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      Connected | March 1, 2024

      Celebrating LatinXcellence throughout Massachusetts

      Roxanna Sarmiento

      Written by

      Roxanna Sarmiento


      In the heart of Salem, where history and innovation meet, a celebration of Latino excellence is set to begin — and you’re invited to meet three Massachusetts leaders featured in the ALX100 exhibition at PEM.

      Amplify LatinX is proud that PEM is hosting the finale of the 2023 ALX100 exhibition, the first to honor 100 exceptional Latino leaders who have made indelible marks in their fields and communities in Massachusetts. We created the ALX100 Awards in 2023 to recognize and celebrate the contributions of local Latino leaders. From unsung heroes to trailblazing professionals, the honorees represent a diverse array of backgrounds, experiences and accomplishments, and we can’t wait for you to meet them.

      Our champions, like Dan Rivera, President and CEO of MassDevelopment, advocate vigorously for vulnerable communities. Dan was born in Bronx, New York and raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts by an immigrant single mother from the Dominican Republic.

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      His upbringing in the Massachusetts public school system and experience as a U.S Army veteran led to a passion for economic and social engagement for the Massachusetts Latino community. As mayor of the City of Lawrence from 2014 to 2021, he led through challenges such as the management of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the settlement of city collective bargaining agreements. His path serves as a testament to what resilience, hard work and dedication can achieve no matter where you come from.

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      The inspiring Ivanna Solana, a Black Latina leader who has ignited change and empowerment for Latina girls, is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. Her work is centered in dismantling systems that marginalize Black and Brown girls.

      As the founder and Executive Director of Love Your Magic, a grassroots organization that organizes school partnerships, summer camps and free youth conferences, she is committed to nurturing the healthy development of Black and Brown girls, guiding them toward a future full of possibilities and empowerment. She sees the magic in her community and leverages her knowledge and power to uplift the generations to come.

      Manny Cruz is a graduate of the Salem Public School system, where his experiences inspired his service. Manny has empowered his community through spearheading issues connected with housing, healthcare and legal services. Manny’s passion for education found a new outlet in 2017 when he made history as the first Afro-Latino member elected to the Salem School Committee.

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      In his work, Manny has ensured that families and students receive the resources and support they deserve. In 2022, Manny's commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable system led to his election as the first Afro-Latino State Representative for the 7th Essex District. Manny continues to touch the lives of those he serves.

      Since its debut at the Boston Public Library on September 14, the ALX100 exhibit has traveled across the Commonwealth, making stops at prominent institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Public Library, the Wentworth Institute of Technology, Worcester’s Union Station, the MassLive building in Springfield and the Lawrence Public Library. As you explore the ALX100 exhibition at PEM, you’ll encounter a diverse array of stories and achievements that showcase the breadth and depth of “LatinXcellence” in our state. From business innovators to community organizers, each honoree has contributed to the cultural, social and economic fabric of Massachusetts and beyond.

      The ALX100 exhibition will be open to the public from February 29 to March 12, 2024, in PEM’s Garden Atrium and East India Marine Hall. Visitors are invited to explore the exhibit during museum hours and immerse themselves in the stories of local Latino leaders.

      The closing reception will take place March 12, 2024, from 6:30–9 pm at PEM. This special event offers an opportunity for attendees to engage with each other, meet some of the honorees and learn about Amplify LatinX’s impact in 2023 and plans for 2024. Registration is required for the closing reception, and attendees are encouraged to reserve spots in advance. We hope to see you there!

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