Dominican Heritage Takes Center Stage Date: March 7, 2017 Time: 1:09 PM Photo Credit: Neoyorkinos.com On February 16, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. hosted his annual Dominican Heritage celebration at Hostos Community College, honoring individuals who have contributed to the growth and promotion of their community and cultural legacy. This year's honorees included Ana I. García Reyes, Associate Dean for Community Relations at Hostos Community College; Hon. Marisol Alcantara, New York State Senator and Luz Tavarez, Director Of Government & Community Relations for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. praised the work and contributions of the honorees and acknowledged Dr. David Gómez's significant leadership role as President of Hostos Community College. Dean García Reyes said, “I feel humbled and honored to receive this proclamation from our esteemed Bronx Borough President Díaz on the occasion celebrating Dominican Heritage – El Mes de La Patria.” Borough President Díaz added, “This is the women’s year and it would be remiss on my part not to recognize these iconic powerful Dominican American women, who have giving so much to our communities and who make us feel very proud of their contributions.” About Dominican Heritage Month Dominican Heritage Month is celebrated yearly January 21 to February 27. Though it mostly coincides with DR’s Mes de la Patria, NY’s Dominican Heritage Month starts a few days earlier, with El día de la Altagracia kicking things off. Both here and on the island, the month celebrates founding father Juan Pablo Duarte’s birthday and Dominican Independence Day. During the observance of Dominican Heritage Month, Dominicans host activities to promote awareness of the culture and heritage through religious and patriotic celebrations. It is fitting that New Yorkers celebrate this special commemoration of ancestral pride and tradition with our Dominican communities, and extend appreciation to all our Dominican friends and neighbors for the valuable contributions they have made and continue to make to the City, State and Nation. Dominicans in NY are one of the largest Latino groups who also have the largest number of residents in the Bronx, the largest number of students at The City University of New York and NYC DOE. It is also known that Juan Rodriguez was the first documented non-Native American to live on Manhattan Island. As such, he is considered the first non-native resident of what would eventually become New York City, predating the Dutch settlers. As he was born in Santo Domingo (now in the Dominican Republic) to a Portuguese sailor and an African woman, he is also considered the first immigrant, the first person of African heritage, the first person of European heritage, the first merchant, the first Latino, and the first Dominican to settle in Manhattan in 1613. About Hostos Community College Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities for nearly half a century. Since 1968, Hostos has been a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. Hostos offers 28 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.