Issue 3 September 2010

Message from the National President Vivian Ortiz
 Dear NACOPRW Members,

As we say goodbye to this summer season it is our sincere hope that we all enjoyed it with our family and friends.  I would like to extend  my sincere thanks and appreciation for your support.
As we begin the Fall season it is my hope that you will continue your support and your presence within our organization.

One of our goals continues to be to promote and preserve our Puerto Rican culture, our history, traditions, connect or reconnect with our roots and  preserve the Spanish language. We continue to achieve this by participating in meetings and other scheduled activities related to culture, art, music, education, community service as well as social functions. It is through these activities that we can educate and develop leadership among Puerto Rican women; provide role models for our youth and our community; collaborate and network with other organizations locally and nationally, and encourage the formation of other chapters of NACOPRW in other communities. 

I hope that with our strong membership and with the leadership that has been nurtured throughout the years within our organization, we will continue to have fun filled activities, interesting and educational meetings, as well as continue to develop ourselves not only as Puerto Rican women but as comrades and colleagues. 

Our website,,  is dedicated to informing our friends, members, Latinos and Boricuas at large about our organization’s activities, events and accomplishments. I urge you to review our history and accomplishment pages in our website so that you can familiarize yourself with the wonderful activities we have done and the legacy and history we are leaving behind. 

Our members are women from all walks of life, with different experiences and this is what enriches our organization. I invite you to attend one of our functions or meetings to network and meet other Puerto Rican and Hispanic women and get involved. Women and men of any nationality supportive of our goals are welcome in our chapters as associate members. 
I  would like to remind everyone that our 37th Annual Leadership Training Convention-Fostering Leadership  - Engaging the Next Generation of Women Leaders  is being held from  
November 12th – 14th    at Hilton Miami Airport, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, FL 33126

We encourage all members to attend.  For further information please visit our National website

Vivian Ortiz, President



Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15, 2010
The Census Bureau has given us a lot to celebrate our Hispanic Heritage month with by releasing data from a variety of sources that highlights the importance of our community to the United States.

President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Week for the first time in September of 1968 and the week was expanded in 1988 by Congress to a month so that we could more properly celebrate our traditions.  

The estimated Hispanic population as of last year stood at 48.4 million, making Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority.  The 4 million residents of Puerto Rico make us nearly 53 million and the fastest growing group among the diverse people of the nation.  It is projected that by 2050, the Hispanic population will stand at 132.8 million, or 30% of the U.S. population.

The percentage of children younger than 5 was 26% and younger than 18, 22%.  In 2009 there were 107 male Hispanics per 100 females, as opposed to the ratio between the overall population of 97 males per 100 females.

Sixteen states had at least a half million Hispanic residents: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Hispanic-owned business were 2.3 million with receipts up 55.5% from 2002.  Spanish speakers in the US numbered 35 million and the median income of Hispanic households in 2008 was $37,913.  The poverty rate increased to 23.2% and 30.7% of Hispanics lacked health insurance.

Educational attainment was 62% high school; 13% bachelor’s degrees (3.7 million) and less than a million, graduate degrees; 69% over 16 years old were in the labor force.  Reporting voting were 9.7 million and having served our country are 1.1 million veterans.

Garcia was the most common surname, followed by Rodriguez, Martinez and Hernandez.

NACOPRW Conference Nov. 12-14 in Miami

The 37th Annual National Conference of Puerto Rican Women Convention will be held November 12-14, 2010 in Miami, Florida at the Hilton Hotel at the airport.  The theme is Fostering Leadership: Engaging the Next Generation of Women Leaders.  Honorary Conference Chair is Dr. Alicia Baro, Founder of our Miami Chapter and two-time National President, who has dedicated her life to ensuring the rights of Hispanics, women, and other minorities in political representation, education and employment.  The Convention will be an action-packed, fun-filled weekend.  It starts off with a welcome reception Friday night, with a speaker from either the Governor’s office or the Mayor’s office, along with 75 cancioneros who will lead us in a sing-a-long and  trivia game prepared by Nydia Cabrera.

On Saturday morning, our confirmed breakfast speaker is Commissioner Luz Urbaez Weinberg, an expert in Health and Childhood Obesity.  We have invited  Sara Manzano Diaz, Director of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C to be our Key Note Speaker.  Some of our workshops will feature the Honorable Immigration Judge Liliana Torreh Bayouth discussing Legal Careers; Soraya Rivera Moya, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House, South Fla, on Fundraising; Staying Afloat, and a Personal Finance Workshop.  You won’t want to miss the Saturday night Awards Dinner Dance as well.  A local journalist will be our emcee.
Please go to our website at for updates on speakers, workshops and programming, and to download the Registration,  Sponsorship, Exhibitor and Advertising forms.  You can also read about last year’s 2009 National Conference in Chicago “Change within Reach: A Latina Perspective.”


A Poem by Iris Violeta Colón-Torres,
Former National President
Member Philadelphia Chapter,

No Cruces el Puente Antes de Llegar
Jan 2, 1995

El control de tu vida lo tienes tú
De ti depende tu futuro
Si es tu vida clara o es oscura,
Alegre o triste, es tu voluntad.

Se sincera contigo y con los demás,
De ti depende tu tranquilidad,
No pierdas el sueno
Por el pasado que ya paso.

Todo momento es oportuno,
Si tú lo sabes aprovechar.
Tu vida es tuya, tenlo presente,
No cruces el Puente antes de llegar.
Si a tu camino llega la angustia,
El desespero y la aflicción,
Sigue resuelta hasta la meta,
Tu voluntad te ha de amparar.

Recuerda hermana, sigue adelante
Aunque te azote la desolación,
Ten fe, se fuerte y despreocúpate
Del pasado que ya paso.
Afronta todo con voluntad,
No cruces el Puente antes de llegar.


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

CEDAW is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world.  It provides the United States an opportunity to be a global leader in standing up for the rights of women and girls in countries around the world.  Ratifying the CEDAW treaty would continue America’s proud bipartisan tradition of promoting and protecting human rights.

In order for CEDAW to be considered on the floor of the Senate, it must first be voted on in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Although currently Democrats have a majority in the Committee, without Republican support there is little hope of garnering the 67 votes the CEDAW ratification needs when it does reach the floor of the Senate.

NACOPRW has been collaborating with the CEDAW National Task Force which is comprised of over 100 national organizations all committed to U.S. ratification of the CEDAW Treaty.  It is led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and co-chaired by the YWCA, Citizens for Global Solutions, the ACLU and the National Women’s Law Center.  You can get more information by visiting

Title IX Celebrates Its 38th Anniversary

On June 23 Title IX of the Education Amendments celebrated 38 years having been credited for the dramatic increases in the participation of women and girls in math, science, engineering and athletic programs. 

NACOPRW has supported Title IX over the years and continues to support a federal interagency group coordinated by the Justice Department (with representatives of NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Energy and Education that have recently been discussing effective strategies for Title IX compliance reviews of STEM programs at higher education institutions that get federal funds hoping these strategies can include collecting best practices.

Much remains to be done as WEEA, the Women’s Educational Equity Act, needs to be reauthorized as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (referred to as No Child Left Behind).

Since 1987 WEAA has received less than $4 million annually even though it had been authorized as much as $80 million in the ‘80s.  NACOPRW co-signed a letter with many women’s organizations to support increased funding for the implementation of gender equity strategies that can build action networks at national, state, and local levels, can support development, evaluation and use of model gender equity programs, including six national Gender Equity collaboratives, and improve the Department of Education’s leadership by creating an Office of Gender Equity, similar to the Women’s Bureau in the Department of Labor.


