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Dear Friends:

I am honored, and a privilege to me, to serve as President of the 2022 celebration of Day of Portugal in Rhode Island.  For 405 years, RI Day of Portugal has brought the Portuguese-American community together to celebrate and foster the rich Portuguese history, language and culture here in the beautiful state of Rhode Island.  Portuguese roots in Rhode Island and New England date back centuries.  Our ancestors paved the way and assisted in the creation of this great nation. Today, our mission continues to be one of unity, sharing our culture, and strengthening ties between Portugal and the Portuguese-American community.

As President, my plan is to add, introduce, drive, launch new measures and ideas to give continuum, and continued improvement to the growth trajectory and leadership that the past leaders and committee of this organization have brought and carried out.  I plan along with my hard working and dynamic committee to bring further orientation, strategy, and inspire vision; which is needed to be successful as a leadership team and an organization--where our children, grandchildren, and future generations will want to continue to be a part of and take part of in leadership roles. 

I often ask myself and my fellow Portuguese community as to what it means to be Portuguese.  To me, it means to help create a community that is inclusive and dynamic, that allows us not only to be Portuguese, but also create conditions where we can flourish and aspire to be better within our community.  We should not be afraid or embarrassed to show our Portugalidade--be it using symbolism such as a Portugal decal/bumper sticker, or even with the RI Day of Portugal plate.  It's important to know who we are and remind ourselves of where we came from, and to show the world that we are proud of our roots.  Sometimes being Portuguese can be difficult, as the world doesn't understand that we have a different perspective, we are passive in many ways, strong in promoting and living our values, and hardworking,  We have a history rich and full of so much, and we contributed to the development and different ideas to other cultures.  Yes, we have made some mistakes along the history timeline, but hasn't everyone else? What does being Portuguese mean to you?

We are people that is respected with a very old DNA. A people that is resilient, stubborn, one that exists with passion, resists, and persists constantly.  We have the right to be proud of ourselves and not forget that there is still so much to do.  We live in a country, the United States, that welcomes us, gives us endless opportunities, and allows us to show our ethnicity with freedom.

The weekend’s celebration begins on June 10 with the Day of Portugal opening ceremony at the Rhode Island State House. a reception afterwards, and then a torch procession at 8:30 p.m. with partial lighting of Waterfire at Waterplace Park.

The 2022 organizing committee is excited and looking forward to another fun, successful and memorable calendar of events.  Our main event is the Portuguese Heritage Festival, “Dia de Portugal” arraial, which will take place on June 11 starting at 2 p.m. and June 12 at 1 p.m. at the BankNewport City Center skating rink a return of the RI Day of Portugal Parade, and ending with another short torch procession to close the celebrations.  The weekend will have live entertainment, dance, with both traditional and modern Portuguese food.

To elaborate on our festival/arraial:  on June 11 and 12, the official RI Day of Portugal festival will commence with the traditional parade representing Portuguese clubs, schools, businesses, and groups from across the state, stepping off from the RI State House and ending at the Bank Newport City Center, where the festival will continue with more live entertainment, food, and fun for the whole family. A spectacular torch procession is scheduled to take place at sunset to highlight the festivities.

I humbly ask the help of all clubs, associations and organizations, as we work together as volunteers to make this 45th Anniversary celebration of Day of Portugal in Rhode Island our very best yet. Together we can promote “Portuguese history, language and culture” by raising the Portuguese “torch” high and keeping it lit for future generations. 

Ana Isabel dos Reis-Couto


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