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I say on Dominican Independence Day; New York’s Rich Diversity is “Kick Ass”

To many Dominican Americans Independence celebration comes twice a year, July 4th and February 27th

Independence is about liberty and the struggle of the fight to get that liberty, which we all enjoy today. Independence by default is a word with deep meaning, it’s not just about celebrating the victory of becoming independent and parties, fireworks, barbecues or “diablos cojuelos”.  It’s about not forgetting the fight of those that came before us and gave up their life, so that we in turn can enjoy the freedoms we all enjoy today. That’s independence!

New York’s Vibrant Dominican Community currently represents the largest Hispanic group in the city (474,473) according to  Census data analysis by CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies. However there is number is being debated to be well over one Million, but numbers aside, one thing that is visual and accountable, and that is the very much felt presence of Dominicans in New York. A presence that one can see, feel and hear throughout the city and in parts of Jersey, PA, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Just take around most local neighborhoods at the barbershops and beauty salons when you get your next hair cut or hairdo and you will most likely experience this culture or when you take our car to the local mechanic or go to the corner bodega or the one next to it.

Hungry? hop on in to your favorite Dominican restaurant ( there are plenty) when you crave that “arros blanco con habichuela, pollo y maduros”?

Need a cab and don’t have uber? No problem call your local taxi base and there’s a 90% probability that the driver will most likely be on his cell phone or listening to “Anthony Santos”.

Dominicans currently represent the ethnic group with the largest percentage of small business ownership in New York, according to published articles in NY Times, New York daily News and the NY post. Another interesting fact is on the educational front, although there are really no concrete studies that determine the number of College students or graduates of Dominican decent, we did find a 2004 study by Ramona Hernandez, Ph.D. director of Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY and Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, which reports that Dominican students enrolled in colleges and universities has been rising steadily. The study, indicates that in 2000 Dominican students made up 26.4% of the Hispanic student body enrolled in colleges and universities in New York City.

US politics are also an area of interest to many Dominicans. Just this year alone history was made when Adriano Espaillat became the first Dominican American elected into the US congress and Thomas Perez became the first Latino ever to be elected as the leader of the national democratic party, Thomas a Dominican American who served as President Obama’s labor secretary is now the  the chairman of the DNC, Democratic National Committee and this was just a few days ago.

The Dominican community has contributed greatly to the fabric that makes New York the greatest city in the world and will continue to do so together with other cultures. So today we celebrate our Dominican heritage in unity with all, because it’s not about being less than or better than. It’s about respecting others and their cultures, while embracing our own, it’s this rich cultural diversity that makes New York a “ Kick Ass” city and the capital of the world.

As a Dominican American, I take pride in being American and in my Dominican roots. I was born in Santo Domingo, raised in Brooklyn and became an American Citizen my choice.  I acknowledge the blessing of living in a country where I can cherish and respect both cultures, but even more important, I am grateful that at the end of the day, we are all one nation under God, as truly we are all brothers and sisters beneath the sun. I also acknowledge that as humans and as a Nation we are not perfect and that’s ok, because that gives us even more reason to strive to thrive. As an entrepreneur with an affinity towards forward thinking people and forward moving causes, I want to say, on this day celebrating Dominican Independence; God Bless America!

Meaning of “Dominican”
The word “Dominican” has a meaning beyond the one of being born in the Dominican Republic… it actually means “God’s sons.” According to our history, this name is given to us after a group of religious educators, who arrived on the island of “La Hispañola” when we were still a Spanish colony.

Colors of the Dominican flag
Our Dominican flag represents our Independence.. the first Dominican flag was designed and created by María Trinidad Sánchez, Sánchez’s aunt, where she included blue, representing God’s blessings over our nation, red representing our liberators’ blood and the white cross symbolizing our Independence as an inheritance from those who fought for our freedom.

 

Fight for freedom! A short history of the Dominican Republic
After Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, a point when many cultures clashed during the Spanish colonization of “La Hispañola” island, as he called it, the Dominican Republic then became a battle zone where French, Spanish and Haitian troops fought for our land.

