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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 2 June 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 Members,

As we plan our quarterly meeting in New York, we have many opportunities to further enhance our leadership network and resources during training sessions and our participation in the New York annual Puerto Rican Parade festivities will be a memorable event for us. There are few things as important to all of us related to leadership issues in the Hispanic community.

As we reflect on what is taking place at the national and local levels of our Hispanic/Latino communities, we realize that effective leadership helps our nation in all aspects of our lives, such as advocating for immigration reform, assuring that both political parties include us at the table to ensure our communities' needs are fairly addressed, participating in and identifying highly qualified individuals/candidates for the NHLA Presidential Appointment project and advocating for pay equity for women. However, much more involvement is critical. This will enable our organization and our partners to fulfill our mission effectively. It is akin to the effective leadership of parents, that enables children to grow strong and healthy and become productive adults.

The absence of leadership is equally dramatic in its effects. Without leadership, organizations such as ours become stagnant, fail to grow and lose sight of what needs to be addressed and advocated for. Our goal during our quarterly meeting is that we continue to focus at the local and national levels for those issues are not only close to our hearts but important to the Puerto Rican/Latino community overall and women whose lives we touch in our local communities.

I know that each and every one of our Chapter Presidents and members unselfishly gives of their time and skills to contribute and influence solutions to issues we are confronted with as leaders, and for that we applaud your dedication and sincere contributions. I look forward to seeing each of you in New York so we can collectively enhance and embrace new leadership perspectives during our training. We will continue to make a tremendous difference not only locally in our neighborhoods but in the world as we make sure that we impact and drive positive change.

Second Quarterly Board Meeting of NACOPRW National

The meeting will be hosted by Michelle Centeno, President of the New York Chapter at City University of New York’s Murphy Institute.

Among the topics to be covered at the meeting will be strategic planning, the training retreat to be held in November of this year and improvements in the NACOPRW web site,

Dr. Jaime Torres of HHS will address the group on Health Care and its impact on Latinos.

The Foundation Center will present on fundraising, grant writing and marketing for non-profits.

The meeting will culminate with members of the National Board joining New York Chapter members in the Puerto Rican Day Parade march on June 9th.

The Advocacy Corner

NACOPRW’s efforts in advocacy are starting to pay off good dividends. Maria Elisa Laracuente received a letter in April from Senator Richard Durbin taking note of her support for pay equity. He expressed to her his commitment to this issue thus: “I will continue to support pay equity for women and will work in Congress to find new ways to address the unfair practice of wage discrimination.”

And John P. Sarbanes, Member of Congress from Maryland, addressed a letter to Carmen Votaw and told her that “I assure you that I will work with my colleagues on legislation to make the changes our country so badly needs…to give voice to the needs and concerns of the many immigrant communities here in Maryland.”

Immigration Bill Introduced in Senate Includes Paths to Citizenship

Eight bipartisan U.S. Senators introduced a courageous bill to revamp the U.S. immigration policy. S 744 crafted by Senators Schumer, Durbin, Menendez and Bennett, Democrats from NY, Ill., N.J., and Co. joined with Republicans Graham, McCain, Flake and Rubio from SC., AZ, AZ, and Fl. To push for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.

Hundreds of amendments to the bill have been filed and passage is uncertain but it is an important step forward in pursuit of justice. Our voices need to be heard to ensure the legislative process treats its deliberations fairly. Speak out.

LULAC and MALDEF have supported four amendments by Senators Hirono, Coons, Blumenthal and Hatch that extend federal higher education support under Title IV of the Higher Education Act to Dreamers and Blue Card holders, make Dreamers and other immigrants eligible to apply for professional and technical licensing, provide a 5-year path to citizenship for all students and would raise revenue for STEM related education at Hispanic serving institutions.

They opposed an amendment submitted by Senator Cruz that would change existing funding streams for STEM to block grant funding. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill which is now on the floor.

Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Introduces Legislation to Petition Congress to Admit Puerto Rico as a State

The Members of Congress who co-signed the legislation are:

Jose Serrano. NY
Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL
Don Young AK
Peter T. King, NY
Charles B. Rangel, NY
George Miller, CA
Corrine Brown, FL
Steny Hoyer, MD
Alcee Hastings, FL
Henry A. Waxman, CA
Eni F. H. Feleomavaega, AS
Chaka Fattah, PA
Ron Kind, WI
Madeleine Z. Bordallo, GU
Joseph Crowley, NY
Mario Diaz Balart, FL
Raul M. Grijalva, AZ
Keith Ellison, MN
Kathy Castor, FL
Aaron Schock, IL
Gregorio Kilili Sablan, CNMI
Theodore E. Deutch, FL
Jared Polis, CO
Alan Grayson, FL
Frederica S. Wilson, FL
Joe Garcia, FL
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL

Other Issues Under Consideration

NACOPRW has supported bills that seek to lower the interest rates of loans to students. The schedule for consideration of such bills has not been announced yet but we continue alert to support legislation that helps Latino students be able to afford and complete a college degree.

Opposition to changes to Social Security is mounting and NACOPRW remains vigilant to have its voice heard in support of this important retirement income legislation on which so many of our community depend.

The Affordable Care Act for the 39th time was voted on for elimination by the House of Representatives. It is expected that, as all other previous efforts, it will fail in the Senate..

The Campus Save Act which is part of the VAWA reauthorization needs to be funded as do the provisions of VAWA. The fight begins to ensure Congress funds all of the VAWA provisions.

Latino Advocacy Wins Concessions from Kennedy Center Honors

Giselle Fernandez, a Kennedy Center Trustee, was quoted as saying: “No group or ethnicity wants to be awarded something to fulfill a quota…”

On the eve of the 36th anniversary of the Award Ceremony this year, the Center reported revisions to the process of selecting awardees after 7 months of deliberations.

A new advisory committee with 5-year terms has been created that includes Chita Rivera and the public will be allowed to nominate individuals at its web site. The 70-member Artists Committee will continue to make recommendations through balloting. No changes have been made to the awards criteria.

Let’s see what happens in December at the next round of the Kennedy Center Awards ceremony…

Commission on the Status of Women Meeting in New York

The United States remarks at the March meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York emphasized that we “stand firmly in support of the safety and dignity of women and girls and..insist upon the elimination of all forms of violence against women everywhere.”

The meeting focused on “preventing and eliminating rape, abuse and all forms of gender-based violence. All women and girls have a fundamental right to live free from violence and fear. Whenever one woman suffers physical or sexual abuse, our common humanity is assaulted along with her. Violence against women takes many forms, whether inflicted by a family member or a stranger, by a state-backed militia or by an abusive partner. When women are attacked, so is their full and equal participation in society and that of all of us. Violence against women weakens our communities, stunts our economies, and erodes our common values.” Well said.

Chapter News

Chicago Chapter

The Chapter celebrated Women’s History Month with a cocktail reception on March 23.

The activity was held in the elegant art deco inspired room on the 23rd floor of Bank of America in downtown Chicago. Sol Flores, founding director of La Casa Norte, playwright Yolanda Nieves, and Gina Bishop a founder and administrator of Caribe Funeral Home, were honored as Women Who Inspire. The chapter awarded scholarships to Catherine Pacheco, who is studying criminal justice and will eventually study law and Luzmilita Mariani, a mother who is continuing her education to get an advanced degree in nursing.

From left to right, ASPIRA Counselor, Mr. Pacheco, Catherine Pacheco, awardee and Ivonne Nieves, Director of Youth Development Service, ASPIRA, and NACOPRW Chicago Member.

Poet Johanny Vazquez(pictured with Chicago chapter president Evelyn Figueroa below) read from her recent publication prior to the swearing in of officers by the Hon. Judge Beatriz Santiago. A highlight was her poem titled: VICKS VA PO RU.

This quarter has been a very sad one for us since we have experienced the loss of Miriam Cruz, founder of the Chicago Chapter in 1973 and, most recently, attorney Norma Reyes, Commissioner of Consumer and Business Affairs for the City. Norma was a guest speaker during the 2009 NACOPRW Convention and Miriam was saluted at the 2012 Convention both held in Chicago.

Farewell to Miriam Cruz

A founding member of the Chicago Chapter, Miriam Cruz, died in Puerto Rico on April 3, 2013.

