Massachusetts notable latinos

Gaston, Mauricio Miguel (1947-1986). Mauricio Miguel Gaston played a very important role in the struggle for Latino rights in Massachusetts. Born in La Habana, Cuba, on September 10, 1947, Mauricio Gaston migrated to the United States shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1960. He attended Princeton University, graduating in 1969 with a degree in architecture; he then attended the Harvard University School of Design. In 1981 he received a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty at the Center for Community Planning of the University of Massachusetts College of Public and Community Service in 1980. As a faculty member his research focused on the patterns of investment that displaced the black and Latino communities from the areas where they lived. Gaston succumbed to AIDS in 1986. In 1989, the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy was founded at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Its goals have been to improve understanding of Latino experiences and living conditions in Massachusetts.

Merced, Nelson (1948-). Merced is a former executive director of Alianza Hispana of Boston, which provides social and educational services to the city’s Latino population. He was a founding member and first president of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a nationally recognized community development organization. Merced served as deputy director for policy and planning for the city of Boston and as a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which made him the first Latino to hold statewide office in Massachusetts in 1987. While in public office, he served the most racially and ethnically diverse district in the commonwealth, wrote legislation creating the Urban Initiative Fund, and was a key legislative leader for the first bill that sought to establish community reinvestment mandates for the insurance industry.

Arroyo, Felix (1949-). Born in Puerto Rico and possessing a master’s in education from the University of Puerto Rico, Arroyo became the first Latino elected to the Boston City

Council in January 2003. In November 2003, Councilor Arroyo was reelected to a second term, and then again to his third term in January 2005. Arroyo’s electoral victory resulted from his cultivation of an expansive and progressive multiracial political base, transforming him into the biggest Latino vote getter in Massachusetts history.

Otero, Nora (1953-). Nora Otero has served the Latino community as a mental health worker in both the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, in Lawrence, and the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC), in Boston. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nora Otero migrated with her family to the United States from Mexico in 1987. She has a master’s degree in education, holds an appointment as a Harvard teaching fellow, and serves as both clinical instructor in psychiatry and team leader at the MMHC.

Barrios, Jarrett (1968-). Democrat Jarrett Barrios currently serves in the Massachusetts State Senate, where he represents Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Charlestown, Allston, and parts of Revere, Saugus, and Somerville. Barrios studied at Harvard and received a law degree from Georgetown University. In 1998 he began his legislative career in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 2002 he was elected to the state Senate, and he was reelected unopposed in both 2004 and 2006. Barrios is one of five openly homosexual members of the Massachusetts General Court. Elected as a state senator, he is among the most influential Latinos in Massachusetts politics. He is currently running for district attorney of Middlesex County, a position which is seen as a launching pad for statewide office. Sanchez, Jeffrey (1969-). Jeffery Sanchez, a member of the Democratic Party, ran unopposed for the 15th District of Suffolk County in 2006. His election to the state legislature represents the first time that Latinos have had a voice in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives since Nelson Merced’s term in the 1980s.

Martinez, Pedro Jamie (1971-). Pedro Jamie Martinez, born in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic, was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1997, and short thereafter he received the largest contract by any major league pitcher. With 200 wins, Martinez holds the highest-winning percentage for any major league baseball pitcher. He played a key role in the 2004 championship, when the Red Sox’s 86-year-period with no national titles ended. He is considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.

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