Valencia discusses the concerns of the Puerto Rican community during her tenure as Executive Director of the Hispanic Association of Ocean County, 1981-1989. 1980’s concerns reflected long-standing issues of language and housing with a smaller emphasis on employment. Valencia describes confronting a factory union on behalf of the community and a youth development program she instituted that earmarked school dropouts as individuals for leadership roles. She speaks of the need to pay attention to and to develop youth, to provide them opportunities to experience life and to get involved. Valencia addresses how she helped develop the Hispanic Association of Ocean County beyond an ESL and multi-services organization. That growth coincided with her own growth as an activist as she became involved at the state level. In particular, her involvement with the Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey (PRC) and the Hispanic Working Group, at the time an advisory committee to the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Valencia would eventually become Chair of both organizations. Valencia attributes her success as an activist, in part, to her fluency in two cultures: born in the United States and identifying as Puerto Rican has helped her navigate both cultural worlds toward establishing social justice. Clip 1 of 2 clips.
Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey