Friday, November 14, 2014

Somos El futuro Conference Puerto Rico 2014

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  • Somos el Futuro
    The Somos el Futuro Fall 2014 Conference is approaching fast. ... through Sunday, November 9th,2014 at the Hilton Condado Plaza in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Somos New York - Albany, New York - Non-Profit ...

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    This year at the 25th Annual Somos el Futuro Conference we were able to ... The 2014 Somos el Futuro Golf Tournament has a new location! ... in Puerto rico for the Somos el Futuro, Inc FallConference to book their hotel rooms online.
  • Somos El Futuro | Facebook

    <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>Somos-El-Futuro/103765032999552
    Established in 1987, the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force ... in our WinterSOMOS Conference in Puerto Rico from November 7-11.
  • Somos conference kicks off in PR - Caribbean Business

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    Nov 7, 2013 - the somos el futuro winter conference, an annual policy retreat that draws much of the new york state political establishment to puerto rico, kicked off thursday in san juan. ... Sunday, November 9th, 2014. Sign in Subscribe  ...
  • Somos el Futuro (@SOMOS_EL_FUTURO) | Twitter

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    Más que ser el futuro de Puerto Rico, ellos y ellas son el presente" Andrés Rivera ... The 2014 SOMOS Fall Conference will be November 5th-9th, benefiting the  ...
  • Future of IDC discussed in Puerto Rico - NY Daily News

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    Jeff Klein, both in Puerto Rico for the annual Somos el Futuro conference, met earlier today for a private pow ... Published: Saturday, November 8, 2014, 1:55 PM.
  • Somos el Futuro
    Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Meetings ... Albany, NY- After the outstanding success of last Spring's Somos El Futuro Conference, Assemblyman Felix W.
  • Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Delivers Remarks at the Fall ...
    6 days ago - ... Remarks at the Fall 2014 Somos El Futuro Conference Reception ... of what happens at Somos is we connect to the people of Puerto Rico.
  • Somos El Futuro spring conference - PRFAA -
    March 22, 2014. Director's speech at the 27th “Somos El Futuro” spring conference. Empire State Plaza Convention Center. Albany, NY. Good evening:.
  • Somos conference kicks off in PR - Caribbean Business

    <a href="http://www.caribbeanbusiness" rel="nofollow">www.caribbeanbusiness</a>.pr/.../somos-conference-kicks-off-in-pr-101960....
    the somos el futuro fall conference, an annual policy retreat that draws much of the ... Issued : Thursday, November 6, 2014 01:25 PM ... Friday's agenda includes a workshop comparing Puerto Rico's current fiscal and economic challenges.
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    City & State - A Dream Deferred: Somos el Futuro and the Forgotten Promise of Latino Empowerment

