Dominican Republic

Colombia Brazil & Dominican Republic Leading in Vanity Tourism


The universal idea of beauty has been definitely changed. Now, the most beautiful and most desired women are curvy. For many, the ideal woman is a combination of Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Beyonce 

A new interest for female appearance places Latinas among the most attractive and desired women on the planet, which in turn fuels the existing cult of beauty and the women’s obsession with looking beautiful, young and fabulous.

It is no coincidence that countries such as Brazil, The Dominican Republic and Colombia have become the preferred destination for the so-called “beauty-tourism,” a new and innovative trend that has people traveling to other countries a part of promotional packages that include accommodation, medical expenses and cosmetic surgery ranging from breast augmentation to chin liposuction for a fraction of the cost they would have in the U.S.

The business of vanity or plastic surgery is a growing billion-dollar industry in Latin America, where professional success and social acceptance largely depend on physical appearance. This, despite the myriad of terrifying cases of deaths during surgery and of procedures performed in clinics operated by unscrupulous doctors or by people lacking proper credentials.

Back in the homelands, the social pressure some Latinas feel regarding their beauty drives even the ones with the most limited resources to resort to desperate methods that may include a subtle form of prostitution called “chapeo.”

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most popular types of surgery are buttock augmentation, liposuction and breast augmentation. Botox continues to top the list of most common non-invasive cosmetic procedures worldwide.



Latinas habitually worry about their appearance and the perception others may have of them, including their financial and social status. Looking good is equated to wellness and to doing well financially. We Latinas were raised admiring and wanting to be “just like” the leading actresses in telenovelas.

For most, going under the knife is considered more as psychological healing than a physical change. It boosts the self-esteem of women who were raised to be beautiful, even if that idea of beauty -which follows a European standard – fails to match the features of most of our countries’ population. It only takes a quick look at the most popular Hispanic TV networks or the famous Mexican telenovelas to see this.

From an early age, girls seem to covet having a full behind, voluptuous hips and stroke-inducing breasts, disregarding the effort required or even considering the risk of ending up being part of the terrifying statistics.

It is an emotional and physical balance. It is an mental attitude. It takes strongly believing that you accept yourself and love yourself exactly the way you are, and no letting advertising affect you and make no pursue and artificial idea of perfection.

We Latinas are more than our beauty. We are warriors who have fought for generations for the right to pursue our dreams in our countries of origin and in this new nation that opened its doors to us. And, of course, we also have curves.

 (Originally published in Latin Trends magazine)


Photo credit: Edgar Pimentel

Photo credit:
Edgar Pimentel

The path of an independent artist is the longest of roads. Especially when you are Dominican artist born outside the Capital and not a Bachata artist. But a car with an impressive look goes much further with a quality engine. For Limanol Adams, K-Pop is the energy source that feeds his creative talent and foundation that supports a debut that otherwise gets lost in the shuffle.

Coming from a culture that is seeing a resergence of an old classic sound, Bachata, as the dominant force in Latin music currently, it’s ironic that this small town man, through several visits to the states, would take his first step into a larger world embracing another music genre, K-Pop, the music wave from South Korea that is also spreading its wings quickly worldwide the last few years.

“That’s when the transfusion of culture started and my taste for music began to expand, it comprised not only my traditional sounds, but I opened up to new ways of art and music expressions.”

Limanol became both a fan and admirer of KPop, it’s music and by extension it’s culture through friends that shared a mutual love of the music The fusion inherent in that wave reflects the experimentation that Latin music has experienced as late. Making something new of something old.

“It was ‘Love at first sight.’ The way they combine the music, dance and fashionable style made me fall in love,” Adams explained, “When hanging out with my friends of this genre, we mostly enjoy singing when we are together. We are like a family.”

It has had a beneficial impact on Limanol as he has come all the way from the small province of Elias Pina to New York City to rub shoulders with figures in the entertainment field and Korean Idols. His music has certainly evolved as a result.

