Issue 3 September 2012

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

Dear NACOPRW Members,

Preparations are underway for our National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc.'s 39th Annual Training Convention and Business Meeting, November 9-11, 2012 at the Courtyard by Marriott, Magnificent Mile at 164 E.Ontario in Chicago, IL.  This year's theme is "Promoting Leadership Through Collaboration, Professional Development, and Mentoring" and you won't want to miss it!

Tentative agenda items include a "Welcome to Chicago" reception the evening of Friday, November 9, 2012 at City Hall Council Chambers downtown, sponsored by AARP and Ann Sather restaurant, with Alderman Thomas Tunney and several elected officials, the Vice Mayor Ray Suarez of Chicago and Cook County Board President, Toni Periwinkle as speakers, and Folkloric Entertainment: Las Bom Pleneras (women’s group).  Saturday will include workshops on women in leadership, business development, Sponsorer by Excelon a panel on leadership and advocacy, an award-winning social media expert, as well as national speakers, who will speak about the “Latina leadership agenda & the importance of mentoring."  Saturday night will include optional attendance to the world-famous Cuatro Festival, which is coordinated by the Puerto Rican Arts alliance and will take place at the Harris Theatre.  Sunday's Breakfast will include a speaker and discussion about NACOPRW's forty years of existence (where are we as an organization and where do we want to go from here), as well as the transition of newly elected officers and discussions of 2013 conference and possible theme. We look foward to everyone's participation and a successful conference in Chicago.

The 2012 Convention of NACOPRW is on November 9-11 in the Windy City of Chicago at the Courtyard by Marriott-Magnificent Mile Hotel—Come Join Us.

The Annual Conference will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of NACOPRW under the rubric “Promoting Leadership through Collaboration, Professional Development and Mentoring”, and will cover the status of Latinas in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, health, leadership, mentoring and advocacy as well as entrepreneurship and financial stability.

Concurrent sessions will be held for young women and girls to raise awareness about their challenges and opportunities.

As usual, the conference will expose to significant talent and local events such as a Cuatro Concert at Harris Theater, folkloric entertainment by Las BomPleneras and a comedian.

The Awards Luncheon will be hosted by a media personality and honorees will be recognized for their promotion of women’s advancement and our community’s well-being.

Please demonstrate your solidarity with NACOPRW by joining us in November to celebrate our accomplishments and to meet political celebrities and outstanding panelists.


The Advocacy Corner

The celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments and the pay equity legislation have been outstanding events that verify for us the importance of advocacy and the constant attention we need to pay to it as an organization.

The Violence Against Women Act is still pending but we were able to get legislation passed on the loans to students that will prevent onerous rates to interfere with their future prospects at education and in the workplace.
When the Congress returns in September there will be numerous issues pending and as this is an election year, it is unlikely that they will all be resolved.  So gear up to continue on all the issues we have engaged in when there is a propitious opportunity in the future.


Involvement of Latinos in the 2012 Elections.

Yvette Donado reported on Capital Wire in August that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) published a report titled, Fault Lines in Our Democracy: Civic Knowledge, Voting Behavior and Civic Engagement in the United States, that can be accessed at or

She reported ruefully that “Although Latino numbers increased significantly, compared to the 2004 figures, the fact that only half of the eligible Latinos voted troubles me.”  Hispanic voter participation in 2008 was 49.9 percent, much lower than non Hispanic Whites (66.1%) and Blacks (64.7 percent) and slightly higher than Asian Americans.

Organizations like the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed officials look at the crystal ball and forecast that 12.2 million Latinos will vote in November, up 26 percent from 2008. 

We have much to do to motivate Hispanic voters to cast their ballots.  Too much is at stake in this election and civic duty compels us to ring the clarion call to all our family, friends and anyone who will listen that civic engagement is intimately related to being able to put food on the table and having good schools and defending our rights. 

Latino civic engagement is a necessity if we are to progress and we must celebrate Voto Latino’s work in voter registration and getting out the vote, the work of The Hispanic Leadership Institute and its interactive website for young people to learn civics as well as the efforts of ASPIRA, the National Council of La Raza, LULAC and others to promote participation.

