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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Barbosa Day observance set for Wednesday in Bayamón

New Progressive Party Secretary General Carmelo Ríos Santiago

By The Star Staff

New Progressive Party Secretary General Carmelo Ríos Santiago on Monday announced the acts to commemorate the birth on July 27, 1857 of José Celso Barbosa, the “Father of Statehood,” on Wednesday.

The event will be held at the José Celso Barbosa House-Museum on the street that bears his name in Bayamón. The protocol acts are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.

“The NPP has a well defined guiding mission: statehood,” Ríos said. “Dr. José Celso Barbosa symbolizes the fight for equal rights; for statehood. His determination and passion demanding that equality is an example for everyone. It is time to continue highlighting his legacy for future generations, which is why this July 27 our community, headed by our president and governor, Pedro Pierluisi, will hold a simple but very important ceremony where we will highlight that the advanced thinking of Celso Barbosa lives in each one of us.”

A doctor and psychologist by profession, as well as an author, cooperative member and politician by vocation, Barbosa (1857-1921) is widely recognized as one of the great forward thinkers of the Americas.

Among his achievements are founding the first savings and credit cooperative in the Western Hemisphere, as well as helping advance the socioeconomic development of the island by promoting new concepts.

“But his greatest passion was the fight for civil rights in Puerto Rico,” said Ríos, the Bayamón District senator. “Starting in 1898, Barbosa advocated for the entry of the island into the United States of America as a federated state in order to end the colonial system. That fight continues today. Today we are closer than ever to achieving the desire of Barbosa and our people: statehood. It is important that we [supporters of statehood] unite this coming July 27 to celebrate the life, ideal and dream of one of the world’s great thinkers.”

The activities will come two days after the birthday of the commonwealth. Comerío Mayor José A. (Josean) Santiago called the celebration of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico a worthy celebration, and rejected what he said were attempts by the opposition to degrade the commonwealth status.

“Despite all the limitations that the commonwealth may have, it seems to me that it would be disrespectful to history not to recognize that we have actually advanced thanks to the Constitution with a bill of rights superior to others and to the significant advances in what has been self-government,” Santiago Rivera said. “There is a lot to work on to bring the Commonwealth or this relationship with the U.S. to a new model for the future, but not recognizing how we have advanced would be unfair.”

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