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Helping New New York

While working on his dissertation at TC on public schools, Guillermo Linares is serving New York City’s newly arrived residents as the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Education and advocacy go hand in hand for Guillermo Linares.

As a student in the 1970s, he started advocating for immigrants. When he became a teacher in Washington Heights, he helped immigrant families adjust to life in upper Manhattan. Now, while working on his dissertation on public schools at TC, Linares helps New York City's immigrants through the Mayor's Office.

In July 2004, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the appointment of Linares as Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. On behalf of the mayor, Linares helps immigrants to access the services available to them in New York City.

"Specifically I would like to help facilitate the good will between people in immigrant communities and government agencies to help promote active participation of new New Yorkers," said Linares, who came to the Bronx from the Dominican Republic in 1966. "Some of the key areas that I am focusing on include education and healthcare. There are many children of immigrant families in the public schools. Many of those immigrant families are underinsured and need help getting access to health services."

Linares, 53, has built his career on advocating for people in New York City and beyond. In 1991, Linares became the first Dominican-American to hold public office in the United States when he was elected to the New York City Council. He was re-elected to his first full term in November of 1993 and to a second term in 1997. In November of 1998, the Black and Hispanic Caucus of the New York City Council elected Linares as its Co-President. From 1993 to 1999, Linares served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). In 1999, he was appointed Chair of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Most recently, he served as Deputy Public Advocate for New York City and Co-convener of Encuentro 2000 and Beyond, a national Latino leadership group.

Linares continues to blend activism and education to help immigrants to adapt to life in New York City.

Published Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005


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