2016-09-28 / Features

Crowley Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month


Rep. Joe Crowley is joined by special guest NYS Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (l.) and honorees (second l. to r.); MASA Co-Founder Angelo Cabrera, Queens DA Office of Immigrant Affairs Director Carmencita Gutierrez, and Goodwill NYNJ Program Director Jose Mateo, during Crowley’s 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month event. 
Photo Dominick Totino Photography Rep. Joe Crowley is joined by special guest NYS Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (l.) and honorees (second l. to r.); MASA Co-Founder Angelo Cabrera, Queens DA Office of Immigrant Affairs Director Carmencita Gutierrez, and Goodwill NYNJ Program Director Jose Mateo, during Crowley’s 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month event. Photo Dominick Totino Photography On Monday, September 19, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, hosted the community’s annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. Now in its 15th year, the event honors the rich traditions and cultures of Latinos across the nation, and pays tribute to several members of the local community for their outstanding contributions. NYS Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, delivered the evening’s keynote address.

“During Hispanic Heritage Month we not only pause to celebrate the achievements of Latinos across the country, but we also take time to reflect upon their important role in shaping it,” said Rep. Crowley. “Latinos contribute enormously to every avenue of American life, and it is ever so apparent by the many prominent Latino leaders we have in government – including Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. He’s not just an incredible advocate for the Latino New Yorkers, but as one of the youngest members of our state legislature, he is creating positive change in all of our communities.”

“The Hispanic community is front and center in terms of our growth economically and socially,” said Assemblyman Crespo. “That is why I am so grateful to Congressman Joseph Crowley for once again celebrating our heritage, but more importantly for being a champion in defense of our families and our greater Latino agenda. It was an honor to have joined my Queens colleagues and dozens of community leaders in celebration of our culture.”

At the event, Crowley also recognized several leaders for their advocacy and commitment to empowering Latinos: Angelo Cabrera, Mexican American Students’ Alliance (MASA) Co-Founder and Board Member; Jose Mateo, Goodwill NYNJ Program Director; and Carmencita Gutierrez, Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Director.

“Congressman Crowley clearly understands the hard work and contributions of our recent immigrant community, and we commend him for promoting positive changes in policies that are important such as immigration reform and many other issues that affect many of our recent immigrants,” said Cabrera. “As a member of the Mexican and Mexican-American community, I am appreciative of this recognition and I would like to share this award with our youth, because they are the future of this nation.”

“Hispanic Heritage Month is very important to our community and me,” said Mateo. “I am proud of my history and what the Hispanic community contributes to this great country. I am truly honored and blessed to be recognized in this annual event held by our distinguished Congressman, Joe Crowley.”

“I am humbled by Congressman Crowley’s decision to honor me at his Hispanic

Heritage Celebration,” said Gutierrez. “Congressman Crowley is well known for his steadfast service to his constituents and his support for the Latino community. It is my honor to be recognized by Congressman Crowley for the work I do as Director of the Queens District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Richard A. Brown, who has served with distinction as District Attorney in Queens County for over 25 years, established the office in 2015 in order to ensure that immigrant victims of crime would have one central location within the District Attorney’s Office to obtain help regardless of their immigration status or language spoken.”

“In the private sector, more and more Latinos are becoming leaders of large corporations and starting up new companies. Across the nation, Latino men and women continue to fuel our economy, and all areas of our society,” continued Crowley. “But it is especially heartening to see so many of them giving back. This year’s honorees all share a deep desire to uplift their own communities and give them every opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

The event was held at Rainhas Churrascaria in Corona, and drew over 300 guests which included several state and local elected officials: NYS Senator Jose Peralta; NYS Assembly Members Francisco Moya, Michael DenDekker, and David Weprin; and NYC Council Member Peter Koo.

The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to designate Hispanic Heritage Week the week of September 15 to commemorate the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days September 16 and September 18, respectively.

In 1988, the week was expanded to a month-long celebration to honor the cultures and traditions of Americans with heritage tied to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

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