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Pelosi And House Democrats Honor Puerto Ricans' Contributions To The Nation…NYC Celebrates Puerto Rican Day With Style… A Sign Of The Times

Pelosi And House Democrats Honor Puerto Ricans' Contributions To The Nation

June 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

U.S. Newswire

WASHINGTON, June 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In honor of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade that will be celebrated on Sunday in New York City, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today paid tribute to the major contributions of Puerto Ricans to the United States.

The Puerto Rican community represents the second largest national origin group among Hispanics. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917, and currently, there are nearly 8 million Puerto Ricans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

"For more than a century, Puerto Ricans have significantly contributed to the development, defense, and prosperity of the United States," Pelosi said. "As the presence and influence of the Hispanic population in the United States continues to grow, so will that of the Puerto Rican community and consequently, their contribution to American society."

Puerto Ricans have made extraordinary sacrifices in our country's military. Nearly 250,000 Puerto Ricans, from both the United States and the Commonwealth, have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The most distinguished has been the 65th Infantry, an all-Puerto Rican division whose members received countless awards from their service in Korea. Thousands more Puerto Ricans are now contributing to our national defense in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries of the world.

"Democrats join to celebrate the pride and culture of Puerto Ricans," Pelosi said. "We honor their service, their patriotism, and we will continue to work together to improve the lives of Puerto Rican working families and all Americans."

Pelosi said she is proud to lead the most diverse caucus in Congress, which includes three Members of Congress of Puerto Rican descent: Jose Serrano and Nydia Velazquez of New York, and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois. "There are many other prominent Puerto Rican elected officials at the state and local level. I am also proud of the work that many of my Democratic colleagues did to achieve peace for the island of Vieques, and we will continue to work to improve the health of the residents there."

Many Puerto Ricans have excelled in the world of the arts, sciences, journalism, business, sports and other professions. Raul Julia, Rita Moreno, Benicio del Toro, and Roselyn Sanchez are among the many talented Puerto Rican Hollywood stars. Performers such as Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Daddy Yankee, Willie Colon, Tito Puente, and many others have delighted American audiences with their music.

In the world of sports, boricuas such as Roberto Clemente, Felix Trinidad, Carlos Arroyo, Bernie Williams, Juan Gonzalez, John Ruiz, Carlos Delgado, and Ivan Rodriguez, have inspired thousands of young athletes, not only in the United States, but in all of Latin America. Writers Rosario Ferre and Luis Rafael Sanchez are internationally renowned. In the field of public advocacy and community service, prominent Puerto Ricans such as Manuel Mirabal, Lucy Cabrera and Maria Elena Girone continue to improve the quality of life of their community. Also, Puerto Rican engineers have especially excelled in NASA.

Contact: Brendan Daly orFederico de Jesus, 202-226-7616,both of the Office of House Democratic LeaderNancy Pelosi

NYC Celebrates Puerto Rican Day With Style

Associated Press Writer

June 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

NEW YORK (AP) - A seemingly endless stretch of Puerto Rican flags filled Fifth Avenue as hundreds of thousands of people turned out for one of the city's most festive and largest celebrations of cultural pride.

"What you're seeing here are people who are proud of where they came from and proud of where they are, and that's what New York has always been," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, waving his own Puerto Rican flag as he marched with supporters and parade organizers Sunday.

The annual event has drawn hundreds of thousands in recent years -- many traveling from the Caribbean island and elsewhere. Estimates for this year's crowd were not immediately available.

A contingent from Yauco, a coffee-producing city on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, stood out by playing guitars and other traditional acoustic instruments Sunday.

Beauty queens waved from floats blaring the traditional sounds of salsa, bomba and plena, while high school drill teams showed off hip-hop moves. Popular acts included Willie Colon, New York rapper Fat Joe and reggaeton artists, Daddy Yankee and Ivy Queen.

"It's a beautiful parade. So much Puerto Rican pride," said Carmen Vega, a member of the Yauco group making her first visit to New York. More than a third of the city's 2.1 million Hispanics are Puerto Rican, according to the 2000 Census.

Although Sunday's celebration was generally peaceful, a police officer suffered minor cuts to his hand during a dispute near the parade route, authorities said.

There were other incidents of violence, including a stabbing and the arrest of more than 150 people who police said were gang members, according to published reports. After refusing orders to disperse, they were charged with unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct, The New York Times reported in Monday's editions.

This year's mayoral race also figured prominently -- parade barricades were threaded with signs supporting either Bloomberg or Fernando Ferrer, a former Bronx borough president seeking to unseat the Republican mayor.

Carlos Gil, of the Bronx, said he was supporting Ferrer, a Democrat who is Puerto Rican, because "it's time for a Puerto Rican to get a chance."

Bloomberg has demonstrated that he will not cede the Hispanic vote to anyone by taking Spanish lessons and running early campaign ads on Spanish-language TV. He did not attempt much Spanish on Sunday, however, beyond "Buenos dias."

Controversy erupted in recent years when building owners along sections of Fifth Avenue greeted revelers by boarding up their property. Bloomberg said his staff had persuaded most building owners and managers to abandon the practice.

"People understand that in this city we all get along and we respect each other's rights and respect each other's property, and you're going to see the people of this city behaving in a way where barriers are not necessary," he said.

A Sign Of The Times


June 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Newsday. All rights reserved.

The giant Fernando Ferrer campaign banner was far behind the Totowa Bait & Tackle sign and the float carrying Miss Puerto Rico 2005, but it was no ordinary banner on Fifth Avenue yesterday.

Below "Ferrer," the banner said "People's Choice for Mayor." It spanned three car lanes across the avenue and was carried by 12 people.

The banner, as it turned out, violated parade rules. Toward the middle of the parade, Ralph Morales, the chairman of the event, asked the campaign, unsuccessfully, to get rid of it.

Ferrer and other supporters were several blocks behind that banner, marching with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and other politicians.

Morales said politicians are asked to sign an agreement that they won't display overt political signs.

"When you come into a parade with a banner that clearly states you're running for political office, then you violate our agreement," he said.

Morales said he was pleased with Ferrer's response after he approached him about the banner, but since the mayoral candidate was so far behind the sign, it was unclear if he was able to do anything about it.

Morales said people carrying a banner for Mayor Michael Bloomberg were asked to fold it up, and they did so, at least while Morales was watching.

The Bloomberg sign, in Spanish, proclaimed: "The best is yet to come, our mayor Mike Bloomberg."

Even before the flap over the banner, there were allegations that the Ferrer camp was unfairly asked to stop handing out campaign signs before the parade.

Bloomberg scoffed.

"Can you imagine somebody doing that? Just think of what you're saying. Can you imagine how that would happen? Get serious," Bloomberg said.

Before he reached the end of the parade, Ferrer said he wasn't aware of any controversy, and he talked about how he enjoyed the event.

"I've been coming to this parade since I was a child. I love it," Ferrer said.

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