Montague resident Francia Wisnewski wins Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award

  • Francia Wisnewski Contribued photo/MATTHEW CAVANAUGH

  • Montague resident Francia Wisnewski, center, was nominated for the 2019 Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award by Rep. Natalie Blais, left, and Sen. Jo Comerford. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/5/2019 1:05:22 AM
Modified: 10/5/2019 1:05:10 AM

Montague resident Francia Wisnewski received the 2019 Latinx Excellence on the Hill Award this week in celebration her accomplishments, which include her service on numerous boards and committees, her work in education and her advocacy.

Wisnewski has served as chair of the Hampshire-Franklin Commission on the Status of Women and is a member of the Montague Democratic Committee. She also serves on the boards of the Shea Theater Arts Center and Leadership Pioneer Valley. Before moving to Montague, she served two terms on the Greenfield School Committee.

She has been an advocate for local schools, farm workers, social services and transportation, and in 2018, ran for the 1st Franklin District legislative seat after Rep. Stephen Kulik announced his retirement. Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, won that seat in the election.

An immigrant and Spanish speaker, Wisnewski has worked for access to child care and, more specifically, universal preschool, as well as breaking down the financial barriers of child care, which can lead to a multitude of problems in the community, including making it more difficult for mothers to break the cycles of poverty. As senior program manager at Raising a Reader Massachusetts, she supports preparing children for school success through early reading and parental education.

The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus honored the 17-year Franklin County resident at the State House, with her nominators, Blais and Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, participating in the celebration.

“I am honored and thrilled to receive this nomination from my senator and state representative,” Wisnewski said. “In the current state of politics, I am excited to see legislators committed to celebrating diverse leadership. It is critical that we have a government that is intentional, open and inclusive when highlighting the underrepresented voices in the commonwealth. I thank them for recognizing my commitment to supporting and serving my community, and look forward to continuing a strong collaboration.”

Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo joined Comerford and Blais in celebrating Wisnewski and nearly 50 leaders from across the state who help its communities thrive.

“It was an honor to nominate Francia for this statewide recognition, which celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latinx leaders in our communities,” Comerford said. “I hope the region will join us in celebrating Francia’s unparalleled commitment to our community.”

Blais said honorees were nominated by legislators, but not all were nominated by both their senator and representative.

“This speaks volumes to the impact of Francia’s commitment not only to her community, but also to the commonwealth,” Blais said.

The ceremony took place in the State House Great Hall of Flags, where Wisnewski was presented a citation for her civic engagement and more. The citation officially recognizes her work from the members of the legislative delegation who represent the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.

The celebration also included remarks by Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, and a keynote address by Western Massachusetts author and poet Magdalena Gomez. Additionally, the event was an opportunity to recognize the work of Rep. Chynah Tyler, treasurer of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, and Springfield Rep. Bud Williams.

Reach Anita Fritz at
413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




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