New York City

EVENSONG: YOU WILL NOT LOOK AT THE HOMELESS THE SAME AGAIN

From L to R: Daniel Prado, Chad Carstarphen# Marie Louise Guinier# #Member of Actor's Equity Association

From L to R: Daniel Prado, Chad Carstarphen# Marie Louise Guinier#
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

photo credit: Michael Dekker

The vast majority of us live from paycheck to paycheck. If we were to lose our jobs, our soul source of security, most of us would be solvent for perhaps a month tops before savings start to drain to zero. Perhaps some of us would have to leave our apartments or homes, maybe end up in a shelter if help is not readily available.

In Christina Quintana’s play “Evensong” we learn that our view of the homeless, which is the one we know best, the one’s who sit or sleep on the sidewalks, disheveled, asking for dimes or nickels. We think we are not like them. We are wrong. We also carry hidden prejudices for people who are labeled with the homeless tag. “That is the central question in Evensong,” Christina said, “Where do we get these judgements that we make?” Directed by David Mendizabal, the ideas we hold are broken down for view into their smaller components, then splattered across the stage.

Statistically 44% percent of the homeless population actually hold jobs and pursue careers. It’s deceptive. Just such a person is explored through the main character Teo Aguilar, played vibrantly by Daniel Prado.

“The biggest thing about Teo in this play, he surprises us all,” Quintana explained, “He is not who you would imagine to be homeless.”

Daniel Prado (L) and Chad Carstarphen# (R) #Member of Actor's Equity Association
Daniel Prado (L) and Chad Carstarphen# (R)
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

The first image of the play are the series of empty cots neatly arranged in rows and a buffet of food. We are introduced to Teo, who is a young, gay man from San Antonio, Texas who is fulfilling a dream of visiting New York City while in the shadows of personal setbacks that brings him, a guest, to the church homeless shelter. He is judged in triplicate and it takes it’s toll on his morale. “There is a lot of shame,” Christina points out, “As a man, not living up to his potential.”

He is a proud man who meets Bob, a volunteer, who emphathizes with Teo, but draws the line when he tries to make a move on him. Bob likes Teo and even refers to him as one of “The Good Ones.” Teo takes the rejection negatively. Chad Carstarphen was brillant in his role as an outsider who cares and his chemistry with Daniel Prado is the cornerstone relationship of the play, even without the type of payoff one would of expected after the fireworks that were launched after a couple of intimate kisses. This relationship is a variation on a real life experience Christina spoke about encountering a homeless woman who flirted with her during a volunteer stint. The question of whether she would date her opened up further thought on how as people, the homeless lose their humanity in our eyes. “I found I could be friends and hang out with someone who was homeless but to the point of having a relationship is a whole another level.”

Christina pointed out that though the lead character is Gay, that this is not to be assumed to be an LGBT story. “Yes, Teo is Gay, it’s not what the story is about,” Quintana explains, “It’s about a guy who has found himself homeless and it can be anyone.”

As one can surmise the intent of this play was to explore the inner pain of having had standing in a society and then, in Teo’s case, in an act of love, drain his resources to care for the health of his grandmother. In pursuing his dream, he is relegated by necessity to the underside of city life. He puts up a tremendous front, tries to work through the obstacles, but it is his own prejudices that initially place him above those that occupy what Bob refers to in the play as “The Rolls Royce of Shelters.”

Teo is too embarrassed to admit to family, in particular Beny, his cousin, that he is homeless. He tells his friend Hague and soon regrets it as he is equally pitied and shunned from the circles friends normally share. He has become the elephant in the room.

Daniel Prado (L) and Sai Somboon# #Member of Actor's Equity Association

Daniel Prado (L) and Sai Somboon#
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Here we must make a strong mention of Sai Somboon, who showed great vitality and flexibility in playing three roles. He was family member, friend, and lover. A actor who can hold degrees in diverse fields like Dance and Anthropology is just the type who can pull this off so well.

Teo is also put in his place by Gladys, played by Marie Louise Guinier who appears to be mentally off but we learn just has never adjusted to the drastic changes in her lifestyle and is quick to remind Teo that he is no better than her since they share the same situation. Guinier, an IRNE nominated actress who has been on ABC’sWhat Would You Do” showed great depth making Gladys funny but maddening at the same time.

The diverse points of societal punishment Teo encounters reflects the duality challenges of the playwright. Christina was raised in Louisiana and is of Cuban heritage. It certainly had an impact. “It’s a huge part of me. They both inform me as a writer,” Christina recalls,

“New Orleans, Pre-Katrina is a black and white place. Because of that and being Latina, in that environment, I experienced a lot of micro-aggression.”

Christina described herself as obsessed the idea of the American Dream and what it means. She displays this through story examples. For Randy, later Tragedy (Doug Rossi), the homeless subway hobo who spouts poetry and enjoys harassing our lead throughout the play, it was about him and his wife getting out of the shelter system together. Her death ended the dream but his advice, though given while applying a submission hold, brings Teo some clarity.

Rosa and Ricardo, were very much like a modern “I Love Lucy” view of life. Ricardo (Francis Mateo) and Rosa (Arlene Chico-Lugo) displayed a great interaction delving well into how couples struggle when they don’t quite rely on each other. Arlene also did a nice double impressively playing not only a young wife but Teo’s abuela. The contrast was quite believable.

Daniel Prado (L) and Arlene Chico-Lugo # (R) #Member of Actor's Equity Association

Daniel Prado (L) and Arlene Chico-Lugo # (R)
#Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Teo wanted the New York dream. But he has lost his faith along the way and settles for one night stands with guys like “Len” who were physically attractive but little else outside of providing a place with a hot shower. His knowledge of his grandmother’s passing has removed his lone anchor. Bob finds Teo on a sleeping on a park bench while jogging a day after they fought. He offers Teo a chance of a shower before going to the bank teller job he is slaving over, he refuses.

A look at meanings for a moment. The word evensong was chosen when she came about deciding the setting of this play. When you look it up it is defined as “a service of evening prayers, psalms, and canticles, conducted to a set form.” In certain churches it is conducted through song.

“I had an idea of a chorus underscoring what would happen,” Christina shared this insight,

“What is the pulse of the city that connects us and isolates us at the same time? I found that in a sanctuary that had rehearsals which fit what I was looking for.”

Teo hears the singing of just such a service. He likes it. It seems to remind him of his grandmother who even in death appears in his dreams watching over him. He experiences temporary solace.

A box is sent to the wrong address. The couple spoken of earlier has had a personal issue haunt them. Rosa lost a child while pregnant. The name was similiar to the one on the package. She sees this as fate to be fulfilled. She finds Teo at the bank she goes to and puts two and two together.

Teo is quite rude with her but she convinces him to vent his problems with her, a stranger. He is suspicious of her motives but surprisingly complies. “It’a part of this play,” Quintana explained, “I am always amazed how strangers look out for each other here. There are these crazy connections, somehow they happen.” He opens the box and takes out the gloves that his grandmother sent to keep his hands warm. He smiles. Symbolically they seem to represent the helping hand Bob talked about earlier and weaved itself throughout the play.

He tells Bob about a possible job lead. Bob is pleased to hear it. Teo has his faith restored now and as he holds his abuela’s gift, he is reminded that he is loved no matter how he is tagged by society. As Christina was told by one who read the play. “I went outside and looked at everybody differently.” Though each of us take our unique views from what we view, the playright also hopes that the audience can identify hers for a production like this that is quite personal. What did Christina want people to take from this?

“I would like us to be a little aware, open, and more compassionate. What more can you ask for?”

Christina summerizes. Evensong is the first production of the 2016 season of APAC, who is now in their 16th season. The show continues to run at the Astoria Performing Arts Center in Astoria, NY until November 19th, 2016.

Christina, who volunteered at The Friends Shelter whose base is the Friends Meeting House and Seminary in lower Manhattan wants you to know that volunteers are always needed. For those interested you may contact volunteer coordinator Katy Homans at katy@katyhomans.com or via the website www.friendsshelter.org.

ANTONIO LOPEZ: A Tribute to the Puerto Rican–Born Fashion Illustrator and Artist

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Antonio Lopez and his partner Juan Ramos changed the fashion world forever with their open celebration of difference—racial, ethnic and even gender difference. They permanently broadened high-fashion’s definitions of beauty by focusing attention on men and women that were often marginalized from the industry. We are thrilled to celebrate their phenomenal body of work with this exhibition that features over 400 images, many of which have never been exhibited or published before.”

–           Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Senior Curator at El Museo del Barrio

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art-in-museum

TOBBY LOVE PRESENTA SU NUEVO ALBUM “BACHATA NATION” EN NUEVA YORK

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En medio de prensa, luces, cámaras y decenas de seguidores el famoso exponente de Bachata Pop TOBY LOVE presento formalmente al publico de Nueva York su nuevo sencillo titulado ”Entra en mi Vida”.

Tobby Love es famoso por sus fusiones y mezclas de la tradicional bachata dominicana con ritmos urbanos como el R&B y Hip Hop. Una fusión que el artista a denominado “Crunkchata” – música romántica , corta venas con influencia de soul y jazz norteamericano.

El artista de origen puertorriqueño promociona el quinto sencillo de este álbum.“Entra en mi Vida” es un tema originalmente grabado por el grupo mexicano SIN BANDERA llega con nuevos arreglos vestido de bachata y trópico e interpretado por Toby junto al cantante Karlos Rose.

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Los inicios del este popular cantante se remontan al año 2000 cuando comenzó como vocalista del popular grupo AVENTURA , donde permaneció hasta comenzar su Carrera como solista en el 2006 y lograr posicionarse como uno de los artistas mas exitosos del genero.

Tobby Love ya ha obtenido dos codiciados premios Billboards y varias nominaciones a importantes premios internacionales.

“Entra En MI Vida”es uno de los temas incluidos en el popular álbum BACHATA NATION” lanzado conjuntamente con Elegante Records y que ya ha ocupado los primeros lugares de popularidad.

Sin lugar a dudas, TOBY LOVE con su estilo romántico y su voz melodiosa se perfila indiscutiblemente como el nuevo rostro internacional de la bachata

Fun Family Cinema Returns for 8th Annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival in New York

More Than 40 Films From Over 25 Countries For All Ages

Free Entrance and All Foreign Language Films are subtitled in English

Cine Art Entertainment Productions, in collaboration with Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, and Catholic Charities proudly presents the 8th annual edition of KidCinemaFest Film Festival, October 13th to the 19th, 2016.  

The Festival aims to enrich children’s appreciation for film making and cultural diversity through a program of over 40 films that includes documentaries, fiction films as well as animations from 25 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.  The festival welcomes attendees of all ages to view some of the most exciting, smart, and reflective movies of this decade.  Entrance is free and all foreign language films are subtitled in English.

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KidCinemaFest opens October 13, 7:00pm at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center the U.S premier of the Dominican feature film LOS FABULOS MA’ MEJORES directed by Carlos Manuel Plasencia and produced by Celines Toribio. This Dominican film is for all ages and tells the story of, Chelo Rosario, a kid baseball coach who’s not doing very well. He has no money, no job and his baseball team, although wonderful, is spectacularly bad at playing baseball. One day an announcement is made on the radio regarding the first ever Kid’s Baseball Tournament in the Dominican Republic and Chelo decides to ask the beautiful Joanna (Denise Quiñones) — who is the mother of one of the kids — for help to enter the tournament. The result is a fun-filled family oriented comedy where kids as well as adults will enjoy the crazy adventures of this fabulous team and the importance of fighting for your dreams regardless of how difficult they may be.

