As a way of showing pride in their diverse community, for the last several years the township recognizes and celebrates the history of the people of these various nations.
"Number one, it shows the diversity of West New York," said Mayor Silverio "Sal" Vega. "Number two, it's to let every single person of the community know that this is their town hall and that their elected officials answer to them."
Last Wednesday, West New York recognized and celebrated the Independence Day of Peru, which is on July 28, by hosting a commemoration event honoring several residents of Peruvian background and raised the flag of Peru in front of town hall.
"They have made [great] contributions within our community," said Vega. "We have come together to celebrate their culture. I was very happy to [recognize them] for being a part of the West New York community as a whole. It was great to highlight this celebration today."
Celebrating the people
As part of the celebration, about 11 members of the Peruvian West New York community were scheduled to be honored last Wednesday, although not all could be in attendance.
Among the honorees, was the Hermandad de San Martin de Porres (Brotherhood of Saint Martin de Porres), named for the district of Lima.
The non-profit organization based in St. Mary's Church of West New York was founded in November of 1998, and is mainly a religious organization established to aid needy people. Their main focus is raising funds and donating them to facilities that assist children in Lima, Peru.
"We send [assistance] to the Hogar de San Martin de Porres (Haven of San Martin de Porres) that help kids without homes," said Jorge Arango, Jr., president of the organization.
The Hermandad de San Martin de Porres, and the other 11 honorees received proclamations from the town of West New York. Arango accepted the honor on behalf of the organization.
"We are proud of this honor from the town," said Arango.
Arango was also pleased that the township has recognized the efforts of the Peruvian community in West New York. He said the Peruvian community is always willing to help other people and help the town, when it can.
In addition to the honorees, West New York also welcomed special guests to the Peruvian Independence Day celebration including Deputy Mayor Maria Del Pilar Rivas of Paramus.
"I am part of the Peruvian community and I am proud to be the first woman deputy mayor of the city of Paramus," said Rivas. "The event was wonderful and I am proud to be here celebrating this day with my community."
The singing of both the United States and Peruvian national anthems by Brian Mejilla kicked off the event, which was followed by Mayor Vega, along with Commissioner Michelle Fernandez Lopez, giving out the proclamations to the honorees in court chambers in Town Hall.
"I am proud and honored to not only receive this recognition from the town of West New York, but also from the Cuban community whom with we have a long history," said Rafel Marin, one of the honorees.
Afterwards, those in attendance gathered outside to raise the Peruvian flag in front of town hall.
A little history
The Republic of Peru in South America was once home to great native civilizations like the Norte Chico civilization and the Incan Empire before the Spainards conquered it in the 16th Century.
Peru finally gained its independence on July 28, 1824, thanks to the military campaigns of Jose de San Martin de Porres and Simon Bolivar, and is now a presidential representative democraic republic divided into 25 regions. Its population is estimated at 28 million. Jessica Rosero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org