As Donado urges us, we must add our “granito de arena” to get others to be involved in our electoral process and contribute to the nation’s civic life in all its aspects volunteering and having our voices heard as we defend our rights and promote a better future for all Latinos.

Women’s Equality Day: August 26th

Women’s Equality Day was designated by Joint Resolution of Congress in 1971 to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920 that guaranteed women the right to vote in the United States.

This feat is another step that helps culminate the struggle that commenced in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.  In 2020, we will be celebrating one hundred years of the Suffrage Movement, an effort NACOPRW has joined with Vision 2020 to promote women’s advancement so that we have reason to celebrate in 2020. 

Your state should have issued a Proclamation for August 26.  The sample proclamation passed by the U.S. Congress reads like this:

WHEREAS the women of the United States have been treated as second class citizens and have not been entitled to the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as a symbol of the continued fight for equal rights; and
WHEREAS, the women of the United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.

A United Nations Fifth Conference on Women in 2015 Is Under Consideration
Women’s rights activists of all regions of the world should be adding their voices to the discussions about a proposed UN Fifth World Conference on Women in 2015, its organization, purpose and agenda.

On March 8, 2012, the President of the UN General Assembly (of Qatar) and Secretary General Ban Ki Moon proposed convening such a conference to look closely at the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and at emerging issues and enormous changes taking place in the world that have negative and positive implications for women.

The proposal will be discussed at the September General Assembly meeting of the 193-member states of the UN.  If approved, it will mark 20 years after the 1995 Fourth World Conference of Women held in Beijing where the landmark Platform for Action was approved.  The deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals falls in 2015 when sustainable development goals will be negotiated for beyond 2015.

Thus far, there has been precious little consultation with civil society and there are major concerns that we should not re-open previous U.N. documents but build upon possibilities for implementation.

Proposals include galvanizing a powerful constituency o speed up implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (The U.S has not ratified it yet!) and designing a new model for a global event that does no focus on generating a global consensus document but on implementation of promises already made using new information technologies and social media to establish a new global media network that includes youth, national machineries, UN agencies and interregional networks for 2015 and beyond.  What DO YOU THINK?


Trafficking the Identities of Puerto Rican U.S. Citizens
Two foreign nationals pleaded guilty in July for a scheme to traffic the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens, as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice.  The charges against a Guatemalan citizen and a Mexican citizen were counts of conspiracy to commit identification fraud and conspiracy to commit alien smuggling for profit. Eight defendants have plead guilty in this scheme that operated in Indiana, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama.

Anyone who thinks their identity has been compromised can contact an ICE toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-ZICE (1-866-347-2423) or go to its online tip form at

Information about preventing Identity Theft can be obtained at the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Website, or at; us/investigate/cyber/identity_theft; and,,id=186436,00.html.



Chapter News


DC Metro Chapter
The DC Metro Chapter held a “Gran Pasadia”  event to commemorate NACOPRW’s 40th year anniversary and to honor Carmen Delgado Votaw who was included in the Montgomery County Commission of Women of Maryland as one of ten historically significant women in its archives.  The Commission was also celebrating its 40th Anniversary at a Rockville Hilton Hotel where the ceremony for Carmen was held with 300 people in attendance. 

Carmen was awarded a plaque, a cut glass vase and was included in a quilt commemorating her for her book on Puerto Rican Women. 






The Hispanic newspaper published an interview with Carmen published on August 3, 2012.

Vision 2020, in its Equality in Motion June Newsletter, published an article on Carmen Delgado Votaw’s activities as a Visionary Delegate and Thought Leader for their Goal of Educational Equity for Women on her activities promoting the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Title IX and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) efforts to involve more women and girls.


Indiana Chapter
On May 26th - Members of the Indiana Chapter participated in the Life Walk- “MOTTEP” minority organ tissue transplant education program at Wicker Memorial Park in Highland, Indiana. This was a 3 miles walk.
On July 31st, The Indiana Chapter participated in the Puerto Rican Heritage Program at the East Chicago Public Library.   This program highlights the heritage and talents of East Chicago's Puerto Rican community.   A special exhibit highlighting the symbols of Puerto Rican culture was also on display.

