Rep. Adrian Madaro and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC) recently honored NOAH’s (Neighborhood of Affordable Housing) Manlio Mendez as a Latinx Trailblazer for his continued impact on the East Boston community despite grim challenges.
Madaro nominated Mendez for his many contributions to Eastie through his work with NOAH and beyond.
Mendez was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States in 1992. He moved to Boston in 1995. He overcame the challenges many new immigrants face, including learning English, obtaining legal status, finding work, and a decent, safe affordable home. But he loved the city and the opportunities Boston offered.
In 2003, Mendez began working as a community organizer at NOAH and now serves as their Senior Community Organizer.
For years, Mendez has helped countless new immigrants transition to life in the United States by teaching them English, providing information about resources to support their families, and uplifting the leadership of community members who are eager to create positive change.
Mendez leads NOAH’s ESOL programming, 2020 Census outreach, citizenship classes, and community building efforts.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Mendez has led efforts to distribute food and basic necessities to residents impacted by economic and food insecurity.
Madaro said Mendez’s passion is to help others learn the skills necessary to organize for social justice.
“Manlio (Mendez) is committed to helping our neighbors learn and grow their leadership skills, and to have patience with the process of creating positive community change,” said Madaro. “I am incredibly proud to be able to nominate Manlio for this year’s award. He is an incredible organizer and force for change in East Boston and among our Latinx community. I deeply appreciate all of his hard work, dedication, and commitment to our neighborhood”.
The annual celebration recognized the rich cultural history of the Massachusetts Latinx community and serves as a valuable opportunity to learn from one another.
“I have always believed the diversity of the Commonwealth is one of its greatest assets, and celebrating cultural heritage not only instills a sense of personal pride, events like this allow others to share in that celebration, which fosters understanding and appreciation and makes our state a better place for all,” said Speaker Robert DeLeo.
The event was filled with powerful remarks offered by nominees, who served as a testament to the resilience and innovation of the rising population of Latinos across the Commonwealth who continually impact their communities despite challenges.
“The Latino contributions are shaping a new and diverse Massachusetts,” said Chairman of the MBLLC, Representative Carlos González (D-Springfield). “We are teachers, principals, nurses, doctors, builders, motivators and are motivated to make a difference in our communities for the next generation. Somos un pueblo – we are one community.”
Nominated by legislators of the House and Senate, each 2020 Latinx Trailblazer has demonstrated exceptional leadership and served as powerful reminders that leadership means a dedicated investment in the power of community.
The MBLLC was created in 1973, with the intent to be a leading voice on Beacon Hill for communities of color across Massachusetts.