Issue 3 September 2011

Message from the National President, Vivian Ortiz

Dear NACOPRW Members,

Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15th and continues through October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Week was approved by President Lyndon Johnson; it was extended by President Ronald Reagan and was enacted into law in 1988.  As we recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States, Hispanic Heritage month highlights the importance of celebrating the traditions of our community here in the United States.  

One of our goals continues to be to promote and preserve our Puerto Rican culture, our history, and traditions, connect or reconnect with our roots and preserve the Spanish language. Our members are women from all walks of life, with different experiences and this is what enriches our organization.  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. Our website,, is dedicated to informing our friends, members, Latinos and Boricuas at large about our organization’s activities, events and accomplishments.

It is through these activities that we can educate and develop leadership among Puerto Rican and Hispanic 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 NACOPRW chapters in other communities.  I invite you to attend our functions or meetings to network with 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 38th Annual Convention and Leadership Training Conference “Defining our Future: Engaging the Crossroads Between the United States and Puerto Rico” will be held from November 11-13, 2011 at the Conrad San Juan Condado in Puerto Rico.  We encourage all members and guests to attend.  For further information, please visit our National website


NACOPRW Conference in Puerto Rico November 11-13 Condado Plaza Hotel

We hope you are already registered and have gotten your ticket to meet with us at the Condado Plaza to talk about the Crossroads and Collaboration links we can unleash between “los de aca y los de alla” to benefit the advancement of Puerto Rican and Latina women.  

The conference will have workshops on domestic violence, pay equity, women’s health, aging, youth leadership, the culture we share, how the media portrays us and there will be exciting speakers, guests and awards.  

 You do not want to miss this.  Let’s pledge to meet in Puerto Rico to renew roots, make new friends and find common threads among our sisters in the island.


NACOPRW represented at Historic White House Summit of Hispanic Leaders

The July 11-12, 2011 Public Policy conference brought together 160 Latino leaders from 25 states and Puerto Rico, among them, NACOPRW representative Carmen Delgado Votaw.  Sections of her report are reproduced below.

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda was well represented at the conference around 160 Latino leaders from 25 states and Puerto Rico interfacing with Administration officials from the Departments of HHS, USDA, DOL (Sara Manzano Diaz, of Women’s Bureau was one of the representatives), DOJ, HUD, EPA, FCC, Homeland Security, Commerce, MBNA, GSA, SBA and White House staff (Science and Technology, Faith-Based Partnerships).  The first day was capped by having the President of the United States address the group at the end of the day, right after the lethal debt meetings held at the White House that day.  The President reiterated his commitment to immigration reform, his partnership with the Latino community and his desire to be connected to us over the next 5 years…

The conference was designed to hear from us rather than have officials lecture us.  It succeeded in its purpose to energize our community leaders and to have everybody’s issues heard.  I was able to raise four questions on green jobs for Latinos (especially women), on the dearth of Hispanics in the Federal workforce, on inclusion of Latino youth in innovation grant programs and on the replication of programs such as AmeriCorps to serve our youth as well as the effects of foreclosures in the Latino communities across the nation.

After all the conference rotational meetings with federal officials, NHLA secured a special meeting for its membership (one person per organization) with top White House leadership.  Unfortunately Plouffe and Valerie Jarret could not attend so the cast, for the White House was primarily from the Domestic Policy Council: Felicia Escobar, Racquel Russell, Roberto Rodriguez; Nancy Ann deParle, Dep. Chief of Staff, Cecilia Munoz and Stephanie Valencia, who did a superb job of organizing the conference with Sepulveda from the Latino Education Council.

The priorities for our organizations were covered by different speakers and included: health (not doing away with Medicaid expansión, covering the uninsured, protecting regionalization o f safety net, research, training, health careers—long term pipeline, vulnerable populations); education (the Dream Act , computer technology for schools, more outreach on Pell Grants and Race to the Top); immigration, civil rights abuses in Ala., Ca., Fl.  FCC enforcement of hate speech sanctions), Voting Rights Enforcement (Ohio, Ct.), redistricting; environmental issues (need statistics on how many Latinos trained and obtained green jobs and how many Latino youth employed for summer in public lands and parks (21,000 hired) and requested the creation of an intergovernmental group to look into public lands and their relationship with Latinos.

