Issue 4 December 2010

Message from the National President Vivian Ortiz
 Dear NACOPRW Members,

It has been an honor for me to work alongside women who have been leaders in our communities across this country.  The year 2010 will remain a year filled with milestones.  During this past year we continued to remain active in coalitions, we created strategies to address major initiatives in Health, Education Employment and Immigration Reform.  We engaged as a National Ally to the Vision 2020 Project, and continued weighing in on legislative items important to Hispanics and women such as CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Againt Women.

The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women’s 37th Annual Convention and  Training Conference was held in the magnificent city of Miami, Florida.  This year’s theme, “Fostering Leadership: Engaging the Next Generation of Women Leaders”, reflects the importance of training and guiding our members, young Latinas and friends, on their journey to become our future leaders.  The workshops featured skilled presenters from private industry and from federal, state and local governments with expert speakers in fields such as economic development, health, bilingual education and employment, such as Sara Manzano Diaz, Director of the Women’s Bureau, Department of Labor.

My sincerest gratitude to Vilma Colom, National First Vice President and Convention Chair, to Lucy DelValle, President of the Miami Chapter and the Convention Committees for their diligence, enthusiasm and the endless hours they dedicated to make our Convention a success and to ensure that NACOPRW continues to serve as a vehicle for our communities’ voices to be heard by the political leaders and policy-makers of this great nation.

I send you my best wishes for a very Happy and Healthy holiday season.  May you enjoy it with your family and friends while you balance the many contributions you make to your local communities.  We are proud of the work you do and thank you for upholding our mission and vision while adhering to the bylaws that guide us.

Many thanks to the 2010 Executive Committee: Vilma Colom, Sylvia Morrisroe, Bequi Ortiz, Evelyn Figueroa and Edith Feliciano.  My congratulations to the new Board of Directors.  I look forward to seeing you at the 2011 Convention!  Un caluroso saludo navideño!                           Vivian Ortiz
 NACOPRW Convention Elects Officers for 2011 and Hosts Excellent Program

The officers of the Executive Board elected are:

President                      Vivian Ortiz
1st Vice President         Vilma Colom
2nd Vice President        Sylvia Morrisroe
Treasurer                      Evelyn Figueroa
Secretary                      Bequi Ortiz
Assistant Treasurer      Zoraida Figueroa
Assistant Secretary      Edith Feliciano

2011 Executive Board Elect.  From left to right; Edith Feliciano, Vilma Colom, Bequi Ortiz, Zoraida Figueroa, Vivian Ortiz, Evelyn Figueroa.
 Absent: Sylvia Morrisroe

The President has appointed Carmen Bonilla as Assistant 2nd Vice President to help on special initiatives.

Our keynote speaker at the Conference was Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor ,who very movingly related passages of her life.

Tomas Regalado, Mayor of the City of Miami, was a hit when he greeted participants accompanied by his accomplished daughter, Raquel, who demonstrated she is a likely future political star.

Workshops on subjects such as Emotional Intelligence, Women’s Health, Personal Finances, Fundraising and Public Relations, How to Start a Small Business and Education honed participants skills at the training conference.

The Awards granted at the conference besides the one to 91-year old AliciaBaro, included a Woman of Achievement Award to 101 year old Dorothy Quintana, for her work with seniors in Miami.  The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Vanny Marrero, past National President; the Community Service Award to Iris Violeta Colón-Torres, past National President;  the Outstanding Service Award to Vilma Colom, Conference Chair and 1st   Vice President.  Awards were works of art by  Puerto Rican artist Elizabeth  Erazo Baez.


Alicia Baro Is The Star at the Conference
Alicia Baro, former National President of NACOPRW, at 91 years young served as Honorary Chair of the Convention.  The tribute to Alicia was given by Emma Chaves, former President of the Miami Chapter in 1982 and 1983. 

Chaves related what Alicia had told her about the founding of the Miami Chapter in 1977, at the height of the women’s movement during the year of the Houston National Conference on Women.

