David Valdéz is a cherished citizen of the City of Trenton. Mr. Valdéz was born in Trenton NJ and build his life in the City of Trenton, graduated from Trenton Central High School and has made a significant impact on the Trenton Community both as a volunteer and an advocate. David Valdéz has served honorably as a member of the City of Trenton Zoning Board and volunteered countless hours to both the City’s Youth and voter registration campaigns. Among his most honored accomplishments has been the overwhelming support of the Trenton Latino Community through establishing the Latino Land Trust, Establishing the Community Gardens Program and in his capacity as ardent supporter and principal representative for the Latino Merchants Association.
David is also known for his sense of candor, kindness and graciousness and is an excellent example of being a Trentonian and dedication as a citizen of his community.
Eliud Gautier was born to Puerto Rican parents in NYC at the end of the 50s. His life was greatly impacted by the Civil Rights Movement lead by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Introduction of Bilingual Education into the Public-School Systems in the City, spearheaded predominantly by Puerto Rican teachers.
He grew up in a single-family household, financially depending on public assistance because his mother was afraid to allow him to roam the drug and crime infested streets of the South Bronx without proper supervision. She taught him to thrive in these neighborhoods by instilling in him Christian principles that are the foundation of all his life decisions.
He was fortunate to have graduated from the prominent Music and Art High School located in Harlem, NY. This multicultural and diverse socio-economic experience jump started his post-secondary education at Bethany College in West Virginia where he obtained a degree in Education.
HIs professional career expanded a broad spectrum of experiences including working with several Social Service agencies and Faith Based organization, but his passion was an entrepreneurial spirit instilled in him by his mother which led to his involvement within the real estate industry for many decades.
But along the way, he felt a special inclination to help the least fortunate, in particularly, the newly arrived immigrant community. Growing up in a local church in NY, where most of the members were from Santo Domingo, he was constantly surrounded by families in various pathways to citizenship.
Therefore, when the opportunity to assist in the mobilization of a grassroots volunteer advocacy campaign to fight for over half a million immigrants living in NJ, unable to obtain a driver’s license, Eliud Gautier started a social media-based effort to push for this legislation in 2014. Fortunately, with the help of over 35 thousand members, sufficient pressure was used to get this done in 2019. Now, he is helping thousands obtain their driver’s license with continued online training as a volunteer.
This is the legacy he proudly dedicates to the hard work of his mother, Rosa Maria Diaz from Gurabo, Puerto Rico, and dozens of Puerto Rican community and religious leaders that mentored him to be the leader he has become. As a Nueyorican, he has been blessed to be a blessing.
Born in Utuado, PR and raised in New Jersey, Gabriel Muñoz first fell in love with the Puerto Rican Cuatro at the age of 14. Gabriel has worked on his craft for nearly 30yrs and has had the privilege of performing with some of the world's greatest cuatristas. Receiving recognition for his performance at the prestigious National Cuatro Festival in Puerto Rico in 2002 and again in 2014 in Chicago where he opened for renown Grammy nominated cuatrista, Edwin Colon Zayas. Gabriel was one of the first cuatristas to perform at the Library of Congress as well as being the second cuatrista in history to be featured in concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The LOC also conducted his oral history interview which was archived as part of american history! Along with recording, composing, and teaching, Gabriel continues to share the music of the Puertorican Cuatro everywhere he goes.
José Rivera Jr. was born on May 21, 1968 in Manhattan, NY. He is one of 8 siblings of his late parents José Rivera Ortiz Sr. and Margarita Camacho Burgos. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. He worked for The Public Defenders Office for 7 years before pursuing a career with the NJ State Police. He retired after 25 years of service in 2020.
He has been married to his college sweetheart, Raquel Estremera Rivera for the past 25 years. He is the proud father of his 21 year old son, Alejandro José Rivera and his 18 year old daughter, Victoria Raquel Rivera. Together, they share a home in West Windsor, NJ with their two dogs Reeses and Coco.
He moved to Trenton from NYC in 1975. He attended Cook School and eventually PJ Hill Elementary School. He was a student at the Grant and Carol Robbins school before attending Jr. 5 and graduating from Junior. 4 aka Grace A. Dunn. He was awarded an academic scholarship to attend The Lawrenceville School, in Lawrenceville, NJ and Christchurch Preparatory School in Virginia. Throughout his high school career, he was a student athlete. He played Varsity baseball and basketball all four years. He attributes much of his success to his loving and hard working family and to his mentors, James T. Adams, Kermit Bonner, and Jeanette Adkins.
