The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) is the largest demonstration of cultural pride in the nation. Now in its 61st year, the parade takes place from 44th Street to 79th Street along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, in honor of the 3.5 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico and over 5 million people residing in the United States.
Reborn in 2014, our programs and events focus on promoting Culture, Arts and Education, with special tributes to prominent, historical figures and campaigns to raise awareness of important issues in the community. We are also committed to advancing the pursuit of higher education, awarding scholarships to students of Puerto Rican descent.
Each year, NPRDP hosts a variety of cultural, educational and social, cultural and social events throughout the New York City leading up to the day of the Parade. These include the Education Leadership Awards, Rising Stars Challenge, 152nd Street Cultural Festival, Annual Parade Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Gala Fundraiser Banquet.
National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt organization and we rely heavily on the support of its sponsors and donations from the community to help produce the events that make up the largest demonstration of cultural pride in the United States. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent permissible by law.
The mission of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. is to create a national awareness and appreciation of the Puerto Rican culture and its contribution to the United States.
An iconic institution for over half a century, the mission of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) is to create awareness and appreciation of Puerto Rican culture and history, as well as to highlight our community’s contributions to the global society. Under the theme Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces (One Nation, Many Voices), NPRDP celebrates the creativity and diversity of thought in Puerto Rico and across our patria extendida (diaspora).
The NPRDP delivers on its mission by producing and hosting a series of events and programs that are designed to celebrate and advance Art, Culture and Education in the Puerto Rican community, both in Puerto Rico and the mainland U.S. NPRDP is committed to promoting the pursuit of higher education through its annual scholarship program, having expanded the NPRDP Scholarship Program 20-fold since 2013, awarding a total of $200,000 to 100 exceptional high school and college students of Puerto Rican descent in 2018.
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board Members graciously & generously donate their time and expertise to make the parade a monumental success, year after year. In compliance with our bylaws and given our commitment to succession planning we welcomed four new board members and elected new officers in 2018.
Louis Maldonado, Chair
Louis Maldonado is a consummate marketing professional and champion for the Hispanic community. He is Partner and Managing Director at d expósito & Partners, an advertising and marketing agency specializing in Hispanic marketing, where he leads key agency accounts, including AARP, as well as pro-bono assignments, such as the National Puerto Day Parade and the José Limón Dance Foundation. Additionally, he is integrally involved in new business development, leading several new business pitches that have significantly contributed to the agency’s growth. He also played a key leadership role on the team that developed the award-winning, integrated, Hispanic communications campaign for the 2010 Census. His account leadership has yielded several awards for the agency’s work, including a David Ogilvy Award from the Advertising Research Foundation, several Telly Awards, and a Hispanic Account Planning Excelencia Award. Prior to joining d expósito & Partners, Louis worked at The Marketing Store in Oakbrook, IL, where he was the Account Director overseeing the McDonald’s national Hispanic promotions and brand activation activity, including the LoMcXimo de la Música concert tour, the FIFA World Cup and Mexican National Team activations and the Hispanic overlay to the largest, national promotion, McDonald’s Monopoly.
Prior to his work at The Marketing Store, Louis worked at The Bravo Group, as well as general market ad shop, Warwick-Baker-O’Neill. While at Bravo, he worked in the OTC and Pharmaceutical categories where he led the Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and AstraZeneca teams. Louis also led the Philip-Morris USA business, handling the Youth Smoking Prevention and QuitAssist brands. Other Hispanic marketing experience includes work on the Pfizer, H&R Block and Hellmann’s/Best Foods teams. While at Warwick-Baker-O’Neill, Louis worked on brands like French’s Mustard, Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce and Magner’s Irish Cider.
In addition to his work at d expósito & Partners, Louis has served as guest speaker at premier conferences in Marketing and Advertising, including the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference and LatinVision CEO Summit. He has also guest lectured at several prestigious university MBA programs, including Columbia University, New York University and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
In early 2014, Louis was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, where he was instrumental in implement in ushering a new era for an iconic institution. His work, in partnership with his fellow board members, resulted in an Emmy nomination for the 2014 Parade broadcast and laid a solid, fiscally sound foundation from which to build in 2015 and beyond. Louis also serves on the Board of Directors for the José Limón Dance Foundation, he sits on the Latina Advisory Panel for Girls Inc. Formerly, he was part of the Next Generation Council for the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas and provided pro-bono consultation to Start Strong Bronx, an organization dedicated to fostering healthy, positive relationships to prevent teen dating violence and abuse.
Louis earned an MBA from Indiana University, with concentrations in Marketing and International Business. He completed his undergraduate studies at Baldwin-Wallace College, where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Music. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Louis is also a professional clarinetist and avid musician. He and his life partner, Wilson Guzman, reside in New Jersey and are proud parents of their Standard Schnauzer, Picasso.
