Last night only hours after celebrating in the company of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 20 years of friendship of LIPS, a Latina group of women journalists, poets, writers who are gooddoers from New York and New Jersey, one of our beloved sisters passed away on her way home.
Dolores Prida, 69, born in Cuba, a poet, playwright, labor, women and human rights advocate and a great cook said her goodbyes with laughter and walked home around the corner.
But she never made it.
She was rushed to a local Eastside hospital where she died a few hours later.
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor who was at the celebration hours before and who spoke to the group about the group's contributions to Latinas and to her own success said, "I saw Dolores, a long time friend, the night before she died. As always, she was filled with life and plans for the engaging work she was involved in. Dolores was a visionary. As a writer she inspired us to think deeply about our culture. She will be missed.”
Rossana Rosado, Publisher of El Diario la Prensa, who co founded LIPS, and who employeed Prida, said, “ My heart is just broken at the loss of our dearest Dolores Prida. How special she was is reflected in the grace of her exit. She arrived at our 20th anniv. Celebration w/ perniles and we danced to the Trio (musicians) she requested. We all went to bed with the laughs ringing in our ears and arose to tears over the sad news that she's gone.
"What a blessing for us that we were able to dance with her and to her that she left this world knowing exactly how much she was loved. But the pain of losing her is just unbearable. DOLORES was a NY cultural icon. She leaves a void &her El Diario columns will be missed."
One by one members of the LIPS have been posting their condolences on public boards and facebook.
PBS Anchor and Producer of USA Latino , Maria L. Hinojosa posted, “I am heartbroken by the passing of our querida playwright Dolores Prida. I am honored to have been with her and her best amigas last night."
Evelyn Hernandez, a Communications Director at the Health and Hospital Corporation of New York said, "Last night was a night of incredible joy followed by sadness. Latinas in Power celebrated 20 years together. At the end of the night our dear friend, poet, and journalist Dolores Prida passed away. We were blessed to talk, eat, laugh and dance in your company last night Dolores.”
Edna Negron, a journalism professor at Ramapo College, who is also a member of the group said, "A beautiful memory of a powerful sisterhood. Hermana, Dolo, we will miss you but your words, friendship and wisdom will live on."
Each posting as eloquent and the prior talked about Dolores Prida and the love she represented.
Mireya Navarro wrote, “Our dear Dolores Prida passed away last night after sharing an evening of excitement, music and love with her latina women's group. She made her delicious pernil and danced to Trio Borincano. She posed for pictures with her Justice and toasted her fellow lipsters as the oldest of the lot. She left us savoring unique memories, and stunned at her dramatic exit. Playwright, columnist, friend. Our wise Latina. Te queremos y extrañamos Dolo.”
Her neighbor who posted her condolences in Spanish said her she was a good hearted woman who lent her sugar and coffee whenever she ran out.
Márilyn Pérez-Cotto Mi vecina en Nueva York, la que me daba sal, azúcar o café cuando no había, ha partido. Ella, tan llena de arte y de palabras, siempre tan 'pájaro con muchas alas', ha volado al más allá. Descansa en Paz mi amada Dolores Prida. ¡Tan bella!
Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but no doubt all of El Barrio in New York City will come out to honor this great woman.
Dolores is survived by two sisters and lots of nieces and nephews.