Hundreds of Dominican revelers and uptown community members joined me and my staff to kick off the Dominican Day Parade with dancing, picaderas and an award ceremony at the United Palace Theater.
More than 750,000 Dominican-Americans call New York City home—and Washington Heights is the epicenter of this growing community. I host a kickoff reception every year in partnership with Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla and elected officials in the area to celebrate this vibrant community.
This year we honored Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, Dominican Parade president Maria Khurry and other parade leaders, and Jose Ramon Martinez, an impressive Harvard University student who has been an advocate for Dominican-Americans.
“This award means that I’m in a position to be a voice for the Dominican community,” Martinez said. “Our presence is often felt but not respected and I’m working to change that.”
In Martinez’s tightknit community, word of his ambition spread quickly and he caught the attention of the Dominican Parade leadership, which awards a scholarship each year. Martinez, who hails from North Philadelphia, just finished his first year at Harvard. He’s majoring in Social Studies and has big plans for his college career and beyond. Martinez said that he hopes to get a masters’ degree in education and serve as a Harvard Teacher Fellow at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), a partner of the fellowship program.
Congratulations on your award Jose!
I’ll also be marching in the parade and I hope you’ll join my contingent. The parade takes place Sunday, August 12 at 12 pm. It starts at 35th Street and ends at 56th Street, all along 6th Avenue. See more information about the parade here.