Elba Cabrera, "La Madrina de las Artes" 
(September 10, 1933 - May 10, 2024) 

Elba Cabrera was a cherished member of the Hostos, Bronx and New York City communities. The youngest of renown activist sisters, “Las Tres Hermanas,” Elba had an immense impact on the lives of Puerto Rican and Latino residents in the Bronx and across New York City. Elba will be warmly remembered for her life-long efforts to improve education, promote social justice, and foster a vibrant cultural and artistic community. 

Elba migrated to East Harlem from Puerto Rico with her widowed mother before she was two years old. In high school she studied secretarial skills and bookkeeping, and she spent much of her early career selling shoes and hosiery with the retail workers union. She married just before she turned 19 and raised her two sons in the Bronx, first in the Gun Hill Houses and later in Co-op City. When her sons were in college, Elba graduated from State University of New York at Old Westbury. After earning her degree, she worked as the assistant director for the Association of Hispanic Arts and earned her sobriquet, “La Madrina de las artes,” as she  identified and nurtured talented musicians, artists, photographers, sculptors, poets and writers and promoted Hispanic arts.

Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, the chancellor of the City University of New York and former president of Hostos Community College stated, “Elba opened the doors of opportunity to hundreds of artists, particularly Puerto Rican and Latino ones, through her institutional roles or through her personal networks." He added, “In a world full of bitter rivalries and conflicting egos, Elba provided a unifying voice and trusted ally that brought people together and got things done.”

Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. remembers Elba’s devotion to her community, "Elba poured her heart and soul into her work as an administrator, community organizer, and television and radio host. She served with distinction at – to name only a few – the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts; the Association of Hispanic Arts; the Girl Scouts of the USA; and Hostos Community College, where she was a founding member of the Hostos Foundation Board." 

The Hostos community will dearly miss Elba and the many contributions that she, as well as her sisters Evalina López Antonetty and Lilliana López, made at Hostos and in the New York during her lifetime. Together, their story illustrates the power of unity to affect positive change, and their memory, which is captured in will serve as an inspiration to many. 

If you would like to help us continue the legacy of Elba's work of uplifting diverse artists and celebrating art and culture in the Bronx, please complete the giving form below to contribute to the Elba Cabrera, La Madrina de las Artes, Fund for the Arts. All proceeds will benefit the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture.​


 

Hostos Community College Foundation

500 Grand Concourse, D-214

Bronx, NY 10451

Attn: Romain Suinat

If sending a check, please make payable to:

Hostos Community College Foundation

 

 

 
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Hostos Community College Foundation | Division of Institutional Advancement

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