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Allentown Morning Call
Allentown Puerto Rican Parade Group Has New Name, Bigger Goal
By Edgar Sandoval
April 18, 2002
Organizers of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in Allentown have changed the group's name and plan to open an office in center city in the summer to showcase Puerto Rican culture.
The Puerto Rican Cultural Alliance, formerly known as the Puerto Rican Parade Committee, is expanding its mission, alliance President Antonio Marrero announced Wednesday at a news conference at the downtown Clarion Hotel.
In the past, the group primarily organized the July parade that celebrates the Puerto Rican community in Allentown.
"The new name better represents our mission to enhance physically, economically and culturally the lives of all Puerto Ricans and all Latinos in the Lehigh Valley," Marrero said.
Some of the changes include updating the alliance's nonprofit status to one where sponsors can donate money that can be tax deductible.
Members are shopping for a headquarters in Allentown, but would like to have more sponsors to buy books and materials that would attract youth to the center, which would be called Casa Cultural Puertorriquena. The center would include a museum, library and space for workshops.
Cultural alliance members want to create programs to teach youth a sense of belonging and pride, said member Felix Molina.
"We will focus on Puerto Rico, but we also want to celebrate the culture of other parts of Latin America," Molina said. "We want to help our community maintain alive their roots and to be proud of their heritage."
Members also hope non-Latinos take an opportunity to learn about their Latino neighbors once the center opens.
The alliance will sponsor a Queen Pageant, where four Latino teens will compete to be Puerto Rican parade queen. The winner will be chosen at 6 p.m. April 27 at the Clarion Hotel.
A weeklong Puerto Rican parade celebration will begin July 20 with a Gala Night Fund Raiser at the Clarion and a series of workshops and cultural activities. The Puerto Rican parade will step off at 10 a.m. July 28 at Sixth and Gordon streets and will end at Jordan Park with a festival.
Anyone wanting to assist in creating the center should call 610- 776-1168.