Newark’s annual Latin Festival (on Sunday) to feature merengue legends

Event also will provide opportunity for citywide antiviolence organizations to raise awareness for domestic violence prevention

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and other city officials announced Monday that the city’s annual Latin Festival on Sunday will feature a number of merengue legends, including Toño Rosario and Grupo Manía.

Rosario is a Dominican-born Latin Grammy Award-nominated merengue artist and bandleader with many gold and platinum albums to his credit. Grupo Manía is a Puerto Rican merengue group with 16 albums, some of which have gone gold.

“No one who knows and loves Newark would be able to imagine this city without the jewels our Latin community has imbedded into our melded culture,” Baraka said. “Without the fuerza, esperanza and alma of our Latinos, Newark would not be the inspiration it is to the rest of the world. Our Latino residents breathe vibrancy into our streets and add a vivid energy to our neighborhoods. For that, and so much more, I’m grateful for this opportunity to celebrate them and thank them for their positive impact on Newark.”

Other acts include the Puerto Rico Fire Department Band (Banda Cuerpo De Bomberos De Puerto Rico). The festival also will showcase the talents of DJ Alex Sensation; Grupo Candela; DJ Reymo; DJMC Cassanova; BELLA STAR; Genesis; Sandra Rey; and Dave Chong.

The event, to be held from noon to 10 p.m. on Bloomfield Avenue between Lake Street and Clifton Avenue, in Newark’s North Ward, will be about more than just a party.

Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement Jacqueline Quiles, and officials from the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery, said this year’s event is being presented as an opportunity for citywide antiviolence organizations to raise awareness for domestic violence prevention, with speakers sharing personal stories of transformation from the stage.

“The Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery is a proud sponsor of the Latin Festival,” OVPTR Director Lakeesha Eure said. “The Latino community adds such vitality into Newark’s vibe, and we benefit deeply from their cultural influence for family unity and love of neighbors. With this event so fully attended every year, it is the perfect venue to spread awareness about what services our office offers. Domestic violence knows no demographic boundaries. It occurs in families in every neighborhood and economic level. OVPTR is here to help individuals and communities understand the causes of violence and how to prevent and heal from it.”

Representatives from Newark’s OVPTR will give out information, be available for conversation, and connect residents with resources for mental health, employment, relocation and services for those who have been affected by crime and violence.

Some of the sponsors include: Popular Bank, New Jersey Children’s Foundation, Amerigroup, Altice USA, the Shani Baraka Women’s Center, La Casa de Don Pedro, Unidas En Una Sola Voz, FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson, and Union Counties, HUAMA Plans, St. Michael’s Hospital and RWJBH Mobile Service.

Public sector sponsors include the Department of Health and Community Wellness, Department of Economic and Housing Development, Essex County Department of Public Works, the state Department of Law and Public Safety Victims of Crime Compensation Office, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Police Department and the City of Newark Homeless Services.