A Newsletter of the National
Conference of Puerto Rican Women
Issue 4 - December 2014
Editor: Carmen Delgado Votaw
Asst. Editor: Bequi Ortiz
1220 L Street NW, Ste. 100-177, Washington, D.C. 20005
Message from the National President, Lourdes Hernandez
Dear NACOPRW sisters and members,
Thank you for a great 41st Annual Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, the City of brotherly love
and sisterly affection. The theme for this year’s conference held from October 31 to November 2 was
“The Path to Empowerment, Advancement and Equality: a Latina perspective.”
The weekend commenced with a wonderful welcome reception at Philadelphia’s City Hall hosted by
the Hon. Maria Quinones Sanchez, Councilwoman of Philadelphia’s 7th District. Members had the
opportunity to spend time with the Mayor of Philadelphia, the Hon. Michael Nutter, and other cityelected officials and community business leaders. The typical Puerto Rican food served as delicious,
including the pasteles Dona Jovita made.
On Saturday, we had an amazing lineup of speakers, presenters and panelists whose messages
were impactful and a call to action for NACOPRW members. Sara Manzano-Diaz, the Regional
Director of GSA was the keynote speaker and highlighted the issue of pay equity and its impact on
Latinas on the workplace.
President’s Message Continued:
Our morning breakout sessions touched on Social Media and Financial Literacy for Women and were
both relevant and informative.
The Education panel included Dr. Gloria Bonilla Santiago, founder of Camden’s LEAP Charter
School, Dr. Anaida Muniz Colon (SoCal Chapter), and Dr. Miriam Hernandez (Philadelphia Chapter).
These accomplished women shared insights and experiences regarding the issues and challenges
facing Latino children and parents in our current educational system.
In our Latinas Represent session, Isamac Torres-Figueroa, owner of Shared Solutions, LLC and
Vilma Colom, past National President and President of Northern Illinois Chapter focused on the
need for more Latina representation in government, politics and the business sectors.
During lunch we had an inspired speech by the founder and Director of Vision 2020, Lynn Yeakel, a
Drexel University project designed to advance women’s prospects as part of the commemoration of
the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage in the US in 2020. Lynn shared her book, A Will and a Way that
“encourages all women to discover their ability to shape the future.”
The afternoon session with Angelo Falcon, from the National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP) and
Roberto L. Pratts-Palerm, Esq., Chair of the Democratic Party of Puerto Rico, was the highlight of the
day. Both speakers shared the harsh realities of Puerto Rico’s challenged economy, the considerable
numbers of Puerto Ricans migrating to the mainland and the need for island and mainland Puerto
Ricans to begin an honest, nonpartisan dialogue on steps to take to repair the economic crisis the
island is facing.
At our evening Awards Dinner and Gala, NACOPRW honored Wanda Gordils from Indiana with the
Community Service Award, Agnes Torres from Philadelphia for Outstanding Service to the
organization and feted the New York Chapter with the Chapter of the Year Award. We enjoyed a
night of great food and dancing and, although there was an unplanned intermission for a fire drill, we
managed to keep the “Boricua” spirit live and strong.
During Sunday’s brunch, Cristina Perez and Juliana Sarita, from Women Organized Against Rape
(WOAR) provided us with an in-depth look at Sexual Violence within the Latino community, its impact
on children and families and the resources available to people affected by this type of violence.
I thank our sponsors, presenters, panelists and speakers who gave of their time, their treasure and
wisdom to help create a dynamic weekend for all. Special thanks go to the Host Chapter,
Philadelphia, the conference planning committees and the Executive Board for their hard work,
diligence and commitment to helping the conference a success.
In closing, I would like to congratulate the newly elected 2015 Executive Board which was sworn in for
their beginning period of service on January 1, 2014:
President, Lourdes Hernandez
First Vice President, Michelle Centeno
Second Vice President, Wanda Gordils
Secretary, Zoraida Seguinot
Treasurer, Becky Ortiz
Assistant Secretary, Iris Corchado
Assistant Treasurer, Marta Sierra
We look forward to 2015 and our next conference to be held in the Big Apple—New
York City. More information on this as plans develop. Join us in what will surely be a
Meanwhile, Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano 2015.
