Napoleón Barragán Gives Back

A diminutive, handsome man whose graying hair is combed neatly back from his forehead, Napoleón Barragán, the founder, owner and CEO of 1-800-Mattress.com, imparts some of his creative approach to business — along with instruction on a range of business skills — to students of Newcomers High School in Long Island City and of Queens College, who participate in an internship program he has developed.

From February to June, students come to the corporate headquarters of 1-800-Mattress.com, the largest retailer of bedding by phone in the U.S., where they work in departments including marketing, sales, human resources, customer service and legal operations.

"They get the chance to learn how to manage a business, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," says Barragán.

Having immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador in 1968 at age 27, Barragán feels an obligation to give back, particularly to other Latinos trying to make it in the U.S.

"I'm grateful to this country but I don't forget where I came from," he says. "I say [to the students], 'If I can achieve something, you can do better, because you are better prepared.' "


Napoleón Barragán, fundador de 1-800-Matress recibió la Condecoración Nacional al Mérito en Nueva York

Napoléon Barragán de 1-800-Mattress

1-800-Mattress: Founded by Napoleon Barragan with $2,000

Because a Guy from Ecuador Can Sell Soda Off the Back of a Donkey, Then Come Here and Build a $120 Million Business—All It Takes Is a Few Mattresses and an 800 Number

Upcoming LI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Events


Please let me know right away if you plan to attend next week's membership dinner meeting at the Holiday Inn Westbury on Old Country Road from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Remember that the theme is our Latin Art Show, which will feature several local gifted Hispanic artists, who will be selling their extremely unique pieces so bring cash or checks if you're an art lover because they're absolutely outrageous!

This networking event is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC so feel free to invite all of your friends and family for a truly enjoyable evening! Of course, there is the regular minimal cover charge but it does include a delicious dinner on top of the art show, and the Holiday Inn Westbury always goes above and beyond any other hotel as far as hosting events!

Salsa Dinner Cruise to the Statue of Liberty July 17th!

Note that the date to our Salsa Dinner Cruise to the Statue of Liberty has changed to Thursday, July 17th. The Skyline Princess will set sail from Port Washington's Marina at 6:00pm SHARP so you must arrive no later than 5:30pm for registration.

CDC/SBX Core Four Business Development Series in Spanish!

The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Smart Business Exchange (SBX) is partnering with the Community Development Corporation of Long Island (CDC) to offer a Core 4 Business Planning Course for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners in SPANISH on four consecutive Tuesdays: July 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the SBX located at 3075 Veteran's Memorial Highway, Suite 201 in Ronkonkoma. There is a $40 charge to cover materials. LIHCC members can apply for a scholarship to help cover these costs. Please contact Lisbeth Torres for more info or to register at (631) 471-1215 ext. 155 or email her at ltorres@cdcli.org. You can also visit www.cdcli.org or www.lihcc.org for more info.

20th Anniversary Celebration Gala Oct. 11th!

Please mark you calendars today for our 20th Anniversary Celebration Gala on Saturday, October 11th at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale next to the Colisseum off the Meadowbrook Parkway on Hempstead Turnpike. Sponsorship Opportunities are now available.

Maria Morales-Prieto
Executive Director
Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Tel. 516-256-2483
Fax 516-256-2463


Manorhaven Voters Oust Anti-Latino Mayor


Latinos of Manorhaven won an important victory yesterday with the ouster incumbent Mayor Nicholas Capozzi. He is the politician shown on NYC's Channel 2 making, denying and then excusing these racist anti-Latino comments:

“The Spaniolis are rolling all over the [expletive] place … It looks like [expletive] Harlem. It looks worse than Harlem. It’s a [expletive] hole over there.”
The public airing of the mayor's racist rant prompted outraged Latino and nonLatino Manorhaven residents to protest. When a petition demanding the mayor's resignation was ignored, residents then took the opportunity afforded by yesterday's mayoral vote to evict the disgraced Capozzi from power.

The voters instead chose local postal official, environmental activist and zoning board member, Michael Meehan, as mayor. Meehan, whose wife is of Guatemalan heritage, campaigned in part on improving village relations with the Latino community.

Congratulations to Meehan and the good people of Manorhaven.

Manorhaven Residents Protest Mayor's Comments
Hot-button issues in Manorhaven mayoral race
Capozzi Does Damage Control While Residents Seethe


Latin American Consulates Unite to Assist NY Area Immigrants

A Coalition of Latin American Consulates in New York has been formed in order to strengthen representation and improve services for their immigrant communities.

Each country's consulate will still maintain separate diplomatic functions and be solely responsible for issuing documents, but the group plans to work together on issues they consider common to their immigrant populations - from holding informational "consular fairs" and public health screenings to meeting as a group with U.S. immigration officials.

The consular coalition also hopes to present a more united front in the U.S. immigration debate - not by taking a political position, but by working to defend immigrant communities many feel have been vilified by the tone of the debate.

Coalition members include Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.


Alan Garcia Beats the Odds

Alan Garcia, 22 years old, is the jockey who rode Da'Tara to an upset victory over Triple Crown contender Big Brown in the Long Island Belmont Stakes this past Saturday. Da'Tara was a 38-1 long shot.

Native of Lima, Peru, Garcia currently resides in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

Big Brown


LI Immigrant Alliance Offers Workshop

Long Island Immigrant Alliance



The current anti-immigrant climate is contributing to human rights abuses and is dividing our communities. We at LIIA are launching a public education campaign to counter anti-immigrant rhetoric, educate our communities, and dispel myths about immigration. Attend to learn how to educate those in your community and your place of work. Join us in speaking out for immigrants on Long Island.

Central Islip


American Jewish Committee∙Hofstra University∙Jobs with Justice∙LION∙LI WINS∙Workplace Project


Latino Unemployment Spikes

According to a new report by the Pew Research Center, the unemployment rate for Latinos in the U.S. rose to 6.5% in the first quarter of 2008, well above the 4.7% rate for all non-Latinos.

The spike in Latino unemployment has hit immigrants especially hard. Their unemployment rate was 7.5% in the first quarter of this year, marking the first time since 2003 that a higher percentage of foreign-born Latinos was unemployed than native-born Latinos.

Some 52.5% of working-age Latinos (ages 16 and older) are immigrants. Latinos make up 14.2% of the U.S. labor force.

Latino Labor Report, 2008: Construction Reverses Job Growth for Latinos