first Latina president of Allentown city council

Photo by Anaya Battle ’22

We moved to America for a better life. For better social and economic opportunities. My family and I moved here from the Dominican Republic when I was just a child. Arriving in Allentown I experienced a community that was filled with diversity and although a difficult move I found a great deal of help and support from those in the community.

After arriving I saw a community that was growing. Particularly I remember how the Latino and Syrian communities were one. This created a mentality that stuck with me as when there were issues ‘They were everyone’s problems.’ Such a warm interaction with Allentown at my young age was a spark for what is now my love for the community and all those in it.

Now since I have been working on the council since 2012 and have made it my purpose to serve the people, giving a voice to the voiceless. As head of the Allentown council, I go further than that and make sure to keep my feet grounded in the community and demonstrate my love for the city through my presence. I tend to go to many different events. I go to funerals, I go to weddings, to baptisms… Everywhere I go I make sure that I listen. This constant interaction with the community has been a huge factor in what has been my time on the council. In my term as a councilwoman, I have helped to establish Allentown’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and Black History Month collaborated in the creation of Women’s History Month and introduced a proclamation to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day. Everything that I do has to do with the community base.

This dedication to Allentown and its community is something that I celebrate in my personal life as I make a point of taking my friends that visit Allentown all over the community. I make sure they get to know the people and the diversity that we have. This means taking my friends to restaurants, to Center City, and the bodegas scattered across town. Although maybe not typical attractions it is in these small things that I see the most value as they show the amazing diversity that we have.

I have been very fortunate to be a councilwoman in Allentown and there is no community that I would rather be a part of. Allentown is for me home and will always be the place that I return to no matter where I visit.

Interviewed by Nate Henty Brown ’22, photo by Anaya Battle ’22

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