Chairman Crowley Marks Hispanic Heritage Month with Bronx and Queens Communities at 16th Annual Celebration
(Queens, NY) – On Monday, September 18, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, hosted an annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration to mark the vast contributions of Latino culture and heritage in New York City. Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) gave the keynote address and three community leaders were honored for their efforts to improve Queens and the Bronx.
“Latinos have shaped our country and played a vital role in making the United States a competitive, innovative leader,” said Crowley. “I am proud to honor three amazing individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to helping communities in Queens and the Bronx. It was also an honor to stand besides Congressman Gutiérrez – the strongest advocate for immigrants in Congress.”
Both Congressmen Crowley and Gutiérrez spoke impassionedly about the need for Congress to swiftly pass the DREAM Act – legislation that would give 800,000 DREAMers the ability to earn citizenship over time. President Trump is currently threatening the DREAMers by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.
“It was an honor to attend the annual Queens and Bronx community Hispanic Heritage Month. When the chips are down, Joe Crowley stands up for Latinos and immigrants, so I jumped at the opportunity to stand with him in New York,” said Gutiérrez. “We need leaders in the Democratic Party who act on their values and convictions and I have always been able to count on Joe Crowley, especially now when President Trump and the Republicans are attacking American values on so many fronts, from DACA and deportations to health care and voting rights.”
At the event, Crowley recognized Lorena Kourousias, Director of Life Enrichment Services at the Violence Intervention Program, Norma Potros, a local immigration attorney and advocate, and Israel Rocha, Jr., CEO of Elmhurst Hospital for their advocacy and commitment to their community.
“I am grateful for the efforts that Congressman Joseph Crowley and his team are making to uplift the work of my community, to make visible our hard work, to send the message that we matter, we are together, strong and here to stay,” said Kourousias. “This award gives me the energy to keep fighting and to know that I’m not alone is this fight, and that my community matters.”
“I am honored to receive this recognition. It is especially meaningful as it comes as we celebrate 50 years since the U.S. began celebrating Hispanic Heritage week as an acknowledgement of the important contribution of Hispanic and Latino Americans in this country,” said Potros.
“I am humbled to receive this recognition from Representative Joseph Crowley during Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Rocha. “The hospital I have the honor of serving provides care for one of the world’s most diverse communities, and Representative Crowley has long been one of our strongest champions in Congress.”
The event was held at Mamajuana Café in Woodside, Queens and drew more than 250 guests, including Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) and Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer (D- Long Island City, Woodside), Daniel Dromm (D- Jackson Heights), and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights)
The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to designate Hispanic Heritage Week to commemorate the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. 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.