Issue 2 June 2012

National President, Vilma Colom
Message from the National President, Vilma Colom

Dear NACOPRW Members,

We have been working, diligently on our 39th Conference: “Promoting Leadership Through Collaboration, Professional Development and Mentoring.” The conference will be held in Chicago, at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel on the Magnificent Mile 165 East Ontario, November 9 through November 11, 2012.

This year we will continue the momentum we built in Puerto Rico to provide training and leadership development to all our participants. We look forward to engaging in dialog with leaders throughout the United States in order to address national and local issues affecting women and their families. These discussions will provide the basis for our agenda for the coming year. We hope our collaboration translates into expanding local community initiatives.

We are also always working to ensure that our website continues to be a source of information. Please visit as we update information on the conference.

Join us in Chicago on November 9th, 2012 on Veterans weekend.

The National Board meets in Philadelphia’s Hilton Garden Inn on June 1-3, 2012.                    


The 2010 U.S. Census indicates there are 157 million women in the U.S. and 151.8 million males.
At 85 and older there are more than twice as many women as men.
The estimated number of mothers of all ages in the U.S. is 85.4 million.
The average number of children that women 40 to 44 had given birth to as of 2008 was 2.3, down from 3.4 in 1976.
The median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year round, full time in 2010 was $36, 931 unchanged from the year before.
Women 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more in 2010 were 30.7 million, higher than men who were 29.2 million.  The number of female college students in fall 2010 were 11.3 million.
$1.2 trillion was the revenue for women-owned businesses in 2007 with 7.8 million owned businesses.  They employed 7.5 million people.
Four states with at least 500,000 women-owned businesses that year were California, Texas, New York and Florida.
The voting percentage for female citizens 18 and older who reported voting in the 2010 congressional election was 46.2%
The percentage of female citizens 16 and older who participated in the labor force was 58.6%, representing 71.9 million women and 40.6% were in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 34.2 of males.
The total number of active duty women in the military in 2010 was 205,500 of which 38,700 were officers and 166,800 were enlisted.
The number of married women 18 and older (including those separated or with an absent spouse in 2011) were 64.9 million and the number of stay-at-home mothers was 5 million.


The Advocacy Corner


The Equal Rights Amendment has been revived by the introduction of a Joint Resolution to remove the timeline for its ratification and deem the already ratified states to be 35 of the 38 needed for ratification, removing the 7-year limit imposed in 1972 when the Congress passed the ERA.

Carmen Delgado Votaw was a speaker at the press conference Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D.Md) held to announce the introduction of H.J. Res.47 with Senators Barbara Boxer D-CA, Dick Durbin D-Ill., Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY, Tom Harkin D-Ia., Mary Landrieu D-La., Frank Lautenberg D-NJ, Robert Menendez D-NJ, and Barbara Mikulski D-Md.
The House of Representatives conducted a hearing and a briefing on February 16 on the Senate.
Votaw said:  “Women of color, always invariably lagging in parity in education, jobs, political and civic representation, know we do not have a level playing field without the ERA.  That is why the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women supports HJ Res. 47 and the Senate companion bill.”  The House bill was introduced by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wi.)

The Constitution contains no time limits for ratification of constitutional amendments and the 27th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting immediate Congressional pay raises was ratified after 203 years so there is precedent to follow.
Let’s get it done.


Student Loan Forgiveness Act
The NACOPRW Advocacy Corps has been fighting against onerous interest rates imposed on student loans.  Latino students generally end saddled with debt so it is important for us to  support passage of H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act introduced by Rep. Henry Clarke of Michigan.

Minimum Wage
The National Women’s Law Center is organizing a campaign to raise the Minimum Wage which has not kept pace with the needs of workers and is lower than in the era of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

For information on the campaign, please visit NWLP’s Minimum Wage Website at or consult their updated Federal Minimum Wage Fact Sheet at

Women’s Bureau and Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations
NACOPRW co-signed a letter to the Chairs of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations urging them to support the economic security of women and their families by giving high priority to maintaining current levels of the above programs administered by the Department of Labor.  Since 1920 the Women’s Bureau has been the voice for equal pay supporting parity in compensation for wage-earning women and the WANTO program authorized at $1 million per year has helped to recruit, train and retain women in nontraditional occupations where they make up 25% or less of the current workforce.

Our good friend and fellow Puerto Rican, Sara Manzano Diaz, resigned her position as Director of the Women’s Bureau at the end of April, and we now will be missing a strong voice against the proposed cuts in these vital programs for women.


Title IX
On May 23rd, Title IX of the Education Amendments will be celebrating 40 years of existence promoting parity in education for girls and women.

In April, the federal district court for the District of Columbia dismissed a case brought against the US Department of Education by the American Sports Council which argued that the 3-part test used to determine whether schools provide equal opportunities for both girls and boys to participate in sports should not apply to high schools.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, girls lack resources and opportunities to play while male participation in sports is increasing even after the implementation of the 3-part test.

VAWA Reauthorization
The Feminist Majority reports that the House Judiciary Committee passed the Cantor/Adams reauthorization bill  which for the first time in the VAWA history narrows and restricts protections affecting immigrant women violence survivors by eliminating confidentiality in reporting and requiring immigration officials to interview the abuser and disclose the complaint to them.  It guts the U visa process that enables survivors to stay in the US while the legal complaint is resolved.  It also affects Native American women when they are abused by non-Native abusers on tribal lands because it does not give Native American authorities the power to prosecute those abusers.  More than 50% of Native American women have non-Native spouses.  It also denies LGBT survivors the support necessary for victims of domestic violence.

College Affordability in the Balance
Students are close to losing out with the proposed doubling increase on interest on Stafford Student loans scheduled to come into effect in July.  Unless Congress rejects the proposal, 7.4 million students will see $1000 in additional debt added to their load.  Almost 4.7 million female students would save an average of $1033 over the life of their loans should the Congress reject the proposed legislation.

Latino Underrepresentation in Federal Government
Jorge Ponce, in an article published in the National Institute for Latino Policy, bemoans the fact that in 42 years all we have heard are excuses to explain why Hispanics keep being so grossly underrepresented in the Federal workforce.  He calls it “defying logic” to still have 2.7 million in 2010 only of the 54 million Hispanics in the US plus 4 million in Puerto Rico employed in the federal workforce of approximately 22.3 million civilians.  This means that civilian employment for Latinos has remained flat at 8% from 2008 through 2010.
Latinos must demand action on this sad state of affairs.

The Annual Report of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Work Force Part II also verifies there has been no increase in the percentage of Latinos in the federal workforce and a small increase in people of color in senior-level positions.  Their estimate is that 7.9 percent is where the rate has stagnated and the level of  people with disabilities has remained steady at 0.88 per cent.  The EEOC statement said that “there has been little change in the composition of the federal workforce over the years”.  The composition of the EEOC workforce is no different.  There are practically no Latinos in their workforce…


Latina Inaugurated as first President of  the Texas A&M University Campus in San Antonio

Maria Hernandez Ferrier was inaugurated as a college President at Texas A&M with about 60 local Latinas that hold doctorates in full academic garb to show support for Hernandez Ferrier.  That is what the sisterhood of women should be doing celebrating other women’s triumphs.

Only 4% of tenured or tenure-track female faculty members in the U.S. are Latina, while 78% are white, 7% are African American and 7% are Asian American.

According to a Pew Hispanic Research Center survey, only 13% of Latinos age 25 and over hold college degrees (compared with 18% of African Americans, 31 % of whites and 50% of Asian Americans).  Pew indicates that two thirds of Latinos report that discrimination against Latinos in schools is a major social problem.

Solutions must be found to stem this educational “crisis” for Latinos.


© Iris Violeta Torres
Iris Violeta Colon Torres salutes mothers with a poem:

Madre eres,
   Mujer dulce, sentimental, amorosa;
   Mujer justa, maestra, amiga;
   Mujer sabia, espiritual, realista;
   Mujer luchadora, protectora, heroína.

Madre eres,
   Mujer de un templo sagrado de fecundidad;
   Mujer de entranas llenas de inmensidad;
   Mujer de senos vastos, como la eternidad;
   Mujer de alma hermosa como una deidad.

Chapter News   


Chicago Chapter
Luisa Capetillo: A  Passion for Justice is a beautifully filmed movie about
the life and work of Luisa Capetillo (1879-1922) a Puerto Rican journalist, writer, suffragist,
and labor organizer.  The Chicago Chapter  showed the film and had a panel discussion on
it in March at La Casa Puertorriquena.

DC Metro Chapter
The DC Metro Chapter held  a Spring event on May 20, 2012 at the Restaurant Caribbean Breeze in Virginia.

The DC Chapter co-sponsored a day-long
Conference on Health Care with Dialog on Diversity held on May 16 at the NEA (National Education Association).

NACOPRW DC is also organizing a theater outing to see “Puerto Rico Fua” a comedy at Gala Hispanic Theater on June 9.
Indiana Chapter
On April 12th, the chapter participated in a round table forum to discuss key issues affecting our community in education and immigration.

On April 21st, NACOPRW contributed and participated with the Food Pantry event with other Latino Organizations held at the Roberto Clemente Center to help those in need.

On May 6th, the Indiana Chapter participated in the March for Babies 5 mile walk sponsored by the March of Dimes. 

Also on May 6th,  the  chapter held their first annual “Take your Mom to Lunch” event at Los Hijos de Borinquen in East Chicago, IN  where sons and daughters received the opportunity to publicly express on stage their gratitude and give tribute to their  mothers.  Over 180 people attended this event. 



Miami Chapter
On March 31st, the Chapter celebrated Women’s History Month holding the Alicia Baro Achievement Awards Night at the Renaissance Ballroom, dedicated to Alicia Baro,recently deceased.  Besides recognition and a video about Baro, there was a dance with “Plena Es”, a folkloric winning band. Fifteen awardees were honored as “Distinguished Latina Women of the Community”.

 Scholarships were offered  on May 26, 2012

                                  Northern Illinois Chapter
On January 29, 2012, members of the Northern IL Chapter witnessed a ceremony, presided over by the Honorable Judge Gloria Chevere, to swear in our chapter’s president, Vilma Colom, to the office of National President of NACOPRW, and Katherine Ast (chapter treasurer) to the office of National Assistant Treasurer.

On April 10, one of our newest members, Marisol Otero, was presented with the United 100 Recognition Award by Jeff Smisek, President & CEO of United Airlines. Marisol, who is the Coordinator of Domestic Airport Services for United Airlines Procurement, received this award for her work on uploading documents into United’s new Ariba system three days before the deadline. The Northern IL chapter congratulates Marisol on her exemplary work ethic and leadership skills! Pictured: President & CEO of United Airlines Jeff Smisek, Marisol Otero, and Manager Don Kaminski.



On April 24, NACOPRW Northern IL Chapter member Reina Otero's third grade students from Galileo Elementary School went to see the musical "BARRIO GRRRL" at the Merle Reskin Theater. The play, written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, is about a young girl who uses her superpowers as Barrio Grrrl to fight injustice and boredom in her neighborhood.  Reina’s students enjoyed the play, especially the creative way that the characters solved their problems. They also learned that it is important to stand up for yourself.  Quiara Alegría Hudes, who is Puerto Rican, is best known for writing the book for the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. She also won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful.



On May 12, the Saturday before Mother's Day, several members of the Northern IL Chapter visited with senior residents at Casa Central, across the street from Humboldt Park. Each woman was given a rose and wished a Happy Mother's Day. Tears were shed for various reasons by both the women and our members. They expressed thanks for the visit and for the flowers. We were thankful for all the "Que Dios te Bendiga" wishes the women gave us. We need to be reminded of how a simple gesture can mean so much to those in need.


Philadelphia Chapter
On March 28, the Chapter celebrated Women’s Month with a Member Recognition Reception at Orlando’s Art Gallery.  The honorees were: Carmen E. Adames and Jeannette Harris, business owners, and Agnes Hernandez, police officer.

 Chapter Members Agnes Hernandez, Jada Rudisill, Sonia Figueroa, Amaris Hernandez, Luz Salas, Luz Loeb,Jeannette and Ileana Harris, Quetcy Lozada, as well as Maria Q. Sanchez participated in Latinas Unidas for the Cure to continue fighting against cancer within the Susan Komen Race for the Cure.
Vivian Ortiz is the Latina Ambassador in our Community and she was honored at the Phenomenal Women’s  Third Annual Fundraiser too.  She also joined the White House briefing for Vision 2020 (as did Carmen Votaw).