“My music has a lot of American Pop influences, and incorporates sounds based on my Latin roots. Electro vibes and Hip-Hop hooks brings energy and power to my sound, and I put some RnB to give it soul,” Limanol pointed out, “Definitely Kpop is a big part of my style, not only because of how fresh and passionate it is, but also how innovative it is.”

Limanol has been associated with the Born Star Training Center for a year honing his craft for his debut and including trainees in his live performances. Coming off a very successful New York Kpop World Christmas Party event that will be part of a upcoming documentary, attention is being paid.

“I’ve been practicing my singing and dance skills day and night as well as working on expanding my visualization as a musician,” Limanol explained.

As the star in Bethehem signaled the birth of the Messiah, Limanol Adams hopes that the season of giving will birth a career of similiar success. The Korean formula of star making is now available to Adams who is planning his EP Mini Album and he can’t ask for a more than this in his formative years. “I feel blessed for all the people, fans and friends that I’ve met through this year. I’m very excited to see what 2017 will bring: My EP Debut Mini Album, Videos, Gigs and more, so stay tuned and keep cheering me up”.



A tri-lingual teenager who is studying pre-law and hails from Puerto Rico became the 66th Miss World. The crown fits a head whose diversity of interests may have been the key to outlasting 117 other contestants in Oxen Hill, Maryland this past Sunday.

Stephanie Del Valle is only 19. She is a college student attending Pace University in New York City. It makes sense that she is pursuing the communication field because she expressed herself well referring to representing Puerto Rico on the international stage as an “honor and a great responsibility.”

Del Valle is hoping to enter the entertainment field and being fluent in Spanish, English and French should open many doors as it did this evening. Stephanie held off the challenge of Yaritza Miguelina Reyes of the Dominican Republic who was the runner-up and Natasha Mannuela of Indonesia, the second runner-up.

Stephanie is looking to follow in the steps of the great minds of science, literature, art and music that get overlooked looking solely on the tropical beauty of Puerto Rico. She has a sense of self that rode her all the way to the winner’s spot.

“I became who I am, a woman who is visionary, optimistic, determined and resistant. All the traits that describe the people of Puerto Rico.”




Gerardo Gabriel Santana, mejor conocido por sus millones de fans como El Poeta Callejero es un joven al que podríamos definir como tímido y comedido. Mucho más allá de la súper estrella de música urbana nos encontramos conversando con un joven agradable, quien piensa detenidamente sus respuestas y quien lleva como bandera y mensaje, la justicia social.

Este deseo de igualdad y justicia social incentivado en gran parte por sus orígenes humildes y la pobreza que vivió en la niñez se ve claramente reflejado en las letras de sus canciones.

A pesar de los rumores sobre su fanatismo religioso, incoherencias o largos silencios en recientes entrevistas, el poeta callejero se define como “un tigre decente”, decidido a hacer lo correcto y a luchar por ser una mejor persona con el único arma que conoce, su arte, sus letras, su poesía que nace y se alimenta en el lugar que lo vio nacer y crecer: La Calle.



El título del álbum es “Tigre Decente” y en eso es lo que me es convertido, en una persona hábil para desenvolverse en el lugar donde me tocó vivir y decente porque soy correcto.

Dentro del álbum hay una canción que le dedico a mi hija y se titula mi bendición. Se ha hecho una serie especial y diferente que se usó con los temas del CD., un video de 40 minutos donde se desarrolla una historia con la música del álbum y que cuenta lo que es un tigre decente y porque.


Es realmente difícil.


Yo crecí en la calle, nací en la calle en la entrada de una iglesia. Así fueron mis inicios y toda mi vida involucrado en la calle y poeta porque yo amo la poesía y la gente me empezó a llamar poeta pero qué tipo de poeta , bueno uno callejero.


Me importa mucho lo que sucede a mí alrededor, soy una conciencia viviente que analiza lo que me rodea. Mi objetivo principal es ser un mensajero de lo que me rodea y exponerlo en mi arte.