His commitment to serving others began his senior year as a little league coach and math tutor in Virginia. Throughout his college career, he interned with the Public Defender's Office and upon graduation, he was offered a permanent position as an Investigator with the State of New Jersey. His passion for law enforcement inspired him to apply for the NJ State Police. In 2001, he successfully completed and graduated from one of the most rigorous programs in law enforcement.
Throughout his years with the State Police, he served as an academy instructor, oversaw the firearm application process, was a certified accident reconstruction investigator, and was a rifle marksman. As a member of The Latino Trooper Organization, he provided scholarships to attend the Education Sports Fun Camp at the Lawrenceville School for youth in Trenton, NJ.
José looks forward to the next stage of his life with his family and providing opportunities for our future generation.
Tamara Torres is a LatinX woman of color who was born into poverty in Trenton, NJ. Of Puerto Rican and indigenous Taino ancestry, her work explores issues of gender, race, and the rights of women and historically oppressed peoples. Encountering art in books in the public library, she found an escape from her life on the streets. Through an acquaintance who worked at a one-hour photo shop, she was introduced to her first camera at age 13 and her photographs evolved over time into collages of images, text, symbols, and abstract backdrops Torres created herself, complex expositions of the hard truths and the fractured world which surrounded her. From their supporting role, her abstract paintings evolved into standalone creations, renditions of complicated emotional landscapes navigated by her signature "shadow men." Being an artist has allowed Tamara Torres to share her world, creating works that embody her Afro-LatinX ancestry and life experiences. The lack of female-identifying Latina abstract artists in the white-dominated art world has pushed Torres to pursue this field with passion. Without formal training, but with support from important mentors at critical junctures in her career, Torres has exhibited her art in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, and Rome.
Tamara Torres nació en Trenton, Nueva Jersey en 1978, de ascendencia puertorriqueña y afrolatina. Fue criada en un ambiente de pobreza y de mucha violencia en su alrededores. Al encontrar arte en los libros de la biblioteca pública, encontró un escape de las calles. A través de un conocido que trabajaba en una tienda de fotografía, obtuvo su primera cámara a los 13 años. Su fotografías evolucionaron con el tiempo en collages de imágenes, texto, símbolos y fondos abstractos. Exposiciones complejas de las crudas verdades y el mundo fracturado por el feminismo, las injusticias sociales y el empoderamiento de las mujeres. Las pinturas abstractas evolucionaron hacia creaciones independientes; interpretaciones de complicados paisajes emocionales navegados por su firma "hombres sombra". Ser artista le ha permitido a Tamara Torres compartir su mundo, creando obras que personifican su ascendencia de afrolatina y sus experiencias de vida.
Lewis Bravo was born in Ecuador and has two beautiful children Adriam, 9, years old and Levi, 10 years old. At the age of 20 Lewis moved to Trenton, NJ. Lewis' family had been running a pizzeria business so he became interested in an opportunity presented to him of becoming a businessman for a pizzeria in Trenton. That is when Lewis started Jerry's Pizza on S. Broad Street Trenton NJ. Lewis Bravo has been running Jerry's Pizzeria for over 10 years now. But in 2018 tragedy struck and Mr. Bravo received a telephone call giving him the bad news that there was a fire at the pizzeria and that it was a total lost. Lewis, always affirming his faith in God, was down but not out. "God is and always will be in my life" he says, and thanks to God and the support from his family and friends the pizzeria is up and running again. Jerry's Pizzeria is back in business since March of 2020.
Carlos Doel Hendricks-Verdejo was born in Trenton, NJ. At the age of three his family relocated to Carolina, Puerto Rico where he would enjoy his formative years. He returned to New Jersey 16 years later and began his studies at Livingston College Rutgers University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Spanish and Puerto Rican Studies. During his years on the bank he was a Student/Athlete lettering on the RU Baseball Team, as well as the Panthers varsity Football team of Livingston College. Carlos was also active in a number of student organizations such as the Unión Estudiantil Puertorriqueña, El Congreso Estudiantil Latino Americano, Rutgers University Hispanic Coalition (RUHC) and the Paul Robeson Athletic Association (Black Knights), to mention a few. One of his greatest achievements is being a charter member of Latinos Siempre Unidos (Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Latino Fraternity, Inc.), which was founded in 1979 at Rutgers University.
After his college days, Carlos became involved in the communities he lived, volunteering for a number of youth, civic and political organizations throughout the years. Most of his drive to do this came from his family and what he learned and lived while a student on the Rock at Livingston College.