Vincent Torres, Vice Chair of Operations
Vincent Torres serves as Vice Chair of Operations for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors.
Born and raised in New York City “Vinny” has been involved with the non-profit sector for over 25 years. As Director of Positive Workforce, a Construction advocacy organization dedicated to obtaining gainful employment opportunities for local and minority building trade workers, he has been responsible for over 10,000 placements in the construction industry. Vinny currently is a board member of El Barrio/East Harlem Community Board 11. He has an important role in initiating and reviewing planning, land use and zoning matters, the City budget, municipal service delivery and many other advocacy matters relating to the welfare of East Harlem. With a number of monthly public committee meeting covering a range of important community issues, Vinny currently serves both the Economic Development and Land Use Committees.
Dora Díaz, Vice Chair of Communications
Rosevelie Marquez Morales, Corporate Secretary
Ms. Márquez Morales is past president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and general counsel of the Hispanic National Bar Association. She has served as co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and chair of the Defense Research Institute’s Diversity Committee.
Ms. Márquez Morales received a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Rosa J. Gutierrez, Treasurer
Rosa J. Gutierrez (MBA, AIAF) serves as Treasurer and Executive Board member for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.
Ms. Gutierrez recently served as Chief Executive Officer for the Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc., a not-for-profit, multi-program health and human services organization operating in New York and Puerto Rico and as a Board Member for the Hope for Families and Children Foundation (HFFC), the supporting organization and fundraising arm of the Puerto Rican Family Institute.
Ms. Gutierrez has over 30 years of experience in the Insurance Finance sector with her last role of Vice President of Finance for American International Group (AIG). Ms. Gutierrez also served as Business Leader and President of the AIG Latino Network; an Employee Resource Group.
Ms. Gutierrez received her MBA in Finance from Benedictine University. She has also earned the designation of Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance (AIAF) is completing the designation of Associate of Regulatory and Compliance (ARC) and received a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the State University of New York, Purchase College.
Nilda L. Oyola, Education Committee Chair
My name is Nilda L. Quintana Oyola. I am the Vice President of Sales at Majestic Drug Company in New York, a manufacturer of niche oral care and personal care products. I have over 29 years of experience in diverse areas of the manufacturing/distributing industry including supply chain, quality and process development of oral care products within the company. I joined Majestic in 1988 as a receptionist and was promoted on numerous occasions attaining positions of greater responsibility. I am a proponent of education and am dedicated to ensuring future leaders are made.
Since becoming a union member in 1985, Eduardo Rosario has been an activist leader holding numerous elected and appointed positions in the union movement. He was an organizer and chair of the Community Services committee for the Northern California Conference of Newspaper Unions during the Northern California Newspaper Strike of November 1994. He later became president of Graphic Communications International Union Local 4, executive board member of the San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO), as well as president of the San Francisco chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
As a member of the executive board of the San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO), he has coordinated international conferences such as the Western Hemisphere Conference Against NAFTA and Privatization that brought together 413 delegates from 21 nations from throughout the Americas, and the Open World Conference that brought together 560 delegates from 56 nations from around the globe. He has proudly represented the U.S. labor movement as a juror to the International Conference Against Child Labor and Forced Labor, held in Mexico City, and was a member of the National AFL-CIO delegation to the People’s Summit held in Santiago, Chile. Today he is the Contract Administration Coordinator for AFSCME Local 375 at District Council 37 in New York City.
A fellow of the Cornell University/Worker Institute, he has earned a Master of Arts in Labor Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center/School of Professional Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies from the National Labor College, as well as a Certificate and Advanced Certificate in Labor Studies from Cornell University. His Master degree thesis was titled, “U.S. Labor Combating Environmental Injustices: organizing opportunities locally and globally”, as well as his Bachelor degree thesis titled, “The Dismantling of the Manufacturing Clause: another victim of deregulation”, which earned him a “Distinguished Paper Award” from the National Labor College. Hermano Rosario is the president of the New York City chapter of LCLAA the largest chapter in National LCLAA, and is the first person to ever become president of a LCLAA chapter on both West and East Coasts.
Eduardo is married and a proud father of three daughters.
Evelyn DeJesus is the United Federation of Teachers Vice President for Education, a position she has held for the past three years. She also serves as a National Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. A skilled teacher and trained administrator, Evelyn DeJesus is a fierce advocate for justice undaunted and unafraid to speak truth to power. She has made that advocacy a cornerstone of her job at the United Federation of Teachers and as a member of the AFT’s English Language Learners Cadre and chair of the AFT’s Latino Issues Task Force. Evelyn was a social worker and paraprofessional before becoming a teacher in a school in Manhattan’s Chinatown with many young students who spoke a variety of languages and had varying degrees of English proficiency. She won wide acclaim for her exemplary practices and outstanding outcomes in that position, becoming the school’s chapter leader, the UFT’s District Two Representative and subsequently, the Borough Representative for Manhattan, prior to becoming the union’s Education Vice President. She was newly elected to the National Association of Bilingual Education Executive Regional Board.
