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Vilma Colom
National President

Lourdes Hernandez
First Vice President

Carmen Bonilla,
Second Vice President

Enoelia Vega

Katherine Ast
Assistant Treasurer

Wanda Gordils

Annie Lugo
Assistant Secretary


Evelyn Figueroa
President, Chicago

Edith Feliciano
Delegate, Chicago

Enoelia Vega
President, Indiana

Isabel Mendez
Delegate, Indiana

Elizabeth Baez
President, Miami

Gladys Colon
Delegate, Miami

Vilma Colom,
President, Northern Illinois

Mariaelisa Laracuente
Delegate, Northern Illinois

Katherine Ast
Delegate, Northern Illinois

Michelle Centeno
President, NY Manhattan

Quetcy Lozada
President, Philadelphia

Carmen Bonilla
Delegate, Philadelphia

Minerva Machado
President, Southern California

Annie Lugo, Delegate
Southern California

Anna M. Rosario, President
D.C. Metro

Vilma Rosario, Delegate
D.C. Metro

Carmen Delgado Votaw
Delegate, D.C. Metro


Issue 1 March 2013


A Newsletter of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women
Editor: Carmen Delgado Votaw / Asst. Editor: Bequi Ortiz

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

Dear NACOPRW Sisters and Members,

I would like to share with our members that through the efforts of Irene Natividad, President of the Global Summit for Women, and the Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel, Nancy Hogan, and the Obama Administration, I was invited to attend a meeting to discuss various methods to assure more women and minorities seek opportunities for cabinet appointments within the Administration. The meeting took place at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington DC on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. There were women from 21 organizations such as: National Organization of Women (NOW); Girl Scouts of the USA, National Association of Social Workers, Women’s Campaign Fund, American Association for Affirmative Action, and the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. The White House is attempting to have an open process in an effort to increase the number of women exploring Cabinet level opportunities. It was an honor for me to be included in such a process, through my involvement with NACOPRW and several other women's organizations in Illinois such as Leadership Illinois.

Ms. Natividad not only coordinated this effort but is known nationally and internationally for her decade-long involvement with the National Women's Political Caucus, a 35-year-old bipartisan organization dedicated to electing and appointing more Women to public office. Widely recognized for her outstanding leadership of the Caucus, she was elected President in 1985 and re-elected in 1987, the first Asian American ever to head a national political organization

There are many organizations participating in this process, which was launched in 2012 to encourage AA & NHPI community members with at least three years of relevant work experience to submit their resumes and applications to NCAPA for endorsement and consideration. In addition to full-time positions, there are opportunities to serve on boards, advisory committees and grant reviewing group positions across the country. For more information about NCAPA's Presidential Appointments Project visit

NHLA and our partner organizations have also been involved in this initiative to assure that the Latino community is not left out and that we have viable candidates that cannot only be considered for employment opportunities but that can make it through the vigorous process as well.

Please continue to encourage Latinas to apply for endorsement at and send their resume (1 page per decade of work experience) to

The Advocacy Corner

After a protracted standoff, the Violence against Women Act, S 47, with the support of 59 Senators committed to passage, was approved without crippling amendments without the support of 22 Republican Senators. A key protection for women, the bill that heretofore has been approved as a non partisan effort saw a lot of energy bent on defeating it. Thank you for all of you who kept contacting your Senators to see that this unfinished business was successfully completed.


The Paycheck Fairness Act is one of those bills that are needed to complement the Pay Equity Act to try to continue promoting equity in pay for women who still earn 77 cents for every dollar a male makes. Let’s not give up on this key element in our quest for leveling the playing field for women.

Rum Excise Taxes Continue to be a Bone of Contention with the Caribbean

The rum excise tax that Puerto Rico has been receiving for many years on the production of rum is now being sought by many nations in the Caribbean. The Virgin Islands was successful in getting the excise tax to apply to its rum production and a major distillery in Puerto Rico moved to the Virgin Islands seeking part of the funding accruing to the US Virgin Islands to give it to DIAGEO, the British licquor enterprise.

Puerto Rico’s share of the tax was $449 million in 2011 (or approximately $13.25 per rum proof gallon).

