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Parades and Festivals

4. Parades and Festivals: Cultural Activism and Historical Preservation

Moderator: Ululy Rafael Martinez, Board Member, National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc. (NY, NY)
Margarita Espada, Teatro Yerbabruja (Long Island, NY)
Juan J. Gonzalez, Esq., Vice-President, Parada San Juan Bautista, Inc. (Camden, NJ)
Lucila Santana, Springfield PR Parade & PR Cultural Project, (Holyoke, MA)


Ululy Rafael Martinez

Margarita Espada

Juan J. Gonzalez

Lucila Santana



Ululy Rafael Martinez serves as Vice Chairperson and Executive Board member for the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. Ululy Rafael Martinez began his legal career in public service as a staff attorney for the Bronx Defenders. Ululy’s interactions with the local community, as a public defender, lead him to accept a position as General Counsel to a New York City Council Member. Ululy acted as a legal resource to constituents trying to navigate housing, debt, bankruptcy, social security, judicial proceedings and not-for-profit matters.

Margarita Espada is the founder and executive-artistic director of Teatro Yerbabruja, an organization formerly based in Puerto Rico and now based in Long Island, that uses the arts as a tool for social change. In 2009, the organization produced a community-based performance piece called “What Killed Marcelo Lucero?” based on the November 2008 hate crime killing of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero. Margarita has a master’s degree in fine arts in dramaturgy from Stony Brook University and is also a New York State-certified teacher. She has received numerous awards and proclamations for her leadership and community work, including a 2006 “Woman of the Year” award from the Latin American Chamber of Commerce & Industry of New York for her contributions to the arts on Long Island. She is a member of the International School for Latin-American and Caribbean Theater of UNESCO and the National Association for Latino Arts & Culture. More...

Juan J. Gonzalez Esq. was born in 1962 and raised in Camden, New Jersey. He is the proud son of Ramona M. González (deceased), originally from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and a founding member of the San Juan Bautista Parade, Inc., Camden’s Puerto Rican Parade. She was always very active and well respected in the community. Until 2013, Juan had lived in the home acquired by his parents in 1953 in downtown Camden. In 2013, Juan and his fiancée, Ruth Neida Gonzalez, purchased their own home in the Cooper Plaza area of downtown Camden, New Jersey. Juan obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Seton Hall University in 1984. He graduated from Rutgers University, School of Law at Camden, in 1987. Since 1998, he has been practicing law as a solo-practitioner. More...

Lucila Santana