U.T.B. United Third Bridge, Inc., is a civil rights, educational and cultural 501©3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in New York City on July 5, 1977 and also in Melbourne, Florida in 1998.
As a civil rights, cultural and educational organization, our purpose is to is to further the advancement of minorities in the areas of education, cultural, equal opportunities in employment, housing and social justice. We also encourage and actively support the promotion and advancement of minorities, oppose social, ethnic, religious or sex discrimination, patent or subtle, whether practiced by employers, trade, employees or fraternal organizations: Promote and encourage the education of minorities seeking entrance and advancement in employment and whenever possible, to provide appropriate training and counseling opportunities to meet their needs.
Educating the minorities of their rights of empowerment in government: Local, State, and Federal, by representation through the ballot box, voter registration and voter education.
To develop, through education, a working relationship with city, county, state, federal government and the private sector.
To improve the quality of life of Hispanic Americans and other minorities.
To oppose discrimination based on social, ethnic, religious race or sexual discrimination.
To investigate Civil Rights complaints.
To mediate Civil Rights inequities
U.T.B. has over 200 local members. Some of our accomplishments are:
- The establishment of Equal Employment Opportunity Task Forces with Brevard County to evaluate Affirmative Action Plans regarding employment, construction contracting, and purchasing activities of the County and its affects on the minority community.
- We have also been involved with the County Government assisting in the recruitment of qualified minorities for employment, construction contracting and purchasing.
- The establishment of the John A. Rodriguez Memorial Fund for Hispanic American Police Cadets in 1995 at Eastern Florida State College (formally Brevard Community College) .
- The establishment of the the Irma Lozada Memorial Scholarship for Hispanic American Corrections and Probation cadets in 1996 at Eastern Florida State College (formally Brevard Community College).
- The establishment of the Dr. Ramon S. Velez scholarship for community services at Eastern Florida State College (formally Brevard Community College).
- The establishment of the Roberto Clemente scholarship for baseball players at Eastern Florida State College (formally Brevard Community College).
- In conjunction with Health First, the establishment of a scholarship for nursing students at Eastern Florida State College (formally Brevard Community College).
- The establishment of three additional scholarships in finance, fire fighting and legal assistance at Eastern Florida State College (formally Brevard Community College).
- The establishment of the Maxwell King Education Scholarship at Eastern Florida State College and the University of Florida.
- We are continuously working with the Sheriff’s Department, City of Melbourne, City of Palm Bay and other localities for the hiring of qualified Hispanic police officers, correction officers and probation officers.
- Established an ongoing relationship with the Brevard County School Board in placing qualified Hispanic American and other minorities as teachers.
- Uniting Hispanic minorities by establishing and hosting an annual Miss Latina Pageant in Brevard County.
- The hiring of the first Puerto Rican reporter at Florida Today’s Newspaper.
- Established a Puerto Rican/Hispanic community involvement workshop co-sponsored by Florida Today in the areas of: tourist development, affirmative action plan/equal equal opportunity employment plan, labor unions, voter education, naming of schools and street projects.
- The establishment of a resolution by the County, School Board, the City of Melbourne and the City of Palm Bay, declaring the month of November as Puerto Rican Heritage Month by celebrating our culture, heritage and the contributions Puerto Ricans have made.
- Established the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Inc., and purchased a building to house U.T.B. United Third Bridge Inc., and the Chamber.
- U.T.B. United Third Bridge Inc., along with the help of the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Inc., many community leaders/organizations and the public, was able to finish Phase I and Phase II of the Don Juan Ponce de Leon Landing Statue Project in Melbourne Beach in honor of the 500 year anniversary of the discovery of Florida.
- U.T.B. United Third Bridge Inc., along with the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Inc., Our Lady of Grace Church, other churches, community organizations, the Puerto Rican Defense Fund, other community leaders and the public defeated the Anti-Immigration Ordinance proposed by the Palm Bay City Council.
- U.T.B. United Third Bridge Inc., along with the help of the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Inc, successfully petitioned NASA to send the first Puerto Rican Astronaut aboard a shuttle flight on a mission into space. As a result, Joseph M. Acaba, a Melbourne High School teacher was part of Shuttle Discovery crew in 2009.
- On- going relationship with the Brevard County School System in placing qualified Puerto Rican/Hispanic American and other minorities as school teachers.
- Eighteen years of partnership with the School Board of Brevard County staging the Annual Miss Latina and Miss Puerto Rico Pageants as a tool for young ladies to continue their education by providing the winner with a year’s scholarship at Eastern Florida State College.
- Opened the door of opportunities for other non-profit organizations to have carnivals at the Wickham Park Pavilion.
- The establishment of a resolution by the County, School Board and the City of Palm Bay declaring the month of November as Puerto Rican Heritage Month and celebrating our culture, heritage and acknowledging the contributions Puerto Rican have made to this country in our Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.
- In 2021, we celebrated twenty-five years of the partnership with U.T.B. and The School Board of Brevard County showcasing the diverse Hispanic Cultures of Brevard County in our Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.
- Petitioned the City of Titusville Council to keep the De Leon Street from being renamed.
- On May 15th 2002, we proposed that the Ponce Landing Park be renamed Juan Ponce de Leon Landing Park, it was than submitted to the Board of County Commissioner and approved unanimously.
- Naming of the Roberto Clemente Walker Sports Complex at Heritage High School in Palm Bay.
- Worked in partnership with Time Warner to bring Spanish speaking television cable T.V. to Brevard County.
- U.T.B. Puerto Rican Relief Fund was established after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and we were able to send by cargo ships, close to four hundred thousand (450,000) pounds of needed supplies to the Island.
- Raised money to buy a mobile building for use as a headquarters for assisting Brevard County residents with needed supplies during national disasters. The building was named, “Tikkun Olam”, in honor of a concept in Judaism, which means to take actions that help repair and/or improve the world.
- The completion and installation of the Juan Ponce de Leon Statue at the Historical Landing Site in Melbourne Beach “1513 The First Landing”
- On January 11, 2021 U.T.B.’s founder Samuel C. Lopez sadly passed away unexpectedly in his home. We are committed to carry on his work and legacy.
- On April 15th, 2021, The baseball complex at Fred Poppe Regional Park in Palm Bay was named after Major League Baseball legend Roberto Clemente Walker. U.T.B started proposing this change 25 years ago. This accomplishment occurred after the death of the founder, Samuel C. Lopez who died on Jan 11, 2021.
- On March 10, 2022 the entrance roadway to Palm Bay City Hall was dedicated to his legacy with a naming ceremony and unveiling of, “Samuel C. Lopez Way”. The proposal to name the street after Mr. Lopez was brought forward by former city of Palm Bay Mayor Ed Geier. This road naming celebrates a life well lived and a dedicated man of God, Samuel C. Lopez. May his memory be a blessing for all.
- In August, 2022 U.T.B. created the Samuel Casiano Lopez Memorial Scholarship.
- On October 20,2022 U.T.B. attended our Community partner, Green Gables’ event in a night to remember at Nightmare on Foggy Bluff. Such a spooky experience that helped to raise money for the refurbishment of their historical site.
- On October 21,2022 we had our 25th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade Signature Anniversary Awards Ceremony where we awarded two Samuel Casiano Lopez Memorial Scholarship winners, one a senior from Brevard Public Schools and the other, a student at Eastern Florida State College. We also recognized several community sponsors, co-sponsors, patrons, Puerto Rican people, volunteers, Government officials and artists, all, who helped make this years Florida 25th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade and Multicultural Festival in Memory of the late Samuel C. Lopez possible.
- On October 22,2022 we had our very successful Florida’s 25th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade and Multicultural Festival in Brevard County. There were several participants in attendance along with marchers and floats from all over the state of Florida and from, Puerto Rico, Connecticut and New York. We had 7 food trucks in attendance and over 15 artist’s perform on stage along with several school choirs, marching bands, step groups and dance performers. We are very excited to already begin the planning for next years 2023 Parade and Multicultural events.
- On November 16, 2022 U.T.B. a community partner of Green Gables at Historic River Village sponsored and decorated a Holiday Tree at the Green Gables Festival of Trees. Proceeds will go to the refurbishment of their historical site.
- On November 20,2022 U.T.B. partnered with Train to Succeed to bless over 12 Brevard County families with complete Thanksgiving Meals. Thanksgiving meals were also donated to the Brevard Hispanic Center in Brevard County for distribution.
- On December 21,2022 U.T.B. partnered with Aging Matters, Magnus Solutions and Train To Succeed to bring joy, meals, and gifts to over 30 senior families for the holidays.
- On January 28, 2023 U.T.B. will be participating in Palm Bay’s Multicultural Festival in Brevard County, Florida. We will share and celebrate our Hispanic culture.