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Investment Will Help CENTRO Recruit and Retain Talent in El Barrio
Governor Announces Major Investment Following Participation in 66th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York State will make a $20 million investment for CENTRO, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York. The investment will be used to expand the library and archives at CENTRO in El Barrio, the cradle of the Puerto Rican community in New York City. Governor Hochul announced this major investment following her participation in the 66th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
“For generations, New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage have been a vital part of our state’s cultural tapestry,” Governor Hochul said. “We are proud to be making bold investments that will allow the Center for Puerto Rican Studies to expand and thrive – making El Barrio an even more exciting place to work, learn and live.”
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, CENTRO is the largest university-based research institute, library, and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. The new $20 million investment will bring CENTRO under one roof in a newly expanded space of approximately 17,000 square feet. This investment will be utilized to consolidate CENTRO from two locations: Hunter College Main Campus and the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work building at 2180 3rd Avenue in East Harlem to an expanded footprint at the Silberman Building. The newly renovated site will ensure CENTRO remains in El Barrio, a neighborhood where more than 20,000 New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage have built their lives.
The newly expanded footprint will provide CENTRO a significantly expanded archive and library space, aimed at strengthening CENTRO’s archives of Puerto Rican history and culture and allowing CENTRO, the largest university-based research institute, library, and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience in the U.S., to be a leader in digitization. Having a larger, modernized space will also allow CENTRO to recruit and bring in even more talent. The new space will also include a state-of-the-art exhibition space where CENTRO can continue to provide cultural and community activities.
This investment comes in addition to Governor Hochul’s recent investment in the New York State Institute for Immigration Integration Research and Policy, announced in 2022. This Institute, housed within the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the State University of New York’s public policy think tank, is aimed at providing much-needed research and attention to immigration issues in New York and across the globe.
This is Governor Hochul’s latest effort to support the people of Puerto Rico and the thriving Puerto Rican community in New York. Governor Hochul led a robust response to Hurricane Fiona, including deploying 65 members of the New York State Police to assist in relief efforts and delivering tens of thousands of pounds of fresh produce and bottled water to Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico. She forged partnerships between New York and Puerto Rico on issues such as solar energy and mental health care. The Governor has also visited Puerto Rico frequently – including within her first 100 days in office – and has met with numerous local leaders including Governor Pedro Pierluisi and multiple State Legislators and municipal officials.
Representative Nydia Velázquez said, “Governor Hochul’s transformative investment in the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY is a testament to her commitment to empowering communities and celebrating cultural diversity. Through this investment, we will better be able to recruit top talent in El Barrio and enrich research, education, and cultural understanding for generations to come.”
CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “From El Barrio to San Juan to Philadelphia, Orlando and Chicago, this generous investment will expand CENTRO’s ability to serve as a crucial thread connecting the ever evolving intellectual, social, political and cultural experiences of Puerto Rican communities everywhere. We are grateful to Gov. Hochul for this recognition of CENTRO as it marks 50 trailblazing years and for further anchoring its critical work in vibrant East Harlem.”
Centro Director Yarimar Bonilla said, “We applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for her unwavering dedication to inclusivity and diversity. Her significant $20 million investment in CENTRO will enable groundbreaking research, community engagement, and advocacy, ensuring the Center’s vital role in promoting Puerto Rican history, culture and contributions to New York City and State.”
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College is a unique institution dedicated to preserving the culture and traditions of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. The $20 million being provided to Centro will be the catalyst to help expand its mission of telling the significant stories of Puerto Ricans and their contributions to our country. This announcement highlights Governor Hochul’s commitment and understanding of the close bond between the people of the State of New York and Puerto Rico.”
State Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “I am immensely honored to have worked alongside the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul to secure a $20 million investment for CENTRO, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York. This is a momentous occasion for the Puerto Rican community in New York State. This investment will not only expand the library and archives at CENTRO but also empower the organization to recruit and retain top talent in El Barrio. Governor Hochul’s commitment to supporting Puerto Rican culture and history is commendable, and this investment comes at a perfect time, ahead of the 66th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. It is a proud moment for our community, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Governor Hochul for her dedication to the Puerto Rican community in New York.”
Councilmember Diana Ayala said, “As a proud representative of El Barrio and a fellow Puerto Rican, I extend my sincere gratitude to Governor Hochul for her extraordinary investment of $20 million in the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York. This significant funding will empower our community, preserve our heritage, and provide invaluable opportunities to learn about the Puerto Rican experience in the United States, which is so close to my heart.”
Nilda Ruiz, President of the National Puerto Rican Agenda said, “Governor Kathy Hochul’s remarkable investment of $20 million in CENTRO represents a resounding affirmation of Puerto Rican contributions to the fabric of New York. We commend her for recognizing the importance of preserving our shared history, enhancing educational opportunities, and promoting social equity through this invaluable initiative.”
Lillian Rodriguez, President of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade said, “As our community comes together to celebrate our Puerto Rican heritage for the 66th year, we are so grateful to Governor Hochul for her continued investment in our neighborhood, heritage, and culture.”
Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda said, “On behalf of Hispanic Federation and our more than 600 partners and members, we thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her visionary leadership and commitment to supporting the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Her $20 million investment will empower research, education, and cultural preservation, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of Puerto Rican heritage that has defined the neighborhood for generations.”
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