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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Loíza mayor to receive award from Chicago diaspora community

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), an entity established in 1988 in Chicago, announced Monday that this year’s edition of the Felisa Rincón de Gautier Award will be presented to several individuals, including the Loíza Mayor Julia Nazario Fuentes.

The event will take place on Thursday at 6 p.m. at PRAA headquarters at 3000 Elbridge Avenue in Chicago.

The event, “Honoring Exemplary Leaders for Their Distinguished Commitment to Our Community,” is sponsored by Amazon, CBS’s Channel 5 Chicago and Telemundo Chicago, as well as the Felisa Rincón de Gautier Foundation. Five other personalities will receive the award by categories: businesswoman Elizabeth Colón, business leader David Olivencia, journalist Ana María Belaval and public servant Marisel Hernández, while the “our mother” distinction is dedicated to Nelly Ramírez.

The PRAA, founded and led by Carlos Hernández Falcón, is a widely recognized nonprofit organization focused on music and art with 25 years of service to the community, where it develops culturally enriching and transformative programs, performances, exhibitions and events.

“Our work inspires about 30,000 people a year while encouraging future generations to increase appreciation for Puerto Rican art. heritage and culture,” the PRAA said in a press release.

Nazario Fuentes welcomed the news from the PRAA and confirmed her participation on behalf of her town and people.

“The bonds of brotherhood that unite us with the diaspora throughout the United States, particularly with Chicago, are great and firm, because of how generous they have been with the people of Loíza after the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” the mayor said. “Let’s remember that they both hit two weeks apart.”

Nazario Fuentes celebrated the fact that the PRAA “from its origins in the home of Carlos Hernández Falcón in the Puerto Rican community of Humboldt Park, to the creation of the Festival del Cuatro and its incorporation into the Chicago Park District Artists in Residency Program, has exercised generous leadership in the community.”

“The PRAA has promoted female creation with the [art exhibition] initiative ‘Seis Mujeres,’ among many other magnificent activities, such as musical education for young people and children,” she said.

The PRAA’s work has been recognized by the Emmy Awards and together with the Smithsonian Institute, and among its missions has been to highlight the philanthropic and sports work of Puerto Rican baseball legend Roberto Clemente Walker.

“Certainly, the PRAA is a successful example for Puerto Rico, for the United States and for the entire world in the noble task of cultural management,” Nazario Fuentes said.

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