The following was originally an email sent on October 14 to Parents and Caregivers by UFT Director of Community and Parent Engagement Nicholas Cruz.
Hispanic Heritage Month ends on Oct. 15. To mark the occasion, I've enjoyed reflecting on the incredible contributions Latino activists have made to our UFT parent and caregiver family. I want to share with you a little information about two such parent leaders, Cassandra Carlo and Maria Francisco.
Maria Francisco immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1989. She is the mother of four children and the grandmother of seven. Maria has 20 years of experience as a paraprofessional and is a member of the UFT Paraprofessionals Chapter's executive board. She volunteers her time with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and in 2019, she received the Maria Portalatin Legacy Award for her volunteer work with the American Federation of Teachers' Latino Caucus. Maria is always there to support UFT parents and caregivers at our annual parent conferences and helps organize the UFT's Go Pink fundraisers for the American Cancer Society.
Cassandra Carlo, a retired teacher, is a core member of the Love Gospel Assembly Church in the Bronx, where she's worked with her husband, Pastor David Carlo, and Deacon Joey Blanco to provide meals, school supplies and other care services to her community since the 1980s. Cassandra was a key figure in the UFT's partnership with the church in December 2020, when the union provided 1,000 meals to hungry and homeless community members. The church also was part of the UFT’s We Feed NYC event in February 2021, census campaigns and voter registration drives.
Thank you to Maria, Cassandra and the many other members of the Latino community who are key figures in the work we do!