Working with Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco Ahead of a Historic Moment

Richard Blanco, who became the first Latino to be chosen as presidential inaugural poet, is becoming a part of history once more. The poet has been selected to participate in the ceremony to formally re-designate the U.S. Interests Section in Havana as a U.S. Embassy, and RockOrange is working with him as he gets ready to head back to the country of his roots.

The historic ceremony, where Secretary of State John Kerry will raise the American flag over the embassy, will take place on August 14. It marks the first time an American secretary of state visits Cuba since 1945. Blanco will read a poem he has written especially for the occasion, evoking the stories of the people on both sides of the Florida Straits, separated by 90 miles of sea, yet connected by complex emotional ties.

“As a poet, and as a Cuban-American, I am proud and grateful for the opportunity to be part of this historic moment,” Blanco said. “It is a true honor to return to the country of my roots in this capacity, and commemorate this step in improving relations between the United States and Cuba.”

This poem is sure to be as emotive and poignant as “One Today,” the poem he recited at the second swearing-in ceremony for President Barack Obama in 2013. Blanco wrote “One Today” taking inspiration from his own life story, which now comes full circle. A Cuban-American raised in Miami, he has become a public voice since the presidential inauguration, and is now called upon once again to take the emotional pulse of the nation at this historic moment.

Blanco was born in Madrid to Cuban exiles, and shortly after his birth, his parents settled in New York. A few years later, their journey took them further south, and they finally settled in Miami, where Blanco grew up surrounded by Cuban culture, but not visiting the country of his parents until 1994.

Today, he has become an example of Hispanics reaching the American Dream, and taking it further than others have before.

#JonVoyage: A Farewell To Stewart and His Best ‘Daily Show’ Moments

Many folks around the Internets today are writing elegies for Jon Stewart’s 16-year run as host of “The Daily Show,” so if that’s what you’re looking for, you can go here, or here, or here. Even here, if you really want to.

But at RockOrange, we wanted to share something a bit different. We surveyed our #RockStars, asking them to share their favorite moments from the comic-turned-fake newsman’s run from late night afterthought to influential world-changer.

David Quiñones, VP of Content

After the financial collapse of 2008, a lot of people let the journalists who covered finance and banking off the hook. Stewart didn’t. In March 2009, he hosted Jim Cramer — the most visible financial reporter in the country, thanks to his popular “Mad Money” platform — and proceeded to eviscerate Cramer for his lack of foresight and integrity in covering the industry that had brought Wall St. and Main St. to their knees. Charging Cramer and his CNBC cohorts with shirking their journalistic responsibilities by parroting what their corporate sources told them, he showed how the “buy-sell” crowd Cramer represents often winds up as no more than shills.

It was brutal. It was honest. In that moment, it was very important for our larger understanding of how the financial crisis came to be. And watching Cramer squirm was hilarious.


Stefanie Arufe, Social Media Manager

My favorite J-Stewart moment on “The Daily Show” has to be, without a doubt. the Bush v. Bush debate. Seriously, perfection. What better way is there to clearly, hilariously, and simply make a point about flip-flopping? Cutting through politically vague jargon by pinning a politician against his worst enemy — himself! GENIUS.


Rosanna Castro, Account Supervisor

Jon Stewart’s appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” is part of the reason that show is no longer on the air. After making that show a frequent target on “The Daily Show,” Stewart took his critique to the next level when he appeared on the show to tell them to stop hurting America.

Also, I’ll always remember his first post-9/11 show. Stewart and his staff returned to work with a somber opening reflecting on the tragedy that had unfolded just over a week before. His honest monologue at the start of this episode was a hallmark of his career.


Rocio Gonzalez, Editorial Manager

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, D.C., because I was there! This was one of the best things that came out of the Stewart/Stephen Colbert partnership. Fans of their shows (and civil discourse as a concept) came together (with some awesome signs) in a call for… well, sanity in politics and the media.


Sergio Claudio, VP of Digital Innovation & Strategy

For me, it has to be Indecision 2008. Seeing “The Daily Show’s” live coverage of the historic moment when Jon Stewart announces Obama as the next president of the U.S. and watching Colbert shed a tear.


Monique Gonzalez, Senior Account Director

Jon Stewart’s monologue after the Charleston mass shooting was an example of Stewart dealing with the more “serious” side of the news. Unlike his usual stuff, this included no jokes, no fun remarks. He went straight into the issue of gun violence and why he believes these incidents will continue to take place.

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