Conference Photos 2014, Philadelphia
School of Pharmacy, Medical Science College at University of Puerto Rico
The University of Puerto Rico received a patent for a discovery of a compound called E Hop-016 which may be in
the market in ten years or so to prevent the spread of breast cancer (metastasis). The scientists responsible for
this breakthrough are chemical scientist, Eduard Hernandez O’Farril (Puerto Rican), and two specialists in cellular
biology, Cornelis Vlaar (Dutch) and Suranganie Dharmawardhane (Sri Lanka). Outstanding development, UPR…
National Institute for Latino Policy
On November 3, NILP published a comprehensive article on the NACOPRW Conference, “The NACOPRW Puerto
Rican Women’s 41st National Leadership Conference and the Debate on the Island-Stateside Puerto Rican
For a copy of the report, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]
The Advocacy Corner
The Mid Term Elections Yielded 27 Latinos in the House of Representatives and 3 in the U.S. Senate.
We can be proud that 6100 Latinos were elected across the country, up from 4853 in 2014.
We are sad to see Rep. Ed Pastor of Arizona retire.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus elected Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California as its Chair for
the 114th Congress, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, First Vice Chair; Rep. Joaquin Castro, 2 nd
Vice Chair and CHC Whip, Congressman-Elect, Ruben Gallego (Ariz.).
Rep Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) announced that her Child Care bill passed in the Senate with a vote 88-1 and
is headed to the President for signature. The bipartisan bill will enable states to improve the quality of child
care and enhance the states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective services.
Parental choice is enhanced by making information about options more widely available and the bill also
ensures all child care providers comply with state health, safety and fire standards and undergo annual
inspections and background checks.
The Education Department published the final rules on Campus Sexual Violence. These are the Violence
Against Women Act regulations regarding the Clery Act (Campus SAVE). Colleges and universities must
change the way they report campus crimes and be more transparent about sexual violence policies. The
regulations are published in the Federal Register at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2014-24284_Pl.pdf.
Legal Momentum’s Complaint Against Brown University
Was featured in the New York Times Op-Doc “Brown’s ‘Rape List’ Revisited. A short documentary film was
made by Julia Liu and Alison Klayman, both 2006 Brown graduates. The film illuminates how devastating sexual
violence can be for the victim, how difficult it is to change the culture of sexual violence on college campuses and
how today’s activism by feminists of all ages may finally result in the changes that are needed.
New York City Council Approves Resolution Urging Congress to Pass Smithsonian American Latino
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Latina to serve in this historic role,
sponsored resolution 405 which urges Congress to pass the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act creating
the Latino Museum. We associate ourselves with Ms. Mark-Viverito leadership for we agree with the Friends of
the American Latino Museum Executive Director, Estuardo Rodriguez that “Every day across this nation there are
history lessons taught that fail to mention the critical role American Latinos have played in the founding and growth
of our nation. One way we can address that glaring omission is by ensuring our history stands side by side with
the other museums of the Smithsonian Institution.”
Thanks also to Rep. Jose Serrano and Juan Cartagena of Latino Justice PRLDEF who testified in support of the
Deborah Lopez, Chapter President, reports that it was a busy fourth quarter.
Understanding the power of an education, the Chicago Chapter has focused on helping Latinas fulfill their desire
to continue their studies. After hosting our second annual fundraiser, we are prepared to award the Luisa
Capetillo scholarship to students in the Spring of 2015. Our efforts are part of a vision, shared by other civic
leaders in Chicago, to provide a seamless academic pipeline. The Chapter is a member of the leadership and
met last month to move the strategic plan forward.
We have also been on the move inspiring Puerto Rican women about the importance of having a strong cultural
identity. And it is in this context that we collaborated with a Chicago community theater group and the National
Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture to celebrate the centennial of Julia de Burgos (1914-1953), Puerto
Rico’s most important poet, advocate and activist. Our celebration was held at the Museum of Puerto Rican Arts
and Culture where the Midwest premiere of the play Julia de Burgos: Child of Water, written by Carmen Rivera
and performed by Urban Theater Company was presented. We hosted a pre-show evening reception followed by
a conversation with dramaturge, Dr. Ana Liza Acosta and concluding with the performance.
The Chapter also sponsored two comedy shows to support the performing the art of Latina stand-up comedians
who make us laugh at our life challenges. We believe that “laughter is the sound of the soul dancing.”
Continued Chicago Chapter
From December 18 through February 2015, the soul and essence of the Puerto Rican people will come to life
through original photographs scheduled to be exhibited at the Museo de las Americas in Old San Juan. These
moments of our people in their everyday life, captured by a lens, were conceptualized by Ada Lopez. The images
will appear in her book titled: Asi Somos Who We Are. Congratulations!
