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PART ONE: Providence’s First Hispanic Mayor, Angel Taveras

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


As the first Hispanic mayor of the city of Providence, Angel Taveras embodies the reality of a city with an ethnic background that is constantly evolving. As he greets the press, he answers questions with a firm voice and a straight gaze. His words constantly emphasize education and employment as the root of economic crisis.

Skeptical comments about his strength of character have not ruffled Angel Taveras’ cool. He lifts the relaxed look behind his glasses and greets his voters with a firm handshake. The strength of the first Hispanic mayor of Providence becomes evident as he fervently speaks about his plans to push Providence toward a better future.

Without an ounce of shame, Taveras reveals that he has dealt with the stress by indulging in chocolate cake, in addition to exercising. Aside from the qualities of chocolate as a stress reliever and the jolt of energy it provides (called “runner’s high”), this seems like the perfect dessert: the Cocoa Tree is native from Central and South America.

Under his peaceful demeanor, Taveras carries the strong character that has allowed people with immigrant ancestry to survive in foreign territory. As a son of first generation Dominican immigrants in Rhode Island, he broke from the socio-economic barriers that most Latinos face on a daily basis. The strength of his character shows through his many accomplishments: From a working class family of low income, he rose to graduate from Harvard and engaged in a successful career as a lawyer.

In a city with a growing Hispanic population, there are many roadblocks on the hiring of bilingual staff and a noticeable segregation between groups of diverse Hispanic ancestry. The Hispanic community expects Taveras to be the figure through which Providence can achieve unity as he stands to provide a better quality of life for the needs of the working class. “¡Todos los Hispanos estamos con él!,” commented Rafael Nuñez, the owner of Quisqueya Meat Market, a Hispanic business in Broad Street. “All of us Hispanics are supporting him”.

Hispanic families have strong ties. Taveras cheerfully speaks about how his family has empowered him and at the same time kept him level headed. “I still had to take out the trash today.” As a child, Taveras grew up in Rhode Island and received support through the federally funded Head Start program that aids children of low income families. He experienced first-hand the government’s impact on children and how it can transform their lives through education. He intends to actively pursue the best interest of the children as someone who can relate to them , went to the same type of schools, and shares similar experiences. Years ago, his involvement in the improvement of education led him to create an after-school program in a Community Center. “Without education, I would not be where I am today.” 


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