On Saturday March 28, 2015, N.E.R.V.E. Inc. honored Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez and remembered La Fiesta Patronales of 1976.
N.E.R.V.E., Inc. was joined by members of the East Harlem community and Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez, who was the honorary guest. The Assemblyman was in high spirits as N.E.R.V.E.’s general manager, Roberto Anazagasti presented him a beautiful masterpiece that represented “La Fiesta Patronales of 1976,” crafted by artist, Gerry Heydt. Roberto Anazagasti spoke about the history of La Fiesta Patronales, where the Puerto Rican community in East Harlem during the 1970’s wanted to gain visibility and economic development programs. During that time many Puerto Ricans felt left out and ignored within the successes of the civil rights movement.
Puerto Ricans looked to secure funding and programs for housing, education, and social services that were allotted to the Black community. A number of activists in East Harlem organized La Fiesta Patronales, a music and arts festival that was to be held for 10 days.
In its first year, La Fiesta Patronales attracted over 250,000 people to 109th street and Third Avenue, with headlining performances by the esteemed Eddie and Charlie Pamieri, Alvin Alley, and Adalberto Santiago y Los Kimbos. The Fiesta went on for six days, where locals bought and sold many items and culturally significant memorabilia which successfully boosted East Harlem’s economy.
The success that came after La Fiesta Patronales was historically significant and helped East Harlem gain anti-poverty programs. N.E.R.V.E. Inc. commended Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez for his commitment to the community and programs in place to help Puerto Ricans. Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez has been unwavering in fighting for affordable housing, education and economic development programs. Thank You Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez!!