Soon after,  Spain suddenly became uninterested and left the Dominican Republic – after gold was found in México and other areas in America, but the land was soon invaded by French troops and affected by the Haitian Revolution; events which revolutionized the course of our history.  After the reconciliation between slaves and French men, the Spanish troops were defeated by forces led by General Toussaint Louverture, and it was in 1795 when France took over the island, with the abolition of slavery proclaimed by Louverture in Santo Domingo.

When the French forces returned to France after several years, the Haitians then invaded the towns of Santiago and Moca causing not only many deaths, but quite a dislike from residents from the Eastern part of the island, since they were forced to give up their language, culture and beliefs, adapt and become French speaking country.

Of course, the situation wouldn’t last forever… in 1838 a man named Juan Pablo Duarte who was born in Santo Domingo and founded a secret society named “La Trinitaria” and along with his good friends Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, secretly planned on putting an end to Haitian repression. How?

In 1843 they joined a Haitian movement to defeat Boyer (the French leader), after which they were exiled and imprisoned in Puerto Príncipe by the new Haitian President, Charles Riviere-Hérard, since he feared their revolutionary ideas of independence. However after an attack produced by Haitians, Charles definitely needed the help of “La Trinitaria” and they were then released.

Meanwhile, Buenaventura Báez, who was a wood exporter and also Deputy at the Haitian’s National Assembly, was negotiating with France a way of establishing French forces in order to protect the Haitian Government from rebels – and since Duarte, Mella and Sánchez knew about this event, on the 27th of February 1844 they immediately declared their Independence from Haiti! You may ask how?…

The canon shot by Matías Ramón Mella on the night of the 27th of February 1844 at the “Puerta del Conde” (now famous for this event) was the official declaration of the Dominican war of Independence, which was supported by Pedro Santana (who became the Dominican Republic’s first President) along with hundreds of his workers and residents from Santo Domingo. To cries of “Dios, Patria y Libertad” (God, Homeland and Freedom), the Dominican flag was raised for the first time at the “Puerta del Conde” and the Haitian forces were confronted – causing the, to retreat and meaning that the Dominicans were finally free!!

Although Haiti tried to invade on several other occasions, the Dominican Republic maintained its Independence for 17 more years, thanks to Pedro Santana’s bright idea of handing the power back to Spain – but that’s a different story! We will be publishing more details about it soon!

 

Code2040 “The Future of Tech”, Lin-Manuel Miranda & the Chance to see Hamilton

A NOTE FROM LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA

Hi everyone!

Did you miss me?! Well I’m back on Prizeo and this time I’m here with my parents. We’re giving you a chance to win a trip for two to opening night of Hamilton in San Francisco on March 23rd. Since I’m in London, I can’t make it. But you’ll be going with my mom and dad—Luz and Luis! They’re the best and they’re going to make sure you have an incredible time.

It is more important than ever that for-profit and civil society are stepping up to build inclusive, safe spaces where minorities can work and thrive. By donating as little as $10 to be entered to win, your donations will also help support Code2040 and the Latino Community Foundation, two amazing organizations that are helping build the leaders of the future. Please check out their sites to learn more about the incredible work they’re doing.

Sweepstakes Page

And if you donate more, you’ll be getting extra entries (every $10 is 100 entries), helping the work being done by Code2040 and LCF even more, and you’ll get rewards! Check ’em out—new t-shirts, signed items, and our brand spankin’ new tank top.

Whoever wins, we’ll fly you and a guest to San Francisco for opening night and we’ll put you up in a hotel. Plus you’ll be going to the show as my parents’ guests! I can’t wait to see who wins and hear how it goes!

I am thrilled that we’re supporting the work of Code2040 and LCF—and that you get the chance to experience the San Francisco Hamilton opening night! Thank you again for continuing to team up with me and supporting the work of so many incredible causes.

