Puerto Rico

Provided by Orlando Ortiz


The Puerto Rican Festival is expanding free admission and kid-friendly activities this year and may receive twice as much funding from the city of Rochester than last year.

Mayor Lovely Warren has proposed that the city give $80,000 to sponsor the 2020 festival. City Council will consider the proposal this month.

This year's festival will see some major changes, including its schedule. The festival will kick off on a Thursday with free admission all day, and end on Saturday night.

Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is joining a call to offer spiritual and social support to local Puerto Ricans impacted by recent natural disasters on that island. That includes a Magnitude 5.0 earthquake on Tuesday.

The mayor was joined by officials from the Ibero-American Action league and local faith leaders at City Hall on Wednesday.

Angelica Perez-Delgado with Ibero said that Puerto Ricans displaced by recent earthquakes have come to Rochester with urgent needs.

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on Saturday. It's the latest in a series of earthquakes and aftershocks that have shaken the island over the past several weeks.

Puerto Ricans in Rochester are coming together to offer relief and support. Our guests discuss their efforts and the broader response from the mainland. In studio:

Lillian Colón, IBERO


On Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria touched down in Puerto Rico. Thousands of families relocated to Rochester in the months that followed. 

Karla Reyes Ríos is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She’s 23 years old and a mother of three. She describes Hurricane Maria as dangerous and chaotic.

“Wow, the water -- you could swim in the water,” she says. “The windows crashed down and the door couldn’t close because literally the water was coming through.”

Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI

The 50th annual Puerto Rican festival opened Friday afternoon at Frontier Field with food, music, and good vibes. It was sunny, and the mix of music, food, and the energy couldn’t be more welcome after weeks of bad news.

Early Friday afternoon, the crowd was small but vibrant. Jose Andres Nieves, 79, is here with a group from Centro de Oro, a Latinx senior center run by Ibero. Jose says he came for the live music.

"I am a fanatic of Trio Los Condes from Puerto Rico, but I like salsa and merengue, anything," he says in Spanish.

The leadership of Puerto Rico is in turmoil following the recent resignation of the Puerto Rican governor. Rochester is home to one of the largest Puerto Rican communities in the country, and our guests discuss the future of Puerto Rico: statehood, leadership, recovery, and more.

In studio:

We sit down with the outgoing and incoming presidents of the Ibero-American Action League. Angelica Perez-Delgado has been named the organization’s new president and CEO. This comes after longtime president Hilda Rosario Escher announced she would be leaving Ibero to pursue other opportunities.

This hour, they join us to discuss Ibero’s present work and how they hope to see it evolve in the future. We also discuss a range of issues affecting the Latino community.

Rochester is gearing up for the Puerto Rican Parade and Puerto Rican Festival. We discuss those events, along with issues pertaining to the Puerto Rican community, both here and across the country.

Our guests share their thoughts about questions related to statehood and independence, recovery efforts on the island, and issues related to discrimination and racism on the mainland. In studio:

A new study from researchers at Harvard estimates that nearly 5,000 people may have died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. That's more than 70 times the death toll reported by the government, and more than twice the number of deaths from Hurricane Katrina.

Faculty members and research fellows at the University of Rochester Medical Center were part of the response team in Puerto Rico, helping medical personnel on the island set up mobile medical units. Prior to the hurricane, the URMC team was conducting research projects in Puerto Rico, and came to understand the differences in medical infrastructures between the mainland and the island.

Members of that team join us to discuss cultural competency in medical care, the challenges in bringing aid to devastated areas where caregivers may not speak the patients' language, and how to help resident medical personnel care for their people. Our guests:

  • Dr. Tim Dye, associate chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • José Pérez-Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico and current doctoral student in Translational Biomedical Science at the University of Rochester
  • Hilda Rosario Escher, president of the Ibero American Action League

The Rochester City School District has released its proposed budget, and it has slated an increase in funding for bilingual education staff and services. The Children's Agenda recently released its analysis of that proposed budget.

The request for more funding comes after more than 500 students from Puerto Rico enrolled in the district. They moved to Rochester after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

We talk to education experts and parents about the kinds of services bilingual students need. Our guests:

  • Eamonn Scanlon, education policy analyst for The Children’s Agenda
  • Beatriz LeBron, commissioner for the Rochester City School Board, and parent
  • Myrna Gonzalez, president of the Bilingual Council, and parent
  • Wailany Olivo, parent of two children in the Rochester City School District
  • Lydia Rodriguez, translator and parent