History of the New York State Association of Black & Puerto Rican Legislators


In 1917, The New York State Assembly elected its first African-American legislator, Assemblyman Edward A. Johnson, a man born into slavery in North Carolina. In 1937, Assemblyman Oscar Garcia Rivera was the first American of Puerto Rican heritage to be elected in the State Assembly.

From those small victories, slowly, two became three, three became four, and four became many. Upon the successes of civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s, the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. (NYSABPRL) was founded by legislative caucus members, on October 11, 1985, as a non-political, charitable organization, incorporated under Section 402 of the New York Not-for-Profit Incorporation Law, with a 501(c)(3) purpose and mission. NYSABPRL’s fundamental purpose is to promote the common good, social and general welfare of the various people of the community; foster and maintain an interest in racial tolerance in the world; to encourage the development of the community and promote economic growth.

NYSABPRL endeavors to fulfill its purpose through its main activity, which is the Annual Legislative Conference Weekend, which is held during President’s Day Weekend of each year, in February of each year. The weekend conference is customarily attended by thousands of New Yorkers, primarily of African-American, Caribbean-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American descent. Yet, NYSABPRL aims to have its events inclusive enough to represent a diverse cross section of the state’s population. The event is convened and held at the New York State Capital in Albany, New York.

Our theme this year is: “We are the Agents of Change: Strong, Resilient, Unified”. Towards that end, the 48th Annual Legislative Conference will bring together the most influential African-American, Hispanic-American, Caribbean-American and Asian-American leaders from every corner of the Empire State and the United States, to present and discuss the New York’s most important issues and set the agenda for the year. Starting in 2017, Chairwoman Latrice Walker, Esq., made attracting young professionals from all fields one of NYSABPRL’s priorities.

The weekend events begin with our Chairwoman's Reception on Friday evening. At this 48th Annual Weekend Legislative Conference, NYSABPRL will be introducing a Young Professionals Brunch. Throughout the day on Saturday, NYSABPRL will be hosting issue-focused workshops, seminars, forums sponsored by NYSABPRL’s members, our Annual Youth Summit, the Career and Business Expo, the Craft Exhibition Fair, our Annual Labor Luncheon, followed by a Saturday evening concert and after party. On Sunday morning, NYSABPRL’s members, and legislative and community leaders from across the state and country will take time to attend church service -- as our ancestors did – at Wilborn Temple, in Albany. The weekend events include informational forums, lectures, business luncheons, award ceremonies, business expo, and craft fair, and culminates with the Grand Gala on Sunday evening.

The Dinner Gala is the NYSABPRL major fundraising source, because NYSABPRL founders believed – and its current leadership is committed to the belief -- that the common good and general welfare of any community are best promoted by providing access to higher education for aspiring students in need of economic assistance to achieve their dream of earning a college degree and becoming successful leaders and role models in our community. Towards that end, NYSABPRL scholarships provides financial assistance to students selected by its members, from across the state, from the net proceeds of tickets sold for its Annual Scholarship Dinner Gala.

NYSABPRL do not to advocate or support either directly or indirectly, the election or defeat of any candidate for public or political office. NYSABPRL does not donate or contribute to any candidate’s campaign, nor does it participate or engage in political fundraising events, nor otherwise solicit contributions for candidates.