Two East Boston women that have made a huge impact on the quality of life for countless fellow residents were picked as 2020 Commonwealth Heroines.
Nina Gaeta Coletta and Magdelena LaBattaglia were honored last week as members of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 2020 class of Commonwealth Heroines.
Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Adrian Madaro recommended Coletta and LaBattaglia for this recognition because of their strong commitment to the East Boston Community.
The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women virtually celebrated the 17th Annual Commonwealth Heroines Class of 2020 with a slideshow provided through a shared link last Wednesday.
As a lifelong East Boston resident, Coletta serves as the Director of the East Boston High School Family Center, where she empowers and mentors families through a range of circumstances.
In addition to ensuring youth have access to fundamental resources through her role as Key
Club advisor, she encourages them to volunteer in a variety of activities, including the community’s annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner and Eastie’s Elves, the largest holiday toy drive in our area.
Coletta is an ardent advocate for improvements to our public schools. She has contributed to numerous community efforts, including the Kiwanis Club, the Impact Advisory Group (IAG) for a major development in our neighborhood, and the Edwards Empowerment Fund.
She has also modeled a love of service to her community for her fellow East Boston residents, instilling in them a strong commitment to civic duty.
“Thank you to State rep Adrian Madaro for nominating me as a Commonwealth Heroine for 2020. It’s brought me great joy to assist families and youth at EBHS,” said Coletta, who has been recovering from a bad bout of COVID-19. “It’s allowed me the opportunity to ensure we all shine our brightest and support my beloved community. Thank you to my family including my husband Ed and my children for their love. Please wear your masks to stop the spread of COVID-19!”
LaBattaglia is Founder and Executive Director of The Harborkeepers, an East Boston based grassroots coastal resiliency organization.
A multilingual native of Argentina who grew up in New York and New Jersey with a Bachelor’s from Montclair University in International Relations, LaBattaglia came to Boston in 2003 to work and raise a family.
She very quickly discovered that Boston, as a coastal city, experiences a dichotomy between socio-political economic progress and the challenge to building equitable resiliency. LaBattaglia said she believes these changes will require shifting the resiliency narrative and making systemic changes in climate resiliency-building, multi-sector collaboration and developing more innovative models of stakeholder engagement.
She brings her extensive experience in community engagement, cross-sector partnership building skills and knowledge of multicultural sensitivity to find points of collaboration between diverse stakeholders in order to advance local, state and regional climate resiliency plans and assure that environmental policies work for more impacted communities.
“I’m humbled and grateful to have this recognition by Senator Boncore’s office and the Commonwealth,” said LaBattaglia. “This critical coastal resiliency work in East Boston would not be possible if it wasn’t for the support, partnerships and collaboration of a wide range of community, city and State stakeholders. I plan on continuing doing that deep resiliency work with passion and dedication until we, as a community, build a more resilient coastal neighborhood.”
The Commonwealth Heroines are women who don’t make the news, but make the difference. Thousands of women in every community of the state perform unheralded acts on a daily basis that make our homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live. Commonwealth Heroines use their time, talent, spirit, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others in their community. They are mentors, volunteers, and innovators who strive to protect and represent the interests of seniors, victims of violence, children, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations. They are the glue that keeps a community together.
“Magdalena embodies the very definition of the Commonwealth’s Unsung Heroines as someone ‘who doesn’t always make the news, but truly makes the difference,’ which is why I was so proud to nominate her for this recognition,” said Sen. Boncore. “Magdalena has a vision for East Boston’s future; one that is equitable, sustainable, and uplifts our entire community. She is a fierce advocate for environmental justice, climate action, and access to recreation. Nina’s commitment to the East Boston community and her dedicated work with our youth make her equally deserving of this recognition. We are so grateful to both Magdalena and Nina for their leadership and service.”
Rep. Madaro called Coletta and LaBattaglia “bedrocks of the Eastie community”.
“Nina’s hard work supporting youth and families across our neighborhood, and Magdalena’s environmental and educational initiatives along our waterfront are outstanding” said Rep. Madaro. “Their tireless dedication and commitment to volunteerism is an inspiration to us all, and we are all thankful for their longtime efforts to foster community spirit. As amazing mentors to East Boston’s youth, Nina and Magdalena’s strength, resiliency, and positive spirit make them both true embodiments of Commonwealth Heroines.”