Sunday, September 15th, 2019, Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez (left) of Northern Manhattan, Congressman Adriano Espaillat (right), Manhattan Community Board 12, Jon Greenfield of Yeshiva University, Representatives of the 34th Precinct, Acroarte,
Dr. Marilu Galvan, Director of Centro Cívico Cultural Dominicano, Instituto Duartiano, Dominican Day Parade Inc., and many community activists honored the countless contributions of activist and community leader, Rafael Agustín Estévez, lifelong resident of Northern Manhattan with a Street co-naming. As a hard-working construction worker, he labored to provide for his family and gave his all to assist the less privileged in his community. His passion for philanthropy led him to co-found the organization Corazones Unidos, based in the Dominican Republic.
Rafael Agustín Estévez was born on June 12, 1939 in the City of Santiago, Dominican Republic. He was a genuine activist and a special human being, who always exhibited great compassion and a strong desire to help anyone he could, particularly the less privileged and disadvantaged in his community. He was a pioneer in spearheading the advancement and fostering the progress of Dominicans in the United States, especially those residing in the Northern Manhattan communities.
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Rafael A. Estévez migrated to the United States in the late 1970s, settling in Manhattan, where he immediately resumed his community service in his new country of residence. He was the founder of the Dominican Children’s Aid Committee, where he remained active for years as an advisor. He was one of the founders of the Corazones Unidos affiliate in New York City and chaired the Dominican Parade Organizing Committee establishing with others, The Dominican Day Parade in 1982. As a founding father, he became President of the Parade in 1989. Prior to his election, the parade was held in Washington Heights. Under his tenor as President, he successfully fought to move the Parade to the Avenue of the Americas, providing the most visible symbol of the City’s largest immigrant group.
Rafael was also very active in the education sector in Northern Manhattan. To ensure that Elementary School P.S. 132 continued providing the best quality education to the community, he was active in organizing the school’s Parents Association and later served as its President. He was also responsible for designating and renaming the school as Juan Pablo Duarte, after one of the Dominican Republic founding fathers. He was a member of the Community Council of the 34th Precinct, of Community Board 12 and the School Board of District 6.
Rafael Agustín Estévez stood as symbol of productive community and government relations for Latinos in New York City. He received many awards and accolades acknowledging his many contributions. He was a major participant, representing the community, in the Yeshiva University redesign project of a portion of Amsterdam Avenue as a park for students and the community. He was also an important advocate and positive influencer of Police-Community relations in Washington Heights, a fact attested by the many plaques and awards bestowed by the 34th Precinct.
Rafael was also very active in the education sector in Northern Manhattan. To ensure that Elementary School P.S. 132 continued providing the best quality education to the community, he was active in organizing the School’s Parents Association and later served as its President. He was also responsible for designating and renaming the school as Juan Pablo Duarte, after one of the Dominican Republic founding fathers. He was a member of the Communal Council of the 34th Precinct, of Community Board 12 and the School Board of District 6.
He passed away on June 12, 2012, leaving behind his wife of 50 years, 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 18 great-children, and countless friends.