WXXI AM News

Ibero honors one of its founders

Feb 13, 2018

The Ibero-American Action League is celebrating its 50th year by honoring a founding member.

There was music, stories and official proclamations as Ibero officially renamed its main office and East Main Street building after Father Laurence Tracy, who has dedicated his life to the religious, educational, and cultural development of the Latino Community.

Long-time friend and former president and CEO at Ibero, Julio Vazquez, says he met Fr. Tracy in 1966, and says he loves his humility, and Father Tracy's great love for the Latino community.

"He immediately became a great mentor to me and other young leaders in our Puerto Rican community.  Little did we know then that he would devote the rest of his life toward the Hispanic community here in Rochester," he said.

Many others gathered at the new Laurence Tracy Administration building to praise the work of Tracy, including the President and CEO of Ibero, Hilda Rosario Escher, who says Fr. Tracy is a pioneer and great advocate for the Latino community.

Father Tracy is now 77 years old, and he told the gathering that says he sounds like a frog because of ALS.

Father Laurence Tracy and Ibero President and CEO Hilda Rosario Escher at today's dedication

But he jokes "don't call me froggy."

He credits others for making Ibero what is today, and he's humbled by the dedication of the building in his name.

"Let's continue the struggle. There's a lot to do," he said.

Father Tracy was ordained a priest in 1960 and accepted the call to work with Hispanics.

He studied Spanish at the Catholic University in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

In 1968 Father Tracy helped found Ibero-American Action League, a dual language human services agency.

Rochester City Council member Jackie Ortiz says Fr. Tracy has been an inspiration.

"He has been a huge advocate for education, and overcoming poverty.  And really, to this day, is still a fighter and assists others in being that role model and pushing leaders like myself and those in the community to also do the best that we can in order to serve the residents that we're supposed to," she said.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Rochester Deputy Mayor Cedric Alexander with a proclamation today: