WASHINGTON — Marie Fraley of Rhode Island, the architect of the nationwide “Make Portuguese Count” campaign in the 2020 U.S. Census, and Fernando Rosa of Connecticut, who led the Luso-American Council of the United States for nearly a decade, will be honored with Lifetime Achievement at the 24th Annual PALCUS Leadership Awards Gala.
The awards will be presented on October 8 at the Marriott Metro Center in Washington DC
Fraley told O Jornal that she was both thrilled and honored to be recognized by PALCUS.
“I believe, however, that any achievement in which I have been involved has more to do with the participation and the will of the Portuguese community than with just one person,” she said. “We all need to work together to do good things.”
The granddaughter of Azorean immigrants, Fraley was born in Providence. After retiring as a speech-language pathologist from the Providence and Cumberland school districts, she helped lead a community movement to establish the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone Global Studies at Rhode Island College, serving as director until upon his retirement in 2018.
She has served on numerous organizations and committees, such as the RI Day of Portugal Committee, which she has represented in various roles including President (2008), Vice President, Public Relations Chair and Fundraising Chair.
A founding member of PALCUS since 2004, Fraley served on its board of directors for approximately 15 years. As National Director of the “Make Portuguese Count” campaign, which was created to mobilize Portuguese-Americans to count in the 2020 Census, she oversaw the participation of 233 affiliate organizations and 77 captains from Hawaii to Massachusetts.
Like Fraley, Rosa said receiving the PALCUS award would be a huge honor.
“It comes at an interesting time in my life…after retiring and having a lot of health issues,” he told O Jornal. “It’s a combination of all my efforts and I appreciate the recognition, especially at this time in my life.”
Originally from Montalegre, Portugal, Rosa retired from his role as president and CEO of small business microlender HEDCO Inc. last year. He has distinguished himself for his extensive community service in the Greater Hartford area where he resides, as well as nationally. He served on numerous non-profit boards and was a strong promoter of Portuguese culture. Among his many awards and distinctions is the Order of Merit “Comendador” awarded by the President of the Republic of Portugal Cavaco Silva in 2012.
The gala will also serve to recognize the achievements and community service of four other Portuguese-Americans and one organization.
“PALCUS is thrilled to be back in person after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, and we are thrilled to do so with such a busy schedule of events,” said PALCUS President Katherine S. Soares. “This year’s honorees and scholars are a testament to the success and resilience of the Portuguese-American national community despite unprecedented circumstances globally.”
Carolina Rendeiro of Florida, who is CEO of Connect2Global and Honorary Consul of Portugal in Miami, will receive the Community Service Leadership Award. Rendeiro is known to be a strong believer in community engagement and the importance of creating synergy between business owners and their communities.
Actor Filipe Valle Costa, who played Pedro Nava in the FX series Snowfall, will receive the. Leadership in the Arts Award.
NextGen Leadership Academy Co-Founding Ambassadors Andrew Figueiredo, of Pennsylvania, and Kayla Faria, of Rhode Island, will receive the Luso-American Youth “Promessa” Awards.
Launched in 2020, NextGen is designed to bring together young Portuguese Americans from across the country to create a movement that would meet the needs of today’s younger generations.
The Portuguese Historical Museum in San Jose, California will receive the Outstanding Organization Award. Founded in 1997, the museum preserves Portuguese history and culture with a particular focus on stories related to the Portuguese community in the Santa Clara Valley.
“These winners not only have an impact on the city and state where they live, but they also help ensure that the Portuguese community is well regarded and well represented,” said Soares. “We believe the gala is an important way, and the right way, to celebrate these achievements and to work with dignity.”
Portugal’s Ambassador to the United States, Francisco Duarte Lopes, will serve as Honorary Gala Chair, while PALCUS Directors Paula de Brito Cohen (Washington, DC) and Marta Silva (Maryland) serve as Gala Committee Co-Chairs.
Soares said the keynote speaker at the event will be Portugal’s Minister of Economy and Maritime Affairs, António José da Costa Silva.
In addition to the gala, the program will also include a Lusitano Forum (a smaller-scale event that is more like a workshop and an exchange of good practices) and a welcome reception at the Portuguese Ambassador’s residence (by invitation only) on Friday, October 17. 7, and a brunch cruise on Sunday, October 9.
Several PALCUS scholarships will also be awarded to undergraduate and undergraduate students of Portuguese origin.
“The last two years have been difficult, but they have also been seen as an opportunity to demonstrate the resilience and strength of the Portuguese national community,” Soares said. “Many organizations and individuals have prospered, grown and given back in so many ways. We look forward to a great weekend, where we can see familiar faces, toast past, present, and future successes, and properly honor the Luso-American community and all that has been accomplished during these unprecedented times.
Founded in 1991, PALCUS is nonpartisan, nonprofit, and the only national organization advocating for the Luso-American community.
For more information on PALCUS or to purchase gala tickets, visit https://palcus.org
Lurdes C. da Silva can be contacted at [email protected] To read more stories about the Portuguese-speaking community in English and Portuguese, please visit ojornal.com.