Siempre,
Lin-Manuel

Fat Joe Rocks the house at Floyd Mayweather ’s Star Studded 40th Birthday

In celebration of his 40th birthday, world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather threw himself a bash as big as his career Saturday night in Los Angeles, in a ballroom downtown, Mayweather welcomed celebrity guests: Bobby Brown, Justin Bieber,  Mariah Carey, the Kardashians,  into a star-studded room decorated to the max. Bronx Rapper fat Joe bought down the house perfomring some of his hits “Make it Rain” “Lean Back” and “All the Way Up”

 

The boxing superstar was seen dancing away and appeared to be enjoying the design on his incredible cake which featured boxing gloves, a championship belt and suitcase full of cash completing the iced decorations.
“The cake took about 72 hours to make. It had to be transported in two pieces because it was too tall to fit in my SUV, It had over 12 feet of swarovski crystals on it… and it was loaded with over a hundred personal photos ranging from childhood to now showcasing the 40 years of Floyd.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda Live at the Oscars This Weekend

Image: nerdist.com

Image: nerdist.com

Oscar® nominees Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sting, Justin Timberlake and 2014 Oscar winner John Legend will perform at the 89th Oscars® ceremony, show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced today. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will air live on Sunday, February 26, on the ABC Television Network.

We’re thrilled to welcome these world-class artists to the Oscars. These performances will not only celebrate the five extraordinary nominated original songs, but also the integral part music plays in movies,” De Luca and Todd said.

Auli’i Cravalho will join Miranda to perform his Oscar-nominated song, “How Far I’ll Go,” written for “Moana.” An actor, playwright and composer, Miranda is best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights.” For his work, he has been recognized with a Primetime Emmy Award®, three Tony Awards®, two Grammy Awards® and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (“Hamilton”). This marks Miranda’s debut on the Oscars stage. Sixteen-year-old Cravalho made her film debut voicing the title character in “Moana.”

Seventeen-time Grammy winner Sting will perform “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story,” the Oscar-nominated song he co-wrote with three-time Oscar nominee J. Ralph. In addition to this current nomination, Sting has been nominated in this category on three previous occasions; “You Will Be My Ain True Love” from “Cold Mountain” (2003), “Until” from “Kate & Leopold” (2001) and “My Funny Friend And Me” from “The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000), which he shared with David Hartley. A 2014 Kennedy Center Honoree, Sting has sold over 100 million records.

Timberlake will perform his Oscar-nominated song “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from the movie “Trolls.” He shares music and lyric credits with Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster. Timberlake is a multi-platinum recording artist and actor whose numerous awards include nine Grammy Awards and four Primetime Emmy Awards. His acting credits include the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network” (2010) and Oscar-nominated “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013).

Legend will perform both “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and “City of Stars,” from “La La Land,” music by Justin Hurwitz; lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. A singer-songwriter, musician, and actor, Legend won an Oscar for the original song “Glory” from “Selma” (2014), an honor he shared with artist Common. Legend’s many accolades also include 10 Grammy Awards and 28 nominations.

The 89th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars, produced by De Luca and Todd and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, also will be televised in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. Additionally, “The Oscars: All Access” live stream from the red carpet and backstage will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Oscar.com.

Chef Aaron Sanchez to Join “MasterChef” TV Show

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Celebrated chef and restaurateur Aarón Sánchez will join Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi as the third judge throughout Season Eight of the hit culinary competition series MASTERCHEF, premiering Summer 2017.

A James Beard Award-winning chef, Sánchez is chef/owner of Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez, with locations in New Orleans and Baltimore. He co-starred on “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior,” and is the author of two cookbooks – “Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours” and “La Comida del Barrio.” An active philanthropist, Sánchez launched his own charity, the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, empowering aspiring chefs from the Latin community to attend culinary school. An avid tattoo lover, he also is a partner in the world-famous ink shop “Daredevil Tattoo” in New York City.

Sánchez was a guest judge on Season Seven of MASTERCHEF and also will be featured in upcoming episodes of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR Season Five, airing Thursdays (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Michael Brooks, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. “Like” MASTERCHEF on Facebook at facebook.com/MasterChef. Follow the series on Twitter @MASTERCHEFonFOX and join the discussion at #masterchef. Follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay – @gordonramsay; Christina Tosi – @christinatosi; AarónSánchez – @Chef_Aaron.