KidCinemaFest closes on October 19, 7:00pm at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center with the French feature film Belle and Sebastian. Adapted from the popular series by Cécile Aubry, Belle and Sebastian is a breathtaking adventure set high in the snowy Alps during a dramatic time in history. Sebastian is a resourceful young boy raised by an eccentric guardian (played by Tchéky Karyo, one of France’s most popular actors) in a peaceful mountain village. Sebastian meets a much feared wild dog, known by herders as ‘The Beast.’ Playing together in the alpine meadows and water holes, the boy and the dog come to love and rely upon one another; Sebastian calls her ‘Belle’. When German Nazis arrive, looking for Jewish refugees crossing the treacherous pass to Switzerland, courageous Belle and Sebastian join the resistance.

As the film festival founder and director, Armando Guareño says, “This year’s film program strives to enrich the lives of children through the art of cinema, enabling children and families to learn from different cultures without having to leave New York City.” While Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez shares similar thoughts on the festival, “As a longtime supporter of the KidCinemaFest, I’m incredibly proud of the success the program has enjoyed. Over a few short years it has become the preeminent children’s film festival in New York City, broadening the cultural horizons of hundreds of our youth.” 

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The complete programming is organized in four sections. KID FLIX 1 section, composed of a colorful collection of short films from around the world. KID FLIX 2 section, a distinctive international short films collections that includes directors Olga and Tatiana Poliektova film My GRANDFATHER WAS A CHERRY TREE (Russia),  Ainslie Henderson newest short film STEMS (United Kingdom), Natalia Chernysheva’s film TWO FRIENDS (France and Russia), and from the directors of PHANTOM BOY and A CAT IN PARIS we also bring you ONE HELL OF A PLAN (France).

VIVA SHORT section, a collection of short film’s of the best shorts from the Brooklyn Film Festival’s Kidsfilmfest. FEATURE FILMS section, an international selection of the best contemporary films within the children cinema industry; including Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s film A CAT IN PARIS (France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium), Laurent Boileau and Jung Heninl’s film APPROVED FOR ADOPTION (France, Belgium, South Korea, Switzerland), Franck Ekinci and Christian Desmares’ film APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD (France), Yasuhiro Yoshimura’s film PATEMA INVERTED (Japan), Walter Tournier’s film SELKIRK, EL VERDADERO ROBINSON CRUSOE (Uruguay, Argentina, Chile), and Tomm Moree’s film THE SECRET OF KELLS (Belgium, France, Ireland).

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KidCinemaFest venues are:

  • Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (530 West 166th Street and Amsterdam)
  • Casita Maria in the South Bronx (928 Simpson St at 163rd Street
  • CUNY in the Heights (5030 Broadway at 213th)
  • Comisionado Dominicano de Cultura en USA (541 West 145th St (2nd Floor)
  • Public schools throughout Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the Bronx.

The event is free and open to anyone and everyone who wishes to attend!

The 8th Annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival in New York is a project of Cine-Art Entertainment Productions and is made possible with the collaboration of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, The Dominican Film Festival in New York, Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center and Catholic Charities and sponsored by LatinTRENDS Magazine, Manhattan Times and in collaboration with, Brooklyn Film Festival’s Kidsfilmfest,  CUNY in the Heights and GKIDS.tv.

For a complete list of films and show times please visit www.kidcinemafest.com

Isa Shares Emotive New Single ‘Good For Me’

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Following the release of her heartfelt ballad “Take It Slow” earlier this year, the sultry Bronx-born Afro-Latin singer, songwriter, and model, Isa, takes us into the complicated situations of love with her fiery new single “Good For Me.”

Classically trained, Isa flexes her silky fusion of pop/soul and contemporary r&b on the new track. “Good For Me” is the second single from Isa’s forthcoming sophomore EP Mirrors Volume 1, due out October 28.

