Release: HISPA President among six Latino Leaders to be honored by the Friends of the Hispanic Research and Information Center


The Friends of the Hispanic Research and Information Center (HRIC) will honor six New Jersey Latino leaders and the Newark Public Library at the 2011 Annual Awards Dinner on Wednesday, May 4, at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.


The theme for the fundraising event, “Building on Our Latino Roots,” reflects the organization’s mission to support the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center (NJHRIC) at the Newark Public Library. The mission of the NJHRIC is to inspire lifelong learning in the Latino community and to rescue and preserve the Latino historic legacy in the state.
The 2011 Maria De Castro Blake Community Service Award recipients are: Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse, founder and president of Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA); Javier Robles, former Deputy Director of the New Jersey Division of Disability Services and president of ThisAbled.com; and the late Dr. Eric Muñoz, a surgeon and state assemblyman. Assemblywoman Nancy Muñoz will accept her husband’s award.
Additionally, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Casto Maldonado, president and CEO of FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development in Newark. The first-ever Founder Awards will be given to NJHRIC co-founders Olga Jimenez Wagenheim, Ph.D., and Ingrid Betancourt. The Outstanding Institutional Support Award will go to the Newark Public Library.
“This year’s award recipients and their work reflect a commitment to excellence and it is indeed an honor to recognize them at our awards dinner,” said José R. Acevedo, chair of the Friends of the HRIC Board of Trustees. “We look forward to an evening where we will also celebrate the past, present, and the future of Latinos in New Jersey.”
This year’s event marks the 10th year since a community group formally launched efforts to establish the NJHRIC. The organization’s name has changed over time and today is known as Friends of the HRIC, but its support of the NJHRIC has remained steadfast.
The NJHRIC offers three key services: The Sala Hispanoamericana offers the Latino community a variety of library services and information resources in Spanish and houses the largest Spanish-language collection of books and materials in the state; the Puerto Rican Community Archives, which is a growing collection of donated historic documents; and the Hispanic Reference Center, which is devoted to documenting all Latino groups in New Jersey through oral history and traditional research methods.
The 2011 awards dinner continues the tradition of holding a signature event to recognize Latino leaders who empower their communities and thus contribute to New Jersey’s society. The community service award was named after the late María De Castro Blake, an outspoken New Jersey Latino community supporter who rose from a garment worker to an assistant dean at Rutgers-Newark.
The event emcee is Denisse Oller, a longtime journalist and former news anchor. Tickets for the dinner are $85.
For more information and tickets, contact José R. Acevedo: 973.557-1957 or mayaguezano@optonline.net.
Gloria Montealegre