La desigualdad, la pobreza y que los que están en posición de ayudar por sus conocimientos o influencia no lo hacen. Porque beneficiarse solo unos pocos no entendiendo que todos somos iguales.


Yo solamente evito las conversaciones banales y triviales.


A los hijos de Dios, los planes del enemigo, les terminan favoreciendo. La gente puede llegar a pensar que es una estrategia, entonces yo lo tomo con una actitud positiva y agradezco a Dios.


Mira yo vengo de una casa que tenía una lona como techo, que el piso era de tierra, que las camas tenían chinches  y  quemabamos los colchones con trementina en las noches para matarlas y aun así yo era feliz. Imagínate ahora estoy en mi casa con aire acondicionado, con gente apoyándome, siempre con más deseos de superarme y motivado a dar lo mejor al público.


Estamos coordinando una gira próximamente, espero verlos pronto y síganme en instagram a @elpoetacallejero







Richard Rosario

En aquella visita a casa de mi tía y caminando a través del pasillo que llevaba a una de las habitaciones, de repente se agolpo frente a mi toda mi historia y se llenaron mis ojos de lágrimas al ver en un pequeño cuadro colgado en la pared, el rostro de mi padre con apenas 18 años.

Mi padre, el hombre fuerte, seguro y decidido, me miraba desde esta foto con los ojos inseguros de un tímido adolescente. Décadas de historias e imagenes llegaron a mi cabeza y a mi corazón. Papi en esta imagen lucia como un muchacho pobre, mal vestido y desorientado.

Lo imagine recorriendo incasablemente las calles de la capital dominicana en busca de trabajo, lo imagine en su primera cita de amor o quizás viviendo atemorizado y asustado en medio de la dictadura de Trujillo en Rep. Dom. La Foto fue tomada en 1953, hace más de 60 años.

E inevitablemente tuve que pensar donde estarán mis fotos digitales en 60 años. No tengo un solo álbum tradicional; todas mis memorias importantes están dispersadas en Facebook, Instagram y en un hardrive que ni siquiera recuerdo donde  guarde.

Y en ese momento se apodero de mí una especie de pánico, que pasara con las memorias importantes  de los billones de personas que al igual que yo no imprimen fotos. Existirán aun todos los álbumes que tengo en Facebook en el 2076, dentro de 60 años.



Por fortuna, yo no soy la única a quien le preocupa la desaparición de la fotografía tradicional, existen organizaciones como The Print Movement , que agrupa a más de 30,000 fotógrafos en Estados Unidos. Este es un movimiento que promueva el valor y la importancia de las fotos impresas.

Hoy se toman más fotos que nunca en la historia, pero muy pocas de estas fotos llegan a imprimarse o se colocan en un lugar preferencial de nuestro hogar. 42% de las personas entre 30 y 45 años dentro de un tiempo se preguntaran que paso con las memorias de las fiestas de navidad, reuniones familiares y lamentaran no haber apreciado el increíble valor de preservar las memorias importantes.


“En medio de un desastre natural como un incendio o un huracán, las personas no tratan de salvar dinero o cosas materiales sino documentos y fotografías”,

nos dice el fotógrafo Richard Rosario, miembro del Print Movement y quien motiva a los clientes que visitan su estudio del Bronx a imprimar las fotografías.

 “las memorias se esfuman muy rápido, y yo lo pude comprobar de la manera más dura, cuando perdí a uno de mis hermanos en un accidente hace muchos años y me di cuenta que tenía muy pocas fotos de él. En el 2011 mi hermano mayor fue diagnosticado con cáncer, cuando perdimos a mi segundo hermano y pude comprobar las pocos fotos que conservaba de él, fue que nació mi amor por la fotografía y convertí en mi propósito de vida capturar imágenes de las personas en sus mejores momentos”,

nos dice Rosario

Los hermanos de el fotografo Richard Rosario cuando eran ninos

Los hermanos de el fotografo Richard Rosario cuando eran ninos

Por eso la próxima vez  que tengas esa foto que te encanta y a la cual tus amigos virtuales les dieron ciento de “likes”, asegúrate de imprimirla, porque solo el futuro podrá predecir cuál de tus nietos tratara de descubrir tu historia a través de esa imagen.