DC Metro Chapter
The DC Metro Chapter gathered together ten of its members to attend the National Puerto Rican Coalition’s
Awards Luncheon at the National Press Club on November 18. Among the participants, Milagros McGuire,
President, Vice President, Sara Melendez, Anna Rosario, Myrna Hernandez, Maria Rios, Angelique Sina, Carmen
Carmen Mendez (with Jean Yves Maillat), and Minerva Rivera.
Among the honorees, Maria Celeste Arraras, notable media personality and Resident Commissioner Pedro
Pierluisi for his efforts in having the Congressional Medal bestowed on the Borinqueneers.
The main speaker was Zixta Q. Martinez, Associate Director, Division of External Affairs, Consumer Financial
El Gran Puma announced that four Puerto Rican organizations in South Florida will start a new radio program, “De
Boricuas para Boricuas” starting on November 22 in Radio MIA 1450 A.M. The four Puerto Rican agencies are
the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce in South Florida, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, and La Opinion
Puertorriquena of Don Paco Guell.
New York Chapter
The New York Chapter accepted with pleasure the Latino Heritage Month Citation of Recognition on October 30
offered to Michelle Centeno by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. NACOPRW NY Chapter President,
Michelle Centeno, was awed by being a Bronx/Queens/Bronxite receiving this unexpected but welcome
recognition “for making Brooklyn a great Borough as well as your ability to make a difference in the lives of the
many people you continually touch through your work.” Great going, NY Chapter and Michelle.
Next to the Guinness World of Records?
The Chapter has been conducting a Teal Tainas Project ([email protected]) to help Latinas raise awareness
about cervical and ovarian cancer. Hispanics have the largest rates of cancer deaths due to lack of awareness,
preventative care and access to health care. There is no diagnostic tool for ovarian cancer and the pap smear
does not check for ovarian cancer.
Northern Illinois Chapter
The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA) held its 16th Annual National Cuatro Festival (NCF) on November 8 at
Chicago’s prestigious Harris Theater featuring Los Cantores de Bayamon, famed cuatrista Edwin Colon Zayas
and his Taller Campesino and Afri Caribe. The sold-out event had a regional estimated audience of over 3,000
people in attendance and was dedicated to the Borinqueneers 65th Infantry Regiment, the only active-duty
segregated Latino military unit in U.S.history. They recently were awarded a well-merited Congressional Medal of
Honor for their service.
The Northern Illinois Chapter assisted in raising funds for PRAA, promoting their poster and soliciting
membership through the efforts of Vilma Colom, Chapter President and Alex Vallejo. Fifteen NACOPRW
members joined the concert. Telemundo surprised the audience by presenting to Carlos Hernandez,
PRAA’s Founder and Executive Director, an Emmy Award to the organization for Outstanding Achievement
Arts/Entertainment Programming. Over 100 volunteers and staff enjoyed the moment.
Telemundo surprised the audience by presenting to Carlos Hernandez, PRAA’s Founder and Executive
Director, an Emmy Award to the organization for Outstanding Achievement Arts/Entertainment
Programming. Over 100 volunteers and staff enjoyed the moment.
Southern California Chapter (SoCal)
Laura C. Almodovar-Sole reports that the SoCal Chapter co-hosted with the Orange County Children’s
Therapeutic Arts Center in Santa Ana its 11 Annual Mentorship Event “Mujer a Mujercita”. Its theme this year
was “Embracing Our Inner and Outer Beauty.” Young Latinas and their mothers (23) enjoyed workshops on
“Dressing for Success”, “Personal Values”, “Etiquette” and “Make-Up”, were treated with breakfast and lunch and
received two gift bags. The assistance of OCCTAC’s staff was appreciated and all the donors, presenters and
members who donated time, talent, money and gifts to make the event a success.
The Chapter sponsored Light the Night Walk in September with a donation of $100 for the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society at which the Treasurer participated at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
The Chapter’s 12 Annual Participation in the Race for the Cure event at Newport Beach supports the Susan G.
Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. SoCal donated $100 to Latinas Race for the Cure which raised $7,017 under
The October Business Meeting and Elections held on the 18 yielded the following results for the Executive
Board for 2015:
President, Anaida Colon-Muniz
First Vice President, Merle Bugarin
Second Vice President, Marie Nubia-Feliciano
Secretary, Anim Mener
Treasurer, Lydia Vizcarrondo
On November 22 the “Antojitos” Workshop was held in Rancho Santa Margarita.
