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MES DE LA HERENCIA PUERTORRIQUEÑA
Editors: Blánca Vazquez & Teresa Santiago
Typography & Design: Blánca Vazquez
Comité Noviembre 2000 Spokesperson
Internationally Acclaimed Latin Jazz Artist
Born in New York, Dave Valentín grew up hearing music. "When I was five, my parents were playing Latin music in the house including Tito Rodríguez, Tito Puente, Machito and others. I became a percussionist for years and attended the High School of Music and Art, but in college I wanted to meet a girl who happened to play the flute. I asked her to show me something on the flute so I would get to talk to her. She showed me a C major scale and I was able to borrow a flute. A month later I came back and played for her, but she never talked to me again! She got jealous so I lost the girl, but I kept the flute!"
Valentín took a few lessons from Hubert Laws and from a classical player, Hal Bennett, but otherwise primarily taught himself. "Sometimes that is best, for it allows one to develop their own style and sound. The sound is very important; one should be recognizable immediately." Valentín worked as a schoolteacher for seven years but always played music. "I did a demo session for Noel Pointer and he wanted to use my tune ‘Rain Storm.’ Larry Rosen was the demo’s engineer and he pulled me aside and asked if I had any other original material. A month later I got a call from Dave Grusin asking if I wanted to make a record. I was simply in the right place at the right time." Although Valentín continued teaching for a year after he made his debut album, he eventually took a chance and became a full-time musician, quickly finding success and acceptance as one of the top flute players in popular music. He would record 18 albums as a leader for GRP before singing with Concord Vista.
Although best known as a leader, Dave Valentín has had some notable stints as a sideman. "One of the highlights for me has been being the musical director for Tito Puente, an idol of mine who I grew up listening to. I mean, Tito Puente slept in my house! Also, playing with McCoy Tyner was like being in heaven. And I remember the 70th birthday party at Wolf Trap for Dizzy Gillespie; that was a great moment for me. I have also been a guest with Machito, Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz, Michel Camilo and many others." In recent times, in addition to a great deal of touring, Dave Valentín made his first visit to Cuba in 15 years. "That was an experience beyond words, playing with some of the top musicians in the country."
Recently debuting on Concord Vista label with "Sunshower," one of his most exciting recordings in years, Dave fondly calls the collaboration "a family affair." "Pianist Bill O’Connell, bassist Ruben Rodríguez, drummer Robbie Ameen and percussionist Milton Cardona have each been with me for over ten years. What I’ve always looked for are people that know the concept, personalities who I can get along with and great musicians who can play all types of music." Valentín and O’Connell wrote the great majority of the songs on "Sunshower".
The flutist has long had his own sound; his music mixes together Latin jazz, light funky rhythms, a pop sensibility, some World Music and a strong emphasis on both melody and personal statements. The result is a style that can be best described as simply Dave Valentín music. "I think that there is a certain signature in what we do. I tend to get bored very easily and would not want to just play one style all of the time.
Dave Valentín’s main goal for the future is quite basic: "I want to continue playing music until the day I drop dead! I want to play until I can play no more and always give the public my best effort. I want to leave behind something that, when people hear it, they can say ‘That’s good, I like that.’" There is little doubt that Dave Valentín will far exceed his modest goal with the highly enjoyable ‘Sunshower."
Celebrities Come Out For
( Left To Right )
Cheryl Simone, Radio Personality - 1010 WINS
Teresa Santiago, Comité Noviembre Chairperson
Debbie Medina, VP of Ethnic Publications & Sales - NY Daily News Viva
Rosie Pérez, Actress - 1998 National Spokesperson
On Wednesday, November 30, 2000, at the Grand
Hyatt in Manhattan, Comité Noviembre will hold its Fifth Annual Puerto Rican
Heritage Month gala dinner in celebration of its fourteenth anniversary.
Last year, we were honored with the presence of celebrities such as Rosie Pérez, Domingo Quiñones, Tito Nieves and Tony Orlando. The gala attracts leaders from all sectors in the New York’s Puerto Rican community, and corporate America. This year’s event promises to be even more exciting and full of surprises.
The honorees are: José O. Aguiar, President and CEO, Kleener King; Roberto Clemente, Jr., President, the Roberto Clemente Foundation; Susan Hernández, Esq.; and Carol Robles-Román, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company.
The proceeds of the Gala go towards the Comité Noviembre Scholarship Awards Program. This year, Comité Noviembre plans to award twenty $1,000 scholarships to Puerto Rican youth who early in their lives are making a difference in their community. For more information on this event or to make reservations please call Miranda y Más at (212) 808-0221.
