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Ricky Martin Announced as Grand Marshal of the 62nd Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade

 The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) Board of Directors announced additional themes and tributes that will make up its 2019 celebration.  Under the theme, “One People, Many Voices,” the Parade will continue celebrating the best of Puerto Rican culture and history, paying tribute to key historical figures and raising awareness on issues of importance in the community.  The Parade also announced several distinguished Puerto Ricans that will round out its roster of honorees to march up Fifth Avenue on June 9.  
“This year’s Parade celebration will continue showcasing the best of who we are as a community.  We will highlight our vast diversity talent, honoring historic figures and exemplary trailblazers that have overcome cultural and gender barriers to excel in their fields and meaningfully contribute to our global society,” said Louis Maldonado, Board Chair for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. “We will also utilize the Parade as a platform to champion important causes to our community and foster economic development in Puerto Rico during this post-Hurricane María era.”
This 2019 National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be led by international artist, Ricky Martin, who will be honored as Grand Marshal. Born in San Juan, Martin is recognized for his distinguished career as a multiple GRAMMY® and Latin GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, among other accolades, Emmy Award-nominated actor, author and philanthropist. The NPRDP also honors the Ricky Martin Foundation for its work to denounce human trafficking and educate about its existence through global awareness, research and community initiatives. Human trafficking is the second most lucrative crime in the world, impacting an estimated 40.3 million people around the world. Through its academic research, the Ricky Martin Foundation is working to shine a spotlight on the existence of this crime and its impact on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
The 2019 NPRDP Padrino (Godfather) title goes to the accomplished percussionist, composer, arranger, producer and educator, Bobby Sanabria. A seven-time GRAMMY®nomineethat hails from the South Bronx, Sanabria has performed with major artists in jazz music, including Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barreto and Paquito D’Rivera, as well as legendary figures in Latin music, including Yomo Toro and Celia Cruz. He is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, is Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center and is part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy and The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. 
World championship boxer and mixed martial artist, Amanda Serrano, joins this year’s honorees as Athlete of the Year.  Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and raised in Brooklyn, Serrano has won championship boxing titles in seven different weight divisions, a feat surpassed only by Manny Pacquiao. In January 2019, Serrano won the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) super flyweight championship title, defeating Austria’s Eva Voraberger in just 35 seconds. The WBO has twice recognized Serrano with the Female Boxer of the Year Award, in 2016 and 2018.
Recognized as the 2019Trailblazer Honoreeis actress and singer, MJ Rodríguez, the star of FX’s hit television series, Pose. Playing the role of Blanca Rodríguez Evangelista, Rodríguez leads the largest cast of transgender actors in a scripted television series. In 2011, she won the Clive Barnes Award for her role as “Angel” in the off-Broadway revival of Rent. Raised in Newark, New Jersey, graduated from Newark Arts High School and attended Berklee School of Music.  Promoting Economic DevelopmentIn 2018, the NPRDP paid tribute to several organizations that were helping with the recovery from Hurricane Maria. The Parade continues that work this year by also recognizing organizations whose work promotes economic development on the Island. As part of this initiative, NPRDP recognizes Discover Puerto Rico,a newly established private, not for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination. With the aim of bringing prosperity to the people of Puerto Rico, Discover Puerto Rico promotes the Island’s diversity and uniqueness for leisure and business travel, as well as events. Discover Puerto Rico will have a key role at the NPRDP Gala Fundraiser and at the June 9 Parade on Fifth Avenue.
Posthumous Tribute to Sylvia Rivera, Civil Rights and LGBTQ ActivistIn recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement, the NPRDP pays tribute to activist Sylvia Rivera. Born in the Bronx to a Venezuelan mother and Puerto Rican father, Rivera was a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and champion for the inclusion of LGBTQ people of color in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. Realizing that LGBTQ youth of color were often underserved by leading gay community organizations of the day, Rivera co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with friend and fellow activist, Marsha Johnson, an organization committed to helping homeless gay, gender nonconforming and transgender youth of color.
NPRDP Gala Honors Historic Individuals and Organizations At its annual Gala Fundraiser, the NPRDP will honorFelix Matos Rodríguez, PhD,Chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public university system. In a unanimous appointment by the CUNY Board of Trustees, Matos made history by being the first person of color to lead CUNY since its founding, 172 years ago. His work is recognized nationally for measurably boosting college retention and completion rates while serving as president of Queens College, part of CUNY. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University, Matos Rodríguez is a scholar, teacher, administrator and former Cabinet secretary for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Joining Matos Rodríguez as a  2019 NPRDP Gala honoree is Arte Público Press, in recognition of its 40th anniversary. Founded in 1979 by Nicolás Kanellos, PhD, Arte Público Press has garnered national distinction as the largest, longest-standing and most accomplished U.S. publisher of contemporary and recovered literature written by Puerto Rican and other Hispanic authors. Now part of the University of Houston, Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books become a showcase for Hispanic literary creativity, arts and culture, publishing authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Miguel Piñero, Luis Valdez, Miguel Algarín, Julia Alvarez, Nicholasa Mohr, Victor Villaseñor, and Helena María Viramontes. Other Gala honorees announced previously include Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, film director and producer Noel Quiñones Mora, as well as Nilda Prieto from Hewlett Packard Aguadilla.
The NPRDP Gala Fundraiser will take place on Friday, June 7 at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers in New York City. Headlining the evening’s musical performances will be 2019 NPRDP Madrina, La India, with special performances by other NPRDP honorees. Gala tickets may be purchased through the Parade’s website, at https://www.nprdpinc.org/gala.
Honoring Leaders in EducationThe NPRDP honors educators, administrators, academics and other leaders whose life’s work has been dedicated to promoting the education of Puerto Rican and Latino students at the Education Leadership Awards. This year’s Education Leadership Honorees include José Luis Cruz, President of Lehman College, a leading advocate for policies to expand opportunities for all students, particularly those from underserved communities. President Cruz is a professor of physics in Lehman’s School of Natural and Social Sciences, and he serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including The Education Trust, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Regional Plan Association and the New York Botanical Garden. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a National Science Foundation Career Award recipient. His work on optical interconnections for massively parallel processing systems has been published in scientific journals and presented at international conferences.
The NPRDP announced that the 2019 Teacher of the Year is Carlos Olivieri, who teaches at EBC High School-Bushwick Brooklyn, part of New York City Public Schools. Carlos is grateful and honored to serve as a teacher in the very same community where he was born, raised and continues to live, and he finds the most of his joy though working directly with Special Needs and English as a New language (ENL) students. An advocate for students and teachers, alike, Carlos raised more than ten thousand dollars to build EBC High School’s very first recording studio so that students could learn digital media arts in film, photography, sound design and podcasting. 
The NPRDP previously announced that joining Mr. Cruz and Mr. Olivieri as 2019 Education Leadership Honorees are Ana María García Blanco, PhD, Founder & Executive Director at Instituto Nueva Escuela and Jeannette Valdés Morales, an educator with expertise in Special Education and coach on Puerto Rico’s Special Olympics team.
For a third consecutive year, the Parade will award 100 scholarships to exceptional high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors of Puerto Rican descent. Each scholarship is in the amount of $2,000 for a total pool of $200,000, a 20-fold increase since 2013. This year’s scholarship recipients represent 20 states and Puerto Rico. Scholarship recipients will be announced at the Education Leadership Awards on May 25, in New York City.

