"No Nos Mudaremos de la Parcela 19!": Celebrating 50 Years of IBA

"No Nos Mudaremos de la Parcela 19!": Celebrating 50 Years of IBA

We’ve been celebrating 50 years of IBA, from our anniversary kickoff almost one year ago, through our gala earlier this month. The gala was an incredible event, the culmination of 50 years of supporting our community through housing, the arts, and more. We were honored to welcome our 50 honorees, esteemed guests, and fantastic chefs to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute on the evening of November 3rd, 2018.

Led by WCVB anchor Jorge Quiroga, the evening opened with music by Eric Germán and his Orchestra. After the attendees all arrived, Mayor Martin Walsh spoke, thanking IBA for the work we’ve done in the Boston community. “You saw housing as a human right...You saw education as justice, and you saw cultural preservation as important. You saw how arts and the creative community can help people dream. You saw that the city must respect everyone, from our babies to our seniors, and you understood that the strength of a city comes from many cultural living areas, as well as working together. IBA and the Puerto Rican community stood up for those values in Boston, and Boston has never been the same because of that.”

He was followed by Ayanna Pressley, the US Rep.-elect from Massachusetts, who spoke about “resistance and resilience”, saying, “When it’s easier to talk about and fight what we are against, it’s equally as important that we lift up and affirm what we are for, and that is community, and that is love. “ The last speaker for the first portion of the night, was Rafael Toro, the PR Officer from Goya. He congratulated IBA, as well as reaffirmed the relationship between IBA and Goya, comparing it to red beans and rice. As he said, “This isn’t just a celebration of the hispanic community. This is not just a celebration of the South End. This is a celebration of Boston, the whole city should be proud of what IBA has done and what it means to the city.”

Shortly after, the guests were able to sample foods from all of our incredible chefs (for a full list, see here!) and enjoy the music, as well as mingle. Midway through the night, all of the attendees were welcomed into the Senate Chamber, which is an exact replica of the one in Washington D.C. There, Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, CEO of IBA spoke about the accomplishments of reaching 50 years. She spoke about the founders’ vision for IBA, and what they would think of IBA today – “they envisioned Villa Victoria as a community with architectural elements from Puerto Rico – the Plaza, the casitas, the cultural spaces. But more importantly, they envisioned an engaged community with civic leadership and activism; a supported community with strong educational and economic development programs; and a proud community with arts and cultural celebrations honoring their heritage.”

She spoke about success stories from IBA’s programs, about what IBA means to the city, and what IBA means to her. “I was in love with Villa Victoria’s architecture and urban design. I was in love with the San Juan and Aguadilla Streets. I was in love with Plaza Betances and its iconic mural. I was in love with the familiar smell of arroz con habichuelas y chuletas – rice and beans and pork chops – when I walked down the street. I was in love with its music and public arts. I was in love with IBA’s mission. And I was in love with its people!”

After Vanessa’s speech, the “50 for 50” honorees, people who exemplify IBA’s values in our community, were each called up for a group photo and to receive a small gift. The reception was followed by salsa music from Eric Germán and his Orchestra, desserts from some of the chefs, and dancing from everyone attending! The night was a resounding success and we’re thankful to everyone who had a part in it – from those who planned and executed it, to those attended, to those who sponsored. See some special highlights from the night here.