National Museum of the American Latino Commission Holds Public Forum In Puerto Rico

The 23-member federal Commission hosted a Public Forum in San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 11, 2010 to seek input for the creation of the potential Museum of the American Latino.  The Commission is scheduled to render a report to Congress in September of this  year.
Anaida Munoz from our California Chapter SOCAL, sent a message electronically to the Commission with her views before the California hearing and Carmen Delgado Votaw also sent her comments electronically to the Commission.

Chapter News

The Indiana Chapter  collaborated with the program “La Presencia Puertorriquena” on July 29 at the East Chicago Public Library in Indiana.  The Chapter was acknowledged for its commitment to providing quality programs and services to the Puerto Rican community in East Chicago.  The picture shows President Wanda Gordils, Treasurer Enoelia Vega and associate member, Raymond Carrillo. 


Philadelphia Chapter Calendar

April 30th – Continuing our Workshop Series held an Educational forum “ Un Poco de Historia y Poesía – Por Iris Violeta Colón-Torres” at the Orlando Quevedo Gallery in Philadelphia.  Iris contributed a bit of  history on Puerto Rico and read poetry that inspired her by La Isla del Encanto.

May 6th Hosted a Meet and Greet forum for Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director Women's Bureau U.S. Department of Labor  where Mrs. Diaz addressed our local community and  a number of   young ladies from the local high schools detailing her emphasis, goals and vision for the next three years at the Women’s Bureau.


May 8th Annual Volunteerism and the Philadelphia Affiliate Susan G. Komen Mother’s Day Race for the Cure

May 21 Participated in Hostos ASPIRA Club’s 8th Annual Career Day – Mentoring

June 5 Wreath  Presentation at the 
Latin American Memorial Day Service at
Valley Forge



June 4 -6 National Board Quarterly
 Meeting, Rosemont.Illinois.

Northern Illinois Chapter

The NACOPRW Northern Illinois chapter hosted the NACOPRW National Quarterly Meeting from June 4-6, 2010 at the Embassy Suites O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL.  Our President, Vilma Colom, secured sponsorships to host activities including a Welcome Reception honoring Trailblazers in our community, with free appetizers, cash bar, and a D.J., as well as an Italian buffet luncheon on Saturday exclusively sponsored by the AARP, during which we honored individuals with wisdom who have made a difference in our community.  In addition, five of our members attended the meetings of all chapters where important NACOPRW work was conducted, including planning for our National Convention in Miami.  Vilma Colom was elected National First Vice-President in order to assist with fundraising, planning and preparations for the Convention in November.
AARP representative Carmenza Millan gave a presentation at the luncheon on June 7th about the important work the AARP is doing in the Hispanic community and the “Create the Good” campaign to link volunteers with local community service opportunities.  The Northern Illinois chapter will be hosting several Café con Leche events this fall in the Puerto Rican community to spread the word about the AARP and the good work they are doing.  The AARP Café con Leche project helps to encourage and educate the Hispanic community to look at aging as something to be celebrated.  The conversations show how through AARP’s boundless education and information materials, advocacy and services, the organization helps those in the local communities.  They also offer people the opportunity to help their community by becoming  volunteers.  Participants can benefit from all of this, and they get to do so while enjoying some pastries and café con leche. The Northern Illinois chapter is proud to be involved in the AARP Café con Leche project.

The incredible women (and one man) who were honored and received framed Certificates of Appreciation at a Friday night reception and Saturday’s luncheon included Arabel Alva Rosales, Chair, IL Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Eddie Reyes, Cook County Commissioner, 8th District; Edna Otero, Union Leader, Chicago Teachers Union; Maria Pesqueira, President/CEO, Mujeres Latinas En Accion; Marilyn Martinez, Superintendent, Cook County Corrections; Martha Ramos, Community Activist; Milly Santiago, Latino Community Media Liaison, Governor's Office;  Carmen Diaz, Leader and Senior Activities Coordinator of the Chicago Puerto Rican Parade Committee; Haydee Garcia, Community Activist and Businesswoman; and Sonia Varela, Hispanic Representative for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.  We applaud these honorees and thank them all for their tireless efforts to advance the Hispanic community.


