BY: Liliana Rocio, Senior Editor For World Liberty TV

The 62nd Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade will take place on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, Sunday, June 9th, starting at 11am.

2019 honorees include: Ricky Martin – Grand Marshal,  José Feliciano – Lifetime Achievement,  La India (GRAMMY® Award-winning singer) – Godmother,Chi Chi Rodríguez (Golf Legend) – Lifetime Achievement, Bobby Sanabria (Jazz star) – Godfather Alberto Carrión (Singer/songwriter) – Lifetime Achievement, Ana María Martínez (world-renowned soprano) – Orgullo Award,  Dagmar Rivera (Television hostess) – Lifetime Achivement and Dalila Zapata Hernández (Model with Down Syndrome) – Rising Star.

America’s largest cultural celebration with over 1.5 million spectators, this year will also feature 10,000 marchers and many additional attending personalities.

Dr.Abbey with Senator Chuck schumer

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) Board of Directors announced additional themes and tributes that will make up its 2019 celebration.  Under the theme, “One People, Many Voices,” the Parade will continue celebrating the best of Puerto Rican culture and history, paying tribute to key historical figures and raising awareness on issues of importance in the community.  The Parade also announced several distinguished Puerto Ricans that will round out its roster of honorees to march up Fifth Avenue on June 9.

AOC Marching in parade

“This year’s Parade celebration will continue showcasing the best of who we are as a community.  We will highlight our vast diversity talent, honoring historic figures and exemplary trailblazers that have overcome cultural and gender barriers to excel in their fields and meaningfully contribute to our global society,” said Louis Maldonado, Board Chair for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. “We will also utilize the Parade as a platform to champion important causes to our community and foster economic development in Puerto Rico during this post-Hurricane María era.”

Ricky Martin Grand Marshall 2019 Parade

This 2019 National Puerto Rican Day Parade will be led by international artist, Ricky Martin, who will be honored as Grand Marshal. Born in San Juan, Martin is recognized for his distinguished career as a multiple GRAMMY® and Latin GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, among other accolades, Emmy Award-nominated actor, author and philanthropist. The NPRDP also honors the Ricky Martin Foundation for its work to denounce human trafficking and educate about its existence through global awareness, research and community initiatives. Human trafficking is the second most lucrative crime in the world, impacting an estimated 40.3 million people around the world. Through its academic research, the Ricky Martin Foundation is working to shine a spotlight on the existence of this crime and its impact on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Dr.Abbey with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr

The 2019 NPRDP Padrino (Godfather) title goes to the accomplished percussionist, composer, arranger, producer and educator, Bobby Sanabria. A seven-time GRAMMY®nomineethat hails from the South Bronx, Sanabria has performed with major artists in jazz music, including Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barreto and Paquito D’Rivera, as well as legendary figures in Latin music, including Yomo Toro and Celia Cruz. He is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, is Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center and is part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy and The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.

World championship boxer and mixed martial artist, Amanda Serrano, joins this year’s honorees as Athlete of the Year.  Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and raised in Brooklyn, Serrano has won championship boxing titles in seven different weight divisions, a feat surpassed only by Manny Pacquiao. In January 2019, Serrano won the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) super flyweight championship title, defeating Austria’s Eva Voraberger in just 35 seconds. The WBO has twice recognized Serrano with the Female Boxer of the Year Award, in 2016 and 2018.

Dr.Abbey with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill

Recognized as the 2019Trailblazer Honoreeis actress and singer, MJ Rodríguez, the star of FX’s hit television series, Pose. Playing the role of Blanca Rodríguez Evangelista, Rodríguez leads the largest cast of transgender actors in a scripted television series. In 2011, she won the Clive Barnes Award for her role as “Angel” in the off-Broadway revival of Rent. Raised in Newark, New Jersey, graduated from Newark Arts High School and attended Berklee School of Music.

Dr.Abbey with PR Folklore Characters

Promoting Economic Development: In 2018, the NPRDP paid tribute to several organizations that were helping with the recovery from Hurricane Maria. The Parade continues that work this year by also recognizing organizations whose work promotes economic development on the Island. As part of this initiative, NPRDP recognizes Discover Puerto Rico,a newly established private, not for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination. With the aim of bringing prosperity to the people of Puerto Rico, Discover Puerto Rico promotes the Island’s diversity and uniqueness for leisure and business travel, as well as events. Discover Puerto Rico will have a key role at the NPRDP Gala Fundraiser and at the June 9 Parade on Fifth Avenue.

