Bronx Community Pride Center Closes After Former Director’s Arrest

Logo of the Bronx Community Pride Center, New York.

About two days after news that the former director of the Bronx Community Pride Center was charged and arrested for possibly embezzling $338,000, the board of directors of the LGBT non-profit organization today announced the closing of its doors effective June 30th.

“The board of directors of the Bronx Community Pride Center (BCPC), the borough’s largest LGBTQ service organization, has unanimously voted to cease operations of the center on June 30, 2012 and to begin making arrangements for current services to be provided by partner organizations within the Bronx,” noted a press release issued this evening.

The former director of the Bronx Community Pride Center, Lisa Winters, has been arrested and accused of stealing over $338K for personal expenses—including a vacation for her and her future wife to South Africa, according to an article published late this afternoon in the Gothamist.

According to the BCPC press release, because of the “current economic difficulties, past debt and inability to raise sufficient unrestricted funding, the organization can no longer implement its current programs. The organization has debts which exceed revenues at this time and without significant cash infusions from major donors they (the board of directors) are unable to continue operations financially.”

Winters, 47, and her wife Scroggins, who have been together for 14 years, were married at the City Clerk’s office in Manhattan on the first day of legal gay marriage last year, today’s article noted.

“As BCPC closes I ask that all Bronx LGBTQ organizations come together and fill the void that would be left behind,” said Antonio Centeno Jr., BCPC Board Chairperson. “The Board of Directors is committed to assisting in any way to make sure that our clients continue to be served, especially since this population is traditionally under served in the Bronx.”

The Bronx Community Pride Center was a not-for-profit organization which was incorporated in 1997 as the Bronx Lesbian and Gay Health Resource Consortium. Around 2005/2006 the name and mission was changed and the agency then became a community center.

“We’re a group of caring individuals and this decision has been difficult for us to make, but we will never give up for our mission of health equality,” said Centeno.

(For an updated version of this article check out the )


Colombian Adoptees Connect in NYC to Share Their Life Stories

Colombian adoptees from across the US met in Jackson Heights, Queens to share an incredible personal experience and a wonderfully social time. June, 2012.

I had an incredible opportunity earlier this month to meet and interview a phenomenal group of people who were adopted from Colombia and raised by American parents. Thanks to a Facebook Group they met in New York City during the second weekend in June for a momentous occasion. They decided to have dinner at Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where I work. I wrote a blog post for the restaurant that I wanted to cross post here. Below are some excerpts:

Being adopted and choosing to share your life story is a very personal and sometimes painful decision for many adoptees. For some, learning about one’s birth culture can be a lifelong process. For others the desire to connect with people with similar experiences is profound yet not always easy.

When an adoptee learns of his/her birth culture some totally immerse themselves in the culture, while others take their time digesting information. Some just like to keep things the way they are, not learning much about their ethnicity at all. It’s a very personal choice and some adoptees go through different phases of feelings throughout their lives.

Some adoptees may feel they are slighting their adoptive parents if they show interest in learning about their birth culture, but others eventually need to know more to fully understand who they are, a process most people go through, whether adopted or not, to truly know themselves.

To read the full Bogota Latin Bistro blog post visit Colombian Adoptees Connect in NYC to Share Their Life Stories.


East WillyB Webseries Needs Your Help

Hola everyone. Last year I posted a blog entry about East WillyB, a Latino webseries about a group of longtime residents in Bushwick, Brooklyn going through the ups and downs of the gentrification of their neighborhood.  The amazing talent behind this original effort now needs your help to film a few more episodes in hopes of it being picked up by a major network. The episodes are a few minutes long but with additional filming East WillyB will have 90 minutes worth of material to shop around.

This is where you can help. The producers of East WillyB have started a fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 in 50 days. In 15 days they have already raised over $10,000. With your donation of $1, $5, $10 or more dollars you can soon be seeing more Latinos on television and have the wonderful feeling of knowing that you helped make it happen. So let’s make it happen. Donate now!

I thought the series was extremely funny, the acting stellar, the writing incredible, and the production awesome for an independent project. I can see EastWillyB as an HBO series, on any of the major television networks, or on a future Latino-themed cable channel.

So take a moment to help support independent producers and Latino-themed programming by making a pledge now!


Empanada For A Dream – NYC. Sat, April 21 through Sun, April 29, 2012

(Photo courtesy of

EMPANADA FOR A DREAM, a new play created and performed by Juan Francisco Villa and directed by Alex Levy, will be showing at The Barrow Group Theatre at 312 West 36th Street (between 8th and 9th Ave) in New York City. The limited 6 show engagement starts off on Saturday, April 21st and runs through Sunday, April 29th, 2012. Tickets are just $18!

EMPANADA FOR A DREAM is Juan’s story, a growing up story, downtown on Allen Street, 169 Allen, Lower East Side.

Everybody’s blasting – bacchata, merengue, salsa, hiphop and rap. And everybody’s cooking – and there’s boys playing baseball, football, skullies, johnny on the pony – and this girl – the most beautiful girl – watching from a window.

This is the story of family – Juan’s tios,  his tias,  his abuelita,  his sister, half sister, his mom and dad – all on a bed – little bed – everybody freezing,  everybody laughing.

EMPANADA FOR A DREAM is a poignant and flavorful portrait of a family and a neighborhood – set against the secret that destroys it all. It’s a story about growing up. It’s a story about getting out. And coming back — to one boy’s Lower East Side. — (Source: Empanada for a Dream press material.)

Support Latino artists and independent theatre by attending one of the shows or/and widely promoting the play via your social networks.

Thanks in advance for spreading the word!


