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New England 2019 Program

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SATURDAY, October 12, 2019



8:30 AM




9:00 AM

Welcoming Remarks - Room KC 301 / 303


Christina Royal, President, Holyoke Community College, (Holyoke, MA)
Betty Medina Lichtenstein, Executive Director, Enlace de Familias Inc. (Holyoke, MA)
Carlos Vargas Ramos, Master of Ceremony, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (New York, NY)



9:20 AM

State of Puerto Ricans in the United States
Edwin Meléndez, Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, (CUNY)



10:00 AM

Plenary: Puerto Rico's Political and Financial Crises -What's Next? Corruption, Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance.


Moderator: Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, Public Policy and Communications Strategist (Washington, DC)


- José Caraballo-Cueto, Associate Professor & Researcher, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Puerto Rico (Cayey, PR)

- Eduardo Conde, Founder of Tertulias Por La Patria & Financial Analyst (Washington, DC)

- Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán, Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College (New York, NY)



11:15 am




11:30 am

Concurrent Panels




Youth and Millennials -Room KC 203


Moderator: Karianne A. Santiago Ruiz, Undergraduate Student, University of Massachusetts, National Puerto Rican Student Coalition (NPRSC) New England Regional Liaison (Amherst, MA)


- Delmarina López, Executive Strategist & Policy Director, National Puerto Rican Student Coalition & Juris Doctor Candidate, WNEU School of Law (Chicopee, MA)

- Cristopher "Domi" Lora, Coordinator, Pa'lante Holyoke Restorative Justice (Holyoke, MA)

- Mayrangelique Rojas De León, Youth Producer, The Hurricane Maria Project: Negotiating Diaspora in Western Massachusetts, WGBY Public Television (Springfield, MA)




Economy, Planning and Social Entrepreneurship - Room KC 205


Moderator: Jacqueline Pérez Torres, Executive Director, Proyecto Bucarabon, (Maricao, PR)


- Camille Collazo, Executive Director, Visit Rico y Regrow Puerto Rico (San Juan, PR)

- Rubén Flores-Marzán, Planning and  Development Director, (Ware, Massachusetts)

- Marcos A. Marrero, Director, Planning and Economic Development, City of Holyoke, (Holyoke, MA)




Health, Mental Health and the Medicaid Financing Cliff - Room KC 312


Moderator: Luis M. Falcón, Dean of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Massachusetts (Lowell, MA)


- Virmarit Dávila, Supervisor, River Valley Counseling Center, (Holyoke, MA)

- Heyda Martínez, Director, Institute for Maximizing Student Development, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA)

- Jaime R. Torres, President, Latinos for Healthcare Equity (New York, NY)



12:45 PM

Lunch - Room CC 226



 1:45 PM

Keynote Speaker: - Room KC 301 / 303

  Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago,
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (Boston, MA)



2:15 PM

Plenary: Puerto Rico Solidarity and Engagement


Moderator: Joe Rodríguez, Deputy State Director, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (Hartford, CT)


- Councilor Adam Gomez, Springfield City Council (Springfield, MA)

- Jose Luis Rivera, Founder & Executive Director, National Puerto Rican Student Coalition (Orlando, FL)

- Irene Vilar, Founder & President, Americas for Conservation + the Arts (Boulder, CO & Yauco, PR)



3:30 PM Break

3:45 PM

Concurrent Panels


National Puerto Rican Student Coalition - Room KC 203


Moderator: Angélica N. Martínez Miró, 2019 Graduate, University of Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras, PR)


- Orosmar Cuevas, Cultural Ambassador, Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Program (Queens, NY)

- Camila Vásquez, Student, Florida International University, (Miami, FL)

- Sofia Vilar Ortiz, 2019 Graduate, College of Saint Rose (Albany, NY)




Models for Local Engagement and Empowerment - Room KC 205


Moderator: Jimmy Torres Vélez, Founder, Iniciativa Acción Puertorriqueña and Boricua Vota (Kissimmee, FL)


- Tiana Ocasio, President, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (Hamden, CT)

- Zulmalee Rivera, Organizer, Neighbor 2 Neighbor Massachusetts (Springfield, MA)

- Victoria Ann Rodríguez Chair, Springfield Puerto Rican Parade (Springfield, MA)




Stateside Impact of Hurricane Maria Evacuees - Room KC 312


Moderator: Lorna Rivera, Member, Boston School Committee, Boston Public Schools & Director, Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy, University of Massachusetts (Boston, MA)


- Melissa Colón, Prof. Behavioral Science Department, Bunker Hill Community College

- Surey Miranda-Alarcón, Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director, Diaspora for Puerto Rico, Inc. (Bronx, NY)

- Gladys Rodriguez Parker, Senior District Representative, United States Congressman James P. McGovern (Boston, MA)



5:00 PM Break

5:15 PM

Closing Plenary - Room KC 301 / 303



5:45 PM

Reception - Room CC 236