Delegation of NY legislators and judges visit DR to learn about culture and unify efforts in favor of the Diaspora
A delegation of the Senate of New York visited for the 2nd time the Dominican Republic to unify efforts together with the Dominican legislators and judges in order to improve the quality of life of the Diaspora in that State.
The intention of the delegation was announced during a visit to the offices of the director of El Nuevo Diario, Persio Maldonado, in which they expressed their concern towards the Dominican Diaspora and expressed their intentions with the visit to the country.
The representation was presided over by the elected officials, the leader of the Republican Minority in the New York State Assembly, Will Barcley; Senator Luis Sepúlveda; the senator of the State of Florida, Victor Torres; the vice-president of the New York Assembly, Phil Ramos.
Assemblymembers Latoya Joyner, Maritza Davila, Kenny Burgos, Al Taylor, Jaime Williams, Chantel Jackson, Jake Blumecranz and Councilmember Althea Stevens.
Other members were Justices Bianka Pérez of the Supreme Court and Fiordaliza Rodríguez of the Family Court. As well as Sammy Ravelo of the Dominican Veterans Association, Ramón Martínez, Eliezer Rodriguez, Robert Tejeda, Gabriela Tejada and Rafael René Encarnación.
Representing the Dominican Government were Consul Eligio Jaquez and Senator Alexis Victoria Yeb.
For the New York Police Department, Dennis Rodríguez, William Rivera, Wilfrido Dominguez and Sergeant Aquilino Gonell.
Victor Torres, Senator from Central Florida
Victor Torres, Senator from Central Florida, said that this is the first time that he has traveled to the country and indicated that he has seen New York’s drive with the Dominicans, which he also wants to do in his state.
He also explained that he has seen the growth of the Dominican community in the two districts, increasing every day in business, in addition to the fact that the diaspora is hardworking.
“The question for me is how I can bring this message, what they have done in New York to Florida, to help me help the Dominican community, because New York has made many steps that Florida has not yet done and I think it is time to do something to help our community,” said Torres.
Victor Torres made a call to the Dominicans in Florida to go out, get to know each other and say present.
He said that what he wants to do is to help “our community”.
Assemblywoman Chantel Jackson
For her part, Assemblywoman Chantel Jackson, said that she represents the South Bronx community of New York, where the percentage is 58 percent Latino and 19,000 Dominicans.
She also said that she accompanied the delegation to understand exactly why Dominicans love the country so much and to learn how to resolve issues in the Bronx from that point of view.
“I identify myself as an African American representing 19 thousand Dominicans, it was very important for me to be here on this trip, for me to see the beautiful home of the Dominicans and to understand exactly why they love this country so much. And also to learn how I can solve the issues in the Bronx from this point of view,” said Jackson. Thank you for bringing me here,” he concluded.
Assemblywoman Maritza Davila
On the other hand, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila for the 53rd district, belonging to Brooklyn, expressed her concern regarding the little involvement Dominicans have in U.S. politics and the massive support they show for Dominican politics.
“Because as someone said Dominicans in New York are more involved in Dominican politics than in the United States,” Davila said.
He expressed that Dominicans are active in U.S. politics, but not all of them. She said that they should provide more education on how local politics works in New York.
Maritza also affirmed that the most active culture in her sector has been the Dominican community.
She specified that she came to the Republic to let them know that they care and to bring legislation with Senator Sepulveda. Also to get a little more understanding of how they live “and what they need from us.”
Councilwoman Althea Stevens
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Althea Stevens of the City Council of the City of The Bronx, New York, revealed that the main reason she participated is because her colleagues at the state level of the legislature, “are here”.
In this way Steven said that they have a high population of Dominicans that they represent, so it is essential for all to learn together, for the benefit of these communities.
On Dominicans living abroad participating in Dominican politics, but not so much in American politics, she said she is a firm believer that it is because they need to do more work “with our young people to get them involved in politics, so that they understand the importance of community and civic participation”.
Will Barcley, Republican Minority Leader in the New York State Assembly
Will Barcley, leader of the Republican Minority in the New York State Assembly, thanked media director Persio Maldonado for his words on the importance of freedom of expression.
Barcley said that this is his first time on Dominican soil, which has delighted him and has allowed him to get to know the Government of the Republic, learn about the Dominican economy and learn about the role of the Dominican press.
Fiordaliza Rodríguez, judge in the Family Court of the Bronx.
Fiordaliza Rodríguez, judge of the Family Court of the Bronx, also made her presentation. She expressed her concern on how to give notification of legal proceedings in process in New York to people who are residing in the Dominican territory, who may have been deported for one reason or another or who are no longer living in that American State, since this would help her with the Dominican community that deals with the Family Court.
For his part, Assemblyman Kenny Burgos, representative of the South Bronx, 85th district, expressed the honor he feels to be in the Dominican territory as representative of the district that has more than 70 percent of Latinos and a population mostly of Dominicans.
He said that he is in the country as a state representative to serve his constituents and to be able to dialogue with elected officials of the Dominican government, business and the entire Dominican community and thus understand the important issues for the Dominican community, especially those residing abroad.
Also to concretize what they are trying to achieve through the resolutions that Senator Luis Sepulveda announced and come out with tangible solutions for the benefit of the New York Diaspora.
“Because I believe it is important to have an active democracy and I also have a faithful commitment that we defend democracy, both at the state level as well as at the national and international level, so the purpose of being here is to leave here with tangible solutions for the benefit of both Dominicans residing in the Republic and in New York,” testified Assemblyman Kenny.
Another of the speakers was Assemblyman Alfredo, Washington High representative, who said that when he hears about Dominican culture he is reminded of the African American culture and the African American experience, which after a few generations, “they begin to disconnect to their roots”.
He explained that in this journey the experience is something new and asked, “How is it that we can help this generation now, “because if we are not relevant to them, they are not going to be relevant to us and vice versa, so it is important to have that conversation.
He thanked Senator Luis Sepulveda and Senator Alexis Victoria Ayeb for helping to look at how they can change the narrative to invite others to participate in what they are trying to accomplish.
He alleged that they have 44 percent of Dominicans residing in their community and what they want is to know how they can be a better representative, have more connection, help and empower the community.
“If we want to see a transformation, we have to make sure that everyone is at the same table and share real views, not only in New York but throughout the country,” said Assemblyman Alfredo.
Special Mention to Sgt. Aquilino Gonnell
At the same time they made a special mention to Sergeant Aquilino Gonnell, for being one of the Dominicans who contributed to the quality of life and progress of New York, since for the first time he was recognized at the highest level by the President of the United States and the Federal Congress.
“He is a token of our sacrifice, his blood defended the democracy of the United States, he came to the country and presented himself with the flag that flew in the Capitol on the attack of January 6. He brought that flag and in a visit he gave the flag to the president of all Dominicans”, said Rusking Pimentel, communications director.
The elected officials from abroad were accompanied by Graimer Méndez as Legislative Technical liaison, between the Dominican Senate and the New York Senate.