Undecided Latinos to Republicans: Just Say No

I’m a life-long Democrat and strongly supported President Barack Obama’s bid for U.S. President in 2008 and I will do the same this November. Many media outlets and blogs have written that the Latino vote in 2012 could decide the outcome of this year’s presidential campaign, and I agree. However, I am a bit concerned about how some Republicans are trying to sway undecided Latino voters their way and how many Latinos are seriously considering going over to the dark side.

I have to admit I don’t understand why any Latino, African-American, or gay or lesbian would be a Republican, but to each his/her own. I have accepted the fact that my Cuban brothers and sisters in Florida are overwhelmingly Republican, but I hope the recent influx of my fellow Puerto Ricans will balance out the Latino vote in the Sunshine State.

Thank God for Mexican Democrats across California and Texas, Puerto Rican Democrats in Connecticut, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rican and Dominican Democrats in New York. With all their participation in this year’s election I am confident President Obama will win another 4-year term.

However, I think Republicans will work incredibly hard to get as many Latino votes as possible and I’m afraid they might succeed to some level if Latinos fall for false promises.

The main reason I am sticking with the Democratic Party in this presidential election and voting again for President Barack Obama relates to the issue of immigration.

The entire Arizona immigration controversy showed me that Republicans like Jan Brewer are no friends of Latinos. The implemented statewide immigration law clearly racially profiled Latinos and why any Latino in that state would support Republicans is way beyond my comprehension. (P.S. – Brewer recently endorsed Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for President.)

Immigration reform is a hot topic and not one that can be easily resolved. However, the DREAM Act (an acronym for development, relief, and Education for Alien Minors) would be a step in the right direction. It allows non-documented youth who were brought over to the U.S. illegally a path to U.S. citizenship if they graduate from college or serve in the U.S. military. Republicans wholeheartedly have rejected the proposal. President Obama supports the DREAM Act.

President Obama’s health reform initiative will provide access to needed healthcare to millions of Latinos. What have Republicans done for Latinos in this area?

Another more personal reason why I’ll vote for President Obama again is his appointment of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I’m still in awe that there is a Puerto Rican American on the Supreme Court thanks to Obama and I’d vote for him again this year just for that fact.

So if you’re an undecided Latino being swayed by the Republican party in this year’s presidential election, please, please…, just say no and vote for President Obama.


Blogging Goal for 2012 – Just Keep On Blogging

I’ve been blogging since 2003 but I’ve never been a blogger that posts at least three entries per week, which is the widely recommended minimum for a “real blogger.” I have said time and time again that I would eventually post at least three times each week, but unfortunately I have not met that goal. I’ve always leaned toward quality and not quantity with an overall approach focused on less is more. I also have to be motivated to write and really believe in the topic I’m covering, so If I’m not feeling it, then I’m just not feeling it.

I also blog about fraternity/sorority life and manage a communication/business blog. So every other week I’m blogging about something. Some may think I’m spreading myself too thin, but I enjoy running several blogs with particular niches. I think I’ll always blog and again will aim to up the ante on the number of posts for 2012. To be honest I’ve Tweeted much more than I have blogged in 2011. In 2012 I hope to post more entries across all four blogs.

Even with this strategy for 2012 I still might not meet three posts per week per blog, but as long as I keep on blogging I’ll be happy.

As the year comes to a close, I’ll like to wish everyone who has ever visited any of my blogs a very happy and healthy New Year!


My Favorite Latino Blogs for 2011

In 2009 I posted an entry about My Favorite Latino Blogs and followed up on the topic with My Favorite Latino Blogs for 2010. In browsing the blogosphere this time around to find my favorite for 2011, I came across so many incredible blogs that narrowing it down to just 10 was quite a challenge. There is no scientific method involved in my decision making process. I just go with what I like, what catches my attention, or what other Latinos would find interesting and/or informative. So here are my top ten Latino blogs for 2011:

  • – With Latinos becoming a major force in politics, I think this blog is amazing. It provides a wealth of information and every Latino should have it bookmarked.
  • LATISM Blog – Latinos in Social Media is the largest organization of Hispanic professionals engaged in social media. I’m a member and a huge fan. The organization just had a successful conference in Chicago.
  • Hispanic PR Blog – A guide to Hispanic public relations and social media news, this blog excellently covers industry news and trends and is one to check out daily.
  • Bella Vida by Letty – This is a blog by a creative Boricua that shares her inspirational photography, art, quotes, and life’s lessons with the world to make it a better place.
  • Andy Checo – This is the personal blog of a Dominican public relations professional specializing in the US Hispanic market. Checo is the founder of the monthly Hispanic Public Relations Chat #hprchat on Twitter (first Wednesday of every month at 8pm EDT.)
  • The Buffalo Puerto Rican Press – Maria Rosa started writing for the Buffalo Puerto Rican Press back in 1978 as a columnist for the Latin Journal. Rosa covers politics and Puerto Ricans nationally and specifically in the Buffalo, NY area.
  • Salvador Mendoza – This is the personal blog of a father, husband, photography enthusiast, and technology/social media professional.
  • Una Cabeza de Coco – This is the blog of an entrepreneur and owner of one of the most creative and forward-thinking PR/Marketing firms in the nation and the founder and moderator of the first and ONLY Latina Lifestyle Blogger Group.
  • La CaSSaDaGa – A blog by Julián Esteban Torres López, its mission is to share with an English-speaking, int’l audience the diverse, creative talents of budding Colombian artists and introduce Colombians to the emerging, non-mainstream talents of the world.

Please support the work of the Latinos/as above by visiting their blogs, commenting on posts, and sharing their links. Feel free to also make a comment below about the blogs in this post or use the space to give a shout out to another Latino blog.

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