On Tuesday, March 23, the Spring Semester’s fourth Velada Hostosiana | Hostos Culture Talk delivered more than it promised—it awakened the towering and inspiring story of the great Puerto Rican leader Evelina Antonetty.
Antonetty’s story was brought to life thanks to a new doctoral dissertation titled “Dr. Evelina Antonetty, The Hell Lady of the Bronx, a Puerto Rican Woman and her Legacy to the Diaspora of the South Bronx, 1965 to 1984,” by Hostos’ own and beloved Dr. Nydia Edgecombe.
Edgecombe served at the College for over 30 years, and she founded the Hostos Alumni Relations Office and the Circle of 100 scholarship. “Being here presenting this book is like coming home to me. Hostos is my home of so many years and Evelina was a part of the College’s history, and it’s important for people to know her,” Edgecombe shared at the conclusion of the event.
Antonetty’s role in fighting for education, food, and health equity in the Bronx cannot be understated. Edgecombe’s work adds an important and oft-overlooked chapter of Latino history of New York City and the United States.
Antonetty’s life was further illuminated through the matriarchal legacy of her sister, Hostos Board Member and “Madrina de las Artes” Elba Cabrera, and Antonetty’s daughter, activist Anita Antonetty, Senior Director for Strategic Outreach New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. In a candid exchange, they remembered and shared how Antonetty mobilized a community and founded United Bronx Parents.
Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis was moved and thrilled by the power of the discussion. “Evelina brought us together to change conditions for our communities for the better,” she said. “She created change that was meaningful and impactful, a role model for foundational women action in the South Bronx and elsewhere.”
To watch "The Life and Times of Evelina Antonetty" click here.