Victor Martinez en 1953

Victor Martinez (padre de la autora) en 1953



*La fotografía más antigua es una toma realizada en 1827 con una cámara oscura por el inventor francés, Joseph Niepce.







Famous for her hips movements, her huge afro and an imposing presence that quickly grab the attention anywhere she goes, Dana Danelys De los Santos, better known in the music world as Amara La Negra, is an urban artist who has earned the respect of millions of fans since she began singing professionally in 2013.

This artist, with her light-colored eyes and impressive beauty began her career in entertainment at the age at 4 years-old when she won a beauty pageant for girls in Univision’s “Sabado Gigante” TV show.

“I later was part of a segment where children would talk with Don Francisco. That taught me to be self-confident. Thanks to that opportunity, I became a dancer at the Latin Grammys, Premios Lo Nuestro and for many important performers,”

said Amara.

Born and raised in Miami by Dominican parents, from an early age she felt she had art and music in her blood.

“I live for the stage. The adrenaline I feel when I grab the microphone and see the audience can’t compare to anything else. I live for that moment. I live for music,”

said the exuberant singer of Dominican descent.

Despite her years of preparation in dance, acting and singing schools, the performer has closely encountered the ugly face of racism and the rejection of some media – Latino media in particular-for her skin color.

“They never consider that a woman like me can represent Latinas. They are always looking for someone like Shakira, Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lopez. I am fighting to break this stereotype because I am proud of who I am, of my roots, of my “bad hair” and I know that many Latinas identify with me. “



One of the most important moments in this 25-year-old artist’s career was having the chance to play Celia Cruz in a documentary about the life of the legendary salsa singer.

“To me, Celia Cruz was an inspiration for her charisma and things she was able to achieve. I grew up listening to Tina Turner, La India and Olga Tañon. These women gave me strength and inspired me to want to be like them.”

She said

On several occasions, Amara has been harshly criticized and deemed immoral due to her song lyrics and her sexy movements. This does not worry her, as she knows that the same people who attack her are the same people who later support and applaud North American stars such as Rihanna or Miley Cyrus who has a similar style.

The singer said to be grateful for her success, and told us that her mother has been her rock, her support in this challenging career.

“My mom is my other half, my heart; and you cannot live without your heart.”

She describes herself as fresh, daring and very bold.

She is certain that her career is on the rise and says that she can feel and taste success already. When the time comes to say thank you, she includes her “haters” for being a part of her success and for giving her the drive to do everything they say cannot be done.

“I’m not afraid of anything, I take a chance and jump and, what I don’t know something, I learn. And as my mother says, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”


Fun Family Cinema Returns for 8th Annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival in New York

More Than 40 Films From Over 25 Countries For All Ages

Free Entrance and All Foreign Language Films are subtitled in English

Cine Art Entertainment Productions, in collaboration with Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center, and Catholic Charities proudly presents the 8th annual edition of KidCinemaFest Film Festival, October 13th to the 19th, 2016.  

The Festival aims to enrich children’s appreciation for film making and cultural diversity through a program of over 40 films that includes documentaries, fiction films as well as animations from 25 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.  The festival welcomes attendees of all ages to view some of the most exciting, smart, and reflective movies of this decade.  Entrance is free and all foreign language films are subtitled in English.


KidCinemaFest opens October 13, 7:00pm at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center the U.S premier of the Dominican feature film LOS FABULOS MA’ MEJORES directed by Carlos Manuel Plasencia and produced by Celines Toribio. This Dominican film is for all ages and tells the story of, Chelo Rosario, a kid baseball coach who’s not doing very well. He has no money, no job and his baseball team, although wonderful, is spectacularly bad at playing baseball. One day an announcement is made on the radio regarding the first ever Kid’s Baseball Tournament in the Dominican Republic and Chelo decides to ask the beautiful Joanna (Denise Quiñones) — who is the mother of one of the kids — for help to enter the tournament. The result is a fun-filled family oriented comedy where kids as well as adults will enjoy the crazy adventures of this fabulous team and the importance of fighting for your dreams regardless of how difficult they may be.