Additional Honorees for 2019In addition to the honorees mentioned above, the NPRDP is proud to announce the following individuals that will also be honored in the 2019 celebration:
●      Lifetime Achievement Honoree- Jorge Ramos: Retired journalist and emmy-award winning anchor of Noticiero Telemundo 47

●      Ambassador- Willie Colón: Former NFL offensive guard and Super Bowl Champion

●      Ambassador- Ricardo Currás: Anchor for Univision Noticias 41

●      Ambassador- Pedro Luis Garcia “Bacán Bacán”: Radio deejay on Univision Radio X96.3

At a press conference held earlier this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the NPRDP Board of Directors announced the the following honorees that will be part of the 2019 Parade celebration:
●      Madrina- La India: GRAMMY® Award-winning singer

●      Lifetime Achievement- José Feliciano: GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter

●      Lifetime Achievement- Chi Chi Rodríguez: 8-time PGA Champion and World Golf Hall of Famer

●      Lifetime Achievement- Alberto Carrión: Singer/songwriter

●      Lifetime Achievement- Dagmar Rivera: Television hostess and entertainer

●      Orgullo Puertorriqueño- Ana María Martínez:  world-renown soprano and Artistic Advisor for the Houston Grand Opera

●      All-Star Athlete- Edgar Martínez: Retired baseball player and inductee to the MLB Hall of Fame

