TRENTON - Governor Phil Murphy today signed SJR129, designating the third Sunday of September of each year as “Puerto Rico Day” in New Jersey. New Jersey is home to the third largest Puerto Rican population in the continental United States.
“This resolution recognizes the many contributions that Puerto Ricans and those of Puerto Rican heritage have contributed to our state,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Puerto Ricans are our teachers, our doctors, our small business owners, and our U.S. Supreme Court justices. The third Sunday of this September and every September from now on will be dedicated to the nearly 500,000 Puerto Ricans living in New Jersey and to the countless contributions they make to our state and nation.”
Primary sponsors of the resolution include Senators M. Teresa Ruiz, Nellie Pou, and Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Assemblymembers Eliana Pintor Marin, Shanique Speight, and Yvonne Lopez.
“Designating the third Sunday of September of each year as Puerto Rico Day in New Jersey signifies the unique relationship between the Garden State and the island of Puerto Rico,” said Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz. “It is a chance to celebrate the Puerto Rican people, language and culture and their many contributions to the state of New Jersey. As the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the Senate, it is an honor to have put forth legislation that continues to highlight one of our greatest assets in the state, our diversity.”
“Puerto Ricans have long been one of our states largest minority populations. We have helped build, create and lead New Jersey in immeasurable ways,” said Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez. “It’s only right that our state acknowledges these efforts and contributions from a community that has given so much throughout our long and storied history. I look forward to celebrating with everyone next month for New Jersey’s first Puerto Rican Day.”
“New Jersey truly is a melting pot of various cultures and that diversity is what makes our state great,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “Our state has one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the country and as a proud Puerto Rican, I am glad to have had the opportunity to sponsor legislation that recognizes and celebrates a community whose influence on New Jersey has undeniably shaped the great state we have today.”
“The Puerto Rican Community has long contributed to the diversity present in New Jersey. Puerto Ricans, who comprise more than 5 percent of the state’s total population, and growing, continue to play a major role in all aspects of New Jersey’s cultural, social, political and economic life, said Assembly bill sponsors in a joint statement.
“Puerto Ricans and their descendants continue to be present and active throughout New Jersey communities. From the first Puerto Ricans who arrived at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, NJ during the First World War to Borinqueneer Veterans who were Presidential Gold Medal Recipients of the Korean War, Puerto Ricans have made significant contributions to the Garden State and the nation.” the sponsors continued. “The State of New Jersey and Puerto Rico also continue to have a strong sense of shared community, perhaps best evidenced recently in the immediate and generous action taken by New Jersey residents to offer assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. “Formally designating an annual Puerto Rico Day acknowledges the meaningful relationship between Puerto Rico and New Jersey and serves to encourage residents to celebrate the people, language and culture of Puerto Rico.”
“We are deeply gratified to know that Governor Murphy continues to stand with the people of Puerto Rico,” said Bishop Joshua Rodriguez, Chair of the New Jersey Commission on Puerto Rico Relief. “As an inclusive leader, he has been instrumental in Puerto Rico’s healing process since Hurricanes Irma and Maria and continues to support the rebuilding of our precious island, Borinquén, as well as ensuring that the state of New Jersey provides vital services and recovery assistance to Puerto Ricans who have relocated across the region since the devastating Hurricanes.”
“As the first Miss Puerto Rico of the Statewide Parade of New Jersey, I am thankful that our Puerto Rican community is being honored with SJR129. I want to thank the Legislators and the Governor for making the third Sunday in September of each year as "Puerto Rican Day" in New Jersey,” said Peggy Anastos, Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Commission on Puerto Rico Relief. “My Puerto Rican Brothers and sisters here and in Puerto Rico should be treated equally as all other American Citizens in the Country. This bill will remind people that we are the largest of any Latino group in New Jersey. Puerto Ricans have seen our island go through many difficulties in the past years. Celebrating our culture and love for our music and people is important. thank you again Governor Murphy and Senator Pou, Senator Ruiz, Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez, Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marín and Assemblywoman Shanique Speight.”
“The designation of the third Sunday of every September as “Puerto Rico Day” is another indication of Governor Murphy’s inclusive agenda and his desire to recognize every community in this beautifully diverse state. Puerto Ricans have been civil rights pioneers in New Jersey and across the nation,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, Chair of the Latino Action Network Foundation. “They were the founders of many of the community organizations in New Jersey that now serve hundreds of thousands of needy individuals of all backgrounds.”
"The history of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey is one that spans well over a half-century and encompasses a series of social, cultural and political accomplishments by the community throughout this time. By declaring the third Sunday of every September, as "Puerto Rican Day", Governor Murphy does not only recognize these past achievements but also reaffirms the important role that Puerto Ricans will have on the future success of the Garden State,” said David Ortiz, Sr., Puerto Rican Community Leader. “I would like to thank the Governor for bestowing such an honor to all Puerto Ricans who call New Jersey their home. It will be well received and highly appreciated by our community for many years to come."
"The island of Puerto Rico has endured some of the most horrendous challenges of its time from natural catastrophes, to the recent ousting of Governor Rosello and more. The Latino Action Network (LAN) has been directly on the ground in several relief and rebuild missions since Hurricane Maria and knows firsthand the turmoil related to these challenges,” said Cuqui Rivera, Executive Secretary of the Latino Action Network. “Governor Murphy you again stand up and with our Latino community in recognition of our New Jersey Puerto Rican constituents. Your gesture of love and support through this legislation is appreciated and applauded… Gracias!!"