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Votar es Poder

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Voting is Power

Join the Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics in celebrating Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month by joining us for a powerful conversation with local Latinx leaders. Speakers will discuss how they got involved in their community, the importance of voting, and how to make an impact on issues important to the Latinx community. 

Speakers Include:

  • Shantel Alix, Director of Community Building for the North Shore Community Development Coalition
  • Manny Cruz, Massachusetts State Representative (7th Essex - Salem)
  • Camila Diaz, President of Pre-Law Society and Berry IOP Program Assistant


Shantel Alix, Director of Community Building for the North Shore Community Development Coalition

As the Director of Community Building, Shantel provides strategic direction and oversight of community building and economic development programs. She has a demonstrable background in community advocacy, equitable housing, social services, and economic development. One of her key objectives is to develop a community voter engagement plan that combats voter suppression while strengthening civic engagement. Her approach takes into account a diversity, equity and inclusion lens and she is passionate about immigration and LGBTQ+ issues. Beyond her role at NSCDC, she currently serves on the board of Project Out, the Civic Engagement Advisory Board at Salem State University, Trans Leadership Academy Advisory Board for  MTPC, Prep and Shine Study with Fenway Health and Brown University, and has recently been appointed to the City of Salem’s Race Equity Commission where she will continue her work by elevating the voices of those who are underrepresented in city government.


Manny Cruz, Massachusetts State Representative (7th Essex - Salem)

Manny Cruz is an elected school committee member, entrepreneur, and community leader in the city of Salem and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Upon graduating from the Salem Public Schools, he attended Salem State University and he later transferred to Northeastern University where he graduated with honors and a degree in Political Science. Manny previously served as the legislative aide for former State Representative Juana Matias (D, Lawrence) and State Representative Paul F. Tucker (D, Salem) where he specialized in education and immigration policy. In 2017 Manny became an elected member of the Salem School Committee where he now serves the students and families of the Salem Public School District. Manny is the first Afro-Latino of Dominican descent to serve on the Salem School Committee. He has been appointed to the Personnel, Policy, and Building and Grounds subcommittees, and also serves as the school committee’s liaison on student voice. Manny now serves as the Advocacy Director for Latinos for Education and leads organizations efforts to close the digital divide, scale up early college and is the senior policy advisor to the Educator Diversity Act Coalition. On his personal time, Manny is a mentor for youth and is highly involved with youth-serving organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, and LEAP for Education. He serves on the boards of LEAP for Education, The Massachusetts Alliance for Early College and Plummer Youth Promise. In 2022 he was successfully elected to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and became the first Afro-Latino State Representative for the 7th Essex District Salem.


Camila Diaz, President of Pre-Law Society and Berry IOP Program Assistant

Camila Diaz is a junior at Salem State University and is pursuing a Politics, Policy and International relations degree with a concentration in American Government, Law and Policy. Camila is involved on campus and is engaged beyond her academics. She is the President of Pre-Law Society, a Resident Assistant, a member of Theta Phi Alpha, a Program Assistant at the Berry IOP, and is involved in other organizations and clubs. Camila has a keen interest in immigration and is dedicated to uplift marginalized voices. She is a big advocate of voter registration, civic engagement, education and access for people.


This event will be in-person in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Room on the second floor of the Ellison Campus Center. Registration is not required. Please come and join us! 

When 12:00pm
Ellison Campus Center, North Campus
1 Meier Drive, Salem, MA 01970
Martin Luther King, Jr. Room
Samantha Giffen

For access and accommodation information, visit our page on access or email

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