Evelyn holds a number of state and national positions. She is Vice President on The National Executive Board of The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). At the state level, Evelyn serves on the New York State United Teachers Board of Directors and heads NYSUT’s Labor and Religion Coalition. In her current position, she works closely with the New York State Board of Regents and New York State Department of Education on the policies and regulations that govern learning standards, teacher certification and enhance the education of English language learners.
Evelyn earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Education and Public Administration from Baruch College, and a master’s degree in Reading and Curriculum Development from Fordham University.
Lorraine A. Cortés-Vázquez
Senior Advisor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez as Senior Advisor in February 2017. Cortés-Vázquez works within the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. She advises the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs and Public Engagement Units and assists other agencies throughout the administration to engage the public and expand community outreach across New York City. As Senior Advisor, Cortés-Vázquez engages the Latino community around key issues, including criminal justice reform; economic justice; housing and economic development; immigration; job creation; M/WBE contracting and outreach; and Universal pre-K.
Prior to serving in the Mayor’s Office, Cortés-Vázquez was Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Government Affairs at EmblemHealth, where she was responsible for EmblemHealth’s relationships with key government, community and industry stakeholders, better positioning EmblemHealth for new growth opportunities. Cortés-Vázquez was also the Executive Vice President for Multicultural Markets and Engagement at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) where she developed a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan. At AARP, she ensured that the interests of multicultural age 50-plus audiences were integrated into everything AARP does, with the goal of increasing multicultural presence among AARP membership and increasing AARP’s involvement in those communities.
Before joining AARP, Cortés-Vázquez was New York State’s 65th Secretary of State, and the first Hispanic appointee to serve in that role. She also served as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation, a leading media, entertainment, and telecommunications company. She brought to this position a distinguished career in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors that extends more than 30 years. Her work in the nonprofit sector has gained her national recognition and numerous awards.
From 1998 to 2004, Cortés-Vázquez served as President of the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit network of Latino health and human service agencies with a footprint throughout the East Coast. She has extensive experience creating community partnerships to leverage civic participation and increasing the visibility of educational initiatives. In the early 1990s, she served as Executive Director of ASPIRA of New York, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit Latino youth leadership development and education advocacy agency. Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez obtained her undergraduate degree from Hunter College and earned a master’s degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Toll Fellow and has earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Columbia University’s School Professional Studies.
Lorraine Rodriguez-Reyes is a busy actor, producer, wife, and mother of two adorable children. In 2014, she became a National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. Board member, heading the Education Committee. She joined because she has a passion for education and for her Puerto Rican culture and saw volunteering for the organization as a wonderful way of giving back. “I think it is extremely important to encourage children to pursue their dreams, education and be proud of their culture and heritage.” As the Education Chair during the 2015-2017 cycle, she inspired her team of volunteers to help her grow the scholarship offerings from 15 to an impressive 100! She was thrilled to know that the outstanding scholars would each be receiving $2,000. There are several events scheduled for the scholars such as the Presentation of the Scholars, Empowerment/Enrichment Day and, of course, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade itself and Rodriguez-Reyes has been involved in them all. Proud to be handing the Chair role in 2018 to the very competent Nilda L. Oyola, she is still assisting the Committee in any way she is asked.
This passionate Puerto Rican has paid her dues. She received her B.A. at State University of New York at New Paltz and an M.F.A. from Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.)/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training. A versatile performer, she has appeared in many television shows including such hits as Good Girls and the Sopranos, and has guest starred in ABC’s prime time show “What Would You Do?” 26 times! Her films include The Boarder and Eli Moran among others and as “Doris”, one of the Willets Point leads, she was nominated for Best Dramatic Actress at the Long Island Repertory Film Expo. Rodriguez-Reyes was also “Maria”, the lead, in Repertorio Español’s very funny and heart-warming, La Gringa. At present, she is in rehearsals for Cuatro Mujeres, which will play in Atlanta, where she currently resides. This play, written with three actor women friends, took them to Mexico where they were invited to perform at the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan’s Feria Internacional de La Lectura Yucatan. There is much to say about this prolific Boricua’s acting and producing because her credits in film, theater, and television are a mile long, but suffice it to say she is continuing to search for roles where she will be able to use her many talents. She’s even a certified fencer!
Rodriguez-Reyes will continue volunteering with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. as a Board Member and specifically continue serving on the Education Committee. Scholars’ programming and the parade. The 2018 parade looks to be the best ever.