Latinos Elected to the U.S. Congress

The 31 newly elected Hispanic members of the House of Representatives are:

Newly Elected Democrats:
Tom Cardenas (CA)
Joaquin Castro (TX)
Pete Gallego (TX)
Joe Garcia (FL)
Michelle Grisham Lujan (NM)
Juan Vargas (CA)
Filemon Vela (TX)

Re-elected Democratic incumbents

Jim Costa
Henry Cuellar (TX)
Luis Gutierrez (ILL)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX)
Ben Ray Lujan (R-NM)
Raul Grijalva (AZ)
Grace Napolitano (CA)
Devin Nunes (CA)
Ed Pastor (AZ)
Pedro Pierluisi (PR)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA)
Raul Ruiz (CA)
Linda Sanchez (CA)
Loretta Sanchez (CA)
Jose Serrano (NY)
Albio Sires (NJ)
Gregorio Kilili Camacho (Mariana Islands)
David Valadao
Nydia Velazquez (NY)
Re-elected Republican Incumbents
Jamie Herrera-Beutler (Wash. State)
Mario Diaz Balart (FL)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL)
Raul Labrador (ID)

Latino U.S. Senators
Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Robert Menendez (NJ)
Marco Rubio (FL)

Executive Order on Coordination of Policies and Programs to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Girls Globally

The President of the United States issued an Executive Order on January 30, 2013 with the above title to ensure that the work initiated by the State Department under Hillary Clinton will proceed to promote gender equality and advance the status of women and girls across the world.

The Executive Order ensures that an Ambassador at Large will continue the work of Melanne Verveer, former Ambassador on Women’s Issues, to ensure that women and girls are able to have equal access to education, economic opportunity, and health care leading to broader economic prosperity as well as political stability and security.

National Hispanic Council on Aging Analysis of the Status of Hispanic Older Adults

The report issued by the Council this year highlights the struggles that the 2.7 million Hispanic Older Adults face in accessing health care, affording housing and accumulating wealth.

• Nearly one in five Hispanic older adults lives in poverty, compared to 6.8% of non-Hispanic white older adults
• From 2005-2009 the median net worth of Hispanic households fell from $18,359 to just $6,325
• In 2009, Hispanics paid 48% more of their income on monthly housing costs than the rest of the U.S.
• About 5.5% of Hispanic older adults lack health insurance, compared to less than 1% of the non-Hispanic older population

The following recommendations are made to improve the status of Hispanic older adults:
Preserve Social Security and strengthen it.
Increase funding for subsidized housing.
Reject policies that shift costs onto seniors and lower health care costs.

Chapter News

Chicago Chapter
The Chicago Chapter’s partnership with ASPIRA, Inc. of Illinois is going strong. Together with the Safe Harbor Shelter, our members and the high school students organized and participated in a Community Café titled “Changing Lives Through Conversations that Matter”, Choose Respect and End Domestic Violence”. Chicago Chapter members shared life experiences with students and using the information and statistics presented, they explored ways to become agents of change through conversations, listening and preventing violence.

The photo shows members of the Chicago Chapter and the Aspirantes who participated in the workshops on domestic violence. Ivette Nieves, Chief Program Officer for ASPIRA Inc. and Chicago Chapter member, led this initiative.

As a member of the Puerto Rican Agenda, the Chapter participated in a summit meeting to receive the highly anticipated report, “60 Years of Migration: Puerto Ricans in Chicagoland”. Evelyn Figueroa, Chapter President, contributed to the different stages of this project.

The report provides a profile of the Puerto Rican population in Chicago and a statistical analysis related to the different aspects of community life, such as housing, economic development, education, health, youth and justice, culture and women. It recognizes Ada Nivia Lopez and Hilda Frontany for their contributions and involvement in imprroving education. The report will help agencies and elected officials address the needs of the Puerto Rican community.

Evelyn Figueroa, Chicago Chapter President (right) speaks with project managers: Ivis Garcia Zambrana and Elizabeth Scott, from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and principal investigator, Maura Toro-Morn, from Illinois State University. Ralph Cintron, also a principal investigator from UIC, is not pictured.

On March 21st, the chapter will host a Women’s History Month Celebration, Women Who Inspire, at the Bank of America premises. Save the Date.

DC Metro Chapter
The DC Metro Chapter started the year by circulated a survey to its members and other interested Latinas to ascertain member expectations to help plan its annual program in response to their suggestions. A significant number responded. New President, Milagros McGuire and Sara Melendez, Program Vice President, are taking survey comments into consideration.

March is Women’s History Month and all types of assessments are being made about women’s unfinished agenda. Carmen Delgado Votaw was the speaker at Mapplewood Park Place Community and at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Women’s Issues.

She will host a panel at the NOW/MD conference at the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center on March 4 titled “Latina Women in History” with the collaboration of Milagros McGuire and Sara Melendez.

Indiana Chapter
The Indiana Chapter celebrated “Dia de Reyes with its Members on January 6th. Congratulations to Raquel Castro, President for 2013. The new board will be meeting in the next few months to continue planning our Mother’s Day Event and several walk-a-thons throughout the year.

New York Chapter
On January 6, 2013 at the Three Kings Day Parade in Brooklyn, NY,

to the far left peeking out behind the first of the Three Kings is Mildred Cruz, mother to our Assistant Recording Secretary Melissa Ortiz; next is Evelyn Marrero, chapter Treasurer holding up the corner of the banner; in the middle, is Brooklyn's Mascot for the Brooklyn Nets; immediately behind him is another King held up by Mr. Abe Marrero (Evelyn's husband); holding up the other end of the banner is President Michelle Centeno and standing next to Michelle are the Three Kings held up by Monise Etienne. Thanks to Melissa Ortiz, and her daughter Victoria Ortiz for creating the life size cardboard images of the Three Kings. They were so creative, many people approached us for photo ops with the Three Kings they created...

The second photo was taken on November 18, 2012 at Applebee's Restaurant located in Parkchester, Bronx NY.

Our Executive Board went to view and show support of our photographer/member Catherine Fonseca who was awarded the selection out of hundreds of photographers to do a photo display of The Bronx featured on the walls of Applebee’s restaurant. In the photo to the immediate left Lesbia Centeno, Aisha Ahmed, Evelyn Marrero, Derick Centeno, Monise Etienne, Michelle Centeno, Maria Roman, Catherine Fonseca, Julie Reyes, Melissa Ortiz. The photo was taken by Catherine Fonseca's ten year old son, Justin Quesada.

November/December 2012:

The third photo is showing the owner of EZ Pawn with Melissa Ortiz with the blankets we purchased for Hurricane Sandy relief. Our NY-Manhattan Chapter applied and was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Citizens Committee for NYC for Relief Efforts. Thanks to Melissa Ortiz and to Aisha Ahmed who visited Far Rockaway HUD Developments. Our chapter partnered with EZ Pawn and they agreed to provide the storage and assist with the distribution of the blankets, ventilation masks and work gloves to the residents affected by the Hurricane. We also purchased walkie talkies to enable relief volunteers to communicate with residents on the upper floors of the hi-risers that were left without any operable phone lines. Our chapter received a donation of four induction burners from Hearthware to provide temporary cooking burners to those families left without gas for cooking their meals.

The Fourth photo is at the Latin Trendsetter Awards dinner held in NYC November 27, 2012. Melissa Ortiz posed with the awardees Mr. & Mrs. Nelson Diaz (Sara Manzano Diaz).

The Chapter is seeking funds to honor Alice Cardona with a cancer-related project that would include a survey for Red Hook Brooklyn followed with city-wide bilingual Cancer Awareness presentations and a possible fundraising walk.

Save the Date: NYC Chapter is hosting the National June 7-9 Quarterly NACOPRW Board meeting. We are inviting visiting chapters to march in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday June 9 along Fifth Ave, NYC.

Northern Illinois Chapter

On Sunday, December 30, 2012, members of the Northern Illinois Chapter held a holiday party for the senior residents and staff of Casa Central community service organization. Casa Central offers seniors a living arrangement that transforms their lives with a sense of community, home and a network of services. Many residents do not have family members that are able to spend time with them during the holiday season due to challenges that might exist in their lives.

The Northern Illinois Chapter decided that instead of having our typical Three Kings Day Holiday party, we would host a gathering with gifts, food and live Puerto Rican music to ring in the New Year with the Seniors. Everyone had a wonderful time, and the seniors and staff enjoyed our company and their gifts. Our lives were also blessed by their company, the singing, playing of Puerto Rican musical instruments, and dancing we did.

Philadelphia Chapter
The Philadelphia Chapter contributed to the annual Three Kings Celebration and toy drive at Centro Musical to distribute toys to needy families in the community. It also contributed to the Empowerment Group Toy Drive for St. Hugh of Cluny.

The Chapter also sponsored a La Salle University student to take part in Equipo Esperanza to help a family in the Dominican Republic. The team helped build a house and provided a sense of community to a mother and child.

Chapter members Maritza Padua, Luz Selenia Salas and Luz Loeb were honored at Fuego Dance Studio’s 16th Annual Gala. Hector Serrano founded Grupo Fuego to provide the Greater Philadelphia region the opportunity to learn about its heritage through dance and music.

At its holiday party, the Chapter celebrated Iris Violeta Torres’ retirement after 25 years of service to the Criminal Justice System. Congratulations, Iris.

SoCAL Chapter

The Southern California Chapter of NACOPRW posted on its web site a message from Miluka Rivera as follows: Happy Birthday, Benicio del Toro. The gifted boricua actor won an Oscar for best supporting actor in “Traffic” in 2001. He is the third Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award. Jose Ferrer was the first and only Latino to win for best actor; Rita Moreno was the first to conquer the best supporting actress award, and Anthony Quinn was the first and only Latino to win 2 Oscars as best supporting actor. Miluka is hosting a Jose Ferrer Tribute at the Old San Juan Restaurant in L.A. on February 23rd. They were proud that Joaquin Phoenix, who was born in Puerto Rico, won an Oscar this year. Caras Magazine, of Puerto Rico, selected Miluka Rivera’s book of poems “Alma Boricua, Alma Boreal” as the book of the day.




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: