STATE HOUSE — In conjunction with the Dominican Independence and Heritage Award Committee of Rhode Island, Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) and former state Sen. Juan Pichardo will host the Dominican Republic Independence Anniversary and Heritage Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Providence Marriott Hotel at 1 Orms St.

The celebration will commemorate the anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s independence from Haiti, which took place on Feb. 27, 1844.

“The celebration of this important historic moment is the perfect time to reflect on the impact Dominican culture continues to have on Rhode Island,” said Representative Diaz. “We have seen how the experience and customs of Dominicans have helped shape the state both culturally and politically. On this day every year, I am proudest when we introduce so many skilled and talented Dominican-Americans from all walks of life to celebrate their achievements.”

This year’s ceremony will recognize outstanding individuals who represent the best of the Dominican-American community’s efforts to make Rhode Island a better place for the last 15 years, including Grace Gonzalez for outstanding community leadership, Jose Luis Suazo for outstanding contribution to Dominican art, Rene Taveras for outstanding Dominican business leadership, Francisco Ramirez for outstanding contribution to Dominican sport in Rhode Island, Franklin Solano for outstanding Dominican youth talent, Silka Disla Fabian for outstanding Dominican public servant in Rhode Island, Dr. Jose Polanco for outstanding Dominican science, For Dominican Outstanding contribution to education Victor Capellan, and Gov. Gina Raimondo for outstanding support of the Dominican community in Rhode Island.

The ceremony will also recognize two Dominican institutions. The Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic will be honored in appreciation of its support to the Dominican Community in Rhode Island.

Also, the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic will be honored in appreciation of its support to the Dominican Community in Rhode Island.

The event will also feature three posthumous awards for members of the Dominican-American community who passed recently, including Laura Rodriguez, Josefina Rosario (Doña Fefa) and Raymond Lavandier for their contribution to the advancement of the Dominican-American Community in Rhode Island. Their families are expected to accept the awards.

Representative Diaz and former Senator Juan Pichardo are the founders of the Dominican Independence Award Committee and annual celebration, which has shed light on the many contributions of Dominican-Americans in Rhode Island for the last 15 years.