Felix D. Arroyo
Personal Life and Background
Felix D. Arroyo was raised in a public housing project in Puerto Rico by his late father, Felicito Arroyo, a World War II Veteran and police detective, and his late mother, Elisa Arroyo, a garment seamstress and an ILGWU member. Arroyo completed his undergraduate studies and received a Masters in Secondary Education at the University of Puerto Rico.Councillor Arroyo was the first member of his family to earn a college degree. Councilor Arroyo continued with his graduate studies at Harvard University, MIT, and the University of Puerto Rico.
A long-time resident of Boston, he taught at Springfield College, UMass Boston, Roxbury Community College, Boston University, and Emmanuel College. Arroyo ran for the Boston School Committee in 1981 and 1983, becoming the first Latino to ever run citywide and the first Latino to ever pass a primary. In 1984 Arroyo founded the Latino Democratic Committee, the first statewide Latino political organization in Massachusetts. In 1984 Arroyo served as the Latin American Affairs Director for United States Senator John Kerry. Served in Mayor Raymond L. Flynn's cabinet from 1985 until 1992. In 1992, he resigned his salaried position as the Director of Personnel for the City of Boston to take an unpaid position as a member of the Boston School Committee. Arroyo would later serve as Vice President and President of the Boston School Committee.
Arroyo joined the City Council as one of its four at-large members in January 2003, after placing fifth in the 2001 election. Arroyo was seated when one of the four at-large council members resigned. He was re-elected in 2003 and 2005, but narrowly lost in November 2007, placing fifth in a field of nine candidates. His loss has been blamed on low turnout among nonwhite communities, coupled with disproportionately strong turnout in traditionally white, Irish enclaves; overall turnout was only 13.6%.
For more than 25 years, Councillor Arroyo has worked to promote peace and justice on a local and global level. Locally, he has sought to curtail domestic violence, gang violence, and hate crimes and was a vocal advocate against the War in Iraq. Working globally for peace, he has traveled to Nicaragua with Witness for Peace and to El Salvador with Sister Cities Program. He has traveled to Haiti and visited Israel as a peace delegate, and went to the Dominican Republic in 1999 to distribute supplies with a hurricane relief delegation.
The City of Boston has proclaimed that Friday, October 28, 2011 is "Felix D. Arroyo Day". In honor of his lifelong commitment to social and economic justice and the many racial barriers that he has broken.
Selected positions held
- Boston City Councilor At-Large, 2003-2008.
- Latin American Affairs Director for United States Senator John Kerry 1984
- Committee Chair: New Bostonians and Youth Affairs
- Committee Vice Chair: Human Rights
- Committee Member: Environment; Health & Human Services; Housing
- Director of Advocacy at the Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation
- President, Vice President and Member of the Boston School Committee 1992-1999
- Director of Personnel for the City of Boston
- Education Advisor to Mayor Raymond Flynn
- Chair of the Boston Arson Commission
- Encuentro5 Adivory Board member
- Teacher at Springfield College, UMass-Boston, Roxbury Community College, Boston University, and Emmanuel College
- Yvonne Abraham, "'I arrived here, and the whole city was judging people by their color'", The Boston Globe, 26 October 2005 (accessed 22 July 2008).
- Donovan Slack and Matt Viser, "Turnout at polls lowest in decades", The Boston Globe, 7 November 2007 (accessed 9 November 2007).