10th Anniversary Message from DAPF President
On October 16, 2012, we celebrated at Camaradas an event that commemorated another significant milestone in the history, development and achievements of the Puerto Rican and Latina/o community in New York, the Tenth Anniversary of the founding of the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc.
It is with great pride and satisfaction that we should look back at the early struggles for a fair, just and effective educational system for the Latinos living in New York and the United States.
Through sewing circles in the homes, on the factory floors, social clubs representing different cities, bodegas and street corners, pioneering Latinas of the 1950’s such as Antonia Denis, Celia Vice, Patricia Rodriguez (my mother) and Antonia Pantoja along with Latino men, some with little formal education, organized and struggled to empower the Puerto Rican/Latino communitiy to develop and take advantage of political, economic and educational opportunities in New York
Dr. Antonia Pantoja is a great representative of those who strove to give the next generation of young Latinos and Latinas the opportunities they never had. She left us a mandate to realize an organization of ASPIRA Alumni which was in formation when she was overcome by her illness. Consequently, in 2002, those that followed, took on the challenge and organized the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship to honor her accomplishments and carry on her legacy.
From humble beginnings, the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship has grown and it is faithful to its mission of developing and supporting the future “Leaders of Integrity”.We the recipients, beneficiaries of the past struggles and sacrifices must use our newly acquired skills, talents, economic and political resources to empower the next generation of leaders.
DAPF has presented outstanding young Latino and Latina organizers recommended by their CBOs with the Leaders of Integrity Award and $1000 to support their educational and occupational pursuits. Also, DAPF holds an annual Inter-generational Forum for all members of our community to discuss issues and recommendations for strategies and solutions to the problems we face as a community.
Throughout its history, the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc. has been led by a volunteer, working Board of Directors, and counted on our many committee members, volunteers and the generous contributions of all sectors of the Puerto Rica/Latino community. On behalf of the DAPF family and the young Latino@s who benefit, I want to express our appreciation to each and every one of our valued contributors, donors, sponsors, CBO partners and participants of DAPF activities.
The continued support, exemplified by this 10th Anniversary celebration, ensures that DAPF will grow to become one of the most influential and positive forces providing educational, career and financial support to our future Latino community leaders.
I look forward to seeing all of you at the our next fundraiser, the DAPF Pregones Theater/Dinner Night on November 18, 2012.
Crecensio J. Morales