NYCHA residents celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with an event showcasing the people, history, music, food, dance, and achievements of the Latino community – emphasizing the fact that, regardless of country, todos somos familia (“we are all family”).
On October 25, more than 200 NYCHA residents filled the Johnson Community Center in Harlem, where the celebration was hosted by NYCHA’s Family Partnerships Department.
In addition to lunch and health services provided by partner organizations, the most memorable experiences of the day were the performances. There were laughs courtesy of comedian Aldo Marachlian, who’s been a featured comic on Comedy Central and Univision’s “The Luis Jimenez Show.” Musician Wally Ruiz sang classic Spanish songs such as “Cielito Lindo” and “Guantanamera” accompanied by his guitar, with many audience members singing along.
NYCHA residents from Taft Senior Center performed a merengue number that got attendees up and dancing, while Bronx seniors performed a “Heritage Celebration” piece that included dance, song, and a callout of prominent Hispanic people and their achievements. Jazz singer Annette St. John closed the program with “Bésame Mucho” as a tribute to late Cuban singer Celia Cruz.
The event also honored two members of the New York City Police Department, Neighborhood Coordination Officer Fernando Dominquez of Police Service Area 5 and Community Affairs Officer Angelica Delgado, for their service to NYCHA communities.