The following article originally published by Voices of NY.
The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association of the East End of Long Island has elected it first Latina board member, Paola Zuniga-Tellez, who was born in Mexico, came to the U.S. as a teenager, and has lived on the East End since 2005, reports Kelly Zegers of the Riverhead News-Review.
“Ms. Zuniga-Tellez, a 31-year-old mother of two, said she ran for the uncontested seat with the goal of getting the community to work together. It’s about educating everyone about what’s going on in the community, she said.
‘I believe I have that in my blood,’ she said. ‘I’m eager to learn and I talked for those who don’t have a voice.'”
Indeed, it was Zuniga-Tellez who suggested that the board translate its meetings into Spanish “in real time,” so as to encourage participation and civic engagement. The new board member has been active in the community for a long time, working with organizations such as SEPA Mujer.
“Siris Barrios, community liaison for Riverside Rediscovered, who Ms. Zuniga-Tellez calls a mentor, agreed that the FRNCA board is now a better representation of the area’s population.
‘There’s a desperate need for a bridge [between the] non-Latino community and the Latino community and I believe she will play that role,’ Ms. Barrios said of Ms. Zuniga-Tellez.”
Go to Riverhead News-Review to read more about Zuniga-Tellez and what she hopes to achieve.