¡Presente! Symposium Commemorating Latin@ NJ and 30th Anniversary Celebration of the NJ Hispanic Youth Showcase

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On Saturday, April 2, 2016, 1:00-6:00 p.m., a symposium at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) will contextualize the largely forgotten events of the 1974 Puerto Rican riots. The one-day conference will examine the history of Latin@ and Puerto Rican culture in New York and New Jersey from the late 19th century to the 1970s, explore the causes and consequences of the 1974 Puerto Rican riots, and extol the richness of the city of Newark’s 350-year history. The evening will culminate with a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the NJ Hispanic Youth Showcase and an opportunity for the community to raise funds for the Miguel Estremera Scholarship Fund.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will take place at RU-N at 15 Washington Street, Room 201. The agenda for the day is as follows:

1:00 pm – “25 Years of Recovering Latin@ New Jersey and New York”

2:00-3:45 pm – “Transnational, Multilingual Archives: 19th and early 20th Century Latin@ New Jersey and New York” (speakers include Ricardo Luis Hernández Otero of Instituto de Literatura y Lingüística, Havana Cuba; Virginia Sánchez Korrol of Brooklyn College; and Kenya Dworkin y Méndez of Carnegie Mellon University; Laura Lomas of RU-N will be the respondent)

4:00-5:45 pm – “Community Roundtable on Newark Puerto Rican Rebellion of 1974” (panelists include eye-witnesses to the Newark Puerto Rican riots of 1974 and Puerto Rican community leaders: Luis Negrón, United Auto Workers organizer and founder of El Coqui Boxing Club; Sigfredo Carrión-Toro, elected representative who negotiated on behalf of the Puerto Rican community with Mayor Ken Gibson after the riots, Puerto Rican Student Union leader at RU-N, and Educational Opportunity Fund staffer who recruited William Sánchez and many other Latin@ students to RU-N; Nelson “Butchie” Nieves, eyewitness to the 1974 riots, president of the Puerto Rican Day Parade of Newark, and principal aid to Newark Councilman Luis Quintana; and Yesenia Lopez, archivist of the Puerto Rican Community Archives, New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center at The Newark Public Library; Jason Cortés of RU-N will serve as moderator)

Food, fun, and fundraising follow the symposium to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the NJ Hispanic Youth Showcase. The NJ Hispanic Youth Showcase recruits young people in a talent search to compete for scholarship money and exposure on a livestream performance at NJPAC. Rafael Toro of GOYA Foods and Arlene Ng, NJ Hispanic Youth Showcase’s first winner, will act as emcees. Other former showcase winners and world class salsa dancers will perform to the live music of the Newark All-Stars and award-winning paella recipes will form part of the buffet.

The fundraiser will be held in the Great Hall of 15 Washington Street, 6:00-10:00 pm. The suggested donation for the celebration is $30 for nonstudents and includes buffet and dancing. The suggested donation for students with valid student IDs is $20. RSVP required by March 15. Space is limited.

The symposium and fundraiser celebration are sponsored by the Latin@ Studies Working Group (LSWG) at RU-N in partnership with NJ Hispanic Youth Showcase.

Event supporters include: RU-N Office of the Chancellor; the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rutgers University-New Brunswick (RU-NB), and Rutgers University Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Newark 350th Committee; GOYA Foods; Target Dollars; Student Government Association; RU-N Department of English and RU-N Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies; Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration; Educational Opportunity Fund, RU-N; Office of Student Life and Leadership; NJMS Office for Diversity and Community Engagement, Hispanic Center of Excellence; LSWG Community Advisory Board; Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Project; Center for Latino Arts and Culture; and Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, RU-NB.

For more information about the symposium or fundraiser celebration, contact Laura Lomas at or 973-353-5203 or Jennifer Caroccio at

About the Latin@ Studies Working Group at Rutgers University-Newark:
The Latin@ Studies Working Group at Rutgers University-Newark hosts public conversations with artists, intellectuals, and scholars; recovers and preserves institutional memory; and collaborates with public institutions to promote scholarship, research, and teaching in Latin@ Studies.

(Top photo of young Arlene Ng receiving from Rafael Toro of GOYA Foods the first NJ Hispanic Showcase award in 1986; bottom photo of Arlene Ng now.)