Centro Cultural Barco de Papel and the community organization, Latin American Integration Association (L.A.I.A.) presented author Maria C-Mercado Mayorga (Puerto Rico), a successful woman in business and life, as well as community leader.
Mariana Buninconti-Cruz of the L.A.I.A. was host for this evening of poetry and song. Using her talents as an actress, Buninconti interpreted selections of poems from Mercado’s book while accompanied softly on the guitar, with Argentinean musician, Ruben Isola. With each poem, Mercado gave short explanations as to the particular circumstance that inspired the words. Isola played two tangos, Nostalgia and Como dos extraños (Like Two Strangers) to set the mood.
Mercado shares her personal thoughts in her poems with the intention of being a source of inspiration for her readers. She is also inspired by the people she has encountered throughout her life. She started the evening reading Vida (Life), a text that says much about her personal journey and the philosophies learned by confronting life’s problems. In Vida, life was compared metaphorically to a theater curtain.
The evening’s surprise was her soulful performance of the bolero Usted (You), accompanied by Isola on the guitar (video below).
Find photos of the event in our Facebook page.
About the author
With her humble beginnings in New York City at the age of eighteen, Maria Mercado realized that she was facing a new world that was very different compared to her native Puerto Rico. Aware of her basic command of the English language and fighting the jitters on her very first job interview, she drew strength from her mother’s words, “You have just a fraction of second to make a good impression.” She swears that this advice was definitive for her success for obtaining her first job in the U.S. She held the position of archivist at Equitable Life Insurance for twelve years.
Her mother passed away after a battle against cancer and five years after their arrival in New York, she became head of her family. She became mother to her teen siblings, to whom she dedicated all her efforts to help them advance in life in the South Bronx. Throughout the course of her life, she became an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker and community leader. She ascribes her success to her efforts, tenacity and following the “advice of people sent by God like angels.”
Her community work has been recognized by Senator Jose Peralta and Queens Borough president Helen Marshall, among others. She has been adviser for the directive board of M/WBE Small Business Services, member of the Queens Symphonic Orchestra and part of the Labor Department of New York Latin Services Committee. She has lectured for the City of New York, the US Small Service Administration, the US Postal Service and the US Federal Government Executive Board National Network.