May 28, 2013
Ms. Madelyn Lugo Chairperson National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. 2804 Third Avenue, 5th Floor Bronx, New York 10455 Dear Chairperson Lugo: We write as proud Puerto Rican elected officials to express our disappointment with the continued commercialization and misrepresentation of our culture on the part of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade board and its sponsors. The most recent example, involving the placement of our flag on Coors Light products, directly associates our culture with alcohol, and comes after 2011’s highly offensive "Emborícuate" ad campaign by the same sponsor. Permitting the placement of our flag, the most sacred and important symbol of our culture, on cans of beer is the height of disrespect. Why the committee feels compelled to continue to work with sponsors that seem to go out of their way to misrepresent our people is truly beyond us. As others have pointed out, this type of relationship with Coors has been made even more nonsensical in a year where the committee has adopted "Salud" as a theme. We understand that the coordination of the parade will involve raising a level of resources, including through the use of corporate sponsors, and we appreciate the interest of these sponsors in helping to make the annual parade a reality; however, there clearly need to be restrictions in place to prevent this type of insulting, wholesale commercialization of our culture. Sponsors should seek to reflect the Puerto Rican community in a positive way and highlight all of our incredible contributions to our city and nation. At the very least, the board should not put its stamp of approval, which includes our flag, on products that are deleterious to the public image of our people, not to mention to our health. We urge you to put guidelines in place that finally govern marketing related to sponsorships of the parade in future years, and do all that you can to stop Coors from including the flag in any future production.
We know that you share our commitment to promoting Puerto Rican culture in a responsible way, and look forward to your response to this letter. Sincerely,
Melissa Mark-Viverito Council Member, District 8
Gustavo Rivera State Senator, District 33
José M. Serrano State Senator, District 29
Fernando Cabrera Council Member, District 14
Rosie Mendez Council Member, District 2