Take a 10-Day Trip to Puerto Rico with Comité Noviembre

This will be the seventh year that Comité Noviembre (CN) will be holding their Annual Trip to Puerto Rico – Buscando Nuestras Raices VII. You must be 21 or older to partake in this 10 day/9 night trip that will take place from Tuesday, August 6, 2013 to Thursday, August 15, 2013. Enjoy all that Puerto Rico has to offer with educational workshops, films, live entertainment and guided tours through San Juan as well as small mountain towns, coastal landmarks and museums. CN is a non-profit organization that keeps the Puerto Rican life alive in NYC through celebrating its’ social, cultural, educational, economic and political accomplishments.

Space is limited so if you are interested, reserve your spot now or contact CN for more information. Early Bird Special must be paid in full on Monday, May 6, 2013. That is also the same date that a deposit of $500 is due to hold your reservation.

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Contact Information:
Teresa A. Santiago – 914.263.6599 – tascommunicationsllc@gmail.com
Angel Santini – 212.677.4181 – angel.santini@iprhe.org
Lourdes R. Torres – 646.541.8326 – ltorres@hostos.cuny.edu

For the high-res PDF flyer – click here.

Join Melissa & Other Puerto Rican and Dominican Elected Officials in Watching the World Baseball Classic Final Uptown

If you follow Melissa on Twitter, then you know she’s been following the World Baseball Classic (WBC). And tonight, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will meet in the World Baseball Classic title game at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Sparks will fly as local Dominican and Puerto Rican elected officials will be joining together to watch the finals of the WBC tonight at 809 Lounge in Washington Heights at 8 PM. Join Melissa, Council Members Rosie Mendez and Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Woman Gabriela Rosa and more. All are invited to attend and celebrate the two Caribbean countries’ advancement to the finals and cheer for your respective country or country of choice! It is sure to be a fun experience for everyone, excitement is encouraged!

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PS: Go Puerto Rico!

Join Us on Tuesday in Celebrating ‘Las Octavitas,’ the End of the Puerto Rican Christmas Season

As some of you may know, the Christmas season in Puerto Rican culture stretches out into January. First with the celebration of Three Kings Day and then, days later with Las Octavitas; the holiday season in Puerto Rico is the most extensive in the world.

With that being said, we hope you can join us on Tuesday, January 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, in celebrating Las Octavitas with traditional Puerto Rican food and live music. This event is not a religious ceremony, but a celebration of Puerto Rican cultural heritage.

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller John C. Liu, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Senator Bill Perkins, and Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez
WHAT: Las Octavitas Celebration
WHEN: Tuesday, January 22nd; 5:30 – 7:30 PM
WHERE: Taino Towers, 240 East 123rd Street (Gymnasium); between Second & Third Avenues
RSVP: Please reply to the Comptroller’s Office of Special Events: (212) 669-4466; TTY: (212) 669-3450; or eventsrsvp@comptroller.nyc.gov

Handicap-Logo8To arrange special accommodations, please call (212) 669-4315. Fully accessible facility. 

Melissa Speaks at the Inauguration of Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto of San Juan

Yesterday, Melissa was honored to speak at the inauguration ceremony for Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the newly elected mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For so long we have watched and hoped for a moment like the one in which we find ourselves right now. A moment that is truly a transformative one for Puerto Rico and all its people. The people are demanding that their government represent the needs of the majority and not that of a small sector of interests. Some people have compared this moment in Puerto Rico to the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which literally helped reshape and reframe the public discourse around income inequality and government representation…

Her message has been simple but powerful: “Un San Juan Para Todos” (“A San Juan for All”). Her inclusive vision for the future of San Juan extends to all – old and young, women and men, poor and wealthy, members of the LGBT community, immigrants… everyone. Even those that did not vote for her. Those who historically have not had a voice in our society are included to bring forth a new future for San Juan, together with our inspiring mayor.

All this means that new ways of doing business must be put in place. I am proud to say that Mayor Carmen Yulín – who I consider a sister in struggle – has committed to engaging in a participatory budgeting process here in San Juan, a way to turn the power over to the people and their communities to decide how to spend public dollars. I was among the first Council Members to engage in this process in New York, which is only the second city to do so in the U.S. It was an honor for me to invite Carmen Yulín to City Hall to discuss this initiative with her, and I look forward to seeing it happen here in San Juan.

To watch Melissa’s speech, commence at the 38:30 mark:

For the full transcript, in English & Spanish, click here.

Melissa Denounces Racist Anti-Obama Tweets by Advisor to Speaker of Puerto Rico House of Representatives

Melissa has denounced racist tweets sent to President Obama by an advisor to the Speaker of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives named Heidi Wys (@HeidiWys) on July 26, 2012.  In response to a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama holding a birthday cake, which was tweeted with the message “Someone has a birthday coming up,” Ms. Wys replied “Who cares? Take her to Burger King, buy her a sundae with double banana, take her to your homeland, Kenya.”  Last month, Ms. Wys replied to a tweet regarding an Obama fundraiser saying, “Wah! Wah! I feel like vomiting! Dinner with a guy borned in Kenya and claims he was borned in Hawaii!”

She has sought to “defend” her comments by saying that she is not a racist since “mis sobrinas más queridas son prietas” (“my dearest nieces are dark skinned”) and that she is just anti-Obama.  She tweeted yesterday, “Combato a Obama con todas las fuerzas de mi corazon y pasion como descendiente de alemanes!!” (“I am fighting Obama with all my heart and passion, as a descendent of Germans!!”).  These tweets come just a few months after another set of racist Twitter attacks by Zaida “Cucusa” Hernández, a former Speaker of Puerto Rico’s House, against Rafael Cox-Alomar, a Democratic candidate for Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in the U.S. Congress.

“Heidi Wys’ comments against the President are vile and disgusting, and represent the height of ignorance,” said Melissa. “I am sickened by the continued racist attacks from prominent political figures in Puerto Rico. Instead of setting a civil tone and engaging in a responsible debate, Ms. Wys has stuck by comments that are inflammatory, highly offensive and continue to demonstrate the deep-seated racism that abounds in Puerto Rican political and social discourse.  I call on Ms. Wys to retract her comments and issue a real apology. If she continues to spew this kind of hateful and ignorant diatribe, she should be fired.  I also call on all Puerto Rican elected officials to denounce these racist statements.”

Ms. Wys currently advises Puerto Rican House Speaker Jenniffer Gonzalez of the Partido Nuevo Progresista, the political party that supports statehood.

Melissa speaks at Vigil for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Melissa joined Speaker Christine Quinn and community members to honor the memory of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, the victim of a vicious hate crime in Puerto Rico.

She, Speaker Quinn and Council Member Rosie Mendez have sent a joint letter to Luis Fortuno, governor of Puerto Rico,  calling on him to denounce this murder and prosecute it as a hate crime.

See the below video.  A clip of Melissa’s speech begins at 1:18.