On Saturday, March 28th, 2015, El Maestro Cultural Center celebrated its Annual Dinner Dance by honoring five community leaders. The honorees were William, Sanchez, Bronx Puerto Rican Parade Board member and supporter of El Maestro, Prof. Ana M. López, NYC Coordinator to Free Oscar López Rivera, Sonia M. Cruz, a long-time supporter of El Maestro and singer of the 5 en Plena Group, Carlos Pagan, President and CEO of the El Regreso Foundation and Rev. Danilo La Chapel of La Iglesia Evangelista Española del Bronx, a long-time advocate of peace and justice, a fighter for human rights and supporter of undocumented immigrants and director of Give Them to Eat, a food pantry that feeds thousands weekly.
The keynote speaker was Alejandro L. Molina, who spoke on the nature of community work as one large piece of the puzzle in our struggle for freedom. Alejandro began by speaking about the work of the youth programs of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago, Cafe Teatro Batey Urbano and Barrio Arts, Community and Culture Academy (BACCA) and El Maestro Cultural Center in the Bronx, acknowledging their decades-long patient work, as well as that of Prof. Lopez and Carlos Pagan and all others involved in the same type of work. “This work must be seen as sowing seeds-seeds which when cared for with love and patience- by those who sow them, result in engaged, critical and forward thinking community youth who are part of the our struggle against those forces which try to destroy us.” Alejandro told the 125 plus members of the audience.
During the delicious dinner, which was broadly supported by neighborhood businesses and leaders who were present, the audience enjoyed the the music and song by 5 en Plena. El Maestro Cultural Center remains an example and beacon of hope for those invested in working with our community’s youth.