Posts Tagged ‘hispanic heritage’

Willie Colón Delivers speech at HUD Hispanic Heritage Month celebration

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2009 at 6:46 am

THE NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS October 15-October 21, 2009 
  Willie Colon Delivers speech


at   HUD Hispanic Heritage
Month celebration
 By ERICA SOTO Special to the AmNews 



















Salsa legend Willie Colon was the keynote speaker for a
government-sponsored celebration held on Wednesday

  On the 30th floor of a federal building in lower Manhattan,
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) held a small celebration to honor Hispanic contributions.
The celebration fell on the tail end of Hispanic Heritage month, which spans
from September 15 through October 15.
  With an expansive view of the city behind him, Colon
expressed how proud he was of Supreme Court Justice Sonia
Sotomayor. “I’m all for having Latinos on the other side of
that bench looking down for a change,” he said, followed by
laughter from the crowd.


Colon, also Puerto Rican and a Bronx native like Sotomayor,
grew up in Mott Haven. Colon’s speech continued, peppered with jokes while he
discussed the importance of the contributions of Hispanics.
Among historical Hispanic figures he mentioned were
Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti, both liberators in Latin
The federally run department that sponsored the event
gives grants and loans to people looking to purchase
homes. As the senior customer liaison for the Federal Housing
Administration, Migdalia Murati believes the subprime
crisis affected people across all races in the U.S. “Yes, Hispanics
and Blacks were targeted, but it was really anyone
who couldn’t get a loan before,” Murati said.
In a 2006 case study put out by HUD, it revealed barriers
they found between Hispanics and homeownership.
Among the barriers were that they didn’t know how the purchasing
process worked, they didn’t believe a house was attainable and
they had poor financial skills.
As targets for subprime housing loans, Colon said, “A
lot of us are in a better position to help each other.” He
said that Hispanics who have been here for longer should
help recent immigrants.
Colon feared that recent immigrants, as well as nativeborn
Hispanics, would be lumped together because of
their similar appearance. “It’s in our interest to look out for
Colon addressed his concern of Hispanic perception
and self-image in this country. “The violence against Hispanics
has increased 45 percent in the U.S.” He explained that
Hollywood’s depiction of Hispanics was one of the villain—
including roles as hoodlums, drug traffickers and terrorists.
Colon said that Latinos could be the next scapegoat for
things going wrong in the country.
He told the story of how, when he ran for public advocate
in New York in 2001, his opponent used one of his
gangster-looking album covers as evidence against
Colon’s candidacy.
A social and political activist, as well as a musician
and composer, Colon ultimately stressed that Hispanics
should look towards the future. “We have to have the
vision and maturity to take the next step. If we want to be
accepted in this country, we must first accept each other,
and that’s the key.”