Bronx Chamber honors Hispanic leaders

For the first time ever, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce will be celebrating the borough’s Latin roots.

The chamber will host its first Hispanic Heritage Month Leadership Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 23 at F & J Pine Tavern.

The event will honor: Carol Robles-Roman, Deputy Mayor for legal affairs and council; Rafael Pineiro, NYPD First Deputy Commissioner; Felix Lopez, senior vice president of the Yankees; and Francisco Cervelli, a catcher for the Yankees.

“The number one reason we wanted to honor our Hispanic leaders is that the Hispanic population here in the Bronx is about 60 percent,” Lenny Caro, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, said. “We have some great leaders in the Hispanic business world who are leaders in the Bronx, and it’s about time that we recognize their accomplishments.”

Robles-Roman, Pineiro and Lopez will all be receiving Leadership Awards, while Cervelli will receive the Community Service Award.

“He’s getting the Community Service Award because he has given his time to go to so many schools to help inspire children to stay in school,” Caro said. “He goes to hospitals and even helped a nine-month-old baby to get a bone marrow transplant.”

As deputy mayor for legal affairs and council, Robles-Roman is one of the highest-ranking Hispanic officials in city government. And with a bachelors degree from Fordham University, she is well connected to the Bronx, Caro said.

Deputy commissioner Pineiro, who served for several years in Bronx precincts, is likewise one of the highest-ranking Hispanic officials with the police department.

Lopez, also known as “Felix the Cat,” is one of the first Hispanics to rise so high in the management of the Yankee organization, and Caro said the Chamber is proud to be able to honor a man so high in the Bronx institution.

"In the history of the Yankees, we may have had some great Hispanic players, but never had a person in such a leadership position,” Caro said.

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, which is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Caro said he plans to continue to honor the present and past of Hispanic leaders in the Bronx every year.

“Everybody has a great biography,” he said, of this year’s award recipients. “Just like people acknowledge Obama for his heritage, and the Italians when they accomplish great things, it’s just as important that we have icons we can look up to in the Hispanic community.”

Tickets for the luncheon are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. For more information call the chamber at 718-828-3900.

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