NACOPRW had been founded at the national level in 1972 by Aida Berio.  According to Chaves tribute, in August of 1977 Maurice Ferre was Mayor of Miami and President Carter had been elected President of the USA. Chaves reports Alicia said that Ferre told her “Alicia, Paquita Vivo and Carmen Delgado Votaw and others from Washington…have come down and asked me …who they could speak to about opening a Miami Chapter.  I told them the only person to speak to in Miami would be Alicia Baro.”  Alicia held a meeting in Angelina Sanchez’house and 10 women agreed to open a chapter and scheduled a planning meeting at the Top of the Columbus Hotel, owned by Maurice’s late father.
Alicia and her husband had founded the ODP (Organizacion Democrata Puertorriquena and the Puerto Rican Festival Committee besides working hard with Ferre to elect Carter.

“As proud as Alicia is of the Festival Committee and the ODP, she said that she is especially proud to have been the founder of NACOPRW-Miami.  “Through the Mercedes Balseiro scholarship fund, we have given out-easy-more than 150 scholarships over the years.  We wanted to be sure the young girls became educated and became the independent, strong leaders of tomorrow.  The reason for the scholarships is that we wanted them to continue what we started, so we needed to support them in their education…” 

Alicia’s legacy will endure long after many of us are gone, said Chaves, since she set foot in Miami in the early 1950’s when she saw the pitiful conditions of the migrant workers, many of them Puerto Ricans, Alicia decided to get involved.

“Her exemplary life has been devoted to furthering the cause of equality.  As a public figure, Alicia always represented the best of us…As a true civic activist, …she was always prepared...  She was the epitome of the multi-tasker.  She had “chispa”.

After her involvement in the Borinquen Health Care Center, ASPIRA of Florida, SER-Jobs for Progress, the City of Miami Zoning Board and other projects Alicia was inducted in 1977 into the Florida Hall of Fame.

For her integrity and tenacity, Alicia S. Baro is known as “la madrina de los Boricuas.”

We are mighty proud of you, Alicia.




La Música Puertorriqueña 
      18 de enero 2009 ©
      Iris Violeta Colón-Torres


La música puertorriqueña
Generosa se desprende 
Desde la Cordillera Central 
Desprendiendo gota a gota 
Hilos de amor e invisibles verdades 
Que en la inmensidad sin tiempo se repiten 
Misteriosamente levantando la conciencia

Cada nota dice lo que el pueblo no habla en voz alta
“Mataron al Negro Bembón
Hoy se llora noche y día
Porque al Negrito Bembón todo el mundo lo quería…”

La música puertorriqueña
Son verdades de ayer que el tiempo repite
“Toda la tristeza que hay aquí en mi tierra la tiene el bambú…”
Se repiten las verdades en la bella música puertorriqueña
“Si yo no hubiera nacido en la tierra en nací 
Estuviera arrepentido de no haber nacido allí…”

Muchos no entienden y no importa 
En esa música está nuestra historia 
Y muchos llegamos a ser boricuas por ella
Y hoy día como en ayer 
Surge la melodía del Jibarito Rafael
“Borinquén, ahora que tu te mueres con tus pesares,  Deja que te cante yo también…” 
¡Bendita sea la música puertorriqueña!




The Advocacy Corner

NACOPRW has been very busy weighing in on a number of pieces of legislation that are important to us as Hispanics and as women.


CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

A National Task Force NACOPRW and over 130 national organizations all committed to U.S. ratification of the CEDAW Treaty were able to have Senator Richard Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law schedule a hearing for Thursday, November 18 to see if we can move ratification forward before the Congress recesses.  You can get more information by visiting

NACOPRW co-signed the testimony submitted collectively by the supporting organizations and also submitted  a statement for the record supporting the only international human rights treaty that focuses exclusively on the rights of women.
We are making history, sisters…

The Gender Pay Gap

To help us understand the Gender Pay Gap, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has put together an informative fact sheet providing the best sources for state information on this issue.

They indicate that both annual and weekly earnings for the nation are usually derived from data collected in the Census American Community Survey which is conducted on an ongoing basis.  The AC Survey releases reports that include a Fact Finder and in- public use of micro-files (PUMS).  State based data on earnings was released in the Fall this past year.

Look in the Census Bureau web site or in the AAUW web site under “research” to ascertain if a woman’s work full time still earns 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

The DREAM Act 
The Dream Act creates a path to legalization for undocumented individuals who were brought into the U.S. as children through no choice of

their own and have proven their commitment to succeeding here by serving our nation in our armed services and excelling in academia.