KidCinemaFest closes on October 19, 7:00pm at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center with the French feature film Belle and Sebastian. Adapted from the popular series by Cécile Aubry, Belle and Sebastian is a breathtaking adventure set high in the snowy Alps during a dramatic time in history. Sebastian is a resourceful young boy raised by an eccentric guardian (played by Tchéky Karyo, one of France’s most popular actors) in a peaceful mountain village. Sebastian meets a much feared wild dog, known by herders as ‘The Beast.’ Playing together in the alpine meadows and water holes, the boy and the dog come to love and rely upon one another; Sebastian calls her ‘Belle’. When German Nazis arrive, looking for Jewish refugees crossing the treacherous pass to Switzerland, courageous Belle and Sebastian join the resistance.

As the film festival founder and director, Armando Guareño says, “This year’s film program strives to enrich the lives of children through the art of cinema, enabling children and families to learn from different cultures without having to leave New York City.” While Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez shares similar thoughts on the festival, “As a longtime supporter of the KidCinemaFest, I’m incredibly proud of the success the program has enjoyed. Over a few short years it has become the preeminent children’s film festival in New York City, broadening the cultural horizons of hundreds of our youth.” 


The complete programming is organized in four sections. KID FLIX 1 section, composed of a colorful collection of short films from around the world. KID FLIX 2 section, a distinctive international short films collections that includes directors Olga and Tatiana Poliektova film My GRANDFATHER WAS A CHERRY TREE (Russia),  Ainslie Henderson newest short film STEMS (United Kingdom), Natalia Chernysheva’s film TWO FRIENDS (France and Russia), and from the directors of PHANTOM BOY and A CAT IN PARIS we also bring you ONE HELL OF A PLAN (France).

VIVA SHORT section, a collection of short film’s of the best shorts from the Brooklyn Film Festival’s Kidsfilmfest. FEATURE FILMS section, an international selection of the best contemporary films within the children cinema industry; including Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s film A CAT IN PARIS (France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium), Laurent Boileau and Jung Heninl’s film APPROVED FOR ADOPTION (France, Belgium, South Korea, Switzerland), Franck Ekinci and Christian Desmares’ film APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD (France), Yasuhiro Yoshimura’s film PATEMA INVERTED (Japan), Walter Tournier’s film SELKIRK, EL VERDADERO ROBINSON CRUSOE (Uruguay, Argentina, Chile), and Tomm Moree’s film THE SECRET OF KELLS (Belgium, France, Ireland).


KidCinemaFest venues are:

  • Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (530 West 166th Street and Amsterdam)
  • Casita Maria in the South Bronx (928 Simpson St at 163rd Street
  • CUNY in the Heights (5030 Broadway at 213th)
  • Comisionado Dominicano de Cultura en USA (541 West 145th St (2nd Floor)
  • Public schools throughout Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the Bronx.

The event is free and open to anyone and everyone who wishes to attend!

The 8th Annual KidCinemaFest Film Festival in New York is a project of Cine-Art Entertainment Productions and is made possible with the collaboration of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, The Dominican Film Festival in New York, Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center and Catholic Charities and sponsored by LatinTRENDS Magazine, Manhattan Times and in collaboration with, Brooklyn Film Festival’s Kidsfilmfest,  CUNY in the Heights and

For a complete list of films and show times please visit



The youth movement the New York Yankees put into operation has made for a lot of excitement in the closing days of 2016. They traded away veteran assets to get younger and hopefully better.

But the one Yankee that has surpassed all expectations early on is a 23-year old catcher from the Dominican Republic. He has already looked like the finished product as his stats (.329 average, 19 home runs, 38, R.B.I’s, and 56 hits in only 45 games) have screamed All-Star if projected over a full season.