SoCAL Chapter
SoCAL NACOPRW Chapter participates in Race for the Cure Event at Newport Beach with a “Latinas Race for the Cure Team 3221.”  The Team pledged to raise $2000 to support mammograms, urgent diagnostics, breast health education and research.

Latinas in Orange County are 26% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage than Non-Hispanic white women.
State funds for mammograms and other breast care services were cut this year making it very difficult for low income, uninsured and under-insured women in California to access these services.  The team hopes to make a difference for our mothers, sisters and friends.



How to Maintain Cardiovascular Health!

To get on a cardiovascular-healthy path, set reasonable goals and take small steps: DIET: Breakfast is good for your cardiovascular system.  Besides making you more alert, providing essential nutrients, and fending off hunger, breakfast can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Studies have shown that women who eat breakfast are less likely to have excess weight and diabetes – two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease.  In fact, research shows that eating breakfast is a key factor for long-term weight control.
Other recent studies send a related message: You can lower your risk of heart failure by eating whole-grain breakfast cereals.  Remember to check the cereal box for whole grain ingredients.
Some suggestions for a healthy and easy to make breakfast:

  • Whole Grain cereal with 1% skim or soy milk and fruit
  • Two slices of whole-grain bread with low fat cottage cheese and orange juice
  • Oatmeal with raisins or dried cranberries, or applesauce and cinnamon
  • Three whole-grain pancakes topped with light syrup and fruit
  • Breakfast smoothie, made with one cup skim or 1% milk, once scoop frozen yogurt, and ½ cup pineapple, banana or strawberry chunks.

EXERCISE: Before or after your healthy breakfast, take a 20-30 minute walk.  It’s easy for women to skip physical activity at the end of a long work day; so try to make a morning walk part of your routine for a healthy cardiovascular system.  Besides increasing energy, reducing stress, strengthening bones and muscles and improving overall fitness, walking can lower your risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
So buy a pair of comfortable shoes, keep them near your bed, clip on a pedometer, and start counting until you eventually reach 10,000 steps a day.  For more information on walking and pedometers, go to

SOCIAL SUPPORT: Get a buddy to walk with you in the morning before work.  You are more likely to stick to your routine if you have a friend or family member support you.  You can also join a walking club in your area. It’s more fun to walk and talk with someone.

Dorita DeLemos wanted to share this with NACOPRW

De Aqui Y De Alla

Antonia Pantoja is the subject of an inspirational and useful documentary for Puerto Rican scholars and activists and those concerned with social justice struggles announced the President of the Puerto Rican Studies Association, Gladys M. Jimenez-Munoz.

Antonia Pantoja (1922-2002) visionary Puerto Rican educator, activist, proponent of bilingual education inspired multiple generations.  She founded ASPIRA, Universidad Boricua and was awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.  To get a copy contact Women Make Movies Educate,

Latina/Chicana Women Balancing Life Issues and Activism Film.  Five activists: Dolores Huerta, Martha Cotera, Cherrie Moraga, Alicia Escalante and Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, describes how these single mothers managed to be parents and effect social change at the same time.  Contact

Pura Belpre Tribute in New York 
In June in East Harlem a marathon reading of Cidra-born writer of short stories reinterpreting folk tales, Pura Belpre, was held.  She was the first Latina librarian in the NY Public Library system who died on July 1, 1982 leaving a rich literary legacy.  Many of her books have been reissued. Information at
Carmen Delgado Votaw included in
Maryland Life Magazine as one of
10 Women Who Changed the Face of Maryland, July-August issue, Vol. 6, Issue 4. 
(page 53).


Carmen Delgado Votaw with Carmen Maymi, former Director of the Women’s Bureau and Miryam Gerdine, Metro DC Chapter of NACOPRW member.
Julia de Burgos honored with U.S. Stamp
The 26th stamp in the Literary Arts Series issued by the U.S. Postal Service honors Julia de Burgos, a celebrated Puerto Rican poet.  On sale in September, the 44 cent stamp features a portrait of de Burgos created by artist Judy Hewgill.

