Somos Uno / We Are One Unites East Harlem in Radiant Light of Diversity

At the 14th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, Community Bands Together to Deflect National Divisiveness In Show of Strength & Unity

Friday, December 8, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Franklin Plaza, Third Avenue and 106th Street

Handmade ornaments from recycled plastic, the cast from A Soulful Christmas & tropical Puerto Rican plena music
New York, NY: A giant 3-D snowflake adorns the busy intersection of Third Avenue and 106th Street where a resplendent holiday tree will light up the community on Friday, December 8th at 6:30 pm.

Responding to the negative and divisive headlines choking the nation, this year’s bilingual theme of unity, Somos Uno / We Are One, radiantly deflects the adverse cynicism seeping into neighborhoods. Instead, East Harlem will lock arms and stand together as “one community.”

In solidarity with Puerto Rico, this year’s tree remains on view for more than six weeks extending through Twelfth Night (celebrated as the Day of Three Magi Kings) and Las Octavitas, 16 more celebratory days that end the holiday season on January 17, 2018.

Many of the tree’s ornaments are handmade by residents of the community from recycled plastic bottles in an effort to save the environment. Artist, activist and East Harlem native Aurora Flores will entertain residents and families as emcee. Students from the Dream Charter School will perform at the start and close of the ceremony. Plus, the entire cast from “A Soulful Christmas will be on hand to sing “Joy to the World,” followed by Puerto Rican plena music from local Pleneros will unite American with Puerto Rican holiday traditions.

On hand to help spark up the night as we count down to the tree’s beaming bright lights will be invited elected officials Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, State Senators Jose M. Serrano and Brian Benjamin, Assembly Members Robert Rodriguez and Inez Dickens, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Ben Kalos, and City Council-member elect Diana Ayala.

The East Harlem Holiday Tree Committee is a volunteer group committed to the neighborhood of El Barrio /East Harlem. For the past fourteen years, they have united East Harlem sharing joy and providing hope for the holiday season. Donations in support of the tree are solicited from community-based organizations, local businesses, corporations doing business in East Harlem, and individuals through its fiscal sponsor, Union Settlement Association.

Lead funders of the East Harlem Holiday Tree (list in formation): BFC Partners, Con Edison, the Durst Organization, East River Plaza, Harlem Community Development Corporation, Manhattan Community Board 11, M&T Bank, Mount Sinai Health System, Tahl Propp Equities, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, Dream, Hope Community, Inc., Lott Community Development Corporation, and Union Settlement Association. Significant in-kind support is provided by: Ponce de Leon Federal Savings & Loan, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Dream.

East Harlem Holiday Tree Committee: Genevieve Andre, artist; Kathy Benson, community advocate; Ana Chireno, El Museo del Barrio; Michelle Cruz, East Harlem 360; Eudora Ortiz, Boriken Neighborhood Health Center; Aurora Flores, Aurora Communications; Gina Rusch, Union Settlement Association; Eve Valenzuela, Hope Community, Inc.; Carmen Vasquez, community advocate; Melinda Velez, Chief of Staff, Office of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Advisory Committee: Lillian Bent, Franklin Plaza Board of Directors; Jose Carrero, Jeffersonville HDC; Debbie Quinones, Young Bucks Sports. For more information about the East Harlem Holiday Tree, please visit

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