“‘Good for Me’ details the candid internal struggle of having to choose between two lovers. Following through with the theme of ‘Mirrors Volume I’, I decided to be brutally honest with myself and face the situation in song as the story itself was unfolding in my life. It gives a perspective into the other side of relationships that is blatantly selfish and mischievous.” – Isa

 

Listen to “Good For Me” on SoundCloud:

Isa is set to perform at Uptown Soul Lounge in New York City on Friday, September 30. The show is free with an RSVP here.

(Dominican Influencer Series) Wilton Cedeno, Engineer, Philanthropist & NY Economic Development Board Member

WILTON CEDENO

 By Clara Galvano Rivera

TÚ PUEDES! ATRÉVETE A TRIUNFAR!!

In 2011 something really exciting happened in the province of Azúa de Compostela in the Dominican Republic. About 100 people, a mix of adults and youths, showed up en masse at El Restaurante Mesón Suizo. They had heard about a new, free program that could help them with their personal development. Wilton Cedeno, who coordinated the launch of this motivational program entitled CURSO ATRÉVETE A TRIUNFAR with his sister, Sandra Céspedes, an economist and expert in human development, was elated, but stunned. He never expected so many to show up! “Invitamos a los niños, pero todo el mundo quería ver lo que estábamos ofreciendo. It was amazing.” The following day, the press received the following: “En el desarrollo del curso motivacional, la profesora Céspedes comenzó distinguiendo entre actitud y aptitud como elementos clave para lograr el éxito en la vida y la importancia de aprender a desarrollar la mentalidad de abundancia que les permita hacer los cambios de paradigmas necesarios para lograr resultados de calidad.” Whew! Did you get that? Positive changes are coming!

Cedeno knows the value of helping others and, after a pause, relates this great example: “When I was growing up in NYC, my mother’s apartment was like a hotel. Everyone she knew that was arriving stopped first at our house and stayed until they were working. Some stayed weeks, some months. Everyone was welcome. Dominicans are a tight-knit group and continue to help each other, even though conditions have changed because as a group, we have progressed and those arriving have more information that enables them to find living quarters and jobs much faster.”

Cedeno’s journey has been long and fruitful. He is currently at Consolidated Edison. His responsibilities are many and include working on state regulatory affairs, developing and implementing internal and external communication strategies and advocacy related to state energy policy, including developing company positions on state energy policy issues. A seriously busy man, he makes time to support the youth as a board member of the Brooklyn Technical High School Alumni Foundation and as a judge in the FIRST Robotics Competition in New York City Regional. He is also the founder of the Cooperative Technical High School Intern Program, which enables high school students to work at Con Edison.

“Yo nací en el campo de Santo Domingo; no había luz ni agua, pero en mi trabajo con Con Edison, tengo la responsabilidad de proveer la luz a muchos. Quiero ahora que otros tengan las mismas posibilidades. Cuando nos organizamos, podemos llegar lejos y ayudar a otros. No solo para los Dominicanos, pero todos los Latinos. Uno se tiene que superar y la gente joven son el futuro.”

A member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, he is a past president of the organization. “Yo quería progresar en la rama de energía, so I joined the AABE thinking I would learn more about the industry. What I found was inspiration, a brotherhood that welcomed me with open arms and wonderful friendships. I was a little surprised when I was voted in as President. When I joined, I think I was the only Latino there. I served for two years and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Another great experience has to be when he was appointed to the New York Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. On June 24, 2015, the de Blasio administration announced the appointment of ten new members and Cedeno was the only Latino in the group.

This is an important board. As the primary economic development vehicle, NYCEDC leverages the City’s assets to create good jobs and drive growth, ensuring equitable and sustainable development across all five boroughs. “Fue un gran honor. La junta está haciendo un gran trabajo. They want to ensure that 30-40 years down the road, everyone has enough energy. There is work to do there.” Simple words from an amazing man who is highly valued not only in business, but for creating Tú Puedes! Atrévete a Triunfar, which is helping his fellow Dominicans back on the island succeed.

