Meet the President
I am honored, and is a privilege, to serve as President of the 2023 celebration of Day of Portugal in Rhode Island. For 46 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.
The 2023 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 10 starting at 1 p.m. and June 11 at p.m. at the BankNewport City Center skating rink a return of the RI Day of Portugal Parade that kicks off at 2 p.m. at RI State House Smith Street side 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 10 and 11, 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 46th 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.
Meet the Grand Marshal
Thomas E. Noret was instrumental in securing the final funding for finishing the fundraising goal to complete the project to honor the fallen Portuguese and Luso-American Service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, which allowed us to unveil and dedicate the Portuguese & Luso-American Veterans Memorial at the RI Veterans Cemetery in Exeter.
In February 2022, Rep. Susan Donavan introduced House Resolution 7324 to support the monument’s installation. R.I. House Deputy Majority Leader Thomas E. Noret gathered the support of 38 legislators to approve with funding in the form of a legislative grant the amount of $50,000. The grant was approved by the Speaker in July 2022.
Tom is no stranger to the Portuguese Community of Coventry and West Warwick. He has been and continues to be an advocate and be part of endeavors of the Portuguese community.
Thomas E. Noret (D) was first elected in November 2018 to House District 25, which covers parts of Coventry and West Warwick. He was named a Deputy Majority Leader in January 2023. Noret serves on House Conduct, Education, Judiciary and the Oversight Committees. Representative Noret is also the Chair of a commission studying state owned abandoned and vacant property, and serves on a commission for E-911 and EMA.
During the most recent session, he joined with his colleagues in sponsoring legislation to address the state’s housing crisis and he also sponsored a new law that gives the Department of Environmental Management the authority to regulate the water level behind certain dams in the state.
In 2022, he was chosen for the Emerging Leaders Program, sponsored by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, which cultivates the next generation of leaders in state legislatures who are serving in ether their first or second term.
During the 2021 legislative session, Representative Noret sponsored and co-sponsored several child protection bills. He has been a strong advocate for more oversight of DCYF and the hiring of additional staff to better serve children and families in need.
Representative Noret served in the Rhode Island Air National Guard, 143rd Airlift Wing from 1990 to 1994. While serving, he accepted a position with the Coventry Police Department where he served his community for 20 years, retiring as a Detective in 2012.
After retirement, he accepted a position as a Tax Investigator with the Rhode Island Division of Taxation’s Special Investigation Unit. Most recently, he was employed by the Greater Providence YMCA as the executive director of the South County branch, until resigning in 2021 to be a stay-at-home dad and spend more time focusing on his community .
He graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 1987. He earned an associate’s degree in business and law enforcement from the Community College of Rhode Island in 1991 and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Roger Williams University in 2006.
Noret and his family are parishioners of the St. Anthony Parish in West Warwick where he was the Youth Ministry volleyball coach in 2022. He has also spent several years coaching in the West Warwick Basketball League. Born January 21, 1969, he and his wife Julie Aimee (Landroche) Noret have two amazing daughters, Addison and Robbie, and celebrated 26 years of marriage this past September.