Let me preface this post by saying that I’ve been wanting to feature this girl on my website for months now! While I would’ve preferred a more personable interview face to face, I’m just so thrilled to have her on my website finally! I couldn’t wait. Eloisa Melendez, who is Norwalk’s youngest Common Council Member, is not only a community figure, but a good friend of mine! I’ve followed and supported her journey so far, and just continue to admire all the work she’s put in. Keep grinding, boo! The whole city is behind you. #203
I want to start this off by saying I admire you so much, Elo. Your determination is unparalleled and I’m so happy to say we’re from the same city. Definitely proud to call you a friend of mine! When did you initially become interested in politics?
ELO: I’ve always been interested in politics! I just didn’t realize how important it was to me until after high school. I wanted to learn more and get involved. There’s so much to learn so it’s great because it never gets boring!
What does it mean to you to have such responsibility at such a young age? Do you feel as though you’re a voice for the youth?
ELO: I have been honored to hold this position for almost two years now and sometimes I still can’t believe it. I definitely have a lot on my plate, but I like it that way. Two years ago, I went out into my district and promised my constituents that I would represent them. It means a lot to me that they trusted me with this responsibility. As a councilwoman, its my job to represent everyone in my district. Although, as the youngest one on the council I feel my role is very important because I also represent a group that usually isn’t represented in politics. My position on the council is also important for the youth because it serves as an example that despite the obstacles, we can achieve our dreams at a young age. It’s about taking risks and keeping in mind that our age shouldn’t limit us but rather inspire us.
What does it mean to you to be both Latina, and a female, common council member?
ELO: Women and minorities are still poorly represented in politics nationwide. To be an elected woman AND a Latina is truly an honor. But, things need to change. In Norwalk, I’m one of only five women on the council (15 members total). Despite a large Latino population in Norwalk, I’m the only Latina on the council. How can we truly represent Norwalk if Norwalk is not at the table?
What’re are some things you’d like readers to know about you that they probably wouldn’t have guessed?
ELO: A lot of people don’t know that one of my dreams is to have a talk show. Ha! I definitely would want it to be later in my life. My dream is to host a show thats main focus is uplifting women and girls.
Biggest inspirations? Role models?
ELO: I definitely have some role models/ inspirations but I always say you have to be careful when talking about role models because everyone has problematic faves! My biggest role model is my mom. She’s my everything. Her love, support and example has given me the strength necessary to do what I’m doing. Some of my famous inspirations include: Oprah, Kerry Washington, Sonia Sotomayor, Beyonce, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Your cousin Duzzo was one of the first features I had on my blog when I initially started my website. Although you guys have totally different careers, do you two ever take advice from one another?
ELO: My cousins, Duzzo and Alex were with me so much growing up that I consider them brothers lol. Duzzo and I (being the oldest) have recently been able to share a lot about what we’ve been doing. I really know nothing about how the music industry works and Duzz although politically aware, is no political junkie but we support each other so much. Whether its him looking through some of my voters lists for people he knows or me sharing his music and bring friends to his shows, we’re always there for one another.
What exciting events do you have to look forward to as this year comes to an end? Future plans?
ELO: The future is a cool and unpredictable place! I’m not sure where this will all take me but I know for sure I will be involved politically forever. I don’t know about always being elected but I plan on fighting for issues that matter to me for as long as I need to!
Thank you for this, Elo, I appreciate you. xoxo