 

LT: Are you connected to the Island and if so, how do you maintain that connection?

WC: “The plan is to develop the program [Curso Atrévete a Triunfar] in different areas of the Dominican Republic. Right now, we are focusing on success principles, because they are desperately needed, but we will be looking to start providing skills such as speed coding and more in future training seminars.”

 

LT: Do you think Dominicans are united as a group?

WC: “Absolutely. You see it everywhere. Dominicans help each other with housing, jobs, education, language. We are a tight-knit group. We have to be.”

 

LT: What would you point to as notable progress among Dominicans in the U.S.?

WC: “Education. We are making education a goal and that is what will allow us to progress further and further.”

 

→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for your weekly updates on events, restaurants, trends & news:  http://bit.ly/1BcjOjX

 

Independence Day — More Than Just a BBQ and Fireworks

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Image: alamofireworks.com

Most of us are familiar with the story of the 4th of July – when the Declaration of Independence was signed by America’s Founding Fathers. It marked a new beginning, a new nation – a democratic one, at that. No more rule from the English Crown. No more taxation without representation. The citizens of the newfound nation have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Among the most thriving cities of the United States today, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., have some of the richest historical sites of the Revolutionary War – yet some may not realize!

New York

Centennial commemorital marker of George Washington's inauguration on Broadway in downtown Manhattan

Centennial commemorital marker of George Washington’s inauguration on Broadway in downtown Manhattan

Known as the greatest city in the world, New York is also the most diverse city in the world, home to 8+ million people. But did you know that prior and during the Revolution, it served as the nation’s first capital, where the earliest Congress of the colonies was formed, where the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments of the Constitution) were adopted, where the Constitution itself was established, as well as George Washington’s inauguration as the first US president in April of 1789. On a sad note, New York also had the highest casualties during the Revolution and the city also saw its largest battle. In 1776, much of the city was burned down by British troops, after driving out Patriots. There aren’t many historical buildings left, save for Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel in downtown Manhattan, due to said fire and many other buildings being torn down for new construction during the 19th century. The landmarks that are left weren’t designated as “landmarks” until 1896 where “New York City” became known as the collection of the five boroughs we all know and love today: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. If you want to keep the kids’ minds thinking and learning while they’re off school during the summer, there is a designated “Freedom Trail” in the city today.

New York’s Hispanic population has really grown, and will continue to grow every day. According to Pew Research, NYC’s Hispanic population, as of 2011, is just over 2 million and many have seen how well they have contributed to this great city!

Boston

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Replica of ship carrying tea during the Boston Tea Party

Heading to New England, Boston is responsible for kick-starting the Revolution with the Boston Tea Party in December 1773. Tea was a staple of the colonies but it was heavily taxed and Bostonians felt that enough was enough. On a recent trip to the home of the Red Sox, I had a chance to visit the Boston Tea Party Museum where reenactments of the Boston Tea Party, from the secret meeting to throwing the “tea” into the harbor, are held, and visitors can be a part of the action. As for the War itself, the opening phase was the Siege of Boston, from April 1775 to March 1776, where British troops occupied its harbors for that time then fled to what is known today as Nova Scotia, Canada.

As Boston has expanded beyond its founding harbors, it also has expanded multiculturally. As of 2011, according to Pew Research, the Hispanic population is just over 400,000, being mostly of Puerto Rican, Dominican and Salvadorian decent, with native-born Hispanics outnumbering foreign-born.

Philadelphia

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Liberty Bell on display in Philadelphia, PA

Known as the city of “brotherly love”, Philadelphia served as the nation’s secondary capital as well as the main capital during the Revolutionary War. This was also the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Second Continental Congress. Much of the city’s historical sites have

been preserved, such as the home and printing press workshop of the very familiar Benjamin Franklin, who was an outstanding citizen of Philadelphia, as well as the famous Liberty Bell. The city saw very little fighting during the War; one example is the Philadelphia campaign, where British troops took control of the city then later lost it – without a single shot fired!