Despite efforts by Senator Harry Reid and others passage of the legislation stalled before the election recess.  The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda continues to wait  for legislative action that would acknowledge the commitment and labor of our nation’s immigrants.


Broadband Access an Impediment to Puerto Rico’s Economy

Although Puerto Rico is affiliated to the United States and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, broadband investment and implementation is “dismal” according to the MMTC (Minority media and Telecommunications Council) in its submission to the Federal Communications Commission on September 12, 2010.

One sixth of all Americans without broadband access live in Puerto Rico

Most Puerto Ricans have download speeds below 1.0 Mbps, in contrast to 3.8 Mbps in the U.S. and 1.352 Mbps for Mexico.

Puerto Rico’s population is greater than that of 24 U.S. states and represents the largest group of American citizens having substandard levels of broadband access.
The FCC has demonstrated bias against Puerto Rico denying federally mandated funding to develop basic telephone wire line infrastructure.
It is time the U.S. addresses this infrastructure imbalance for all its citizens.


Domestic Violence and What You Can Do About IT (from Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence)


  •  Find out more about domestic violence.  Go to and see the stories of survivors and what made the difference for them.


  • Learn how domestic violence impacts your workplace by visiting
  • Remember the National Domestic Violence Hotline number: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)  You can call to help others or yourself.


  • Donate your old cell phone (any brand) at Verizon Wireless stores or use the free mailing label available  If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, text “HOPE” to 41010 to make a one-time $10 donation to the National Network to End Violence.
  • Learn to talk to your kids about healthy relationships by downloading tip booklets


  • Don’t ask: “Why would that victim go back?”  Ask, “Why would a person hit or abuse someone they love?”
  • Be safe, healthy and happy in your own relationships.  Because you matter.  And you deserve it.  And you are very, very precious.

Chapter News

Chicago Chapter
The Chicago Chapter worked on voter registration, collaborated with the Holy Heart Association and the Puerto Rico Cultural Center. 

DC Metro Chapter
The Chapter sponsored two “Meet & Greet”
Events, one celebrating Sara Manzano-Diaz’appointment and co-hosted, with Dialogue on Diversity, a briefing on violence against women.

Indiana Chapter
The Indiana Chapter collaborated with the Social Justice Council on immigration matters, with the Public Library on Puerto Rican Heritage, and conducted a raffle for scholarships.  It continues its collaboration with Indiana University.

Miami Chapter hosted a house party on arts and culture and a party at Ronald McDonald’s House.  It celebrated founding Madrina, Alicia Baro’s birthday, and raised $12,000, besides working assiduously on the National Convention.

Northern Illinois Chapter held its Annual Summer Picnic at LaBagh Woods in Chicago on September 12 with about 60 members, family and friends in attendance.
It was a smorgasbord of delicious food and drinks, highlighted by lechon asado and arroz con gandules provided by our President, Vilma Colom.  Everyone had a good time playing dominos, bags, badminton, volleyball and other games while enjoying perfect weather.  There was music and dancing.  Some of  their  youth group members also attended, and their  new NACOPRW polo shirts were distributed, purchased to continue promoting the Northern Illinois Chapter and NACOPRW in general.


The 2010 membership recruitment drive has been very successful, with 7 new adults joining as well as 8 students.  The youth group named itself “Youth in Destiny” and has been expanded from one school to two.  Each student is being mentored by one adult member.  A financial planning seminar was presented by Vilma Colom on March 5.  Around 40 people attended, including 6 members of our youth group and their families, to learn about planning for our financial futures.  This was also a mentoring opportunity.  More youth activities and workshops are being planned to help provide social opportunities, instil cultural pride, improve self-esteem, and develop leadership skills.  Some of these include: bowling, volunteering, Puerto Rican cooking, etc.

Six Northern Illinois chapter members attended the NACOPRW Convention in Miami. At the Convention, Vilma announced that the Northern Illinois Chapter was just awarded tax-exempt status by the State of Illinois.

Philadelphia Chapter 
August 19, 2010:   The Chapter celebrated their 7th Annual Odessa Awards at the Hace Visitor and Welcome Center.

September 2010:  NACOPRW participated in the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

September 15, 2010:  NACOPRW participated in the celebration of 40 years of local television program -Puerto Rican Panorama-, 6ABC.

