Today I want to share with you another reason why I’m proud of Goya and the principled leadership emanating from the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States.
The story involves New York City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is scheduled this year for Sunday June 11th. This annual event celebrates the rich culture of the small Caribbean island and U.S. territory.
Goya has been a continuous corporate sponsor of the festivities since the event’s inception 60 years ago.
Goya ended its sponsorship after parade organizers this year decided to honor a man associated with terrorism.
His name is Oscar López Rivera, and he is a militant Puerto Rican nationalist. He was released from custody earlier this month when his 55-year sentence for “the crime of ‘seditious conspiracy’ as well as attempted robbery, explosives, and vehicle-theft charges” was commuted down to 35 years by then-President Barack Obama.
Upon release, López Rivera, 74, promptly told the Associated Press that he has “no regrets” about his involvement with a group that claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Puerto Rico during the 1970s and early 1980s. The Marxist-Leninist group is responsible for five deaths and more than 60 injuries during this time – and López Rivera was a member of the “triumvirate” that led the organization.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that AT&T and Coca-Cola were among the corporate sponsors joining the Yankees and JetBlue to end or reduce their participation with the event. New York City police commissioner, James O’Neill, has also rescinded a promise to march. (Sadly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is still participating.)
I applaud those who refuse to honor a convicted, unrepentant terrorist – especially this week when the world reeled from the terror attacks that happened in Manchester, England.
But as we praise those taking a principled stance, remember that Goya – arguably the company with most to lose from the move – was the first.
And that’s why we’re proud to work with this company.