La Casa's Leticia Rodriguez Continues Legacy
By Ismael Nunez
Leticia Rodriguez, the new executive director of La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc. in NYC's El Barrio, is working hard to keep the legacy of this cultural institution alive.
La Casa at 1230 Fifth Avenue is a non-profit community based cultural institution. Its main objective is to promote the development of the Puerto Rican culture and to preserve, enrich and disseminate cultural and literary heritage to the Puerto Rican community and others.
La Casa has a Heritage Library, which includes a collection of books, documents and other materials related to Puerto Rican and Latin American history. Rodriguez said people who visit come to research many different topics. Popular research subjects include Arturo Schomburg, Julia De Burgos, and Simon Bolivar.
La Casa also provides cultural heritage workshops and classes that are open to the public. They include learning how to play cuatro and other musical instruments, dancing bomba and plena, painting, and drawing classes.
Rodriguez is happy to work in El Barrio in an organization with a rich history.
"To come to a community which has so much history is great," she said. "I’m keeping a legacy. I'm continuing the work that this institution has been doing for 27 years."
Last year, Don Otilio Diaz, who led La Casa for more than 25 years, died at the age of 75. La Casa's board introduced Rodriguez as its new executive director at an open house reception in September. On Saturday, October 27, La Casa celebrates its 27th anniversary gala and awards ceremony at the Carlos Rios Reception Hall in El Barrio. This is the first gala under her leadership.
La Casa is located in the same building as El Museo Del Barrio.
La Casa means the house and Rodriguez encourages the public to visit.
"It means we are here for you, to serve you and not to exclude anyone," she said. "We have been here for 27 years and counting."
For more information on La Casa, go to www.lacasapr.org.
Ismael Nunez is an East Harlem based freelance writer who contributes his writings to Puerto Rico Sun.