school and Ms. Méndez asked her if she wanted to become a judge.
“To get me out of the way,” she said.
“But she always asked me how my boys were,” she added. “She was like that with everybody. At the same time she was always calling and asking me if I was going to run against her.”
Others noted that while she had sharp political instincts, they were further honed when she married into the Méndez family, whose patriarch, Antonio Méndez, was the first Puerto Rican district leader in Manhattan. Her mother-in-law, Isabel, was equally political.
“She pushed Olga,” said Carmen Villegas, a family friend. “She knew how to move the chairs like chess pieces. She worked in the senator’s office until she died. And she never called her Olga. She always called her La Senadora.”
The two women were just as devoted to Holy Agony, staying active and donating statues to the church over the years.
An urn with her ashes was set before the altar, flanked by the United States and Puerto Rican flags. Two state troopers stood smartly on either side. The Rev. Victor Elia did the final blessing, and people applauded as the urn was carried to the waiting hearse for burial in the Bronx.
Outside, under a glorious sun, a group of elderly women broke into song as the hearse prepared to leave. Wrapped in the Puerto Rican flag, they intoned Rafael Hernandez’s “Lamento Borincano,” the unofficial anthem of Puerto Rico. It is a song about hardship, hope and heartbreak.
It can never be sung without tears.