Northern Illinois Chapter
On June 10, 2012, members of the Northern IL Chapter held a fundraising brunch at Nellie’s Puerto Rican restaurant to raise money for a new partnership with StepUp Women’s Network. Honored speakers from StepUp included Whitney Capps (program manager of teen programs) and Selika Gutierrez-Borst (a StepUp mentor). Over 40 guests attended, and we recruited four new members that day. The food was delicious, and our chapter learned how we could get involved with mentoring students at Clemente, Schurz and other schools in Chicago. StepUp empowers teen girls from under-resourced communities to be confident, college-bound, and career-ready, and propels professional women through connections, collaborations, and continuous development. More information can be found at

On June 16, several Northern IL Chapter members (Marisol Otero, Adelaida Otero and Vilma Colom) were accompanied and assisted by members of the Chicago Chapter (Wanda Gordils and her friend Raymond Carillo) to preside over the dignitaries at the Puerto Rican parade.  This group represented NACOPRW and was responsible for distributing the ceremonial sashes to the dignitaries (including the governor of Illinois, several Chicago aldermen, and other honored guests) and directing where they should go to participate in the parade.  Wanda said of the event & the dignitaries, “It was a blessing to be able to meet and converse with them.”  Pictured: Wanda Gordils, Vilma Colom, Marisol Otero, and sashes for the dignitaries.

On June 21, longtime NACOPRW member Elisa All was honored at the First Annual Moxie Awards, which gathered Chicago's most innovative digital entrepreneurs. Elisa was nominated for Tech Woman of the Year and her new business 30SecondMobile was nominated for Best Mobile App. Elisa is a new-media innovator and founder of 30Second Mobile, a mobile media company redefining content and connections for mobile devices, in formats of about 30 seconds or less. The first brand launched by the company is 30Second Mom: 30Second tips for your mobile life. It is a mobile website and app that keeps busy moms “in the know while on the go.” Previously, Elisa founded iParenting Media, a leading multimedia publishing company serving women and parents that was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2007. The Northern IL chapter congratulates Elisa on her amazing entrepreneurial and leadership skills, and is very excited that she will be speaking about the power of social media at our 2012 National Convention! Pictured: K. John Ast, Elisa All, Katherine Ast, Mariaelisa Laracuente-Ast.

Currently, members of the Northern IL Chapter are working diligently as the Host Committee in collaboration with the Chicago Chapter, the Executive Committee and other NACOPRW members from across the country to prepare and finalize all the details for the 2012 NACOPRW National Convention.  We are sending letters to secure funding and sponsors, soliciting for ads and exhibitors, working with the convention site on the food and space requirements, and recruiting workshop speakers.  This year’s convention promises to be exciting and informative; we look forward to seeing everyone there!  Thanks to all for your hard work and dedication.


Philadelphia Chapter
Pennsylvania Department of Revenue's Secretary Daniel P. Meuser presented the Governor’s Budget Plan to Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - June 12, 2012.  Among the invited were NACOPRW members, Vivian Ortiz and Iris Violeta Colon-Torres.  Commonwealth of Meuser shared insightful information about the various initiatives and projects the Department is implementing to maintain a balanced budget and shorten the existing deficit.  The Secretary shared Governor Corbett’s proposed budget plan for 2012-2013 and engaged in a productive conversation with participants regarding existing legislation that affects the growth of Hispanic businesses locally and statewide.
NACOPRW attended the Voter ID Law press conference and community information meeting in July.  We have partnered with the Committee of Seventy and became a member of their Voter ID Coalition to update and inform the community about voter IDs and registrations. The Committee of Seventy is a not-for-profit non-partisan group that works for effective, efficient government to benefit all citizens and create a better future for the Philadelphia region.  The committee advocates for fundamental change that will lead to the region’s advancement.
The Coalition Wants You to Know:

COURT UPHOLDS VOTER ID, WHAT’S NEXT? The coalition will continue aggressive efforts to educate voters and equip them with photo ID needed to vote in November in light of Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s decision not to block implementation of the law. The ACLU and other organizations representing plaintiffs vowed a prompt appeal to the PA Supreme Court. Simpson’s opinion is available here:


