York’s Largest Spanish Weekly Newspaper, April 26, 2016 – Puerto Rican Parade to honor Arecibo in June. By Erica Y. Lopez New York Daily News – Arecibo will take center stage in this year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade as the honored municipality of Puerto Rico.
Every year a town from the island sends a delegation to the parade in recognition of the connection between Puerto Rico and members of the Puerto Rican diaspora.
However, this year it appeared that the island’s economic crisis could put the tradition at risk.
“In past years, the mayor and local government of the honored municipality would be in charge of sending the delegation, but the economic crisis and upcoming election made that impossible,” says Felix Rosario, president of Fundacion Quinto Centenario de Arecibo (Arecibo’s Quincentennial Foundation).
The Fundacion is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating Arecibo’s cultural and historical relevance along with its natural resources. The group is now also in charge of securing the funds needed to send a group to the parade.
“We have the mayor’s support, but our foundation has had to be at the forefront of all the organizing,” Rosario says.
As a result, a collaborative grassroots fundraising effort is now underway in Arecibo, with a variety of community organizations coming together under the foundation’s umbrella. To date the group has raised $9,000 of its $25,000 goal.
“We have many groups helping organize. Some are holding social events, some are selling water– doing whatever we have to do to make sure that there is a proper representation in the parade,” says Rosario.
Coming on the heels of a 500th anniversary, Arecibo has a long history and contains some of the island’s most unique attractions and topography.
Geographically, it is the largest city in Puerto Rico, one of the oldest Spanish settlements in the Americas, and has the renowned Arecibo Observatory, containing the world’s largest single-unit radio telescope.
Though the financial crisis in Puerto Rico is impacting nearly all areas of the life on the island, Rosario says it’s essential for a delegation from the island to participate in New York City’s annual celebration.
“It is important for us to assume this responsibility, especially for Arecibo and the northern part of the island, because the world gets to know Puerto Rico through the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York,” he says.
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