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Currents - Sept/Oct. 2012- In Memoriam: Yolanda Sanchez
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In Memoriam - Yolanda Sanchez, MS Social Work


Yolanda Sanchez
(Photo/ PR Dream)

Yolanda Sánchez, a “trailblazer in the world of social work” and major figure in East Harlem’s Latino community died at the age of 80 on June 11, 2012. Yolanda Sánchez was a longtime resident and boricua activist in El Barrio, East Harlem. She will be remembered as a “visionary”, a “trailblazer” and a community organizer who used her personal and professional strengths to improve the quality of life in her community.

Ms. Sánchez was the director of a number of agencies including the executive director of the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs (PRACA), which she helped create. She was the founding member of the National Latinas Caucus, a past president of the East Harlem Council for Human Services, and a former director of CUNY’s Office of Puerto Rican Programs. Additionally, Ms. Sánchez was instrumental in the creation of three major institutions for the poor and working class of East Harlem: Taino Towers, Boriken Health Center and Casabe Houses and was the founder of Muevete youth conference. Most recently Ms. Sánchez served as the program coordinator for the Cultural Arts Program hosted by Casabe Houses.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Social Work with a specialization in community organizing and served as a National Urban Fellow at Harvard University. Ms. Sánchez was an inspiring leader in the social work community who will be deeply missed.

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