Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, the first borough-wide Latina official, last Tuesday welcomed hundreds of Brooklynites to Brooklyn Borough Hall for a celebration of the borough’s Latino heritage.
The event, which featured cultural performances and traditional cuisine, was held in conjunction with the Brooklyn (Kings County) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Ponce De Leon Federal Bank in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place annually between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.
Adams spoke about the importance of the Latino community to the diversity and prosperity of Brooklyn. According to the 2014 American Community Survey, nearly one out of every five Brooklynites identify as Latino.
“Today, we stand united as ‘One Brooklyn’ to salute the Latino community, including its people, its cultural heritage, and its bright future here in our great borough,” Adams said. “The hundreds of thousands of Latino Brooklynites that come out to parades and festivals throughout the year celebrating their nations of ancestry are a tribute to the cultural pride in our borough.”
In addition to the Brooklyn (Kings County) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Ponce De Leon Federal Bank, sponsorship for Adams’s Latino heritage celebration was provided by Affinity Health Plan.
Entertainment was offered by Ballet Folklorico Quetzacoatl, Benny Lopez Conjunto, Chinelos Group, La Dinastia Eulogio, Metanoiz, and Tecuanes de Acatlán de Osorio.
“The Chamber was delighted once again to partner with the Borough President’s office, Ponce De Leon Federal Bank and Affinity,” said Rick Miranda, president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn (Kings County) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“This year’s triumphant event demonstrates the power of Hispanic heritage, from the business world to our community residents,” he added. “We look forward to next year’s event.”
Carlos Naudron, president of Ponce De Leon Federal Bank, said, at Ponce De Leon Federal Bank, “we take pride in our roots and in supporting the community we serve.
“As such, we thank Borough President Adams and the other sponsors and organizers of this seminal event” he added.
“We are honored to be one of the sponsors of Brooklyn’s Latino heritage celebration,” said Denise J. Pesich, vice president of brand management and customer loyalty of Affinity Health Plan.
“As champions of rich and rewarding lives, we appreciate and support the contributions of the Latino community and will continue to provide programs that help our members lead healthier lives,” she added.
Adams also presented citations to a range of Latino leaders in Brooklyn, including Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl director Benito Bravo; career and technical education instructor Ceren Brunell, a 2014-2015 nominee for the Big Apple Teacher Award; farm worker activist Guadalupe Cabrera; and District Council 37 executive director Henry Garrido, the first Latino to lead New York City’s largest municipal employee union.
The others were: P.S. 257 John F. Hylan marching band director Alexandra Hernandez; Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC founding members Betty Lugo and Carmen Pacheco, the first Latinas to own a law firm in New York City; fashion designer Eneida Martino; and New Generation founder Cesar Ordonez.