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    For Puerto Ricans in the white marble halls of Albany, our time had finally come.
    There I sat in New York State Assembly Speaker Mel Miller’s office at 270 Broadway on a chilly afternoon on March 1987. I was among a group of Puerto Rican legislators discussing the Somos Uno (We Are One) conference. This was to be a statewide gathering of Puerto Ricans and Latinos that would finally put our community on the map. For years, the Latino community had been referred to by the mainstream media as “a sleeping giant” only to be largely ignored and cast aside. This group of pioneering Assembly members, Angelo Del Toro (who died in December 1994), Héctor Díaz, José E. Serrano, along with me, representing Bronx Assemblyman José Rivera, were discussing with Speaker Miller and his communications director, Eric Schneiderman, details of the formulation and organization of what would emerge as the premier annual expression of Latino influence in New York State: the Somos el Futuro conference.
    Speaker Mel Miller was clearly receptive to the idea. For years, he had heard Puerto Rican legislators privately complain about the underrepresentation of Latinos among elected officials, in state government jobs and within the circles of power. “If we work together, this is one way we can help the Puerto Rican community,” Miller remarked. Within a year, one of the largest Latino legislative caucuses in the country was born.
    As time has passed, the origins and motivations for the conference have been recast from those of the well-intentioned Assembly members who came together on that day to, at times, deceit, manipulation and political intrigue. One interpretation is that SOMOS was a deliberate strategy by Albany power brokers to weaken the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus (BPRLC), now called the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, by splintering the Puerto Ricans from this organization that was rapidly becoming more “militant” in its approach to challenging then-Gov. Mario Cuomo and the Albany power elite. Truth be told, BPRLC was never the “militant” group that revisionists have invented. It was, in fact, in many respects just as conformist in its approach as what later became the Somos el Futuro group.
    The expansion of Somos el Futuro beyond its genesis in New York State to Puerto Rico has largely been attributed to political friction that emerged in 1988 as a result of Puerto Rico Gov. Rafael Hernández Colón’s decision to endorse Michael Dukakis in the Democratic primary for President, whereas New York City’s Puerto Rican legislators supported Rev. Jesse Jackson. Gov. Colón sought to repair this fissure with the stateside Puerto Rican community, making nice by offering to sponsor the conference on the island and cover its initial expenses.
    Regardless of whether you believe this account, the Somos el Futuro Task Force was undoubtedly the brainchild of East Harlem Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro, who was then chair of the New York State Assembly’s Social Services committee, in conjunction with Bronx Assemblyman Héctor Díaz, who provided Del Toro with assistance and support in this endeavor. Del Toro had previously held the chairmanship of the BPRLC because he enjoyed the support of two influential African-American legislators: Deputy Speaker Arthur Eve (D-Buffalo), whose father was Dominican, and Assemblyman Al Vann (D-Brooklyn), who was the former chair of the group but saw backing del Toro as his opportunity to do “our Latin thing.”
    East Harlem State Senator Olga Méndez, (who died on July 29, 2009), the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the New York Senate and to a state Legislature anywhere in the United States, had already abandoned the BPRLC because she perceived that Puerto Ricans were being treated as junior partners in these multiracial legislative caucuses.
    Del Toro came up with an innovative idea, which he later explained to me. The BPRLC was composed largely of black and Puerto Rican legislators with limited white participation. The state’s gerrymandered districts tended to segregate districts in the state between either black/Latino or white majorities, and even if you were a white legislator with a large African-American constituency rarely were you an integral part of the Caucus. But what if, Del Toro envisioned, the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Legislative Task Force—since Latinos are an ethnicity and not a race—would allow white legislators to become exoticized "Latinos"—people of color—a distinction they could not receive from the black caucus?
    Under Del Toro’s original formulation, if 15 percent or more of the constituents of an Assembly or Senate district were Latino, the Assembly member or Senator who represented it was automatically eligible to be a member of the Task Force. Among those who were accepted as an “honorary Latino” according to this criterion was Italian Assemblyman Vito Lopez of Brooklyn.
    This conception of a more expansive Puerto Rican/Latino Legislative Task Force worked like a charm and the first SOMOS conference was a resounding success. It drew thousands of people from across the state, along with Puerto Rican politicos enjoying the support of white and black legislators looking to embrace this growing demographic.
    But 27 years after its inception, what has happened to this would-be “political juggernaut” that offered so much promise for Latino political empowerment in the State of New York? Intra-group divisions, corporatization and self-interest have at times replaced what began as a purposeful, poignant political agenda and a mass mobilization of Latinos to demand proportionate power in Albany and their rightful piece of the pie from the elite chambers of government.
    Following its triumphant start, SOMOS emerged as a template for empowering Latino legislators not just in New York State, but across the country; however, soon thereafter, in 1989, intra-Latino warfare erupted. Robert Calderin, the first executive director of the SOMOS conference and a member of Assemblyman Díaz’s staff, along with a group of private businessmen of questionable reputations, attempted a coup to wrest control of the conference from Del Toro in order to privatize it and generate a profit from its operation.
    The ensuing battle nearly destroyed the budding conference. Del Toro held his ground and appealed for intervention by Speaker Miller, who, based on death threats made against Del Toro, offered the assemblyman state police protection and exerted his considerable influence to recognize the Del Toro faction as the only legitimate representative of the SOMOS conference.
    But the damage was already done. For the rest of the decade, the SOMOS conference was never the same. Interest in the conference diminished and it evolved into one of the many conferences where bailebotella, y barraja (dancing, drinking and gambling) are the unofficial agenda. Attendance dwindled and, as time has passed, the SOMOS conference has become a post-Election Day political junket.