A revolutionary writer, thinker, feminist and activist Julia wrote more than 200 poems on love, feminism and political and personal freedom.  She combines the intimate with the personal and speaks powerfully to women, minorities, the poor and the dispossessed, urging them to defy constricting social conventions and find their own true selves.  Julia, we salute you.
The stamp features a  portrait of de Burgos created by artist Jody Hewgill.

Creating A Feminist Language 
Rosalie Maggio writes about sexist language and how to avoid it.  She says: language may just be our last uncharted frontier.  Among her books: a Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage: A Guide to Nondiscriminatory Language, The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, An Impulse to Soar: Quotations by Women on Leadership, Talking About People: A Guide to Fair and Accurate Language, Quotations from Women on Life, Nonsexist Wordfinder: A Dictionary of Gender Free Usage.

United Nations Creates UN Women
What is described as “a strong new cohesive entity, UN Women, is the new “machinery” created by the United Nations Organization by joining the organizations that dealt with women:
The Secretariat for the Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and INSTRAW (the women’s research institute that was sited in the Dominican Republic).  A new Assistant Secretary General will be appointed to coordinate this consolidation and ensuring that it really advances women’s rights and empowerment.  Civil society must be present and assisting to “create the wave on which the new entity can ride”, affirms WEDO, the Women’s Environment and Development nonprofit organization in New York City.

National Council of La Raza denounces the conditions under which Puerto Rican children are more likely to fail pointing to the nine out of ten indicators revealed by the 2010 Kids Count Data Book of the Annie E. Casey Foundation where the Puerto Rican children face higher levels of risk overall.

The child poverty rate for Puerto Rico is 56%, more than 3 times more than in the U.S. (18%) and more than half (51%) live in families where no parent has full time, year-round employment, or nearly twice the national rate of 27%.
The infant mortality rate in the island has improved since 2000 (8.4 deaths per 1000) and babies born to teen mothers (57 births per 1000 to teens aged 15-19) decreased 21% between 2000 and 2007.
Janet Murguia, President of La Raza, indicated that “data collection on child well being should be a top priority to any effort that is going to make a difference in improving chldren’s living standards.  KIDS COUNT is a valuable tool for policymakers, social service providers and many others who work on behalf of youth in Puerto Rico and the U.S.


 For more information, visit and programs/education/kids count/

Puerto Rican Women Suffer One of the World’s Worst Rates of Intimate-Partner Violence
The National Institute for Latino Policy reports that despite a 1989 groundbreaking law against domestic violence, Puerto Rican women on the island face a rising tide of domestic violence.

Advocates indicate inadequate funding for women’s rights policies and weak political support for the implementation of the law are the culprits but they criticize particularly the Office of the Women’s Advocate, created in 2001 to establish public policies with a gender perspective.

The Women’s Commission of the Puerto Rico Bar Association urged the Women’s Advocate, Yvonne Feliciano,  to fight to reinstate the cut funds when the budget was restricted in 2009.The staff was reduced from 56 to 34 and its $8 M budget is now $6.7.

The Reina Sofia Center, an international research center on violence in Valencia, Spain, published a report this year that indicates a Puerto Rican woman is more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than women in 35 of the countries surveyed.

There were 6 femicides in June alone this year with a total of 15 thus far this year.  Last year there were 17.  The Movimiento Amplio de Mujeres de Puerto Rico, a rights coalition, denounced the government for not doing more to confront the issue.

NACOPRW should do something about this at our conference.

NACOPRW Board of Directors
Executive Committee

Vivian Ortiz,   National President
Deborah Lopez, First Vice President
Sylvia Morrisroe, Second Vice President
Evelyn Figueroa, Treasurer
Vilma Colom, 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 Illinois
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