On a professional level Carlos has managed to achieve his dreams over the years of working in the fields of Civil Rights, Music and Sports. The opportunity to work and network with a number of Community Based Organizations throughout New Jersey and the United States has also been a lift in Carlos career.
He is proud to be a founding member of the Latino Action Network since 2009 and serves on its steering committee. He has co-chaired the immigration and civil rights committee and is currently a member of its criminal justice reform committee. Carlos represents LAN on the State Pre-Trial Bail Reform Commission.
Carlos has been a member of organizations that he is very proud to have been involved with like the Eggerts Crossing Civic League, which is the oldest African-American running organization in Lawrenceville, NJ, the SLRC Bike Rodeo, the Lawrence Township Community Foundation, the Lawrence Township Junior Baseball/Softball Association, Trenton PAL, the Puerto Rican Day Parade of Trenton, The Puerto Rican Association and the Roberto Clemente Softball League in Trenton, NJ. In 1993, Carlos was selected to participate in the Internationally renowned 1994 FIFA Soccer World Cup, in which he served as an Ambassador for the Northeast NY/NJ venue.
During his career, Carlos also had the opportunity and ventured into the journalism arena and served for several years as a staff writer for El Veterano Newspaper and as a sports columnist for The Lawrence Ledger Newspaper.
In October 2003, he was appointed to serve on the New Jersey Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee. In 2006, He was appointed and served on the United States Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice for five years as an Advisor for President George W. Busch, President Barack Obama, Congress and the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in Washington, D.C., on issues related to Youth and Juvenile Justice reform. Most recently in the fall of 2014, he was appointed to serve on the Pretrial Bail Services Commission for the state of New Jersey.
Mr. Hendricks is married to Emmy Rivera-Hendricks and is the proud father of two great children his son Carlos Jr; his wife Christina, and his daughter Brittany. He has three beautiful grandchildren Sky Elizabeth, Jayden Carlos and Elena Emmy.
Up and coming DJ, Anthony Quinones better known as DJ Coqui, will arrest the attention of any crowd. Born in the diverse city of Trenton, NJ DJ Coqui has accrued a wealth of knowledge when it comes to music styles.
His versatile music repository has led to performances at Rho Discoteca, Larry's Euro Bar in Trenton, as well as, Ignite Revolution in Newark. From hip hop to salsa and bachata this young music pioneer can please any crowd. Fueled by the way music transforms the mind, body and soul, DJ Coqui prides himself in delivering an outer body experience when you listen to his mixes.
Growing up listening to Alex Sensation and DJ Camilo has had a huge influence on Quinones, leading him to begin his journey as a DJ at the age of 19. What inspires him is the happiness that consumes people when they hear music. This fun, down-to-earth, and passionate DJ finds joy knowing his music can change a person's mood for the better.
Quinones can be found featured in "The Trentonian" Newspaper for his participation in Trenton's National Night Out.
RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ (AKA) RALPH, RAFI, MR. VIDEO, DJ RAFI.
HE WAS BORN IN 1955 IN ADJUNTAS. PUERTO RICO THEN CAME TO THE UNITED STATES, MARRIED AND BECAME A FAMILY MAN. HE WORKED AT TRENTON WATER WORKS FOR MANY YEARS.
AFTER RETIREMENT HE NOW ENJOYS HIS TIME WITH HIS GRANDSON AMAURI, THE BOY THAT BRINGS HIM CHEER EVERY DAY. HE HAS BEEN PROVIDING CONSTANT SUPPORT TO MANY ORGANIZATIONS WITH HUMBLENESS AND INTEGRITY AND HAS BEEN AN ASSET TO OUR COMMUNITY, OUR HISPANIC HERITAGE AND OUR CITY.
RAFAEL WAS PRESIDENT OF THE ROBERTO CLEMENTE SOFTBALL LEAGUE OF TRENTON NJ SINCE 1996.
RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE PUERTO RICAN PARADE, THE PUERTO RICAN CIVIC ASSOCIATION, AND PARTICIPATED IN THE TRENTON MUSIC FESTIVAL. HE IS DEVOTED TO HELPING OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. HE ALSO MANAGED A MUSICAL GROUP, “EL GRUPO TROPICAL”.
RALPH IS AN AMAZING MAN, AN EXCEPTIONAL HUMAN BEING, AN EXTRAORDINARY FATHER
AND A LOVING GRANDFATHER.