    Our nuevo political leaders now seem more comfortable hobnobbing with Gov. Andrew Cuomo than insisting he pass the financial assistance component of the Dream Act or immigration reform, or challenging police brutality or mass incarceration in communities of color. They endorse meaningless or trifling actions and activities within the Latino community, giving them the Somos el Futuro brand in a form of marketing, while delivering few real resources or results to the people they represent. More troubling is how these Latino politicians hypocritically propose legislation knowing full well they lack the necessary support to turn these proposals into law.
    Perhaps the most recent expression of this accommodationist posture is the embrace by Latino legislators of Gov. Cuomo on his recent campaign trip to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Kneeling before the political throne of King Cuomo they bowed their heads in surrender with not even a pretense of opposition to some of the anti-Latino policies preserved and advanced by the increasingly conservative governor. These emissaries of Somos el Futuro were so castrated politically that they even permitted Puerto Rico’s Governor, Alejandro García-Padilla, to take the liberty of endorsing Cuomo on behalf of all Puerto Ricans in New York State. Talk about the blind leading the blind. The SOMOS legislators in essence have faded into irrelevancy.
    Straight after his general election victory last year, Mayor de Blasio attended the conference in Puerto Rico pledging his support to the Latino community, all the while ignoring the Campaign for Fair Latino Representation’s protestations that the mayor had inadequate Latino representation within his own administration in City Hall.
    Many of our Latino legislators, while more prepared academically than their previous counterparts, lack the community connection of their forerunners and are removed from the day-to-day realities of our barrios. Some are second-generation legislators, anointed by political machines that were never linked to the community’s struggles in the first place. The constant complaint heard in our community is that “no tienen corazón” (“They lack heart”). So disenchanted have community folks become with Somos el Futuro that when asked whether will they attend this year's conference some jokingly remark, “No, thank you. I don't drink.” Others say Somos el Futuro (We Are the Future) has evolved into “Somos Ninguno” (We Are Nobody).
    This accommodating class of electeds is made up of so many compradors that even a homophobic, pro-life senator like Rubén Díaz Sr. demonstrated more heart than the rest of his Democratic colleagues. In protest, the controversial Bronx pol chose to break with banana republic politics and endorsed Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino. He thereby openly rejected the subservient politics of his son, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., who, as co-chair of the Cuomo reelection 2014 team, opted to stay the course of blind allegiance to the Democratic party.
    In this cavern of darkness a glimmer of hope still exist in the SOMOS youth student programs that prepare young people for leadership positions and train them in the process of good government. But these efforts pale in the broader context of legislators sun-bathing in Puerto Rico, dancing Salsa, and chanting “Somos Leal” (“We are loyal”) in blind allegiance to the Democratic permanent government that controls our state's capital.
    One need only hark back to the 2012 conference when the Civil Service Employees Association and major unions were taken aback by the cowardly posture of the Latino legislators and pulled out of the conference, accusing many legislators of “betrayal” for not supporting their legitimate demands for pension reform. Who came to the rescue and offered to cover the $72,000 conference funding shortfall? Gov. Cuomo and former Mayor Bloomberg—demonstrating once again who are the "white ventriloquists" pulling the strings of these SOMOS legislators.
    So what happened to the original cast of political leaders I spoke about at the outset of this piece who orchestrated the creation of this Puerto Rican/Latino institution?
    Mel Miller was removed from office on a federal fraud conviction, which was overturned on appeal. Eric Schneiderman went on to become a state senator and is currently New York State’s attorney general. José E. Serrano was elected in 1990 to represent what is now the 15th congressional district in the South Bronx, the poorest district in the United States. Twenty-four years later he is still in office. Héctor Díaz went on to become the Bronx County Clerk, retired, and today is the president of Acacia, a network of Latino-focused health providers with more than $160 million in annual revenues. José Rivera, who I represented at that historic meeting, is in his second stretch as an assemblyman. At one point he was chair of the state Legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the president of the Black and Latino Caucus of the New York City Council, and chairman of the Bronx Democratic Party, a position he held for six years.
    When I reflect on that meeting we held in Speaker Miller's office on that memorable day 27 years ago and the sense of hope that it represented, I cannot help but express my profound disappointment in what SOMOS has become. The potential power that was in the palm of our hands has faded into oblivion and by every yardstick the Latino community is in a serious political and financial crisis.
    Can Somos el Futuro be salvaged and return to its noble beginnings? Does the upcoming conference in Puerto Rico next month offer hope?
    Change would require the legislators who spearhead SOMOS, like Brooklyn Assemblyman Félix Ortiz, to reengage the conference in the politics of protest and to adopt an oppositional resistance strategy that challenges the citadels of power, rather than embracing them.
    Our legislators must become more than they are at current and zealously take up the defense of the grassroots Latinos stuck at the bottom of New York State’s economic well. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, our Latino leadership, if they are devoted to the empowerment of our barrios, must let “the power of love overrule the love of power.”
    Can this be done?
    Sí, se puede.
    Howard Jordan is an educator, attorney, journalist and political activist. He is a tenured professor in the Public Policy and Law Unit of the Behavioral & Social Sciences Department at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx. In the late 1980s and ’90s he served as legislative assistant to former Gov. Mario Cuomo's Advisory Committee on Hispanic Affairs and later as executive director of the New York State Assembly Task Force on Immigration, a 25-Assembly member commission addressing regional immigration issues. He is also the host of The Jordan Journal, a radio show that airs Fridays from 3-5 p.m. on WBAI 99.5 FM.
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    somos el futuro conference puerto rico - Google Search

