‘Tato’ Laviera Honored
PHOTO: Poet Nancy Mercado celebrates the works of Nuyorican poet, playwright, author and activist Tato Laviera
(October 28, 2017) In celebration of iconic Nuyorican poet, playwright, author and activist Tato Laviera, 123rd Street & 2nd Avenue was renamed Jesus ‘Tato’ Laviera Way. The Santurce transplant, who grew up in the area of New York City known as Loisaida, became a pioneering voice in the Nuyorican Movement. Laviera died from diabetes complications on November 1, 2013.
The street naming ceremony was preceded by remarks from various career associates, community advocates and family members. Further, a large scale mural of Laviera, painted on an adjacent wall on the grounds of Taino Towers by artist Don Rimx, was unveiled.
The works and life of ‘Tato’ Laviera took poetic form through the voices of Sery Colón, Maria Aponte, Jesús ‘Papoleto’ Meléndez, Nancy Mercado, José Angel Figueroa, and Felipe Luciano. Accompaniment was provided by percussionist Bobby Sanabria.
Special thanks went out to the Honorable Melissa Mark-Viverito (New York City Council Speaker), Edwin Meléndez (The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY), Maria Cruz (Executive Director, Taino Towers), and the Laviera family. Hosting the program was Ralph Mercado III.