Union members are mourning the passing of longtime NYSUT Board member Maria Portalatin, a United Federation of Teachers leader representing school-related professionals who was honored in 2010 with NYSUT's prestigious Sandy Feldman "Not for Ourselves Alone" award.
Portalatin's commitment to women, to labor and to empowering Latinos in the workplace and community inspired thousands to follow in her footsteps. She saw the union movement as an important vehicle for empowerment and she was a trailblazer in union organizing in Detroit, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico and Puerto Rico.
For more than a decade, Portalatin was a national and local leader of the National Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, which promotes participation of workers of Latino descent and their families in the American union movement and the political process.
In addition to her activism in NYSUT and UFT, Portalatin was an American Federation of Teachers vice president. The AFT Latino Caucus created the Maria Portalatin National Freedom Scholarship in her honor. This student scholarship reflects Portalatin's conviction that through education, students are empowered.
Contributions to support the scholarship may be made in Portalatin's memory at https://aftlatinocaucus.wufoo.com/forms/s658v1n11ynlu8/.