Orlando Plaza serves as a member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Board of Directors. Orlando Plaza was born and raised in New York City’s Lower East Side. His mother came to the United States from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and his father in the 1960s; they raised him with a deep sense of cultural pride and identity.
Growing up in the multicultural milieu of the Lower East Side exposed Orlando to a great deal of cultures and worldviews for which he is very grateful. Nevertheless, the Lower East Side in the 1970s and 1980s was one of many neighborhoods in New York City that was influenced greatly by the Puerto Rican Diaspora.
Social clubs with the names of Puerto Rican towns proliferated, Caribbean produce in “La Marqueta” was always available, movies featuring Spanish language films could be seen, restaurants with Puerto Rican cuisine were plentiful and music stores selling the latest albums by Puerto Rican musicians filled the soundscape throughout the Lower East Side.
Growing up Puerto Rican in that neighborhood was a joy. Puerto Ricans collectively felt as if they were not only a part of New York City but also connected to their brothers and sisters on the Island and in the Diaspora in general.
In the early 1990s, Orlando attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) where he met his first academic mentor professor Salvador Ocasio and he immersed himself in the Puerto Rican Studies courses offered at BMCC.
However, his experience at BMCC was only the beginning of his academic journey. After having finished the two-year program at BMCC in a year and half he received a partial scholarship to Fordham University. Once again, he was fortunate enough to meet yet another academic mentor who would have a profound influence on his life, professor Mark Niason. After having written a paper comparing and contrasting the political ideologies of Puerto Rican nationalist leader, Don Pedro Albizu Campos and UNIA leader, Marcus Garvey, Naison called Orlando into his office and told him, “Young man, you are a scholar.”
Orlando graduated from Fordham University in 1995 with a B.A in history and a minor in sociology.
After having worked nearly two years for the Board of Education as a drug prevention counselor and serving as interim director at the Lower East Side-based Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center (named after a Puerto Rican poet), Orlando applied to the Ph.D. program at New York University. In 1999 he was granted the Opportunity Fellowship and the Warren Dean Fellowship. He earned a master’s degree in History majoring in the African Diaspora and Latin America.
In 2002, while working on his prospectus for his dissertation, the opportunity arose to open the bar/restaurant, Camaradas El Barrio.
After a great deal of thought and deliberation Orlando decided that the academy could wait and that entrepreneurship could not. He submerged himself completely into building and developing the bar/restaurant and brand that is known today as Camaradas El Barrio in East Harlem.
From the beginning it was important that Camaradas become more than just a local for food and drink. It needed to be organically connected to El Barrio and its rich cultural and artistic history. He, along with his business partners, were keenly aware of the importance of El Barrio to the Puerto Rican Diaspora and Camaradas needed to be a place that expressed that with pride and respect.
After nine years he can confidently say that Camaradas El Barrio has achieved its goal and to many it is more than just a place for food and drink it has become an institution.
Raquel M. Ortiz Rodríguez is an Anthropologist, Educator, Social Justice Activist, and Writer who studies, celebrates, creates and shares stories. Her writing and scholarship focuses on the visual arts, culture, literature, music, and identity and includes El Arte de la Identidad (University of Granada, 2011). Dr. Ortiz has worked as a Museum Educator at The Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio and as an editor and writer for Santillana, creating textbooks and educational material for children in Puerto Rico and the U.S.A. In 2013 she directed the documentary Memories on the Wall exploring the concept community murals and identity with teens in El Barrio.
Currently, she creates curriculum and educational materials (K-14) for the Puerto Rican Cultural Ambassadors program for the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Hunter College) and teaches at Medgar Evers College (City University of New York). Dr. Ortiz is the author of the picture book Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural (Arte Público Press, 2015). Sofi Paints her Dreams / Sofi pinta sus sueños and ¡Bomba! Dancing with the Talking Drums / ¡Bomba! Bailando con los tambores que hablan will be published by Arte Público Press in 2019.
Viviana M. Pagán-Muñiz
Viviana M. Pagán-Muñiz born and raised in Puerto Rico with roots from San Juan, Ponce, and Mayaguez. I am a forward-thinking communications and marketing executive that thrives on innovative projects and emerging practices, particularly in the customer experience, digital marketing, and communications fields. My digital marketing and customer care career started in Puerto Rico, took me to Latin America followed by Washington, DC where I currently work for AARP to proudly serve our 38-million members.
Customer experience, multicultural markets and complex projects that drive change management are my fuel. I love to lead teams in environments that require collaboration, co-creation, and relationship management across channels and functions. Ideating, planning and overseeing the execution of projects from start to finish is one of my biggest passions. I champion great causes and talented people. I am honored to support the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to shine a light on our culture, our talent and the students who represent us in Puerto Rico, the United States and the world.