Rafael Fantauzzi brought up the gasoducto in Puerto Rico and the proposed authorization by EPA of 7 incinerators on the island as well as the Civil Rights violations perpetrated on the island by police and Administration of U.P.R. requesting DOJ issue its findings on a report Perez is doing on the civil rights violations and accusing the Resident Commissioner of lobbying the Department of Justice to not issue a report and drop its investigation of Puerto Rico. He also lamented the lack of a role for the 4 M Puerto Ricans in the U.S. in the Report of the Task Force on Puerto Rico’s status.  (Coincidentally, on July 12 the ACLU issued its preliminary findings on its report on human rights violations on the island at a briefing on Capitol Hill).  Statistics were requested on the deportation of Latinos (70% non criminal and 38% criminal).  FCC-wireless infrastructure initiative should include Puerto Rico.

The lack of Hispanics in Federal Government (only 8%), the need for participation of Latinos in the creation of businesses and the creation of health exchanges by 2014.  Someone mentioned that there are 8 million permanent Latino residents in the U.S eligible to become citizens.

Among other issues that surfaced during the discussions of the day:

SBA certification; affordable housing, outreach to Latinos on CDBG, scholarships in EPA not reaching Latinos, children working in agriculture, Hispanic senior citizens (forcefully represented by Suleika Cabrera Drinane of New York), statistics on numbers of minority businesses by ethnicity and race, patient protection, need for Latinos to be trained in mental health disciplines.

The second day (at the Department of Human Services) used a novel system of groupings so that the participants could set the agenda and talk about the topics of interest in a flexible manner.  Out of this day came several suggestions of interest:

Convening a  Latino Conference of Nonprofits in DC in the future.

Utilizing social media to stay in touch.

The Advocacy Corner

The NACOPRW Advocacy Corps has engaged in efforts in the advocacy field supporting the Lilly Ledbetter Wage Parity Act, the Campus Violence Act and green jobs for women.

In the Education field, it has defended the Educational Equity Act and regulations, defended Pell grants against cuts, and promoted the Dream Act.

In social protections, it has advocated for keeping Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid funding intact, and not dismantling the new Affordable Health Care Act.

NACOPRW joined NHLA in calling for the raising of the debt ceiling and passing the Budget with the safety net for the vulnerable intact.

In civil rights it has supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, passing the Equal Rights Amendment and ratifying CEDAW, the Convention Against Discrimination on Women.  It continues to advocate for a site for the National Women’s History Museum (HR 1269 of Rep. Carolyn Maloney and S 680 of Senator Susan Collins.

It also joined NHLA on efforts to ensure Hispanics have access to FCC protections to expand access to broadband and supported the contract with AT&T. We also signed on to a letter in support of the Department of Labor’s FMLA (Federal Medical Leave Survey).

NACOPRW has collaborated with NHLA, AAUW. The Women’s History Museum, LULAC, Nat. Council of La Raza, AARP

Maria Elisa Laracuente has been the most active member of the Advocacy Corps.  Congratulations, Maria Elisa.  We appreciate your efforts on our behalf.


NACOPRW President Meets with Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis 

In a meeting organized by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda with the Secretary of Labor representatives of NHLA member agencies, including Vivian Ortiz,  met with her and her assistant Gabriela Lemus to share with her NHLA’s 2-year progress report. The current economic situation and the trillion dollar debt were discussed as well as the 13.2% unemployment rate for Hispanics.

Workforce development needs were highlighted.  The Secretary urged organizations to contact the House of Representatives to convey the needs of the Latino community,

She also indicated her Department is looking for readers and panelists for grant assessments in areas such as community college grants, trade adjustment assistance, College and Career Training Grants (TAACCCT) and H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants.


President of the USA visits Puerto Rico

President Barack Obama visited Puerto Rico on June 14th proclaiming that he has great aspirations for the island, including increasing broadband access and width and promoting technological advancements in the island.

The President met with the Governor of Puerto Rico, attended a fund raiser and had lunch at a popular restaurant, Kasalta.  He says he wanted to keep a campaign promise he made to visit the Island as President.   


National Conference of Puerto Rican Women’s Conference-Make your reservation today

Attendees can make their own hotel reservations directly with the Conrad Condado Hotel reservation office at phone number:  1-888-722-1273 or (787) 721-1000.  It is very important that each person identify herself or himself as part of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women to receive the group rates. 

Also, the reservations can be made on line at the group rate using the following page: 

Step 1:
Step 2:  click on Reservations
Step 3:  Select arrival and departure Dates
Step 4:  Under Special Accounts and next to Group/Convention Code: Enter   ABZG( group code)
Step 5:  Click on Continue button
Step 6:  Select room rate/room category
Step 7:  Click on Continue button
Step 8:  Enter your personal information
Step 9:  Click on Book Now button

DATES When $129 Rate applies  ARE:



Chapter News    


DC Metro Chapter
The Chapter had a delegation of  7 members attend a talk by Puerto Rican writer, Esmeralda Santiago, about her new book, Conquistadora, at the popular book store, Politics and Prose, in Washington, D.C. on August 3.  Among those entranced with the “charla” were Anna Rosario, Sandy Rosario, Vanny Marrero and Carmen Delgado Votaw.

