I was born in Cape Verde and raised by my uncle before coming to the United States at the age of 10 to live with my mother in a Roxbury housing project. One of my first memories is getting an award from Mayor Ray Flynn at the age of 12 for an emergency delivery of my aunt's baby at home. Feeling called to service, I started my first job as a Peer Counselor for survivors of sexual assault and rape at the Roxbury Multi-Service Center.
As my mom struggled to raise us by herself, I was forced to become the protector, provider, and sole person responsible for the survival of our family. This shaped me to be the strong Black woman I am today, and through hard work, faith, and determination I graduated from the John D. O’Bryant High School of Mathematics and Science. I became involved in violence prevention and received an award from Mayor Tom Menino for my work. Shortly afterward I became a single mother and raised my first son while working multiple jobs to pay my way through college.
I became a parent advocate with the Boston Public Schools, a program manager for a homeless women’s shelter, and a child social worker. I became a foster mom and helped to raise 17 kids while also raising my two biological children. Because of my upbringing, mental health has always been close to my heart, which is why I founded Noah’s Advocate, where I provided trauma-informed mental health services in our community. That same year, my uncle Luis, who helped me navigate my life’s struggles, came out as gay. As hard as it was for him, I was honored to see him live his truth and I was proud of our family for coming together, loving, and supporting him. Only a few years later, he was killed by a drunk driver.
Violence has always been a life-and-death issue for our family. As a mother to young Black boys and girls, I’ve had to have "the hard" conversation with my children about violence and interacting with law enforcement. I’ve always worked to bring people together to make our communities safer and hold police accountable. In 2017, I founded a non-profit to support at-risk youth through theatre, fashion, and art. I know that by investing in our young people, we can keep our communities safe today and build a better tomorrow.
Today, I’m the proud mother of a Marine and of a young emerging Artist. As the Executive Director of Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets, I get to support and promote local small businesses every day and I see an opportunity for us to come together and build a better future. I’m ready to continue my service to my community and my people.
I am proud to earn an endorsement from Massachusetts State Representative Liz Miranda. Liz is a progressive champion who shares my vision for a better Boston that leaves nobody behind.
Tania (2 yrs old 1981)