Monthly Archives: January 2012

Suspension of the School Improvement Grant ?

The Alarming Situation of the Suspension of The School Improvement Grant for 10 School Districts

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (Brooklyn), Chairman of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force will be calling for a public hearing to address the recent suspension of School Improvement Grant funding to 10 school districts in New York State. State Education Commissioner, John B. King, Jr. has announced that he will suspend this funding because an application deadline was missed; a fact which many of the districts dispute. The school districts involved in this suspension all have a common factor; minorities make up the majority of the students. As Chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, it is my responsibility to look into this matter and ensure that our State’s students are given the best possible opportunities. Suspension of the School Improvement Grant will end up hurting our youth in high-need school districts the most, stated the Assemblyman.

Please see below for the letter from members of the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force to the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asking for  his support against this suspension.

Letter to Speaker Silver on School Improvement Grant

Three Kings Day Celebration – Buffalo, NY

The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York invites everyone to celebrate the Hispanic tradition called El Dia De Los Tres Reyes Magos ” or Three Kings Day.

The custom dates back to the early 16th century and is celebrated 12 days after Christmas to commemorate the biblical story of Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar, the three kings who visited Jesus after his birth bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

On Jan. 5 in many Latin American countries, children prepare boxes filled with hay to represent the manger baby Jesus lay in. The boxes are placed under the youngsters’ beds, and the next morning, they wake up to find three gifts in their boxes that represent the three gifts that were given to baby Jesus.

The observance also is called the Feast of the Epiphany.

Three Kings Day will be celebrated at a variety of venues this weekend and next, the Hispanic Heritage Council announced. The celebration often includes gifts for children in the community.

At 7:30 p. m. Friday, One World Tribe, a music and dancing show that includes funk, Latin and world beat sounds featuring performers from Africa, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, will headline the celebration in Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.

The day also will be celebrated:

  • At 5:30 p. m. Friday in Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy School 76, 315 Carolina St.
  • At 4 p. m. Saturday in the Pucho Olivencia Center, 261 Swan Street.
  • In a Spanish Mass at 11:30 a. m. Sunday in St. Anthony Catholic Church, 306 Ingham St., Lackawanna.
  • At 12:30 p. m. Sunday in Holy Cross Catholic Church, 345 Seventh St.
  • At 10:40 a. m. Jan. 13 in Frederick Law Olmsted School 64, 345 Olympic Ave.

For information, go to


Source: Buffalo News. Community News Column. Jan 05, 2012.

Reunion Latina 2012 – March 8-9, 2012

Reunion Latina is an annual conference organized by the Latino Commission on AIDS.  The deadline for registration is March 5, 2012. Please visit this link to get more information and the schedule of this year conference.

There are also scholarships available for those who are living with HIV and are a resident of New York State. Please click here to fill out the scholarship form (available both in English and Spanish) to be considered. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is February 15th.

Message from Latino Commission on AIDS:

” Once a year, Reunion Latina provides us with the opportunity to bring all of our experiences together in one powerful forum, in order to influence legislators, social and civic leaders. Institute attendees, including service providers, media representatives, elected officials, community leaders and their partners, experts in the field, and people living with HIV/AIDS participate in workshops and panels that highlight critical issues and promising solutions pertinent to those who are working to break the cycle of indifference and stigma in some of our nation’s most affected communities.

This year, topics will include: Disease Integration, Community Mobilization, New developments in the field of treatment and prevention, discussions successful education models, addressing the needs of the most affected populations, among others.”