On December 6, the 16 Annual Parranda Navidena will be held in Orange County and also during December the
9 Annual Adopt a Family Organization for Xmas, PR/CA
Miluka Rivera was honored recently at the Castillo de San Cristobal in Puerto Rico by the Hon. Jose A Santiago
Rivera, Mayor of Comerio for her achievements as an actress, writer, journalist and for her “Charla Pioneros
Puertorriquenos en Cinema.”
Latinas Represent says Latinas are the most underrepresented group in American
politics. Presently there are only:
* 10 Latinas have served in the halls of Congress
* 1 Latina has served as governor and
* 0 Latinas have served in the U.S. Senate
Keep these names in mind for the future:
Anitere Flores, Florida State Senator
JoCasta Zamarippa, Wisconsin State Representative
De Aqui de Alla
Global Study of Gender in Film Demonstrates Persistent Sexism Problem
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media released its inaugural study of female depictions in global popular
film at its Second Annual Global Symposium on Gender in Media, which Carmen Delgado Votaw attended. The
results illustrated that the U.S. has only achieved 20% female representation in Congress and that women make
up only 16.9 percent of Fortune 500 corporate board seats. Behind the big screen female representation hovers
around 17% of crowd scenes in popular films. “For every female speaker, there are 3 male speakers” and of those
characters few have jobs or hold leadership positions”, Davis said. The study, titled “Gender Bias Without
Borders” is the largest ever conducted covering 120 grossing films in 11 of the largest box office territories and
was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the UN Office on Women and the University of Southern California.
Davis indicated roughly 80% of all film consumption in the entire world is still produced by the U.S.: “We are
exporting these negative images of women and girls. Change has to happen now, and it has to be dramatic.”
Are You a Latino? How Can You Tell for Sure?
If you have ever been hit by a “chancleta”
If you grew up scared by something called El Cuco or La Llorona
If others tell you to stop screaming when you are really just talking
If you light a candle to the Virgin Mary on the night of your big test
If you use your chin to point something out
If you constantly refer to cereal as “con fleys”
If your mother calls at the top of her lung to call you for dinner, even if it is a one bedroom apartment
If you can dance merengue, cumbia or salsa without music
If you use “Manteca” instead of olive oil and cannot figure out why your nalgas are getting bigger
If you are in a 5-passenger car with 7 people in it and a person is shouting “subanse, todavia caben mas”
If whenever you feel under the weather, you dab some “Vic’s vapor rub” all over your “pecho” and nostrils
Your mom packs your “lonche” every day even though you have just turned thirty-two
NACOPRW Board of Directors
Lourdes Hernandez, National President
Xinomara Velazquez, First Vice President
Raquel Castro, Second Vice President
Bequi Ortiz, Treasurer
Vivian Ortiz, Assistant Treasurer
Melissa del Valle, Secretary
Iris Corchado, Assistant Secretary
Deborah Lopez, President, Chicago
Wanda Gordils, Delegate,Chicago
Ada Lopez, Delegate, Chicago
Milagros McGuire, President, D.C. Metro
Anna Rosario, Delegate, D.C. Metro
Carmen Delgado Votaw, Delegate, D.C. Metro
Raquel Castro, President, Indiana
Bequi Ortiz, Delegate, Indiana
Carmen Gloria Gonzalez, Delegate, Indiana
ZoraidaSeguinot, President, Miami
Vilma Colom, President, Northern Illinois
MariaelisaLaracuente, Delegate, Northern IL
Katherine Ast, Delegate, Northern Illinois
Michelle Centeno, President, NY Manhattan
Maria Roman. Delegate, NY
Aisha Ahmed, Delegate, NY
Adamaris Hernandez, President, Philadelphia
Iris Violeta Colon Torres, Delegate, Philadelphia
Vivian Ortiz, Delegate, Philadelphia
Luz Minerva Machado, SoCal President
Darma Castro-Paden, Delegate, SoCal
BetzaidaFerrer , Delegate, Miami
Iris Corchado, Delegate, Miami
Become a Member of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women
If there is no chapter in your jurisdiction, you can become a National Member of NACOPRW by paying
dues to the national organization. Please fill out and send us your dues with the attached membership
form. Be part of a national sisterhood of savvy, successful Puerto Rican Women, an incredible network of
professional and cultural support for YOU.
Send Carmen Delgado Votaw information about what your NACOPRW chapter is doing to help
advance women’s causes so that we can share it in EcosNacionales. Deadlines are 2 weeks before
March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1.
Editor:Carmen Delgado Votaw, [email protected]
Assistant Editor, Bequi Ortiz, [email protected]
NACOPRW website: www.nacoprw.org