NiLP Note: The DREAM Act, child poverty in the state, the problem of political corruption in Albany, the controversy over honoring NYC Mayor de Blasio as “Champion of the Hispanics,” and so on, were among some of the pressing issues discussed at this year’s Somos El Futuro Conference in Albany, New York, that brought together Latino state legislators with community leaders from throughout the state. However, it turned out that the most controversial issue at this conference was none of these, it was actor Tony Plana’s keynote speech at their Gala Banquet this past Saturday night! Apparently Mr. Plana made a spectacle of himself, making all sorts of offensive comments at this formal dinner. His performance was so offensive that it prompted the Chair of the Conference, Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo to issue the letter below to the conference participants.
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And don’t forget to catch him in the forthcoming films “Vieques” and “Butterfly Caught”, as well as the TV series “The Fosters” and “Alpha House”
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo
on the “Plana Situation”
March 25, 2015
On behalf of the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force, I wish to thank you for participating in the 28th Annual Somos conference held this past weekend.
We are thrilled that with your participation, our conference was filled with substantive discussions of the issues that are of vital importance to Latinos throughout the state. We had a wonderful time celebrating our culture and most importantly we were able to assist hundreds of students to further their academic goals.
Mr. Tony Plana was invited by the Somas el Futuro, Inc. Board of Directors to speak to over 1000 attendees of the Gala in what we thought would be enlightening and entertaining remarks. Mr. Tony Plana is an accomplished film and television personality with a long professional career which includes his starring in as Ignacio Suarez, the widowed father to America Ferrera’s Ugly Betty, in ABC’s landmark, groundbreaking hit
series for which he received the 2006 Golden Satellite Award from the International Press Academy and an Alma Award nomination for best supporting actor in a television comedy. Furthermore, he has a track record as an activist for national immigration reform.
Unfortunately, Mr. Plana’s speech became an ongoing set of pejoratives that were considered by many in attendance as misogynist, anti-Catholic and an endorsement of hurtful stereotypes. For this reason, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all those who were offended by the remarks of Mr. Tony Plana.
I want to make it clear to our conference attendees and supporters that those comments are not in any way a reflection of the history, values and mission of the Task Force or of Somos el Futuro,Inc. While his remarks were unpleasant and insulting to many, the overall work and focus of both these organizations is to improve Latino communities and the quality of life of its residents.
Overall our conference this year was a great success. We look forward to building on this momentum to further educate and empower our community and to set an ambitious yet attainable agenda for change, opportunity and progress.
Gracias nuevamente por su apoyo y participacion.
Chairman, NYS Assembly Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force