2002-08-01 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor’s Desk...

Visiting Communities

From The Mayor’s Desk...

Visiting Communities

Important To New York

Last Thursday, I was proud to be President Bush’s representative at an historic celebration in San Juan of the 50th anniversary of the Puerto Rican Constitution. The next day, I also paid a brief visit to the Dominican Republic, with the goal of strengthening New York City’s important bonds of friendship with the people of that Caribbean nation.

There has long been a special connection between Puerto Rico and New York City. New Yorkers strongly supported Puerto Rico’s struggle for independence from Spain, and many of the leaders of that independence movement lived and worked in our city. In modern times, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans have come to New York to realize their dreams of advancement for themselves and their families.

Today, some 800,000 people of Puerto Rican heritage live in all five boroughs. They make up roughly 10% of the city’s population, and play an important role in business, government, the arts and entertainment and every other aspect of life in our city.

Under the constitution adopted in 1952 by Puerto Rico, the island enjoys the status of being an autonomous commonwealth that is voluntarily associated with the United States. A half-century from now, I’m sure that our city and nation will continue to benefit from a close and friendly relationship with the people of Puerto Rico.

In the Dominican Republic, I visited Santiago, which is the second largest city in the nation. I presented a donation of equipment from New York’s public hospital system to a local children’s hospital, continuing a ten-year-old program begun by Mayor David Dinkins of providing medical technology and training to physicians and health care facilities in the Dominican Republic. I met with business leaders in Santiago to discuss the important economic ties between that city and New York. I also joined a scout who works for the New York Mets in the Dominican Republic—a nation that is as just as enthusiastic about baseball as New York is—to distribute bats and gloves donated by the Mets to members of a youth baseball league in the town of La Vega.

More than half a million men and women of Dominican heritage live in New York; many of them are immigrants who have come to our city in the last 25 years. Like the Irish, the Italians, the Germans and other immigrant groups of the past, the Dominican community makes important contributions to our city through its hard work, enterprise and vibrant culture. I encourage you to join me on August 11th, when I’ll be proud to show the city’s appreciation by marching in the annual Dominican Day Parade.

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