September 11 and 18:  NACOPRW collaborated in the First Time Homebuyers Workshops held at the Norris Square Cultural Center.
October 14, 2010:  Vivian Ortiz and Iris Violeta Colón-Torres were Ambassadors at the Hispanic Choice Awards 2010 at the Kimmel Center.

October 21-22:   Vivian Ortiz, Amaris Hernandez and Iris Violeta Colón-Torres attended the Vision 2020 Convention-An American Conversation about Women and Leadership at the Constitution Center.
Carmen Delgado Votaw was a Visionary Delegate, having been nominated by NACOPRW.  All NACOPRW members have been requested to sign the Declaration of Equality framed by Vision 2020.  Go to

SoCAL Chapter  in Orange County hosted its Annual “De Mujer a Mujercita” program, organized a leadership panel with four past presidents, raised $2000 for cancer awareness race for the cure.  Their outreach community service project is geared to supporting children from two slum areas in Puerto Rico. They will also be celebrating their  12th annual “PARRANDAS NAVIDEÑAS”  on Saturday, December 4th, 2010. 


De Aqui y de Alla

Sylvia Mendez Will Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
The civil rights activist, Sylvia Mendez, of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced.

She made history when her parents sued when they were told that they could not enroll her in an all-white school in California.  The Mendez v Westminster case became a landmark decision against segregation.  SoCAL Chapter has been promoting knowledge about the case and supporting Mendez’ efforts around the country.

MariCarmen Aponte Sworn In as US Ambassador to El Salvador 
Puerto Rican-born, MariCarmen Aponte was sworn-in at the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in September and has taken up her post in San Salvador as U.S. Ambassador to that country.   Congratulations, we are very proud of you.

Raul Yzaguirre, former CEO of the National Council of La Raza was also sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.  You also make us proud, Raul.

Presidential Rank Award for Celeste J. Mattina was conferred to her by the National Labor Relations Board on October 26, 2010, who serves as Acting Deputy General Counsel for NLRB at its New York Office.  Congratulations, Celeste, for a deserved honor.

Marisa Demeo’ Investiture as Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Anna Rosario, President of DC Metro Chapter attended the Puerto Rican Judge and long-time friend of NACOPRW’s investiture on July 23, 2010.  Demeo was among the 100 Hispanic Influentials in the Hispanic Business Magazine’s October issue.



The Borinqueneers: The Puerto Rican Soldier, documentary on 65th Infantry

The DVD of this outstanding history of the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Gallant Regiment is available at

Ohio Turns Down Puerto Rican Birth Certificates

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been turning away Puerto Ricans on the grounds that their birth certificates are invalidated by a law in Puerto Rico that withdrew their validity on September 30.
Up to 5 million people on the island and 1.4 million in the U.S. are now required to apply for new birth certificates with security features .  The Government of Puerto Rico was apparently not ready to meet the influx of requests for new certificates it has been receiving.


Convention Moments – Miami 2010




NACOPRW Board of Directors
Executive Committee

Vivian Ortiz,   National President
Vilma Colom, First Vice President
Sylvia Morrisroe, Second Vice President
Evelyn Figueroa, Treasurer
Vacant, Assistant Treasurer
Bequi Ortiz, Secretary
Edith Feliciano, Assistant Secretary

Deborah Lopez, President, Chicago
Evelyn Figueroa, Delegate,Chicago

Wanda Gordils, President, Indiana
Isabel Mendez, Delegate, Indiana

Lucy del Valle, President, Miami
Gladys Colon, Delegate, Miami
Carmen Monroe, Delegate, Miami

Vilma Colom, President, Northern Illinois
Mariaelisa Laracuente, Delegate, Northern  IL
Katherine Ast, Delegate,Northern Illinois

Maria Teresa Centeno,President, NY Manhattan

Vivian Ortiz, President, Philadelphia
Karensa Figuera, Delegate, Philadelphia
Magna Diaz, Delegate, Philadelphia

Darma Paden, President, Socal
Annie Lugo, Delegate, SoCal

Anna M. Rosario, President, D.C. Metro
Vilma Rosario, Delegate, D.C. Metro
Carmen Delgado Votaw,  Delegate, D.C. Metro

Sonia Collazo, President, Tampa
Ebony Tollinchi-Moore, Delegate, Tampa


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