Dominican Newspaper Mistakenly uses Alec Baldwin SNL Photo in Donald Trump Story

El Nacional, a major newspaper in the Dominican Republic, issued an apology Saturday after readers realized a photo of Donald Trump, used for a story on U.S. – Israeli relations, was actually Alec Baldwin portraying Trump on SNL. According to the paper, the mistake went “unnoticed” due to a “mix-up of photos.”

 

The paper officially stated, “The picture was sent that day by the Associated Press with the name of the actor and the program, but was placed as if it were the one of Trump. El Nacional apologizes to the readers and to all those who felt sincerely affected by the publication. Alec Baldwin imitates Trump on one of the most important shows in the U.S.” A full retraction and explanation will be printed in Sunday’s paper. Meanwhile, Twitter had a field day responding to the paper’s mix-up.

Falling in Love with failure

On this Valentine’s Day, let’s forget about the roses, just for a minute. Let’s take a step back from the champagne and put down the chocolates. Amid all this talk about love and relationships, I have a proposition to make: I think it’s about time we settle down and seriously start to court FAILURE.

failure-is-not-falling-down-but-refusing-to-get-up-36

I know what you’re thinking. On the surface, failure might not be the most eye-catching gem in the jewelry shop. Whether it appears in the form of missing deadlines, flubbing proposal requirements, or running a business model into the ground, failing at something—especially if it’s something that truly matters to you—is the toughest break to take. Failure is not fun to be around, it doesn’t have a lot of flexibility, and it’s incredibly unforgiving. It’s a cruel mistress in its own right, a necessary evil.

Yet failure is something that I deeply respect and hold dear. It’s an experience that I embrace, and more importantly, it’s something that I celebrate at athenahealth. Yes, I celebrate failure—and no, I’m not crazy. At athenahealth, our community of teachers and learners is founded upon the necessary give and take of knowledge, and the belief that learning can only happen in an environment where failure can, and even regularly should happen. It doesn’t take a lot of ambition to coast along the upper echelons, or to year after year hit every vanilla goal you set for yourself. Climbing your way from failing to achieving, on the other hand, requires impressive tenacity, critical thought, and a hell of a learning curve.

Failure, then, is a necessary framework for success. Think of it this way: With every choice that ends up being wrong, you simply find one more way to narrow down what’s right. If you completely wreck a huge project at work, then congratulations! As long as you learned something along the way and take that knowledge with you when you next step up to the plate, then count that failure as a success. Or, more impressively, embrace your missed swing, brush yourself off, and pivot your experience into a whole new direction. Learning from failure is egregiously time-consuming and self-reflective, but incredibly valuable in the journey to success.

 

Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Cull what isn’t working; strengthen what is. This is true of everything, from creating a business from scratch, to taking a leadership role on your team, to achieving your New Year’s goals. Whether or not we like to accept it, failing is as inevitable as breathing, so when something goes amiss, it’s important that you’ve been paying attention along the way. Knowing what doesn’t work is as valuable as knowing what does: Once you can learn from your mistakes and step back up to the plate with the same enthusiasm that you had before, you are guaranteed to succeed, thrive, and lead.

We spend most of our time recognizing and applauding success, without acknowledging the failures and struggles that stand beside it, hand in hand. So on this day of love and admiration, I want to wish failure a happy—and long overdue—Valentine’s Day. It too often gets the short end of the stick, always in the periphery, an unspoken annoyance. Today, let’s fall in love with failure and all of the thorny and meaningful moments that it creates on the road to success. After all, success born from failure is the sweetest success there is.

How would you define your relationship with failure?

Originally published By: Jonathan Bush CEO and Co-founder at athenahealth

 

→Side notes

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” — Denis Waitley

 

People who are successful in life always learn from their mistakes and so-called failures. Michael Korda, editor in chief at Simon Schuster, says, “Never walk away from failure. On the contrary, study it carefully and imaginatively for its hidden assets.” And Bill Gates believes that, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

 

Actor Mickey Rooney believed that, “You always pass failure on your way to success.” Salespeople often talk about “sales ratios,” or the number of rejections they’ll probably get before they make a sale. For example, it may typically take 30 calls to land one new client appointment. Keeping this in mind, good salespeople don’t look at rejections as “failure” but just one step closer to the win.

Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” in One Book, One New York Initiative

New York City is proud to be the creative capital of the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The One Book, One New York initiative provides the perfect opportunity to bring City residents from all five boroughs together through reading. This initiative will inspire New Yorkers to unify in their appreciation of the written word and to share in the support of the city’s important publishing industry.”

“One Book, One New York will help readers connect with one another while rediscovering their local libraries and their independent neighborhood bookstores,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “One Book, One New York will reignite conversations about reading throughout the City, from our libraries to our subway platforms, from our local bookstores to the coffee shop.”

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As part of the program, five celebrities appear in videos advocating for a particular book.  Bebe Neuwirth, William H. Macy, Giancarlo Esposito, Larry Wilmore and Danielle Brooks are rolling out the campaign. New Yorkers will then vote on the book they think everyone should read. Announcement of the final choice is set for March.

All of the nominated books have a connection with the New York City area, and copies of them are available in each New York Public Library branch. The nominated books are:

  • Americanahby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Between the World and Meby Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Selloutby Paul Beatty
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

 

 

Vote for your favorite here: 

Massive Protest by Latinos, non-Latinos & Small Businesses In Support of “A Day without Immigrants”

Today as part of “A Day without Immigrants” protest, thousands of local businesses are closed today, and many employees are staying home and skipping work as well.

“It’s going to hurt a lot of businesses and especially the economy,” said one Ramon De La Cruz a small business owner in Brooklyn.  “But it’s for a good cause.”

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De La Cruz is willingly giving up a day’s profits to participate in “Un Dia Sin Immigrantes,” or “A Day Without Immigrants.”

The movement, Ramon said, is meant to show the entire country how large and involved the Hispanic population is.

There is even a hashtag, which is #protestthursday

Bodegas, restaurants, Laundromats, doctors, lawyers —  every single business is hurting with this economy, but we still have to stand for something” He said. “my wish, that by doing this they see that we are important to, New York and the whole country.

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The movement doesn’t only call for businesses to close down on the Feb.16, it also calls for all immigrants to stay home, to not spend money online or in stores, to close their businesses and to not attend school or classes.

Rallies are planned has been planned throughout the country, a unified voice is growing on “Un Dia Sin Immigrantes.”

Organizers have called for a peaceful protest.  They’re asking attendees to wear white shirts to show a peaceful movement and to wear or bring U.S. flags.

These are the Sates (Cities) that in which there will be active protesting in business closed and or rallies: New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Illinois, Arizona, California and Colorado,

To many of the participants,  the most important thing is to show their community and families that they aren’t alone.

“We just want to let them know that we are with them,” De La Cruz said.

Prominent DC Chef Closing his Restaurants in Protest of “A Day Without Immigrants Strike.”

Chef José Andrés has announced that Zaytinya, Oyamel, and all three locations of Jaleo will be closed on Thursday because of the “A Day Without Immigrants Strike.” Andrés,  pulled out of his planned restaurant at Donald Trump’s D.C. hotel because of the president’s comments about restaurants in the DC area.

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The strike is in response to the nationwide ICE raids ordered by Trump who signed an executive order granting himself the right to more aggressively deport immigrants. There’s also the matter of the wall Trump plans to build on the Mexican border.

Restaurants that decide to stay open will look and feel a little different on Thursday because not only will there likely be a shortage of workers, but the supply chain will also be impacted. Bub & Pops co-owner Arlene Wagner, for example, says one of her purveyors warned her that there would be a disruption in bread delivery.

This is a list of other restaurants in the DC area, that will be completely closed Thursday:

Himitsu, Thip Khao, Toli Moli, Hank’s Oyster Bar (all locations), Hank’s Pasta Bar, Hank’s Cocktail Bar, Bad Saint, Blue 44, Sweetgreen, DC Empanadas, Toki Underground, Surfside, Bub & Pop’s, Pupatella, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Busboys & Poets (all locations)., Brookland’s Finest, Peacock Café and Pizzeria Paradiso.