A service in her memory was held in the Windy City on May 18 at the Spanish Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to celebrate the life of Miriam, twin sister of the Rev. Ruben Cruz. Both have been well known political figures in Illinois.

Miriam served in City Hall under Mayor Richard Daley, Sr.. and in the White House under President Jimmy Carter.

NACOPRW mourns this dedicated activist on behalf of the Puerto Rican and Latino community and as a superb role model for all of us.

DC Metro Chapter

On April 10th, 2013 the DC Metro Chapter held a most successful Meet and Greet reception at the Q Street Fine Art gallery in Georgetown, DC. The reception was convened to announce results of our Chapter's “NACOPRW Members' Interest Survey" designed by Sara Melendez, 1st Vice President for Program. Attendees helped us put together a list of activities focused on the areas of greatest interest for our respondents: education, employment, leadership training and development opportunities, women's health care. As readers can see in the photo, a good time was had by all as we chartered our Action Plan over some “vinito” and delicious “bocadillos”.The event resulted in eight new members. Hurray!

DC Metro members attended the University of Puerto Rico installation of new officers at famous Puerto Rican “Mio” Restaurant

Carmen Delgado Votaw and Sara Melendez honored by Hunter College, CUNY

At a reception in the U.S. Congress, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies of Hunter College, City University of New York will honor two members of the DC Chapter of NACOPRW, Carmen Delgado Votaw and Sara Melendez on May 28, 2013.

The event honors four other Puerto Ricans for their public service: Ronald Blackburn Moreno, Louis Nunez, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Santiago.

Congratulations to Carmen and Sara and the other honorees.

Miami Chapter

The Miami Chapter hosted its Alicia Baro Achievement Awards Luncheon on April 27 that unites Puerto Rican women in Broward and Dade Counties to provide scholarships to young Puerto Rican women and to project our culture and traditions. The luncheon was held at the Ana G. Mendez University System.

New York Chapter

The Chapter changed its name from Manhattan-NY Chapter to New York Chapter, Inc. and they are now registered with the NYS Bureau of Charities and Guidestar. The Chapter has doubled its membership fifty percent since January 2013. Congratulations!

Among the Chapter activities, the following stand out:

*Signed with the New York State Women’s Equality Agenda
*Received a grant from Citizens Committee for NYC in support of the Alice Cardona Cancer Awareness Project.

Pictured from far left behind Angela Cabrera (center) is Brenda Torres Barreto, Director of NY Regional Office PRFAA; Michelle Centeno, NACOPRW NY President; Eva de la Oh, Musica de Camera; Aisha Ahmed, NY Scholarship Committee Chair; Lourdes Hernandez, NACOPRW Natl 1st VP; Maria Roman; Yolanda LaGuerre and Edmee Quinones, NACOPRW NY members.

The project promotes cancer awareness to Latino communities that suffer the highest percentage of cancer-related deaths due to lack of screening.

It will last six months beginning with a Pony Tail Pledge Drive on Mother’s Day in May and ending after Hispanic Heritage month in November when 100 pony tails will be donated to the American Cancer Society to distribute as wigs to cancer victims.

The project includes:
*Citywide bilingual cancer awareness classes
*Cooking classes with City Harvest, Inc.
*Healthy Neighborhoods and Nutrition Education Programs
*Bra fittings for Awareness Community Cancer Walk Partnerships, including Margarita’s Cancer Support Group and Kim Henry’s Relay for Life Team, Touched by Cancer, to benefit the American Cancer Society
*The Lucy Estrada Care Giver Award presented by Evelyn Carrasco.

You can sign in as a supporter of the project or contribute eight inches of hair, please email or call 347-423-5818.

*Hosted the Women’s Day Event, Celebrando la Mujer Puertorriquena, by recognizing three local women at a Brunch at the G Bar in the Bronx with 118 attendees. Rose Trentman, Dolores Roque and Angela Cabrera (former National President of NACOPRW) were feted.

*Announced its Scholarship Award” Dinner to be held on August 29.

*Geared up for mid-year quarterly NACOPRW National Board Meeting to be held in New York City from June 7-9 that will be capped with participation in the New York Puerto Rican Day Parade on June 9th.