●      Special Recognition- Raúl Ayala: artisan and creator of vejigantemasks, from Loíza

●      Special Recognition- Samuel Lind Hernández:  Painter and sculptor from Loíza

●      Special Recognition- Daniel Lind Ramos: Painter and visual artist from Loíza

●      Special Recognition- William Cepeda: Composer and trombonist from Loíza

●      Ambassador- Jorge Laboy: Prominent guitarist in genres of Jazz and Pop music

●      Ambassador- Nicole Chacón: Journalist, TV host and lifestyle influencer

●      Ambassador- Christian Nieves: Internationally recognized cuatrista

●      Rising Star- Dalila Zapata Hernández: a model with Down Syndrome
At the annual mass to be celebrated at The Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in New York, on  June 2, the NPRDP will give special posthumous recognition to the following distinguished Puerto Ricans who have passed in the last year:  
●      Rafael Hernández Colón: Former three-term governor of Puerto Rico, president of the Puerto Rico Senate, Secretary of Justice, Associate Commissioner of Public Service.

●      Arnaldo Roche Rabell: Painter and major figure in the neo-expressionist movement.

●      Aníbal González Irizarry: Television and radio journalist in Puerto Rico and New York City.

●      Kevin Fret: Singer, first openly gay Latin trap artist and LGBTQ activist.

●      Luis Garden Acosta: Community leader and founder of El Puente, in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

●      Luis M. Neco: Policeman and first Puerto Rican to be Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD.

●      Hector Xtravanza: Dancer, HIV/AIDS activist, legendary figure of NYC’s Ballroom community and founding member of the House of Xtravaganza.

●      Eva de la O: Lyric soprano and founder of chamber music ensemble, Música de Cámara.

●      Keyla Hernández: Journalist and television presenter from WAPA TV, native of Mayagüez.

●      Héctor Ferrer: Politician and lawyer who served as representative of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. President of the Partido Popular Democrático of PR.

●      Marta Font González: Political analyst, former candidate of Resident Commissioner in Washington and former candidate of the Senate of Puerto Rico by the Independentist Party.

●      Carlos Gallisá: Lawyer, political analyst, Representative of the House of Representatives, politician and independence leader.

●      Baltasar Corrada del Río: Puerto Rico Supreme Court Judge, Secretary of State, Resident Commissioner in Washington, candidate for  Governor and Mayor of San Juan.

●      Sara Villamil: Prominent  entrepreneur, philanthropist, patron of the arts, member of the board of Banco de Fomento, member of the board of  Banco Santander, born in Havana and considered an adopted daughter of Puerto Rico. 

●      José Fufi Santori Coll: Player, basketball coach andsports television commentator.

●      Gabriel Santos López: Mayor of Loíza for 20 years, native of Loíza.

●      Héctor “Hetín” Reyes: Player of the National Superior Basketball, agent and leader of the Vaqueros de Bayamón and former president of the Basketball Federation of Puerto.

●      Petra Cepeda Brenes: Artisan, folklorist, dancer, declaimer, bombera and bolerista. Exponent and ambassador of the Bomba y Plena of Puerto Rico.

●      Antonio Barasorda: Tenorofinternational recognition, stage director, producer and professor.

●      Samuel Molina: Actor, playwright, poet, declaimer and librettist.

●      Roberto Angleró: Songwriter, composer and musical director.

●      José Juan Piñero González “Pijuán”: Pianist, composer, producer and musical director.

●      Myrna Baez: Painter, engraver, sculptor and professor of modern art of Puerto Rico.

●      Mayra Mayra: Singer of the merengue genre.

●      Iván Batista: Prominent fashion photographer.

The 2019 National Puerto Rican Day Parade will take place on New York City’s Fifth Avenue from E 43rdStreet to E 79thSt, Sunday June 9, starting at 11am. The celebration will be broadcast live on WABC-TV (Channel 7 in NYC) and streamed online at www.abc7ny.com. The television broadcast will begin at 12pm through 4pm. For more information about the Parade and the NPRDP Scholarship Program, visit www.nprdpinc.org.

2019 NATIONAL PUERTO RICAN DAY PARADE:  CALENDAR OF EVENTS 

●     Education Leadership Awards and Scholarship Presentation- May 23

●     152nd Street Cultural Festival- May 25

●     Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral- June 2

●     NPRDP ScholarshipFundraiser Gala- June 7

●     National Puerto Rican Day Parade- June 9

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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