As this is yet another thriving and bustling city, Philadelphia raised up its youngest judge to serve on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1981 and the first Hispanic in this position in Pennsylvania history – the Honorable Nelson A. Diaz, who is also a former Latino Trendsetter Award recipient. According to the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Philly had a 46% growth in its Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010.

Washington, DC

The final and current US capital, Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) was founded in 1790 by George Washington himself. In creating this new capital, Washington was advised by his congress to lay out a 10-mile square somewhere along the Potomac River, which flows between Maryland and Virginia. It was an ideal location because it was a central location of America before the western expansion. This “square” on the map was made into a diamond by Washington but it, sadly, didn’t last very long. Since this location was in “slave state” territory, yet the Maryland side was pro-abolition and the Virginia side was pro-slavery, Alexandria, Virginia broke away which thus gave us the District’s borders we have today. Washington oversaw the construction of the White House, though he never lived in it. John and Abigail Adams were the White House’s first residents and Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol Building, and within the District of Columbia itself, while the building was still under construction.

Washington, D.C., has expanded into Virginia today, where the Pentagon and CIA are located, and has seen its first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor be appointed by President Obama. Much of DC’s Hispanic population is of Salvadorian decent, which is 32.4% of the 800,000+ overall Latino population, according to Pew Research. The District’s metropolitan area is also home to the highest Salvadorian population compared to the other metropolitan-area-cities in the continental US.

 

But did you know that the start of the strongest nation in the world today may have inspired revolutions in Latin America and the Caribbean? Just decades after America’s victory of independence, Haiti won its independence from France at the start of 1804 and from there, a series of revolutions won the independence from English, Spanish and regional colonizers.

‘Dancing to the Beat of Hope’ Photo & Coverage

Photo / coverage of Dancing to the Beat of Hope Gala

The Puerto Rican Family Institute has been serving New York’s communities with various programs in housing, case management, mental health, placement prevention, head start programs and more.   The organization recently  celebrated its 56th year with its annual gala “Dancing to the Beat of Hope”

The evening was relaxing, entertaining, a night of cocktails and networking at the Tribeca Rooftop in downtown Manhattan. The event began with a cocktail reception on the roof deck overlooking trendy Tribeca, the Hudson River and downtown Manhattan. The awards presentation followed in the loft below with dining and dancing followed the spectacular evening.

 

2016 Honorees

Corporate Chair
Mariano A. Díaz
President, C-Town Supermarket Graham Avenue

 

Co-chair
Geraldo Rivera
Award-winning journalist

Guest of Honor
Rafael Pi Roman
TV Host/Producer, Thirteen – WNET

Master of Ceremonies
Joe Torres
News anchor and reporter, WABC-TV

Honorees:

The Raúl Juliá Award:
Sonia Manzano
Author/Actress

 

Public Service Award:
Honorable Gustavo Rivera
New York State Senator

 

Community Service Award:
Rafael Toro
Director of Public Relations, Goya Foods, Inc.

Special Recognition:
Angela “Angie” Cabrera
Founding member, Hope for Families and Children Foundation

Photos by J.R. Caballero

The Hope for Families and Children Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit 501(c) 3 charity Institution. Founded in 1989, our mission is to serve as the title holding corporation for capital assets and raise funds to sustain the Puerto Rican Family Institute’s goals of helping communities in need and changing lives. The Foundation has a strong belief in the potential of people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Through its fund development efforts the Foundation ensures that the programs of the Puerto Rican Family Institute continue to meet present and future community needs.

 

About the Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc.

The Institute, founded in 1960, is a private, not for profit, multiservice human service organization. It provides culturally and linguistically sensitive services to families and children of all races and ethnic backgrounds in New York and Puerto Rico. For more information visit www.prfi.org.

