On Thursday, August 13th, 2020, The Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY Association held the 18th Annual Flag Raising Ceremony at La Casa de Los Tainos, 333 Trenton Avenue, Buffalo, NY.
Every year the parade honors the achievements and contributions of the Puerto Rican and Hispanic community to the American fabric of life, to its diversity and to the ideals of justice, equality in inclusiveness for everyone.
Board President Charles Torres stated that although the parade was cancelled due to the pandemic, that the flag raising ceremony would occur and that it was an honor to bring the event to the home of many of our seniors, some who have mobility issues and can’t travel to witness the ceremony elsewhere.
Dignitaries led by Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown, Buffalo City Court Judge Betty Calvo-Torres, Fillmore Councilman Mitch Nowakowski, Fire Commissioner William Rinaldo, Public Works Deputy Commissioner Francisco Guzman and Office of New Americans Director Jessica Lazarin looked on as the Parade Association honored front line workers of the pandemic who were asked to hoist the flags. Deputy Fire Commissioner Ramon Suarez, NYS Trooper Michael O’Bryan and Buffalo Police Officer Ryan Crespo hoisted the American Flag as Jennifer Arroyo-Lay sang the “Star Spangled Banner”, the US national anthem. Dr. Raul Vazquez, G-Health Enterprises, EMT Alejandro Rodriguez, and RN ShadyLee Vazquez hoisted the Puerto Rican flag as Jennifer gave a heart-warming rendition of “La Borinquena”, the Puerto Rican national anthem, while the seniors sang along. Mayor Brown thanked all those that attended and expressed his gratitude for the contributions made by the Puerto Rican and Hispanic community which adds to the great cultural diversity in Buffalo.
Last year, as part of its longstanding commitment of supporting the community and its youth, the Association gave out over three hundred (300) backpacks in honor of Ezra “Pancho Billa” Castro, a Buffalo Bills super fan who passed away from cancer and who’s final request was to give backpacks to children in need.
As advocates of education through its Miss Borinquen Leadership Program, the Association stated it would give out over one thousand (1000) backpacks this year. On Friday, August 14th, over 300 bags were distributed at The Belle Center. These backpacks will contain necessary supplies for school based learning, as well as provide a means to carry items should they have to travel (for internet connectivity) for online learning. Association Vice-President Buffalo City Court Judge Betty Calvo-Torres, Miss Borinquen Curriculum Coordinator, then presented a scholarship check for $2000 to Miss Borinquen 2019 Paola N. Rodriguez-Ortiz, of Dunkirk, as she begins her journey of being a Nurse Practitioner at Jamestown Community College.
The 19th Annual Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY is scheduled for August 21, 2021. Updated information can be found on their Facebook page (Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY) or web page