This past December, the organization NPRA (National Puerto Rican Agenda) celebrated the First Annual Puerto Rican Christmas Gala Night at the DoubleTree in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The NPRA presented four Puerto Ricans with the Boriken Award to recognize Puerto Ricans who kept the Puerto Rican agenda at the forefront of their work and whose courage, determination, commitment to excellence, cultural pride or Puerto Rican-ness, and notable achievements opened doors for other Puerto Ricans to excel. I myself, Rosa Julia Parra, had the honor of being one of those four people and the only woman to win the Boriken Award.
One day when I was a child growing up here in Pennsylvania, I was told that I was born on an island called Puerto Rico. I immediately wanted to visit and at the age of 14 I went to Puerto Rico for the first time, and I tell you that it was love at first sight. I have been flying to Puerto Rico almost annually ever since, and recently purchased property on the island. I wish to preserve my culture and roots and make my ancestors proud that their hard work was not in vain.
Again, it was a true honor and I also want to congratulate the three men who won the award with me: Guillermo Lopez from the Lehigh Valley region, Hector Ayala from the Philadelphia region and Jason C. Mendez from the Pittsburgh region.
I leave you with these words: NEVER TAKE FROM ANOTHER PUERTO RICAN NO MATTER WHERE HE WAS BORN OR WHERE HE WAS BROUGHT UP THE BEAUTIFUL RIGHT TO SCREAM, I AM A PUERTO RICAN JUST SO THAT YOU KNOW…even if he can barely pronounce it in Spanish. Because for me being a Puerto Rican is carried in my heart, and my people, my name is Rosa Julia Parra, I will be Puerto Rican, even if I was born on the moon.
Rosa Julia Parra