SHOBOY IN THE MORNING – The Latin touch that was missing in New York morning radio

Originally published in the May 2016 of Latin Trends Magazine

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Totally happy in his new city, Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo wanders through the streets of New York as if he has lived here all his life. It is hard to imagine that, just a year ago, this popular radio personality was the host of one of the most popular radio shows in Dallas, TX, “Shoboy en la Mañana”.

He tells us about the afternoon he received the call that would change his destiny; a proposal to have his own radio show in English in one of the most important markets in the world.

“When I was asked to do the show, I almost fell backwards. It was amazing. It was something I wanted to do for some time, especially in the number #1 market in New York. At first, it was a difficult decision because my show in Spanish in Dallas was about to be syndicated nationally. My wife and I were happy in Texas, but we came to this city because we base our decisions on faith, not fear,” he says.

But Sotelo’s success is no surprise. This young man grew up at radio stations with his popular brother, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, one of most the renowned radio announcers in Spanish radio. He worked in promotions, pasting stickers and helping in everything that was needed at the station.

Despite being born in Jalisco, Mexico, and arriving to the United States when he was five years old, Shoboy speaks English and Spanish with such perfection and professionalism that he is able to brilliantly connect with his listeners in both languages.

“Shoboy In The Morning” is a new radio show that entertains and informs his English-speaking listeners, but of course, he always adds his Latin spark and throws and occasional word in Spanish. The audience that tunes into 92.3 AMP Radio from 5:30 – 10:00 a.m. in New York City is already used to hearing phrases like “que rico” and other common words in “Spanglish”.
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Sotelo is fun, casual and sometimes a little crazy, and his listeners adore him because he is able to make his guests play all his games, such as convincing Justin Bieber and Chris Brown to dance the famous merengue “Culiquitaca”. Laughing out loud, he tell us:

“I told Justin and Chris that they would increase their potential to get Latina girlfriends if they learned how to move their hips.”

Despite having received major awards for his radio career-raising over a million dollars to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and being invited to the White House by President Obama, Shoboy is a young man that reflects great humility, passion and a genuine desire to proudly represent Latinos.

His greatest goal is to positively impact the community. When asked how he see himself in the future, he stares at us and answers with a big smile.

“I see myself with more wrinkles from laughing so hard and thanking God for all the beautiful blessings he brings to my life.”

Here’s the Links to some of Shoboy’s most popular youtube videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_mS5mS7cDQhttp://

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dv9KNXyN70://

Justin Bieber offends Argentina, again!

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Justin Bieber’s relationship with Argentina is by far more complicated than any of his relationship with a Hollywood starlet.

Just three years ago, Bieber first offended Argentinians when he kicked the country’s flag from the stage after it was thrown onto it while in a concert held in Buenos Aires.

Although Bieber apologized for this incident, he’s found himself once again upsetting Argentinians by doing the exact same thing.

Bieber is currently in New York City, and when leaving a hotel and entering a car a 15-year-old fan from who was visiting the Big Apple from Argentina tossed the singer a folded up flag of her homeland into the car after him.

According to sources, Bieber glanced at the flag and threw it out of his window.

After the incident the unidentified fan took to social media to not only explain what had happened but also apologize to Bieber for throwing the flag at him.

I am in Manhattan because it’s my birthday, and I found out Justin is coming, so I bought a ticket…Yesterday I was at the hotel at 10 a.m., and I stayed for hours outside waiting…When he was going out, guards told us to back off, so I grabbed the flag and threw it at him. Of course, it was not my intention for it to [come] close to his face, so I apologized a thousand times. He looked at me … grabbed the flag, threw it on the pavement and shut the window.”

According to the wronged fan, she had apologized to Bieber right after throwing the flag at him, which nearly hit his face, and claimed he had heard her yet still tossed the flag.

No word yet from Bieber regarding the incident and whether there will be a sequel to his single “Sorry” for this recent snafu.