By Former NYC Councilman
Rev. Ruben Diaz
Bronx Borough President
Ignores Puerto Ricans
You should know that Puerto Ricans were the first Hispanic Group that migrated and open doors for other Hispanic ethnic groups that would later arrive in the City of New York.
It was the Puerto Ricans who chewed the bone, endured punishments, discrimination, and were even arrested as they struggled to gain respect for the Hispanic Community in New York City.
It was the Puerto Ricans who fought to bring about and institute bilingual education. They fought for the reduction in the required height standards that prevented Hispanics and other ethnic groups from qualifying to become police officers in the City of New York. Puerto Ricans fought for and established social services entitlement and educational programs to help improve the lives of Hispanics. They fought to build decent housing, especially the redevelopment and renovation of the Bronx, they were instrumental in the building of the new Lincoln Hospital, and they created the Eugenio Maria De Hostos Community College. Puerto Ricans fought for and struggled to improve the quality of life for all Hispanic groups of this City.
You Should also Know that, today, other groups benefit from the work that Puerto Rican pioneers contributed to our society and the Bronx Community. We can never allow the sacrifices, and contributions made by Puerto Rican Pioneers to this city be forgotten and ignored. Puerto Rican Community Leaders such as Ramon S. Vélez, Herman Badillo, Evelina Antonetty, Gilberto Gerena Valentín, Damaso Emerick, Belén Denis, Armando Montano, Luis Nine, Roberto García, Olga Méndez, Carmen Arroyo, José Rivera, Federico Pérez, Gumersindo Martínez, Roberto “Bob” Muñoz, Michael Núñez and many others be relegated to oblivion especially during the week when Puerto Ricans have celebrated for decades The National Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is filled with “pride” for the Puerto Rican Culture in New York City.
You should also know that the Bronx has always been the Political, Economic, Cultural, Social and Family Bastion for the Puerto Ricans in New York. For this reason, all the Previous Bronx County Presidents have rightfully recognized the valuable contributions made by Puerto Ricans to the Bronx and this City. Therefore, they have held activities to recognize and acknowledge Puerto Ricans during the week when the Puerto Rican Community is celebrated annually during the month of June.
It has been a tradition for the Bronx Borough Presidents to conduct activities in recognition of diverse ethnic groups residing in the Bronx, during the month or week when they proudly celebrate their culture. The Bronx Borough Office traditionally partakes and conducts a moment to recognize their contributions to the Borough.
Previous Bronx Borough Presidents from Robert “Bob” Abrams, Herman Badillo, Stanley Simon, Fernando Ferrer, Adolfo Carrión and Rubén Diaz Jr., all of them, recognized the importance of embracing the diversity of the borough they were elected to represent and did so by conducting an event or being present at an event that would celebrate their contributions.
This tradition was so vital to me that I, without being Borough President, was glad to annually host a free banquet in honor of various ethnic groups in Bronx County. I conducted annual events like The Puerto Rican Embrace, The African American Embrace, The Garifuna Embrace, The Bangladeshi Embrace, and The Dominican Embrace, these were banquets organized by my office in recognition for the contribution each of these ethnic communities made to the development of the Bronx, and this City.
This week when the Puerto Rican Community celebrates “The Puerto Rican National Day Parade”, the new Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson has totally ignored the Puerto Ricans, so much so, that she even failed to attend the Mayor’s Traditional Annual event held for Puerto Rican dignitaries. Mayor Eric Adams held at Gracie Mansion, a reception in honor of Puerto Rico’s Speaker of the House, the Senate and the delegation of Senators, Representatives and dignitaries that traveled from Puerto Rico to participate and attend The Puerto Rican Day Parade.
We now have (3) years until the next election when the Honorable Vanessa Gibson will seek out the Puerto Rican vote to be re-elected. For now, Ms. Gibson has the luxury of ignoring the Puerto Rican Community, we will nonetheless keep her and all the recently elected officials in our prayers.
I Am Rev. Ruben Diaz, and This Is “What You Should Know.”