[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 36 (Thursday, March 10, 2011)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E449-E450]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 10, 2011

  Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the fiftieth 
anniversary of ASPIRA, and the valuable contributions this organization 
has made enriching the lives of the Puerto Rican and Latino communities 
across our country.
  Since its founding in New York City by the educator, civil rights 
leader and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee Dr. Antonia Pantoja, 
ASPIRA has helped strengthen Puerto Rican and Latino communities 
through education and outreach programs.
  Over the past five decades ASPIRA has helped nearly half-a-million 
Puerto Rican and Latino youth, giving them the tools they needed to 
succeed through education and leadership development programs. From its 
humble beginnings, ASPIRA has grown today to 30 centers serving 50,000 
Latino youth and parents in 79 communities across nine states, as well 
as Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. In fact many ``Aspirantes,'' from 
actor Jimmy Smits to elected officials like Anthony Romero, Fernando 
Ferrer and Billy Ocasio, trace their success to this organization.
  At a time when too many Latino youth do not complete a high school 
education, over 95-five percent of participating ASPIRA youth graduate. 
Of these, over 90 percent go on to a college education.
  Indeed, this is the kind of success we are celebrating today with the 
fiftieth anniversary of ASPIRA. Their accomplishments have improved the 
quality of life and opportunities for the Latino community.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me today, March 10, in 
recognizing 50 years of service by ASPIRA and its contributions to the 
social, economic, and cultural fabric of our great nation.

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