Born and raised in the South Bronx, José O. Aguiar has never forgotten where he’s from. He operates his 44-year-old family owned dry-cleaning business Kleener King with a commitment to the growth and economic development of inner city neighborhoods in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. As President and Chief Executive Officer, he is in charge of setting the company’s vision, overseeing all operations, securing funds and executing all new developed sites and acquisitions for Kleener King.
A graduate of Cardinal Hayes Catholic High School, he was awarded an academic scholarship to Columbia University in 1980. Mr. Aguiar left Columbia to take over the family business after his father’s untimely death in 1982. He founded Kleener King in 1983.
The company started with one neighborhood dry-cleaning store in the South Bronx in 1956. Under the leadership and direction of Mr. Aguiar, Kleener King is today the leading chain of dry-cleaning stores in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan with 15 stores serving these communities. Mr. Aguiar spearheaded the creation of a distinguished and unique brand identity for Kleener King, similar to those employed by various franchise chains, that has formed the foundation for the continued growth of the business.
In January 2000, the company moved its headquarters and dry-cleaning operations into its newly completed 23,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in the Bronx Bathgate Industrial Park. This new facility will enable Kleener King to grow and support a planned expansion of over 40 stores; within a four-year period, more than 200 jobs will be created for area residents.
Mr. Aguiar is a true believer of giving back to his community and sponsors several annual programs that benefit the community including the "Abriga a un Amigo–A Coat for a Friend" coat drive, a joint venture with el diario/LA PRENSA, the St. Pius V. High School; the Comité Noviembre Puerto Rican Heritage Month Scholarship Awards Programs; the annual El Museo del Barrio’s Three Kings celebration; the Hispanic Federation’s toy drive, as well as Promesa’s and the Institute for the Puerto Rican Hispanic Elderly’s annual benefit events.
Hailed by the New York Daily News’ Viva
Magazine as one of the ten most influential Latinos in the City of New York, Mr.
Aguiar focuses on improving the quality of life for inner city residents of New
York City. He has received numerous awards and recognitions and is often invited
to speak at Columbia University’s School of Business.
As a youngster growing up, Roberto, Jr.’s life revolved around baseball. Upon graduating from high school, Roberto, Jr. attended Manatee Community College located in Bradenton, Florida. After the first year of playing college ball, a Philadelphia Phillies scout signed him to his first professional contract in 1984. During spring training, he hurt his knee but continued to play throughout the entire 1986 season. Surgery on the knee kept him out of baseball for the next three years. While he made a comeback in 1989 and later signed with the Baltimore Orioles, injuries ended his professional career shortly thereafter.
In 1990, Roberto, Jr. committed himself to assist his mother in continuing the legacy and dream of his father. They founded Roberto Clemente Sports City, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization created to encourage young children and teens to maximize their athletic talent. In 1992, Roberto Jr. established the Puerto Rico RBI baseball program (Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities). Managed by Major League Baseball throughout the world and in partnership with the Boys and Girls of America, the RBI program teaches inner city children to develop a sense of pride in their lives through the sport of baseball.
In 1993, Roberto, Jr. founded the Roberto Clemente Foundation in Pittsburgh with the intent to raise enough funds to operate and manage a Pittsburgh RBI program. He moved his family to Pittsburgh and through his efforts, the Foundation and the Pittsburgh RBI program reached thousands of inner city children in and around the Pittsburgh area. While Roberto, Jr. was President of the Roberto Clemente Foundation and Director of the Pittsburgh RBI baseball program, his brother Luis assumed the title of Director of the Puerto Rico RBI baseball program. Both programs have been very successful and have won numerous RBI division and world championships.
In 1995, Roberto, Jr. established a relationship with Mr. Kevin McClatchy, the new owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, which eventually led to the Pirates organization adopting the Roberto Clemente Foundation and the Pirates RBI baseball program. Today, the Roberto Clemente Foundation is considered the official Pittsburgh Pirates charity and is operated out of their business office. Roberto Jr. is on the Board of Directors and still very active in the Pittsburgh community.
In 1996, the New York Yankees Spanish-language broadcast companies were looking for a full time analyst. Roberto, Jr. was the perfect fit and was immediately hired. He moved from Pittsburgh to New York and started working with MSG Network, Telemundo Network and WADO-AM 1280. During the 1997 MLB season Roberto, Jr. expanded his radio role to co-host a radio call-in show which aired on WADO-AM every Friday evening. Roberto, Jr. is looking forward to the 2000 New York Yankee season as both a play-by-play analyst and color commentator for the broadcast companies.