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  • Somos el Futuro
    The Somos el Futuro Fall 2014 Conference is approaching fast. ... in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, as well as the Somos el Futuro Hispanic Leadership Institute.

    Conferences. Please choose a time frame. Winter · Spring ...

    2014 Spring SOMOS ...
    Spring SOMOS 2014 ... Forms, Spring 2014 Conference on ...

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  • Herbalife Announces Sponsorship of the Ken Pick Scholarship During SOMOS Conference in Puerto Rico
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    “We are honored to offer Hispanic and Puerto Rican students the ... a $22,500 donation to the scholarship program SOMOS El Futuro, which ...
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  • Somos New York - Albany, New York - Non-Profit ...

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    Save the Date: November 5-9 The 26th Somos el Futuro, Inc Conference .... in Puerto rico for theSomos el Futuro, Inc Fall Conference to book their hotel rooms  ...
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    Established in 1987, the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force ... in our WinterSOMOS Conference in Puerto Rico from November 7-11.
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    Nov 7, 2013 - the somos el futuro winter conference, an annual policy retreat that draws ... political establishment to puerto rico, kicked off thursday in san juan.
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    Oct 24, 2014 - For Puerto Ricans in the white marble halls of Albany, our time had ... of Latino influence in New York State: the Somos el Futuro conference.
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    Nov 13, 2011 - Officially a chance to discuss issues of concern to Puerto Rican and Hispanic voters, the conference, known as Somos el Futuro, is unofficially a  ...
  • The Somos conference in Puerto Rico will proceed, despite ...

