NYC Mayor de Blasio Approves Borinqueneers Way

In this photo: Katherine Benson (EH Preservation); Rosa Cruz (PR Federal Affairs); Zaida Rodriguez (EH Borinqueneers Honoring Committee- EHBHC); Mayor Bill de Blasio; Roger Hernandez (EHBHC/UCTP); Evelyn Collazao (EHBHC); and Ruben Pratts (Purple Heart Recipient and Taino Community Member).
City Hall, New York City (UCTP Taino News) – On August 3rd, 2016 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed off on naming 102nd Street and Lexington Avenue as "Borinqueneers Way." The street naming will honor the members of the U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment, a segregated unit made up of Puerto Ricans, who fought in World War I & II, and Korea. The street renaming was lead by Roger Hernandez, the Chairman of the East Harlem Borinqueneers Honoring Committee and a founding board member of the United Confederation of Taino People.  

The U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment received their nickname from the soldiers themselves on their way to Korea who referenced the Taino name for the island of Puerto Rico, Borikén, as many were direct descendants of the indigenous Tribe. Today, many Puerto Ricans refer to themselves as Boricuas in recognition of the Caribbean Indigenous heritage of their homeland - Borikén. 

On April 13th, 2016, the U.S. Congress unveiled the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in Washington, DC to honor the service and sacrifice of the previously forgotten solders of the 65th Infantry. Following-up on this historic initiative, Hernandez and the East Harlem Committee organized several events to raise awareness about the regiment including facilitating the presentation bronze-cast replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal in an awards ceremony to honor the New York and New Jersey area veterans who were unable to attend the Washington DC event. 

Fifty-six veterans received the medals in this special ceremony that took place at Hunter College on July 17th, 2016. The Hunter College event was live-streamed by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and is one of several local ceremonies that have been planned or will be planned across the country.

“While I was in Korea fighting with my fellow brother soldiers and officers, I never thought that something like this would happen. I am honored to have served in the 65th and to this day I don’t regret my service with the regiment,” said Eugenio Quevedo, one of the veterans being honored that day. 

The official street renaming event will be held in November. 

 UCTPTN 08.03.2016

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