THE DETROIT NEWS, by Mark Hicks
Excerpt: Raquel Castaneda-Lopez recognizes her high-profile position as the Detroit City Council’s first Latina member.
But having connected with people from many backgrounds over the years is an asset for her new role. “That’s really what shaped me,” the southwest Detroit native said Wednesday night. “My hope is to be able to represent those diverse perspectives.”
A ceremonial swearing-in was held for Castaneda-Lopez, the newly elected Detroit council member from the 6th District, who officially takes office in January. Castaneda-Lopez’s presence on the council represents a new chapter in the city’s history.
Written by supporters of Raquel Castaneda-Lopez
Born and raised in Southwest Detroit, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez understands the gifts and challenges of living in our community. As the third of eight children, she grew up in poverty, helping to care for her siblings after her immigrant father passed away.
Inspired by her mentors and peers at Alternatives for Girls, Raquel pursued a career in social work. A first-generation college student, Raquel earned her Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Montana and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Michigan.
Raquel has both global experience, working with leading social entrepreneurs in India, and local Detroit-based community organizing experience working with multiple non-profits in the area. In addition, Raquel has been civically engaged her whole life, including managing the campaign for State Representative Rashida Tlaib. Raquel currently coordinates a nationally-recognized student service program with the Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies at Wayne State University, helping students from our community get into college. Spending the time to listen to each and every residents' concerns was vital to building her political platform.
Through her grassroots campaign for Detroit City Council, Raquel has strengthened community ties and connected with residents by knocking on nearly 7,000 homes. She is backed with the endorsements of State Representative Rashida Tlaib, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) of Michigan, the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association and the Michigan Spanish-Speaking Democrats. In a race filled with candidates new to District 6 and community issues, Raquel is the only Latina candidate with long, active ties in her community. Raquel's international and domestic work experience, passion and experience with the community, make her the only candidate able to bring the true voice of District 6 to Detroit City Council. Raquel knows that now is the time for change in Detroit, and she is ready to be the voice our community so desperately needs.
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