The San Juan Daily Star
Community leaders in Loíza turn out for peace and development initiative
By The Star Staff
More than 500 volunteers, community leaders, church members and municipal public servants of Loíza participated over the weekend in the event “Dale Construye comUNIDAD,” organized by the Peace and Development Initiative, Taller Salud and the Municipality of Loíza. The volunteers organized themselves into groups to cover the 54 communities that make up the northeastern coastal municipality.
“This was a great initiative with the goal of promoting peace, communion and brotherhood among all our communities of Loíza, as well as the promotion of the joint work of community leadership and its residents,” said Mayor Julia Nazario Fuentes, who thanked the Taller Salud collective for the initiative, as well as civic organizations and the contribution of Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago.
“We are also grateful that consistently the levels of violence and crime in Loíza have been falling,” the mayor said. “We are currently the municipality with the best record on criminal acts, as evidenced by the statistics of the police at the regional level. In that sense, we continue working.”
Tania Rosario Méndez, executive director of Taller Salud, said that “in Taller Salud we envision a Puerto Rico with organized and active communities in defense of their right to a dignified life.” “Today we join the call to build community in Loíza by promoting respect, mutual support and solidarity,” she said. “This is why we fight and work every day for safe and prosperous communities that provide opportunities for individual and collective development.”
During the visit to the Parcelas Vieques Community, Nazario Fuentes said “the reception of the residents was very positive in terms of everyone knowing the importance of educating to combat violence, in all its manifestations.”
“This is a task that requires opening our arms to everyone, working together and not giving up,” she said. “What we do today is an important link in a chain of working together.”
At the conclusion of the event, the volunteers gathered for a community prayer and to cry out loud for peace for Loíza.
“We mentioned the names of the 54 our communities, in gratitude for having participated in the meeting,” Nazario Fuentes said.
Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche reacted to the discovery of the body of an infant on the beach at Vacía Talega in the Piñones sector of Loíza. Forensic officials said Monday that the baby had yet to be identified.
“The raison d’être of the Family Department is to help and protect the lives of the most vulnerable people, such as our children, seniors and those with disabilities,” Rodríguez Troche said. “Each of us who make up this department prepares ourselves, in every possible way, to attend to every situation, [including] some that break our hearts. Unfortunately, one of these has taken place, … when the Puerto Rico police found the lifeless body of a baby, apparently newborn, wrapped in a sheet and wearing a cap, on the beach at Vacía Talega de Loíza.”