Since moving to New York, Roberto, Jr. has been very involved with various charitable organizations. He was recently named Honorary Chair of the Hale House Center, Inc.’s new Hispanic initiative. Hale House, now marking its 30th Anniversary, is America’s oldest and best-known independent agency caring for babies born addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, as well as infants infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Since its founding, Hale House has served over 3,000 children of all ethnic backgrounds. He is also very involved with the American Diabetes Association and he continues to be active with Little League and Youth baseball throughout the country.
Currently residing in Riverdale, New York, Roberto, Jr. is the father of three beautiful daughters: Christina Michelle, Monique Marie and Zulmarie.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Susan Hernández is a no nonsense personal injury attorney that has created an impressive multi-million dollar practice. Considered the first Puerto Rican woman to head an all-female plaintiff’s personal injury practice, she tries cases with dedication and compassion which ultimately result in verdicts in excess of one million dollars. With offices in Manhattan, she is currently a solo practitioner with a consistent client base and a reputation beyond reproach.
Ms. Hernández started her legal career as a law clerk in a defense personal injury firm working as in-house council to CNA Insurance Company. In November of 1984, she switched over to the plaintiff’s side by becoming a trial lawyer for the firm of Roura and Melamed. In 1986, she became managing trial attorney for Copland and Tillem, handling all of the firm’s personal injury cases. In February 1988, she and a partner formed an all-female partnership, handling exclusively plaintiff’s personal injury matters.
A graduate of Baruch College, with a Bachelor
of Science Degree, Ms. Hernández went on to Brooklyn Law School, where she
graduated in 1985. She was admitted into the New York State Bar in January 1986.
Ms. Hernández is a member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and a founding member of its Women’s Committee. She is also a Board Member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Regional Aid for Interim Needs, a civic community organization. She is a member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the Bronx Bar Association, the Brooklyn Bar Association, and the Metropolitan Women’s Bar Association. She does extensive work for various community and civic organizations, and has volunteered as a mentor and a lecturer on many occasions. Susan Hernández is married to attorney Walter Roura; they are the proud parents of three children.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company
Robles-Román is an attorney, businesswoman and administrator, having held
executive positions in both the public and private sector. Currently, Ms.
Robles-Román is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the Puerto Rico
Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) of the Government of Puerto Rico. PRIDCO
is a 200 million dollar public corporation that serves as Puerto Rico’s
business development agency. PRIDCO promotes Puerto Rico’s unique investment
and business advantages to Fortune 500 and other companies. As head of the
corporation’s Continental Operations, she also does extensive public speaking
and media presentations featuring business development issues, women in
business, diversity in the workplace, and the U.S.–Hispanic Market.
Prior to joining PRIDCO, Carol Robles-Román practiced law and held several important posts, including: the first Special Inspector General for Bias Matters for the New York State Unified Court System (UCS) appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge; from 1994 to 1997, she served on the NYS Unified Court System’s Executive Management Team as Chief of Staff and Counsel for Barry Cozier, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York State Courts. She was an Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Department of Law, Civil Rights Bureau, and began her public sector career as a Senior Court Attorney for the NYS Courts.
Ms. Robles-Román is a graduate of Fordham University at Lincoln Center and NYU School of Law, where at graduation she received the Vanderbilt Medal for Extraordinary Contribution to the Law School Community. She is a past recipient of the National Puerto Rican Bar Association Excellence in Government Award, the NYU School of Law Outstanding Alumni Award, and the Cervantes Society 1998 Women In Leadership Award.
Table Of Contents
Message On Behalf Of Comité Noviembre 2000
Comité Noviembre - Fifth Annual Gala
Gala Foto Album (PuertoRicans.Com)
History And Mission
About The Poster
About The Artist
Comité Noviembre 2000 Spokesperson Dave Valentín
Celebrities Come Out For Comité Noviembre
Celebrando Lo Mejor De Nuestra Comunidad
ASPIRA Of New York, Inc
Exceptional Puerto Rican Youth
Comité Noviembre Scholarship Program
Eugenio María De Hostos Community College
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
Taíno: Ancient Voyagers Of The Caribbean
El Museo Del Barrio
New Boricua Books
National Congress For Puerto Rican Rights
History Revealed: FBI Releases Files On Independence Movement
Las Carpetas: The Book
Institute For The Puerto Rican / Hispanic Elderly
Day Of Community Service And Social Responsibility
Vieques And The U.S. Military: The Struggle Continues
Intergenerational Message From Vieques
In Memoriam Adelfa - Vera Puerto Rican Nacionalista
In Memoriam - Paul Ramos Health Care Advocate
Comité Noviembre De New Jersey, Inc
New Jersey 2000 Honorees
Comité Noviembre - 1999
Copyright ©Comité Noviembre 2000 / Reprinted With Permission