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    Nov 5, 2012 - The Somos el Futuro winter conference for state legislators, scheduled to take place inPuerto Rico, will proceed as planned, despite the ...
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    NY Dem split hot topic at Puerto Rico event attended by Blaz

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    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — Political intrigue in the state Senate dominated conversation Friday as hundreds of New York politicos — including Mayor de Blasio — gathered for the Somos el Futuro Conference.
    De Blasio, accompanied by First Lady Chirlane McCray, enjoyed a little “down time” on a rainy day, his spokesman said.
    Much of the talk this year centered on the results of Tuesday’s elections, with Dems brainstorming about how to keep State Sen. Jeff Klein in the party fold in Albany. Klein’s a Democrat, but leads a group of rogue Democrats who caucus with the Republicans.
    “Everyone’s talking about whether Klein will go back on his promise to caucus with the Democrats, and how big a price he'll pay if he breaks his word," said one labor source.
    Also at the conference were Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Rep. Nydia Valezquez and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

    5 facts about Puerto Rican voters, pa'que tu lo sepas -- Fusion

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    As midterm elections approach, all eyes are on the Puerto Ricans, who could swing key contests.
    In the video above, we go deep into Central Florida to find out what’s on the minds of these voters. But based on the comments section from the last time we wrote about Puerto Rican voters, there are still some misconceptions we feel the need to dispel. Here are some basic facts.
    Some of the comments in a recent Fusion article about Puerto Ricans would lead one to believe that all Latinos should be lumped in one group. Let’s be clear: Mexico is a country south of the United States; Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean. Like Mexicans, Puerto Ricans speak Spanish and have Spanish colonial roots. Unlike Mexicans, they are U.S. citizens and have been since 1917 when Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act granting them citizenship. Puerto Ricans have a U.S. passport and can travel and move freely within the United States.
    Now that doesn’t mean Puerto Ricans have all the same rights as Americans. While they’re perfectly free to fight and die in U.S. wars, they don’t have the right to elect the commander-in-chief who sends them into battle. But they can if they move to one of the 50 states. If that’s not an incentive for moving to Florida, I don’t know what is. That, and Disney World.
    Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory. It’s not a state. It’s not independent. It’s somewhere in between. It has a governor and a legislature but U.S. Congress can overrule any action taken by the Puerto Rican government.  It has a resident commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives who acts like a congressman in every way except he can’t vote. In other words, he’s a bench player…who won’t even get off the bench if the entire team gets injured.
    Puerto Ricans who live on the island pay most U.S. federal taxes except for personal income tax. They pay Social Security. A third of them rely on food stamps, assistance which comes in handy on an island where the jobless rate is more than 14 percent. That said, if Puerto Ricans were just a bunch of lazy welfare-lovers, they probably wouldn’t be moving at a record pace to the U.S. mainland seeking job opportunities. According to a Pew Hispanic Report, more than 144,000 Puerto Ricans moved from the island to the U.S between 2010-2013, with a majority relocating in Central Florida.
    Unlike the large population of Puerto Ricans living in the northeast of the U.S., who are mostly Democrats, the growing number of Puerto Ricans who have recently migrated from the island to Florida are up for grabs. They tend to be social conservatives but are concerned with economic issues such as raising the minimum wage.
    Puerto Ricans in Florida are political swingers, crossing party lines for whatever candidate they prefer in local and national elections. A slight majority voted for George Bush in 2004. In 2008, they voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama.
    One of the reasons they flip flop is because political parties in Puerto Rico are different than the ones here. On the island, they are centered around political status ideology—whether Puerto Rico should become a state, remain a commonwealth or become an independent country. It’s not about Democrats or Republicans.
    In 2012, a majority of Puerto Ricans voted in favor of statehood for the first time, in a referendum to determine the island’s political status. They’ve had four such referenda since the 1960s but each time voted to remain a commonwealth. Why statehood now? It may have something to do with the fact that the Puerto Rican economy still hasn’t recovered from the Great Recession, and crime, poverty and unemployment rates on the island are higher than any of the 50 states.
    Being granted statehood has always raised concerns that Puerto Rico would be an economic drain on the United States. However, a Government Accountability Report published in March 2014 challenges that assumption. Whether Americans can handle 51 stars on the flag is another issue.
    Scratch that. They actually are.

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