Congratulations are due to
*Aisha Ahmed on her graduation and certification as NYS Chaplain
*Eris Garriga on having had her vegetarian book selected by the 2013 Gourmand Awards. “De la Tierra con Sabor” (pictured below) was among the 250 books selected among many more applicants.

*Eva de la Oh for her successful Musica de Camara concert held on April 5. Another concert is planned for May 25.
*Michelle Centeno who will receive special mention at the 52 People for Park’s 200th Concert on August 11 in the Bronx.

Philadelphia Chapter

NACOPRW Philadelphia celebrated Women’s History month with our community, our members and the Hon. Judge Angeles Roca at the swearing in of the 2012-2013 Philadelphia Board at the Orlando Quevedo gallery.

Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Affiliate presented Vivian Ortiz, 2013 Ambassador for Latinas Unidas for the Cure, The Spirit of the Promise Award for her dedication and devotion to a world without breast cancer.

NACOPRW Philadelphia’s family was presente to celebrate with Vivian! A big shout out to our members who volunteered at the Latinas Unidas event: Sonia Figueroa, Wendy Garcia, Edda Alicea-Martinez, Crystal Ortiz, Madeline Ortiz-Leonard and Luz Selenia Salas!

In April, NACOPRW Philadelphia contributed toys to St. Hugh of Cluny to provide toys to the needy families in the community

No Violence, Know Peace
NACOPRW Philadelphia continues the PROTEST against Fraternal Order of Police for police brutality of an officer who accosted a female participant of the Puerto Rican Day festivities in Philadelphia.

NACOPRW Philadelphia held its quarterly meeting where local political candidates were invited for a meet and greet continuing our efforts to educate and promote the Latino community to vote. Eighteen individuals running for office in Philadelphia attended.

In May NACOPRW Philadelphia held a Latinas Health Awareness Breakfast
CELEBRATING WOMEN - Promoting Work-Life Balance & Health Awareness

A collaboration with US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, Philadelphia Latino Partnership and the office of Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sanchez where we educated our women on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

SoCAL Chapter

In April the Southern California Chapter of NACOPRW held a business meeting and outing at Greystone Mansion and Park in Beverly Hills and held the Isla del Encanto Festival as a membership drive and fundraiser at Treder Park in Bell, CA.

On May 11 the Chapter celebrated Mother’s Day with a Potluck Garden Party.

They are planning to celebrate Dia de San Juan as a Father’s Day celebration in Long Beach.

House of Concha Melendez Ramirez Among National Historic Landmarks

Concha Melendez, prolific writer and prominent literary critic among the voices of the generation of the 1930’s helped to shape Puerto Rico’s 20th Century national cultural identity.

Her house in Old San Juan’s almost 400-year old Spanish colonial historic district is a jewel in a city that has the largest collection of buildings representing four centuries of Spanish culture, religion, politics and architecture. It is the oldest city in the United States and holds the oldest house, Christian Church, executive mansion, convent and military defense system.

De Aqui y De Alla

Virginia Sanchez Korrol reflects on the 30th anniversary of the publication of her first book, entitled:
From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City, 1917-1948.

She found that “Although Puerto Ricans had lived in New York City since before the turn of the twentieth century, their historical footprints were seriously absent from the records.”

Sanchez-Korrol, Professor Emerita at Brooklyn College, CUNY, reminds us that “the histories of Puerto Ricans in countless communities remain unwritten. It is time to document these stories. Inscribing our past empowers our future, and enables us to better negotiate the complexities of the present.” We say Amen to that…

Latino High School Students Outpace Whites in College Enrollment

According to the Pew Research Hispanic Center Hispanic students enrolled in college in higher numbers than their white counterparts.

Deborah Santiago, of Excelencia en Educacion, says that we need to build on “this good trend” to ensure they also graduate. She recommends that “Colleges should work to include Latino students in student support services and other key programs that help students thrive…”

NASA’s First Girls Hangout in Spanish

An initiative to get girls interested in science, Science4Girls, was held at the end of March.
We hope there will be many more to get girls hooked on science and technology.



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: