NYC: The Puerto Rican Day Parade is Getting a New Board, And We Have A Suggestion

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Whether you love it or hate it,  National Puerto Rican Day Parade is a New York cultural institution. Here at Remezcla, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the parade and what it represents for Puertorros – los de aqui, los de allá, los transplantados, y los mezclados. So we were definitely intrigued to hear that the times may be a’changin: after a 9 month probe, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has shaken up the board of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. after discovering rampant financial mismanagement, including the personal use of corporate gifts and donations, and deceptive reporting practices. More than half the board has been replaced with appointees, The NY Times quotes Schneiderman as saying “We have reached an agreement that will begin a new day for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.”

From the NY Daily News:

As part of the agreement, nine new directors have already been named to the parade committee’s board. They include Maria Elena Girone, president of the Puerto Rican Family Institute; former Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, and Ululy Rafael Martinez, an executive with Cablevision.

The stunning reorganization was immediately hailed as “long overdue” by Ramon Jimenez, a South Bronx lawyer and community activist. Jimenez is a member of Boricuas for a Positive Image, the group that raised a public furor last spring over the parade committee’s decision to allow the MillerCoors Company, a corporate sponsor of the event, to produce a Coors Light beer can with a likeness of the Puerto Rican flag.

Their protest drew the support of City Councilwoman and now Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and it eventually triggered Schneiderman’s probe.

While the changes outlined above have already been agreed on, there’s an intriguing petition going around that points to an additional possibility. Artist and designer Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, has offered up this petition on Change.Org that asks the Attorney General to consider appointed a Nuyorican Icon to the board: the Rock Steady Crew’s very own Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón.

As an act of good faith for the future of this institution we petition that the Attorney General consider appointing Mr. Richard “Crazy Legs” Colón, a legendary dancer and cultural icon of the Rock Steady Crew as a board member of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. […]With his network and resources Crazy Legs serves as a great example of leadership that the National Puerto Rican Day Parade needs.

Appointing Crazy Legs would put another artist on the board, and one tied specifically to Nuyorican culture.

It’s a shame that all this went down just a few months before the next parade – an event that should be full of pride and dignity is instead besmirched by its organizers. Hopefully we can look forward to the new appointees fixing what’s broken.

Who do you think should serve on the parade’s board?

Oh, and here’s a few other Remezcla’s pieces on the parade: