March 1, 2024


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Newark, NJ – March 1, 2024 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Deputy Mayor of Community Engagement Jacqueline Mercado-Quiles, and other dignitarieshosted the 2024 Latina Empowerment Brunch today at The Newark Museum of Art, at 49 Washington Street. The annual brunch unites Latina leaders to exchange ideas and best practices to further empower what is already a strong community.

The event began with a panel discussion held by State Assemblywoman Carmen Morales; Univision News anchor Adriana Vargas; Telemundo News reporter Rosarina Bretón; Lupe Foundation President Rosemarie Moyeno Matos; Paterson City Human Resources Director Stephanie Pabon; Popular Bank Vice President Bertha Rosiel; and Latina Civic President Patricia Campos Medina. The panel members shared their stories and their advice on career and personal advancement. A brunch and networking opportunity followed.

“Newark’s Latina community has defined our city’s excellence in many fields,” Mayor Baraka said. “Today’s event enabled our Latina community to share stories, make connections, and inspire and lift one another and all of Newark. It is a privilege and honor to recognize these outstanding role models for present and future generations of Latina women today.”

“Today, some of our region’s great Latina achievers are sending a message of hope, empowerment, and action to the activists, leaders, and advocates of tomorrow,” said Deputy Mayor Mercado-Quiles. “The messages these young ladies receive today will inspire them to write new pages of achievement in our history, passing the torch forward. I congratulate everyone who joined us today.”

Assemblywoman Morales made history as the first Puerto Rican woman elected to that position in Essex County. Ms. Pabon is the youngest municipal director in Paterson’s history. The Lupe Foundation is a statewide organization that educates and empowers Latina women. Popular Bank sponsors all of the events of the Office of Community Engagement. Latina Civic is a statewide organization that urges Latina women to run for political office.

A Colombian native, Ms. Vargas has more than 25 years of experience as a TV and radio reporter there and in the United States. She has been with Univision since 2011. She has interviewed many world leaders, including former President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mario Vargas-Llosa and Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel recipients in Literature and Economy), Archbishop Timothy Dolan as well as NYC Mayors Eric Adams and Bill de Blasio.

Ms. Bretón was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Washington Heights in Manhattan at age 10. She began her TV career after graduating from high school, working for companies that produced content for the Dominican Republic. She gained her Bachelor’s Degree in legal studies and criminal justice from John Jay College in New York City. Ms. Bretón was a weekend news anchor and breaking news reporter for Spectrum Noticias NY1 from 2010 to 2018, covering Superstorm Sandy and a Papal Visit. She joined Telemundo in 2018.

In addition, a student in attendance received a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by WellPoint.

The event was sponsored by Popular Bank, The Newark Museum of Art, Lupe Inc., Latina Civic, and WellPoint.

For photographs of the event, click here.


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