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Leadership Award

 Carmen Arroyo 

New York State Assembly
Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, New York

In 1994, Carmen Arroyo became the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic woman elected to the New York State Assembly. She was also the first Puerto Rican woman elected to any state assembly in the United States.

Since then, Arroyo has represented her Bronx district with what The Village Voice calls "a mixture of political pragmatism and deep sense of moral responsibility."

Arroyo immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico in 1964. Her seven children soon joined her. When her young children became sick and she could not find childcare, Arroyo sought public assistance. And her life as an advocate for people in need began.

During that time she organized other welfare recipients to form the South Bronx Action Group. When the group received federal funds, Arroyo became the executive director and expanded its tenants advocacy services to include employment, health and adult education. She worked for the group until she was elected to the New York State Assembly.

In the Assembly, Arroyo's committee assignments have included Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Children and Families; and Education and Aging.

Legislative organizations that Arroyo actively supports involved with include the Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the Women's Caucus, the National Order of Women Legislators, and the New York City Commission on the Status of Women.

Arroyo received her Associate degree from Hostos Community College in 1978. She continued her education at the College of New Rochelle. In 1980, at the age of 44, she received her Bachelors degree.

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