NEW CITY – County Executive Ed Day and Deputy County Executive Guillermo Rosa marked Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring local Latino leaders who have made outstanding contributions to Rockland.
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed nationally from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
According to the 2020 Census, Hispanic-Americans make up 19.6% of the population of Rockland County (66,451 out of 338,329).
“Our Hispanic-American population grew over 36% since the 2010 Census and shows how Rockland is changing demographically. It also shows that we are getting an influx of talented, hard-working individuals looking to start lives and raise their families in this beautiful county,” said County Executive Ed Day.
Honored during the ceremony were Miriam Avila, Family Resource Center Coordinator for BOCES in the North Rockland Central School District, Rosario “Charo” Urena, Proyecto Faro Executive Director, and Dr. Richard Hernandez Peralta.
Miriam Avila made a tremendous difference in the daily lives of so many when the COVID-19 pandemic struck Rockland, fielding phone calls and texts day and night from people who didn’t know where else to turn. Miriam collected and dropped off laundry detergent, shampoo, feminine hygiene products and anything that the families she served needed. She also helped set up mobile food pantries.
Proyecto Faro, a Stony Point-based organization whose name means Lighthouse Project, supports local immigrants in Rockland. During the COVID Pandemic, they saw that many more people were in need of food assistance than usual and launched a mutual aid-food relief program which distributes food twice a month, alternating between Spring Valley and Haverstraw. Building on these efforts, they opened the first community fridge in Rockland in July of this year to help anyone who is food insecure.
Dr. Richard Hernandez Peralta operates a medical practice in Haverstraw. During the pandemic he opened his doors to the community serving local residents at no charge. Dr. Peralta also used his practice, social media and local television to educate residents who were unsure what guidance related to COVID should be followed.
“The efforts of these individuals and organizations are truly incredible and worthy of recognition. Here in Rockland, this month is particularly special because of the outstanding contributions of so many from the Hispanic community. Rockland is extremely diverse but would not be nearly as successful without the people honored today,” concluded County Executive Day.