Puerto Rican Parade to Honor Post-María Rebuilding Efforts

Some of the Puerto Rican figures who will be honored at the NPRDP, next to Carmen Maldonado (middle), mayor of the town of Morovis. Behind her, to her right, is Louis Maldonado, head of the NPRDP board of directors. (Photo via El Diario)

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) will acknowledge the rebuilding efforts carried out in the areas affected by Hurricane María. In this 61st edition, the event will be dedicated to the town of Morovis, which is celebrating its bicentennial.

The announcement was made on Monday at a press conference given by the NPRDP directors in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in which they divulged a list of public figures who will be honored, as well as this year’s themes and tributes.

“For the last seven months, we have witnessed a level of unity in terms of effort and purpose that unquestionably shows that Puerto Ricans, regardless of where they are, are one people blessed with many voices which have come together to help our homeland and our families recover and renew themselves after what happened,” said Louis Maldonado, head of the NPRDP board of directors.

Under the slogan “Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces” (One Nation, Many Voices), the parade will march along Fifth Avenue on Sunday, June 10, from 11:00 a.m., and will be broadcast by WABC-TV, channel 7, in New York. Online, the event will be live-streamed at abc7ny.com.

“This year, we will be honoring a number of heroes who have been and continue to be instrumental to the recovery, rebuilding and renovation efforts on our island,” said Maldonado.

Lucecita Benítez and Danny Rivera, considered two legends of Puerto Rican music whose careers have had profound international impact, will be recognized this year.

Benítez, who was recently recognized by the organization in charge of the Latin GRAMMYs, will be honored for her musical trajectory.

Similarly, Danny Rivera, who is well-known across Latin America and has a stellar career spanning more than 50 years, will be the parade king.

María heroes acknowledged

Maldonado explained that the people honored this year include prominent individuals whose commitment and humanitarian work have been crucial to the recovery of the communities affected by Hurricane María.

The NPRDP director pointed out that Laura and Jorge Posada and (…) have been named godmother and godfather of the parade. Maldonado said that Posada, a former superstar catcher for the Yankees, and his wife Laura, a TV personality, philanthropist, author and life coach, were able to transport hundreds of sick people to the United States, coordinated the shipping of 70 tons of food and medical supplies to the island and organized fundraising events for the victims.

Another sports figure who has been vital to the country’s recovery is [Major League Baseball player] Carlos Beltrán, who will be awarded the parade’s athlete of the year award. (…)

This year, the parade pays homage to the cuatro guitar, acknowledging the instrument’s historical and cultural significance in Puerto Rico’s musical tradition. As part of this tribute, the parade will honor talented singer and trovadora [Puerto Rican folk singer] Victoria Sanabria with the title of “Pride of Puerto Rico.”

The NPRDP also announced that it will recognize local organizations that have worked hard and continue carrying out rescue and reconstruction missions to help those in need, including Techos para Mameyes, Fundación Stefano, Project SEA from Carlos Albizu University, Green Culebra, Relief4PR, Buena Vibra and Puertorriqueños por Morovis.

Additional honorees will be added to the list and announced at the press conference to be held in New York City in late May.

The town of Morovis, located in the center of the island, 37 miles southwest of San Juan, was badly hit by the hurricane and one of its main bridges collapsed, cutting off a large part of its population and blocking the entrance of aid.

“In Morovis, we are very proud to have been chosen. Seeing our flag raised in front of hundreds of thousands of people in New York is also an affirmation of our people’s strength after two hurricanes hit us last year. No matter where we live, we are one Puerto Rican people,” said Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado.

This year, the parade’s organizers are also honoring the entire population of Puerto Rico for the resilience with which they have faced the multiple challenges and great adversity of the last months.

“Their unbreakable spirit and firm determination are a source of inspiration for all. The entire world has seen who we are as a people, and that is why we are proud to honor the people of Puerto Rico,” said Viviana Pagán-Muñiz, member of the NPRDP.

(…) The NPRDP announced that the following individuals will also be recognized at the 2018 event:

  • Ambassador – Jorge “Molusco” Pabón: Radio personality, comedian and social media influencer
  • Ambassador – Naíz: Singer/songwriter, author of the hit single “Isla bendita” (“Blessed Island”)
  • Rising Star – Sebastián Rosado: Motivational speaker and spokesperson, college student and cerebral palsy patient
  • Rising Star – Christopher Rivera: Singer and winner of Telemundo’s La Voz Kids talent show

Lastly, the board of directors announced that the Puerto Rican communities in the United States to be recognized in this year’s parade are Springfield and Holyoke, both in Massachusetts. The combined Puerto Rican population in the two cities totals some 70,000. The number has risen due to the immigration of families and students who left Puerto Rico after Hurricane María.

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