Casita Maria’s Fiesta! was held for the first time since the pandemic in New York City’s Plaza Hotel on October 11. The event honored Latino groundbreakers such as Puerto Rican Postwar and Contemporary artist Tony Bechara, chairman of the NBCUniversal New Group, Cesar Conde; and immigration rights leader Gaby Pacheco.
“Since 1934, Casita Maria has served as a beacon of hope and safe haven for thousands of families to celebrate the unique, powerful, and rich culture of the Bronx and New York City communities of color,” Pacheco asserted while doting on the organization that taught her ballet in the early 2000s. Since, Pacheco has been advocating on behalf of immigrants and gained national recognition for her work to pass the DREAM Act; which works to grant immigrant students legal status and eventually, U.S. citizenship.
As the son of immigrants, Cesar Conde took to the stage with gratitude for both Casita Maria and his parents. “They always taught us, the one thing in life that no one could ever take away from you is your education,” Conde recalled. “The work that Casita Maria is doing in educating and empowering our youth and opening up all those opportunities in life for them, that is the work that is priceless,” he marveled. Tony Bechara expressed the same sentiment noting, “I want to thank Casita Maria because many, many years ago, waves of compatriots of mine from Puerto Rico were arriving here in New York looking for a better life. New York being the beacon of hope. There was no one to help them. Casita Maria filled that void. They were the first to do it.”
Located in the South Bronx, Casita Maria has taken on the responsibility of exposing Latino youth to the opportunities many of their parents and grandparents sought via immigration. Fostering a community of innovative young professionals for decades, Casita Maria celebrates their consistent wins with Fiesta! The fundraiser enables the organization to continue serving over 1,000 students every year while being an anchor within the community.
To learn more about Casita Maria and for ways to get involved, visit https://www.casitamaria.org