By Bessy Reyna
CTLatinoNews Opinion Columnist
Dear October 2011 Nor’easter:
I felt compelled to write you this letter to congratulate you on having been one of the many nominated as “50 Most Influential” and also for having “risen to the top” after an exhaustive discussion in the editorial board of Hartford Magazine. A remarkable achievement because according to the e-mail I received from Jennifer T. Humes, of that magazine’s communications office, “All selections for the Most Influential List were made based on the individual’s contribution to Greater Hartford and without any consideration of the person’s race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”
Wow! You are really one lucky storm to have been included in such august company! Please allow me to call you Nor’easter, as the magazine did — you really made your presence known in Connecticut. I think you should have been called Perses, like the Greek Titan of destruction. Others have called you “monster storm,” but that is such a mundane name, lacking originality, and I don’t think it suits your newfound personhood. But I digress.
You must be having a great time looking at page 39 of the magazine in which you appear; unless you prefer watching web’s pictures and videos of the mess you left behind: broken trees, down wires, chaos, and, befitting your Titanic name: destruction.
But, here’s the truth: I am writing to you because it so happens that among the “50 Most Influential” there is not one person who is a Latino. There are a hockey player, two college basketball coaches, one university president, a couple of restaurant owners, heads of nonprofits, a disgraced utility company president and many CEOs.
Nor’easter, I am the first to admit that you had a short-lived effect in our lives, by depriving us of the comforts we have become entitled to, living in an industrial and civilized society; but, it is also true that there are many people whose influence is much more lasting than yours, and Voila! by the way, they happen to be Latinos.
After reading your list, I decided to ask my Facebook friends to send me names of some Latinos they consider “Influential” in Connecticut. To use the magazine’s words, those “rising to the top” are:
Dr. Daisy Cocco-DeFilippis, Naugatuck Valley Community College president, writer Marianela Medrano, founder of the festival “Confluenzia”; Eastern Connecticut State University president Elsa Nuñez; Art Professor Imna Arroyo; Dr. Carmen Cid, ECSU Dean of Arts and Sciences; and Ana Ortiz, Windham Superintendent of Schools and a military reservist. From UConn, Maria Martinez, associate vice-provost of student success. The names of the Hon. Jose Alberto Cabranes, United States Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit; Robert Fernandez, political director of 4C’s Union and educator; and, James Flores, political activist, were also mentioned.
There you have it Nor’easter, in just a few minutes these names started to appear in response to my request, and I know there are so many more to be included.
I hope that sometime in the future Connecticut will have magazines with lists that will be inclusive of all the people who donate their time, talent and resources to influence the lives of all who live here.
(Bessy Reyna is an opinion columnist for CTLatinoNews.com. Her views do not necessarily represent those of this website.)