By Vinette K. Pryce
Panama did not fare well last Sunday in Russia.
England gave them a walloping during the FIFA World Cup tournament, beating them 6-1 after earning two penalty kicks that slammed into the net during a first-round soccer contest.
However, in Brooklyn on the same day, the Day of Independence Committee in New York boasted pride of the isthmus with members beaming with appreciation of their team’s relentless effort to score, succeeding in scoring and the fact the young team qualified to play on the world stage against the veteran British footballers.
Nationals here also glowed with gratitude by honoring media practitioners they believe are worthy of recognition and presenting 10 Lucite awards and citations as proof of their appreciation.
Fitz Richardson of Medgar Evers Radio & Communications, Eyda W. Perry, The Link/Enlace, Porfiro Betegon, Desde Aqui, Para Alla, Mario Seeley-Shalom, 95.5 FM Radio, Michael X. Erskine, Parking Mix, Stanley Wilson and Carlos Fergusson, Pueblo TV, Derek Robinson and Edgar Betegon, Parking 507, Jose F. Francis, Rinconcito Panameno, Antonio Roberto Morgan, The Panama International Times, NYC and yours truly were the recipients.
Richardson was unable to attend the Glen Terrace festivities but was ably represented by former State Sen. Waldaba Stewart who is currently director for research of the Caribbean Research Center at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.
“Because of the work Fitz is doing, by next year Medgar Evers will have a fully operational television station,” the empowering social architect said.
Francis took the opportunity to plug his Saturday evening Rinconcito Panameno, a program which highlights everything that bridges the isthmus with the U.S.A.
Each honoree gushed about the destination and the single Caribbean–Pacific Spanish Republic that annually features a parade through the streets of Brooklyn to show-off its culture and heritage.
“Viva Panama!” Betegon said in acceptance of his award. Also presented with citations from the host organization and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, he said he was committed to enhancing the profile of his beloved country.
Congresswoman Clarke amplified that statement saying: “I have the most vibrant and productive Panamanian community in America. I boast about that in Washington all the time.”
Making a stop enroute to a number of other engagements to sure up re-election before the June 26 primary, Congresswoman Clarke also presented congressional citations to the honorees and reminded patrons to turn out to the polls on June 26 to ensure her continued representation in the 9th Congressional District.
“We have a wicked individual sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue…we must join the battle to save the children because we know about separation of families.”
The legislator referenced the disturbing practice at US borders which forced President Donald Trump to halt sending parents and their off-springs in different directions — often across many state lines — to uncertain locations for indeterminate time periods.
DICPNY members seemed moved by the controversial action, which has impacted migrants from Central American nations who allege persecution in their countries.
Perry, another honoree, was particularly attentive to the plea due to a mission she explained as a priority she is committed to help young, pregnant girls in Panama.
Veronica Thorpe, a past president of DICPNY who traveled from Panama in order to emcee the proceedings, steered clear of opining on the peril of thousands which headline current news coverage and instead diverted attention to lively entertainment from Rosi Lopez.
Lopez did not miss a beat; stealing the spotlight from the middle of the dance floor she provided rhythmic transition singing Gloria Gaynor’s empowering “I Will Survive” and Etta James’ trademark “At Last.”
Victor Marshall, president of DICPNY, did not restrain himself from dancing.
Vice president Enrique Small used the opportunity to photograph dance steps maneuvered by Maria McKenzie and other members.
Music is a signature aspect of the largest Panamanian parade outside of Panama. Marching bands often dominate the spectacle that features beauty queens, fraternal organization and a diverse display of cultural participants.
“This is why I sponsor the parade every year,” said George Pinilla, a businessman who operates G.P. Towing. Already anticipating the October 6 annual which begins at Bergen St. and Franklin Ave. and ends at Classon Ave. and Eastern Parkway — across from the Brooklyn Museum — he explained that his association with DICPNY has been mutually beneficial to advancing the ideals of Panamanians here and in Central America.
He added that he will again support a Panamanian gala fundraiser slated for Oct. 4 at Giando on the Water in Williamsburg.
Honorees scheduled for that date include Dorothy Small for her lifetime achievement, Kevin Daley, former captain and leader of the Harlem Globetrotters and Congresswoman Clarke.
A special tribute will also be marked to Omar Edwards, an NYPD detective who was shot and killed in 2009 by a fellow officer allegedly because of mistaken identity.
Catch You On The Inside!