But it should not be a surprise that Gary has proven to be the most mature not only in performance but temperament. You grow up quick when your parents divorce and you are the youngest of five children raised by a single parent.

But after being accused of going through the motions which is understandable when you get a $3 million dollar signing bonus at age 16. Gary pointed out the birth of his daughter, Sahaira, as the turning point in his professional fortunes.

“When she was born, a new life began for me'”

Gary admitted.

Now, with a wife and child to support, Sanchez’ work ethic improved. But not immediately. He had to defeat the stigma of his conditioning and depending too much on his raw talent.

“The way I look at it is, you learn from your mistakes and move forward,”

Sanchez pointed out.

The Yankees trusted the new Gary so much that they traded John Ryan Murphy and Gary matched up with Austin Romine as backups to Brian McCann. Suddenly they both surpassed him after the late call-up.

As the fastest player to reach 19 home runs in modern baseball history one has to wonder if we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. At least we know as a husband and father, he won’t settle for less than his best.


CAROLINA TORRESBy Clara Galvano Rivera

Carolina Torres doesn’t know how to cook Dominican sancocho very well, and she’s OK with that because she has excelled in so many other areas that being an ace in plátano cutting is not at the top of her list. What is on her list is her passion for helping others, which started with her parents, who came to New York in 1993 from Santiago de los Caballeros, in the Dominican Republic, seeking the American Dream. “As I was growing up, my mother’s credo was “querer es poder,” Torres says. And that is what Torres has been doing her whole life. Her list of accomplishments can make your head spin, but one item on that list is especially significant. In 2008, when she turned 15, an important milestone for any young Latina woman, did she ask her parents for a big Quinceañera party with all the trimmings? No. She decided to throw a party honoring her birthday at an orphanage in her home town! Before she left NYC, she even held collections in which family and friends donated articles for the children. The smiles and happiness she witnessed that day inspired Torres and her family so much that they continue to donate to the orphanage during the Christmas holidays.

Carolina Torres is definitely special, and the above is just one example of how Torres has lived her life – and she’s only 23! As a Girl Scout, her trajectory within the organization has been stellar. She received the Silver Award, entitled “ESL Classes,” for her community work in teaching ESL to adult Hispanics in her community. The Gold Award, entitled “Take Control Today, Be Healthier Tomorrow,” given to only 5% of the girls, was given for her work in holding health fairs to promote healthy living. In 2011 she was honored to receive the “Future Woman of Distinction Award,” which came with a scholarship!

LatinTRENDS would need three pages to list all her achievements to date, but we are highlighting her work with the American Girl Scouts because it is truly exemplary.

Her biggest concern about Dominicans living here? “My aunt was funny in pointing out that I don’t know how to cook a sancocho. We do need to remember our roots. I think I do. I am rooted in our culture. I love reading Junot Díaz, I think he embodies our culture and brings me back to what I grew up with. My parents always ask me to speak Spanish at home. I love our music and especially old-school music like Antony Santos.” Aside from her travels to the orphanage, she still has lots of family in the Dominican Republic and loves it when people from all over come together to celebrate big events like weddings.

Getting back to the differences that exist between Dominicans on the island and those in New York City, what happens when you visit D.R.?  “Well, the differences are definitely more noticeable when I travel there. There is definitely something about us New York Dominicans that is different – maybe it’s the loss of identity that I mentioned before, but people living on the island pick it up right away. Have we assimilated too much? You hear people saying things like ‘Oh, you’ve changed. You are not the same person you were before.’ But we really are, it’s just that we have picked up a different style. I get it. I know my Spanish is not the best. My accent is not like theirs, so they notice. I don’t want them to feel we are separating ourselves from them, but I don’t want them thinking they are better than us or that we are better than them. It’s just different here. We are all Dominicans.”