American Heart Association – Go Red for Women Latina Luncheon - June 9, 2012
The Philadelphia chapter participated in this event that informed and educated Latina women about the risks and symptoms of heart disease and stroke while providing them with the tools they need to fight back. Health screenings were available to the attendees.
Roberto Clemente School –Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sanchez “Block Captain’s Boot Camp”- An event for local community block captains where various City Department Leaders presented updated information and contacts on city programs.
Iris Violeta Colon-Torres was celebrated as hero of the month by El Zol Radio in Philadelphia in June 2012.
Congratulations also to Iris who is celebrating her retirement after 24 years of service at the Criminal Justice System in Philadelphia.
Fund Raising:
“Denim and Diamonds” Fund Raiser for Annual Odessa Awards  - NACOPRW members  enjoyed an evening at Sammy’s Place with  dinner, music, raffles to raise funds for the Annual Odessa scholarships.on August  14, 2012

NACOPRW participated and   donated to the 25th Police District’s National Night Out on August 7.  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.

SO-CAL Chapter
NACOPRW-SoCal members and their guests held a business meeting and potluck on April 15.  The meeting was very productive, the social gathering very relaxing and the food incredibly good!  As a pre-Mother's Day celebration, on 4/28 chapter members went to the Ramona Pageant in Hemet.  A classic love story of life in early California during the 1850's is presented in an outdoor amphitheater depicting the cultural diversity of emerging settlers and the native people of CA.  The afternoon was splendid!
The Southern California chapter's community involvement included a donation of $300 to Casa Teresa on April 1.   The organization was founded in 1976 to provide a transformational, comprehensive program for homeless, pregnant women 18 years of age and older

On April 21, the chapter had a promotional Table at the Bella Project: Beauty Inside &
Out in support of one of NACOPRW-SoCal’s past officers, Bianca A. Solé
Almodóvar. The thesis project required for her graduate degree addressed issues of
self-esteem, particularly in plus-size Women.  Several current and past NACOPRW-SoCal’s
members attended the community event, made donations to Working Wardrobes, co-sponsor
of the activity, volunteered their time and expertise. 

On June 2 eighteen young Latinas (6, 7, 8 graders) and 16 mothers attended the ninth Annual “De
Mujer a Mujercita” Mentorship Event at Sierra Preparatory Academy in Santa Ana.  "Start Making
your Decisions Today for  your Tomorrow" was the topic discussed.   Chapter members Dr. Anim
Mener and Darma Castro-Paden discussed educational needs and financial aid opportunities with the
mothers while Dr. Alina Hernández from Mount San Antonio Community College presented on self-
esteem to the young attendees.  Attorney and chapter member Saundra Wooton addressed
self-protection and some aspects of domestic violence.  Author/actress and chapter member
Miluka Rivera presented on Dressing for Success.  It was very special to have Martha
Rivera, who attended Mujer a Mujercita 8 years ago, share her successful but arduous journey with all. 
Martha graduated from Chapman University with a baccalaureate degree in Psychology and will be
starting graduate school in Harvard University this Fall.  Participants received souvenirs, gifts and
had pizza, drinks and cookies.  All chapter members involved in these community events were very
moved by the experiences and the opportunities to impact the community!




Javier Culson Wins Bronze Medal for Puerto Rico on Hurdles and Jaime Espinal a  Silver
Medal in Freestyle 84 Kg. Wrestling

The Olympics in London have been a source of great pride for Puerto Ricans and in the island’s Ponce
square 5,000 assembled to celebrate our victories..

The history of the Olympic Games has Puerto Rico winning one silver medal  in Los Angeles in 1984
by Luis Francisco Ortiz and five  bronze medals in boxing by Juan  Evangelista Venegas in London in
1948, Orlando Maldonado in Montreal in 1976, Aristides Gonzalez in Los Angeles in 1984, Anibal
Acevedo in Barcelona in 1992 and Daniel Santos in Atlanta in 1996.

Let’s hope we can have some female winners in the future…


ACLU Files Lawsuit Against New Puerto  Rico Penal Code

Claiming that the recently approved new penal Code of Puerto Rico violates the constitutional Right to
freedom of expression, the ACLU  added this claim to a previously filed lawsuit seeking a permanent
injunction to stop the  Secretary of Justice from enforcing the law as it relates to protests and

The law is supposed to go into effect on September 1 and restricts certain types of protests establishing
a 3-year prison sentence for violators.



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,
NACOPRW website:


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