 Buy the book for it is about Puerto Rico and the author hopes to add two more to the series…It is available in English and Spanish.

Indiana Chapter
Congratulations to Erica Cruz of Hobart Indiana, recipient of our annual education scholarship.  Erica will be attending Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana this fall.  The Indiana Chapter wishes Erica much success.



Philadelphia Chapter
The Philadelphia Chapter has been busy:

March 2011 – NACOPRW hosted an informal Meet & Greet the Candidates Mixer.  Seven candidates vying for various positions in city government at the May elections were present.  NACOPRW felt that it was important that area citizens had an opportunity to meet the candidates they would potentially vote for in the upcoming months.  

(in this picture among members:  Maria Quiñones Sánchez, incumbent 7
th Council District, Marnie Alument, candidate for Traffic Court, Blondell Reynolds Brown, incumbent City Council-at-Large)

March – May 2011 - May Primary elections in Philadelphia - we advocated for our members to participate in the elections.  NACOPRW advocated for women to come out and vote and called for unity, organizing and working together collectively in our community.    

March – August – Amaris Hernandez, VP actively participated in meetings with the Latino Lines a coalition of Latino leaders in Philadelphia who believe it’s time to change the current redistricting process that is diluting the city’s Latino vote.  Since the ’70s, the 7th City Council district has been the most gerrymandered district in the nation.” Its  largest population is Latino. 

May 2011 – NACOPRW hosted its 2nd   Annual First Time Home Buyer Workshop.  Attendees were given the opportunity to meet with professionals in the home buying process with NO sales pitches and no pressure.  They learned how owning a home affects your taxes, how to choose a loan that was right for them, a realtor and a lending institution, what home inspectors and home appraisers do, what insurance options there are, the steps to take to clean up credit, how to set a goal and become a better saver, and all about the programs available to help them buy their first home! Congrats to Carmen Bonilla on an excellent workshop!!

Pictured:  presenter Bruce Datil of Allstate Insurance

June 2011 - Membership Mixer hosted by a local business Salsa on the Square was designed to build a stronger members network and offered NACOPRW new and old members the opportunity to meet one another.  It also gave us the opportunity to fundraise for our upcoming Odessa Awards Reception.

June –July   Joined and collaborated with El Comité al Rescate de Nuestra Herencia Puertorriqueña (Committee to Rescue our Puerto Rican Heritage) to save the annual Philadelphia Puerto Rican Festival from being eliminated.  A Philadelphia tradition since 1962, the Puerto Rican Festival is a citywide series of events organized by Concilio. Since its humble beginnings, the Puerto Rican Festival has promoted unity, economic development and education while preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of its people.

July – NACOPRW donated to Grupo de Teatro Moriviví- a local non-profit theatre group bringing obras de teatro para promover nuestra heréncia cultural. Moriviví is employing local artist, promotes the Puerto Rican and Hispanic culture, values and preserving our language. NACOPRW members Iris Violeta Torres Colon and Maria Quiñones Sánchez were honored for their continued support of the arts and our community.  BRAVO!! 


Grupo Moriviví “Que Suegra Lista”
Photo by Luz Selenia Salas

July 2011 – NACOPRW participated and recognized WPVI Channel 6 news anchor Dan  Cuellar for his service to Philadelphia and always being a responsible journalist.

Pictured Below Dan Cuellar (center) with members:

Yaritza Casul, Vivian Ortiz and Luz Selenia Loeb

August 2011 – NACOPRW participated and   donated to the 25th Police District’s National Night Out (NNO).  NNO is a community-police awareness-raising event held the first Tuesday of August. The event has been held annually since 1984 and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in the United States and Canada.  The event is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch/Neighborhood Watch, and other anti-crime efforts.

August 2011 – NACOPRW contributed to Saint Hugh of Cluny Family Fun Day promoting family and community unity.

S0-CAL Chapter
Some Chapter members 

Tony Lugo, Maria Vizcarrondo and Jorge Sole attended the presentation of Puerto Rican Author and Actress, Miluka Rivera, "Legado Puertorriqueno" en Hollywood, at Irvine College.  On June 18th, the Chapter Hosted a family picnic at Casa de Puerto Rico.  On September 25, it will participate in the 7th Annual Race for the Cure of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

On November 5, the Chapter will host its “Pastelada” workshop and on November 19 it will participate in the 4th Festival del Cuatro.