Torres has indeed done a lot and has developed a passion for helping others. She currently works under the New York State Department of Health with the Early Intervention Program as a Bilingual Service Coordinator. This firecracker graduated from Stony Brook University, class of 2015 with a BS in Health Science, with a concentration in Emergency and Critical Care. She wants to continue being an active leader in the medical and health care fields, especially for children. It is evident that the passion that has fueled her life, this passion for helping needy children will figure in whatever she decides to concentrate on. She plans to pursue a masters in either Public or Global Health.  Is an M.D. in her future? “I’m not sure yet,” Torres says.



LT: What is your biggest concern about Dominicans on the island and Dominicans in the U.S.?

CT: A loss of identity. We get so tied up with our lives here that sometimes we forget our traditions, even our language.


LT: How are Dominicans in NY different from Dominicans on the island?

CT: Our style and accents are different and people on the island pick that up.


LT: Are you connected to the island and if so, how do you maintain that connection?

CT: I still have lots of family on the island and love to get together with them.


→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for your weekly updates on events, restaurants, trends & news:


(Dominican Influencer Series) The Dominican Parade of NYC & it’s New Director Angela Fernandez ESQ.,


By Clara Galvano Rivera

Angela Fernández is passionate about being Dominican. Not only is she the Executive Director and Supervising Attorney of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, she is also Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Dominican Day Parade, set to take place on Sunday, August 14, 2016, in New York City. “I was elected to this position. My Mom would have been so proud,” she said.  Fernández is a first-generation Dominican whose mother migrated to the United States from Baitoa, in the Santiago de los Caballeros province, and settled in New Jersey.

“During the 70’s there weren’t a lot of Dominicans in NJ and my house was “Dominican Central” because my mother made sure we were deeply connected to our culture, our music and our traditions. She wanted us to be deeply proud of just being Dominican! She also welcomed people from all over South America, we had friends stopping by from Chile, Peru, Venezuela. It was a wonderful Pan Latino environment.”

Her work with the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights is of crucial importance to low-income, non-citizen immigrants from the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean who need sound legal help. The non-profit organization was founded in 1982, with a mission to educate, defend and protect the rights of immigrants. The staff can help with family reunification, citizenship, deportations and more. They recently moved into their new offices at 5030 Broadway at 214 Street, in the Inwood section of northern Manhattan.

In addition to direct legal services and consultations, the NMCIR is involved in very exciting initiatives. One such initiative focuses on deportation. “We used to be overwhelmed with calls every day from detention centers,” said Fernandez.

Someone would call and say ‘I paid an immigration lawyer $1,000 and I’m still sitting in a detention center. Can you help me?’ When someone comes to our center, they receive high quality legal service – that’s what makes all the difference.”

Fernández tells of cases where individuals are arrested for no good reason, and even one gentleman who was being deported to the wrong country! Another person was able to stay in the U.S. because the NMCIR attorney found a special visa that allowed him to remain here and continue his case. If you know someone who needs help, now you know where they can get help from someone who understands immigration law and will work honestly.

In 2015, the New York State Attorney General’s investigation of the Dominican Day Parade shook things up big time and Nelson Peña, longtime director of the Parade, was asked to resign. A newly structured nonprofit organization, Dominican Day Parade, Inc., featuring a new 12-member board drawn from diverse sectors of the Dominican-American community, was granted the City’s permit for the Dominican Day Parade.


Something similar happened to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade a few years ago and we were able to call on them for advice and ideas,” said Fernández. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Board Chairperson, and Ululy Rafael Martínez, Vice Chairperson, for their ideas and advice. We turned to them because we were in a similar situation and we wanted to make things right and they had the experience we needed to depend on.”

The Dominican Day Parade. Inc., organization is also working on a scholarship program. This year they awarded 17 scholarships to those entering or in college, and plan to increase that number next year.

“We are creating an organization that is totally transparent so we can continue to grow,” Fernández concluded. “The Dominican Day Parade is a vehicle for cultural learning. Culture is what makes us human.”


→See for more of this story in this month’s issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine.

Subscribe to our e-Newsletter for your weekly updates on events, restaurants, trends & news: