In a press conference held at the New York headquarters of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, chairperson of the Parade, also announced that actressRosario Dawson will march as Queen 2016. Actor, screenwriter and director Adam Rodriguez will march as Parade Godfather.
This year the Parade will recognize Family Unity, Marriage Equalityand LGBT rights; Science, Engineering and Aerospace; and Voter Education and Registration. The 2016 state dedication will go toFlorida, the state with the fastest-growing population of Puerto Ricans outside their native island.
“This year, in face of Puerto Rico’s humanitarian and fiscal crisis, and the upcoming national elections, we wanted to recognize the voices, talent and good contributions of Puerto Ricans to all aspects of life. We also seek to emphasize unity, as we work together to identify solutions to the crisis, and encourage voter registration and awareness”, Cortés-Vázquez said.
Lifetime Achievement dedications will go to retired baseball playerCandy Maldonado and Salsa music legend Andy Montañez, who will be performing at the Parade’s Gala on Friday, June 10th, and also at the 32nd Annual Salsa Festival at the Barclay’s Center on Saturday, June 11th.
Other honorees and recognitions announced today include:
* Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera, ecologist and winner of the Goldman Prize for Environmental Justice (Special Recognition).
* Orlando “El Fenómeno” Cruz, Olympian, first openly gay boxer (Special Recognition).
* Pedro Julio Serrano, LGBT and human rights advocate (Orgullo Puertorriqueño)
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* Jeimy Osorio, Actress (Boricua Superstar)
* Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, comic book artist, Director of Somos Arte (Boricua Destacado)
* Frank Maldonado, entrepreneur, Executive Chef at Sofrito (Ambassador)
* Nilda Rosario, broadcaster, Telemundo 47 (Ambassador)
* Alberto Rullán, broadcaster, Telemundo 47 (Ambassador)
* Joel Santiago, radio personality, X96.3 FM (Ambassador)
* Lynda Baquero, broadcaster, WNBC (Ambassador)
* Lileana Ayende, broadcaster, Univision 41 (Ambassador)
* Maxine Ashley, singer (Ambassador)
As part of its 2016 Annual Fundraising Gala, the parade will recognizeEmilio Estefan (musician/producer), for his work in advancing the careers of multiple Puerto Rican musicians; Ingrid Otero-Smart(president and CEO of Casanova Pendril), and Larry Lugo (president of the Puerto Rico Milk-Product Industry/INDULAC). As part of its Education Leadership Awards 2016, the Parade will recognize author, writer and education advocate Sonia Manzano, “Maria” on Sesame Street; Dr. Juanita Diaz – Cotto, Director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACAS), and Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and LACAS, at Binghamton University; andDr. Raquel Ortiz – Rodriguez, Professor of Anthropology at Boricua College.
The Parade Committee also announced that it will join the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and LGBT Puerto Rico, to co-sponsor LGBT Ricans: El Encuentro, Beyond Marriage Equality; a panel with government officials and LGBT Puerto Rican activists. The event will take place on Saturday, June 11th, 11am to 5pm at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, 2180 Third Avenue at E. 119th Street. Speakers will include San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and actress Johanna Rosaly.
Records show 40% of Puerto Rican LGBT couples are raising children under age 18. In addition, statistics indicate that almost 40% of all homeless youth are LGBT. By recognizing family unity, marriage equality and LGBT rights, the Parade organizers wanted to highlight that LGBT people are our children, our neighbors, our friends and our family members. The Parade’s organizers believe that it is love that makes a family, as well as the values of love, respect, solidarity and inclusion shared by all of humanity.
Besides Pedro Julio Serrano, the Parade will announce additional honorees and recognitions as part of the LGBT delegation, in a press release later this week.
Pedro Julio Serrano said: “I thank the Parade for recognizing family unity, and the landmark enactment of marriage equality in Puerto Rico and the United States – enacted in June 2015 and upheld by a court last month on the island. This recognition highlights family unity through love and acceptance of LGBT Puerto Ricans. We are all Puerto Ricans”.