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Three Latino women to be honored at Library
Press Release April 17, 2002

The New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center (NJHRIC) at The Newark Public Library will honor three Latino women for their generous volunteer work and distinguished community service when it presents the inaugural María DeCastro Blake Community Service Award at a special program on Thursday, May 9. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 6pm, in Centennial Hall of the main library, located at 5 Washington Street. A reception will follow the award ceremony.

The honorees are Angie Armand, Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development, in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; Ida L. Castro, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Personnel; and Lizette Delgado, New Jersey Assistant Secretary of State.

María DeCastro Blake (after whom the award is named) was born in Vieques, Puerto Rico, in 1911. She migrated to New York City in the early 1930s with a high school diploma and very limited knowledge of English. María worked her way up from a low-level job in the garment industry to the post of Assistant Dean of Admissions at Rutgers University-Newark. She was instrumental in recruiting hundreds of Hispanic students, many of whom credit her help and encouragement for their professional success. Throughout her long career, and in the seventeen years from her retirement until her death in 2001, María was an active volunteer. She taught English to newly arriving Puerto Rican families; she helped send poor children to summer camp; and she was a guide at the New York Public Library and the Museum of Natural History. In 1998 the 208th New Jersey Legislature recognized María as "Woman of the Year" and placed her name along with those of Clara Barton, Millicent Fenwick and other notable women of New Jersey.

Angie Armand is Director of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development (CHPRD). Created in 1975, the Center's mission is to empower the state's Latino community via inclusion in policy development and direct social services. It funds about 30 Hispanic community-based organizations. Among her many activities, Ms. Armand is helping with development of ALMA, a mentoring program for Latino high school students.

Ida L. Castro brings a strong record of results and managerial leadership to her new post as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Personnel. In 1998, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Chairwoman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington. She has been active in educating, engaging and mobilizing women voters across the nation.

Lizette Delgado was appointed Assistant Secretary of State in January 2002, making her the first Hispanic-American female to be named to the post. She is one of the highest-ranking Latinas in New Jersey State government. She is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department, with particular emphasis on enhancing constituent and volunteerism efforts. She has been very active in reaching out to immigrant union members and preparing them to become U.S. citizens.

For more information about this program, please call the library’s Sala Hispanoamericana at (973) 733-7772, or visit the library’s home page at


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