Friday evening I had the pleasure and honor to be invited to the annual scholarship fundraising dinner sponsored by El Comite Noviembre, which is an organization deeply committed to Puerto Rican issues. Education and leadership are at the head of their roster, and needless to say, I was flattered beyond belief when they invited me to attend, not just in the capacity of spokesperson, but as an honoree as well. The event was held at the New York Hilton on W53rd Street and Avenue of the Americas.
It was really special for me, not just because I was being honored (which was wonderful enough!) but my parents were in town, and they have never attended any of these functions with me, so it was a really new experience for them. Jerry, Angela, and my oldest son, Erik, were also in attendance, making this event unprecedented for me!
The affair was very well attended. The other honorees at the event were Lynda Baquero, Anchor for News4 New York, Luis Fonsi, international producer and recording artist, and Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU. There was a silent auction held to raise money for the scholarships, and there were several recipients of the scholaships there on hand, as well, to take part of the festivities.
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Gala Chairperson Tonio Burgos,Suleika Cabrera Drinane, Daisy, Teresa Santiago, Lynda Baquero, and Antonio Romero.
I was finishing up my dinner (it was a lovely roast chicken breast, but I was so busy I forgot tot take pictures!),when I noticed a woman being escorted to my table. That was when I started to shake. Papi’s eyes widened in wonder and Mami stared in awe. The petite woman dressed in a sharp red ensemble was none other than Puerto Rico’s pride and joy, Miriam Colon, reknown international actress. Erik looked at me and I told him who she was, and then I jogged his memory a little. “She was Tony Montana’s mom in the movie “Scarface”.” His face lit up in recognition! I couldn’t imagine what she was doing at our table, but then she was called up to the podium…and proceeded to introduce me! I was shocked beyong belief, to say the least. What an honor! It was really very emotional for me, not to mention my family. When I went up to receive my award (hand crafted by artisans in Puerto Rico!), I was literally shaking, and could barely manage to say a few words, and if you know me, that is not ever the problem with me!
After the awards were all given out, were were treated to the music of Fania legend, Larry Harlow and his band, I had an opportunity to meet and greet fans and friends, and I even managed to dance a few steps, cast be darned!
The evening of the 20th “Celebrations and Awards Dinner” for El Comite Noviembre, is one that I will remember warmly for the rest of my life. I look forward to building a strong relationship with them for years to come.