Millions of Spectators in attendance

Posthumous Tribute to Sylvia Rivera, Civil Rights and LGBTQ Activist: In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement, the NPRDP pays tribute to activist Sylvia Rivera. Born in the Bronx to a Venezuelan mother and Puerto Rican father, Rivera was a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and champion for the inclusion of LGBTQ people of color in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. Realizing that LGBTQ youth of color were often underserved by leading gay community organizations of the day, Rivera co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with friend and fellow activist, Marsha Johnson, an organization committed to helping homeless gay, gender nonconforming and transgender youth of color.

Police Hispanic Society of Nassau Community Marching

NPRDP Gala Honors Historic Individuals and Organizations: At its annual Gala Fundraiser, the NPRDP will honor Felix Matos Rodríguez, PhD,Chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public university system. In a unanimous appointment by the CUNY Board of Trustees, Matos made history by being the first person of color to lead CUNY since its founding, 172 years ago. His work is recognized nationally for measurably boosting college retention and completion rates while serving as president of Queens College, part of CUNY. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University, Matos Rodríguez is a scholar, teacher, administrator and former Cabinet secretary for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Radio KTU 103.5 Marching

Joining Matos Rodríguez as a  2019 NPRDP Gala honoree is Arte Público Press, in recognition of its 40th anniversary. Founded in 1979 by Nicolás Kanellos, PhD, Arte Público Press has garnered national distinction as the largest, longest-standing and most accomplished U.S. publisher of contemporary and recovered literature written by Puerto Rican and other Hispanic authors. Now part of the University of Houston, Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books become a showcase for Hispanic literary creativity, arts and culture, publishing authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Miguel Piñero, Luis Valdez, Miguel Algarín, Julia Alvarez, Nicholasa Mohr, Victor Villaseñor, and Helena María Viramontes. Other Gala honorees announced previously include Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, film director and producer Noel Quiñones Mora, as well as Nilda Prieto from Hewlett Packard Aguadilla.

The NPRDP Gala Fundraiser will take place on Friday, June 7 at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers in New York City. Headlining the evening’s musical performances will be 2019 NPRDP Madrina, La India, with special performances by other NPRDP honorees.

Dr.Abbey with Fernando Ferrer Former Bronx Borough President

 Honoring Leaders in Education: The NPRDP honors educators, administrators, academics and other leaders whose life’s work has been dedicated to promoting the education of Puerto Rican and Latino students at the Education Leadership Awards. This year’s Education Leadership Honorees include José Luis Cruz, President of Lehman College, a leading advocate for policies to expand opportunities for all students, particularly those from underserved communities. President Cruz is a professor of physics in Lehman’s School of Natural and Social Sciences, and he serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including The Education Trust, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Regional Plan Association and the New York Botanical Garden. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is a National Science Foundation Career Award recipient. His work on optical interconnections for massively parallel processing systems has been published in scientific journals and presented at international conferences.

Dr.Abbey with Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo

The NPRDP announced that the 2019 Teacher of the Year is Carlos Olivieri, who teaches at EBC High School-Bushwick Brooklyn, part of New York City Public Schools. Carlos is grateful and honored to serve as a teacher in the very same community where he was born, raised and continues to live, and he finds the most of his joy though working directly with Special Needs and English as a New language (ENL) students. An advocate for students and teachers, alike, Carlos raised more than ten thousand dollars to build EBC High School’s very first recording studio so that students could learn digital media arts in film, photography, sound design and podcasting.

National Latino Officers Association

The NPRDP previously announced that joining Mr. Cruz and Mr. Olivieri as 2019 Education Leadership Honorees are Ana María García Blanco, PhD, Founder & Executive Director at Instituto Nueva Escuela and Jeannette Valdés Morales, an educator with expertise in Special Education and coach on Puerto Rico’s Special Olympics team.

For a third consecutive year, the Parade will award 100 scholarships to exceptional high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors of Puerto Rican descent. Each scholarship is in the amount of $2,000 for a total pool of $200,000, a 20-fold increase since 2013. This year’s scholarship recipients represent 20 states and Puerto Rico. Scholarship recipients will be announced at the Education Leadership Awards on May 25, in New York City.

The 2019 National Puerto Rican Day Parade will take place on New York City’s Fifth Avenue from E 43rdStreet to E 79thSt, Sunday June 9, starting at 11am. The celebration will be broadcast live on WABC-TV (Channel 7 in NYC) and streamed online The television broadcast will begin at 12pm through 4pm.

Dr Abbey with Assembly Member Felix Ortiz

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