Locals Lauded as Champions of Diversity

PEEKSKILL – Norma Pereira and Wilfredo Morel have dedicated their lives towards assisting newcomers becoming integrated in the fabric of the Hudson Valley.

Recently, State Senator Peter Harckham commended the residents of Carmel and Lake Peekskill at a gathering in Peekskill for their work that has benefited the Hispanic community.

Some 100 were on hand for the get-together during which Harckham identified the region as having become “extremely diverse. Our culture and society are changing which has made the Hudson Valley a richer and better place in which to live, work and raise a family. We are living in a time where on the national level sadly divisiveness is all too common where people are being targeted each and every day because of their place of origin, their look and language spoken. This is unacceptable. We welcome our diversity and embrace our diversity and that’s what makes communities like Brewster, Peekskill, Carmel, Sleepy Hollow, Patterson and Mt. Kisco rich and great towns in which to live.”

Pereira, outreach coordinator for Hudson Valley Regional Community Health Centers in the Town of Southeast, was lauded by the senator for “working tirelessly to bring new immigrants into the fabric of the community. Norma connects people with English as a second language while working with women and children related to education and health care issues. Norma is so passionate because she touches so many people. The New York State Senate and the people of New York say ‘thank you’.”

Pereira thanked her friends and family for their support which makes the “impossible possible. Teamwork makes the team work.”

Morel, director of Hispanic Health at Hudson River Community Health, was honored by the senator for his work dealing with opioid issues and HIV in addition to his dedication in bringing the arts to the area for young people. Children learn differently and thanks to Wilfredo many children have succeeded in life by painting or becoming sculptors which transformed their lives. Wilfredo is a power of example.”

Morel told the audience, “In today’s world, the only thing that works is a tapestry. I am a servant for all because in order to succeed in life, we must become teammates. We may have differences but the work that I do is to thank my community for allowing me to do what I do best.”

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