(Extensions of Remarks - January 21, 1997)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E103]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                     TRIBUTE TO MRS. ISABEL MENDEZ


                          HON. JOSE E. SERRANO

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, January 21, 1997

  Mr. SERRANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an 
outstanding Puerto Rican woman, Mrs. Isabel Mendez, who has dedicated 
her life to taking care of others, especially Hispanics in New York 
  Mrs. Mendez was honored by the House of Puerto Rican Cultural 
Heritage, known as ``La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriquena,'' 
on January 11 in New York City for her longtime commitment to the 
advancement of the Hispanic community.
  She was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. In 1926, at the age of 17, she 
came to New York City. Since her arrival, she has fought every day to 
improve the living conditions of Hispanics and has helped them overcome 
the difficulties that are a part of the experience of immigrating to a 
new land.
  In 1932, Mrs. Mendez was instrumental in founding the first Hispanic 
Catholic Church, ``La Milagrosa Church,'' in El Barrio, east Harlem. 
Together with her husband, Tony Mendez, who was the first Puerto Rican 
male district leader of the Democratic Party, she fought tirelessly for 
the welfare of Hispanics in the city.
  In 1950, she founded the Puerto Rican Association of Women Voters, 
which is still in existence. Through this organization she assisted in 
furthering the advancement of Puerto Rican women. Mrs. Mendez also 
served as an interpreter for 24 years, first as a volunteer and later 
on as an employee, at the New York City civil court.
  Through her community activism, she has helped to ease the road for 
those who have come after and who have embraced New York City as their 
new home. She is the widow of Tony Mendez and the mother-in-law of 
State Senator Olga A. Mendez.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing Mrs. 
Isabel Mendez for her devotion to our community and for making all of 
us Puerto Ricans and fellow Americans proud.