On December 10, the Chapter will celebrate its 12th annual Parranda Navidena.


Poema: Soy Tu Cuna

© Iris Violeta Colón Torres 1995

Soy tu cuna

¿Acaso no me recuerdas?

Soy la doncella dormida sobre el Mar Caribe

El sueño de Betances y el amor del Bayoán.

Soy a la que Gautier cantaba en sus sonetos,

la que inspiró a Bibiana y la que Alejandrina amó.

De Julia soy el alma y el pájaro de dos alas soy de Lola.

En mis campos Luis Lloréns en versos su pluma alzó.

¿Me recuerdas?

Soy la de las playas que el sol regó con oro.

La de las bellas palmeras y el inmenso cielo azul.

Soy la que tiene eterna primavera

donde orgulloso florece el Flamboyán.

La cuna del coquí, el nido del pitirre,

el paraíso perdido que Colón encontró.

¿Ya sabes quién soy? ¿Me sientes?

El aire de mi ambiente alimenta tus pulmones,

hasta la mancha de mi plátano llevas en la piel.

El agua de mis ríos corre por tus venas

y el semblante altivo de mi Yunque en tise ve.

De tu garganta sale mi idioma caribeño

y a la música del cuatro siempre cantas tus sueños

¿Quién soy? ¡Me preguntas quién soy!

Soy la doncella por la cual el maestro don Pedro dio la vida.

La inspiración de Morel Campos siempre he sido yo.

¡Soy tu cuna Borincano!

Soy aquella que el Taíno llamó Borinquén,

aquella que el hidalgo don Cristóbal Juan Bautista bautizó

¡Puerto Rico! Esa soy yo. 


De Aqui y de Alla

Inez Casiano  1926-2011, Puerto Rican feminist and former member of the DC Chapter of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inez Casiano passed away on June 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Casiano was one of the founders of NOW and was a member of Veteran Feminists of America’s Advisory Committee.  Her husband, Robert W. Hardy can be reached at 

Dr. Ligia Peralta, of the Dominican Republic, was inducted in Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.  She is the Chief of Young Adult Medicine of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and serves on the National USA HIV Task Force. 

Carmen Delgado Votaw was a speaker at MANA A Latina Organization’s Leadership Institute Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico at a panel of Latina women writers on August 12, 2011.  Alisa Valdes Rodriguez who has a new book out, Laura Contreras Rowe were also  panelists as well as painter Laura Lopez Cano. 

Sylvia Mendez, Presidential Award Winner, was a keynote speaker at the Conference. 

Presidential Proclamation on Women’s Equality Day, August 26, 2011

The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution tore down the last formal barrier to women’s enfranchisement in our Nation and empowered America’s women to have their voices heard in the halls of power.  This Amendment became law only after decades of work by committed trailblazers who fought to extend the right to vote to women across America.  For the women who fought for this right, voting was not the end of the journey for equality, but the beginning of a new era in the advancement of our Union.  These brave and tenacious women challenged our Nation to live up to its founding principles, and their legacy inspires us to reach ever higher in our pursuit of liberty and equality for all. 

Before the Amendment took effect, women had been serving our Nation in the public realm since its earliest days.  Even before they gained the right to vote, America’s women were leaders of movements, academics, and reformers, and had even served in the Congress.  Legions of brave women wrote and lectured for change.  They let their feet speak when their voices alone were not enough, protesting and marching for their fundamental right to vote in the face of heckling, jail, and abuse.  Their efforts led to enormous progress.  Millions upon millions of women have since used the power of the ballot to help shape our country. 

Today, our Nation’s daughters reap the benefits of these courageous pioneers while paving the way for generations of women to come.  But work still remains.  My Administration is committed to advancing equality for all of our people.  This year, the Council of Women and Girls released “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being,” the most comprehensive report in 50 years on the status of women in our country, shedding light on issues women face in employment, crime, health, and family life.  We are working to ensure that women-owned businesses can compete in the marketplace, that women are not discriminated against in healthcare, and that we redouble our efforts to bring an end to sexual assault on college campuses. 

On the 91st anniversary of this landmark in civil rights, we continue to uphold the foundational American principles that we are all equal, and that each of us deserves a chance to pursue our dreams.  We honor the heroes who have given of themselves to advance the causes of justice, opportunity, and prosperity.  As we celebrate the legacy of those who made enormous strides in the last century and before, we renew our commitment to hold true to the dreams for which they fought, and we look forward to a bright future for our Nation’s daughters. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 26, 2011, as Women’s Equality Day.  I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the achievements of women and recommit ourselves to the goal of gender equality in this country. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty -sixth.