History was made yesterday in the Bronx. The baseball and Puerto Rican community have a lot to be proud of with the unveiling of the Roberto Clemente statue at the state park bearing his name. This is the first statue of a Puerto Rican in the New York State.
The statue sponsored by Goya Foods was unveiled in front of a large gathering of community leaders, elected officials and corporate heads. The event took place in the lower outdoor section of the Roberto Clemente State Park at midday making it feel as if the event was taking place in Clemente’s hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Francis Rodríguez, the Executive Director of the Roberto Clemente State Park has always worked arduously to provide many events and activities promoting the parks name and with this statue her dream of having a permanent exhibit on Clemente has been achieved. Goya’s Director of Community Affairs, Mr. Rafael Toro was the brainchild of the project.
Mr. Toro had developed a list of 10 reasons of why Goya should sponsor the project and presented the list to the Unanue family who presently run the company. To the companies credit they immediately saw the value in the idea and took on the project from the inception.
Two of Clemente’s sons, Luis and Roberto Jr. were present and thanked those responsible for making the project a reality. Bronx Borough President, Ruben Díaz Jr. welcomed everyone to the “Condado De La Salsa” and spoke about the cultural significance of having a statue of a great Puerto Rican humanitarian and baseball player in the borough.
The event made me proud of being a long time resident of the Bronx. Our borough is known for being the home of the national headquarters to the Retire 21 Campaign that many in attendance support and now as the borough with the first statue of a Puerto Rican who is Roberto Clemente.
The event was capped with great Caribbean lunch.