by José Alfonso García
LAWRENCE, MA — The humiliating and discriminatory remarks by Rev. Edwin Rodriguez and his followers against Dominicans are not an attack from the Puerto Rican Community.
In his radio show on Saturday, July 23rd. Rev. Edwin Rodriguez blasted again with derogatory accusations against Dominicans residing in Lawrence, MA. He charged us with being a gang of illiterate Dominicans, communists and political leftists from Third World Countries coming to Lawrence to assault the city government, taking it hostage from the Anglo Community by force.
Using slur and derogatory terms, Rev. Rodriguez referred to Dominicans as crooks, gangsters, ruffians and dangerous criminals that should not deserve to be governing the City of Lawrence or any other city in the United States.
He reminded us that Dominicans have to step first on Puerto Rican soil after a long journey through the Caribbean Sea in rickety little boats, among many other insulting statements.
As a Dominican myself, and proud of it, I do not feel offended, humiliated or humbled by these insults. Nor are offended, the millions of honest and hardworking Dominican immigrants across the world that have always earned the bread for their families by the sweat of their forehead.
The Dominican community has come to live in the United States in search of a brighter future for our families. We’re not offended because Rev. Rodriguez is not a political leader or a community activist who has fiercely defended the genuine interests of the residents of this community.
We do not feel humiliated, harassed or discriminated against, because Rev. Rodriguez and his small group of followers do not represent the Puerto Ricans and their great community in Lawrence. In addition, Rev. Rodriguez personally, has no arguments or moral integrity to offend the Dominican community.
Rev. Rodriguez and his group are trying to make us believe that these offensive and discriminatory attacks against the Dominican community in Lawrence are coming from the Puerto Rican community. Nothing can be further from the truth and ridiculous.
Rev. Rodriguez for his belligerence, his insults, his hatred and disdain against Dominicans, has not proven to be a leader with honesty, moral integrity and dedication to serve the people of Lawrence, qualities that characterize our Puerto Rican leaders.
Rev. Rodriguez is not authorized to speak on behalf of this great community. Rev. Rodriguez and his group do not represent the Puerto Rican community of Lawrence and he should clarify it publicly, if he were an honest man.
Dominicans would only feel offended if these insults would have come for example, from Isabel Melendez, a real Puerto Rican leader who has given the best years of her life to serving this community regardless of race and origin of its inhabitants.
Dominicans would be highly offended if these humiliating and discriminatory remarks would have come from the lips of Mrs. Nilka Alvarez Rodriguez, Jose Santiago or Angel Rivera, Puerto Rican leaders who have shaped the path of local politics so that today the Hispanic community can have a better representation in our government.
The Dominicans do not feel offended by the Puerto Rican brothers, just the opposite. With these unfortunate allegations against the Latino community in general, Rev. Rodriguez and his tiny group of followers, the ties, brotherhood and solidarity between the two communities will be strengthened.
Both Dominicans and Puerto Ricans are convinced that these attempts denigrate and tarnish the image of our community. These strategies intend to create confrontation between two sister communities with so many common bonds.
These diabolical machinations try to create friction and disagreement between members of two ethnic groups with a common cause and long history of struggle for a better and fairer representation in government decisions in this city are not pure coincidence.
This is a master and no less grim plan, carefully prepared by notorious characters of the last administration, including, but not limited to former Mayor Michael Sullivan who is using his old influence in the neighboring towns’ press to manipulate the truth publicizing only the negative news to hurt the image of our city.
We the people of the Great City of Lawrence are convinced that this political plan to bring down our elected officials that were chosen by the will of the voters of this city in the last elections is being developed carefully to return to power, and that Rev. Rodriguez and his group are only the visible faces of this conspiracy.
These failed attempts to undermine the image of our city and divide the Hispanic vote to win elections is not new among us. It comes to life every two years, every time we face elections but there is only one difference, although a big one, that now we are a totally different community.
Hispanics are an overwhelming majority, not only in the number of inhabitants, but in the total of registered voters able and willing to participate in the process and both, the Dominican and Puerto Rican communities are more united than ever.
Mayor William Lantigua, the first Latino elected freely and democratically to govern with dignity the highest office in the city and honorable councilors who form the legislative body did not achieve that distinction with violence and by the force of the weapon, as stated by Rev. Rodriguez in his remarks.
These elected officials representing us with pride today, were chosen democratically by the sovereign power of the vote of our people.
The government we enjoy today in the City of Lawrence at the cost of many tears, great fights and sleepless nights, not just to Puerto Rican and Dominican citizens, but to all working men and women of this great city and we will not allow anyone to deviate us from the path of progress that together we have decided to choose.
We will continue united for the benefit of future generations.
Using slur and derogatory terms, Rev. Rodriguez referred to Dominicans as crooks, gangsters, ruffians and dangerous criminals that should not deserve to be governing the City of Lawrence or any other city in the United