The Chapter attended a White House  roundtable that brought together a group of leaders to discuss the Social Safety Net with the USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, Kevin Concannon.  The discussions focused on issues related to the First Congressional District of Philadelphia, which is the second highest food insecure district in the nation.  Its population is largely Latino.

The Chapter is helping to coordinate the American Heart Association Latina Luncheon scheduled for June.

Chapter members Vivian Ortiz, Elba Alicea, Crystal Ortiz Madeline Leonard, and Nicky Mendez Simon participated in an Autism Awareness Community Event at the Camden Aquarium. 

The Chapter also participated in the Mayor’s Annual Spring Clean-Up when 45,000 volunteers collected over 5.8 million pounds of trash to make the City a better place to live.  The Chapter also sponsored Sunday Supers when youth from all across Philly walk to build awareness and combat hunger.

In May the Chapter sponsored a Domestic Violence and Stalking
Workshop conducted by Sargeant Evelyn Cintron, a NACOPRW member who is a certified Police Instructor and Administrator at the Philadelphia Police Department’s Advanced Training Unit.

SO-CAL Chapter
The Southern California Chapter reports that it  awarded three one-time scholarships of $300
each on June 2 in Santa Ana, California.  SoCAl held its Executive Board installation
ceremony at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  They report that Miluka Rivera’s book “Legado
Puertorriqueno   en Hollywood continues to receive rave reviews, the latest from Jorge
Rodriguez from El Vocero de Puerto Rico.

De Aqui Y De Alla

Jose Ferrer Immortalized on a First
Class Forever Stamp
Honored as a Distinguished American, Puerto  Rican movie, theater and television performer
Jose Ferrer was celebrated on the first-day-of –Issue, April 26, 2012 in New York.

His stamp is part of the “Distinguished Americans series honoring him as one of the
most accomplished talents of his generation (1912-1992).  He won several Tony Awards for
his work on stage, a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Cyrano de Bergerac plus three Academy
Award nominations during his 60-year career in  the movies.


Carmen Delgado Votaw represented NACOPRW National on TV and radio in  Univision
On May 23rd , Votaw participated in the  program“Perspectiva Nacional” on  TVconducted by
Armando Guzman on Latina voting participation.  She also participated in the Univision Radio
Program “Mesa Presidencial” with host Puerto  Rican Jose Fernandez, que se transmite en
WKAQ en Puerto Rico, sobre las actividades de  NACOPRW en pro de la mujer en el ámbito



NACOPRW Board of Directors
Executive Committee
Vilma Colom,  National President
Lourdes Hernandez, First Vice President
Carmen Bonilla, Second Vice President
Enoelia Vega, Treasurer
Katherine Ast, Assistant Treasurer
Wanda Gordils, Secretary
Annie Luga, Assistant Secretary

Evelyn Figueroa, President, Chicago
Edith Feliciano, Delegate,Chicago
Ada Lopez, Delegate, Chicago

Enoelia Vega, President, Indiana
Elizabeth Garcia, Delegate, Indiana
Carmen Gonzalez, Delegate, Indiana

Elizabeth Baez, President, Miami
Dr. Sonia Troche, Delegate, Miami
Lucy del Valle, Delegate, Miami

Vilma Colom, President, Northern Illinois
Mariaelisa Laracuente, Delegate, NorthernIL
Janice Kahn, Delegate, Northern Illinois

Michelle Centeno,President, NY Manhattan

Amaris Hernandez,  President, Philadelphia
Iris Violeta Colon Torres, Delegate, Philadelphia

Darma Castro Paden, President, SoCal
Annie Lugo, Delegate, SoCal
Ana Berrios, Delegate, SoCal

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

Become a Member of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women
If there is no chapter in your jurisdiction, you can become a National Member of NACOPRW by paying dues to the national organization.
Please fill out and send us your dues with the attached membership form.  Be part of a national sisterhood of savvy, successful Puerto Rican Women, an incredible network of professional and cultural support for YOU.

Send Carmen Delgado Votaw information about what your NACOPRW chapter is doing
to help advance women’s causes so that we can share it in Ecos Nacionales.
 Deadlines are 2 weeks before March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1.

Editor:Carmen Delgado Votaw,  Assistant Editor, Bequi Ortiz,