August 9, 2018
The program was opened by Council member Ydanis Rodríguez, who noted that the community was tied together with the struggles of other immigrant communities and, “What we celebrate today… is the ethic to be hard working individuals,” an ethic that cuts across ethnic and cultural lines here in New York City. Similarly, First Lady Chirlane McCray noted, “We are here to celebrate New York City’s vibrant Dominican community… Our diversity is our strength.” She also noted that the ThriveNYC Mental Health First Aid Courses are available in Spanish (more information available here).
Furthermore, Mayor Bill de Blasio also highlighted the important role not only the Dominican community has played in New York City, but also all immigrants more broadly: “We are a city that is proud to be a city of immigrants. We are a city that works because we are a city of immigrants. New York City is a success story because of immigrants, not despite immigrants… We are the largest city of Dominicans anywhere in the world, and we are so proud of that and it makes us stronger.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also introduced the honoree—“A young man from our public housing, a young man from our public school, and now he’s an international star”—Prince Royce. Prince Royce grew up in the Bronx and signed his first record deal at age 19. Today, he has multiple certified Platinum albums, songs that have been streamed over two billion times, collaborations with some of music’s most iconic artists, and numerous impressive accolades, including 22 Latin Billboard Awards and a spot on the Bronx Walk of Fame. Furthermore, Prince Royce has a strong commitment to giving back to his community: from participating in the Latin Grammy in the Schools program, granting wishes through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and supporting organizations dedicated to improving quality of life for children with HIV, developmental disabilities, and cancer, to running in the TCS New York City Marathon and raising funds for the National Kidney Foundation and Change for Kids. Prince Royce has also served as a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education’s public school alumni network.
Upon receiving a proclamation, which proclaimed August 9, 2018 as Prince Royce Day, Royce said, “New York really made me who I am… My parents were immigrants… I went to BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College)… I worked at a Sprint store in the Bronx, and it was all just a dream… If Royce could do it, anyone else could do it… My goal every year is to motivate [the youth], to try to do more for the community, to do more for the city.”
Entertainment for the event was provided by the Melvin Elias Band, which has roots in the Dominican Republic and New York City and performs its own original works as well as bachata.
Video description: Watch the livestream of the remarks from the 2018 Dominican Heritage Reception.
Thank you Mayor Bill de Blasio @NYCMayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray @NYCFirstLady for having me at Gracie Mansion. Honored and proud to be part of the New York Dominican community! #DRHeritageNYC #PrinceRoyceDayNYC // ¡Gracias Alcalde Bill de Blasio y Primera Dama Chirlane McCray por el gran honor! Me llena de orgullo ser parte de la comunidad dominicana de Nueva York.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our Community Engagement Partner for their generous support of the 2018 Dominican Heritage Reception: