Leaders of The Pack

Meet inspiring women forging ahead in the arts, spirituality, health, human rights and more

Lead Organizer, Make the Road NY

Since coming out in Puerto Rico in a fervently Catholic household, Boricua activist and published poet Karina Claudio-Betancourt has come a long way to put her skills to work at New York’s largest membership-based immigrant organization, Make the Road NY. At MRNY, she leads an energetic team in promoting economic justice, equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers through electoral organizing, strategic policy advocacy, leadership development, education programs and legal support services. Since joining Make the Road in 2008, Claudio-Betancourt has received the Brooklyn Lambda Award, two City Council Proclamations, a Proclamation from the Queens Borough President, and the LUNY Award for her work as an LGBTQ community organizer with MRNY’s LGBTQ Justice Project. The Project remains one of the few New York groups founded, led and constituted by low-income LGBTQ people of color pushing public policy issues that have an impact at city-wide, state-wide and national levels. “Marriage equality and the repeal of DOMA are important, but for communities of immigrants, that’s not going to help them overcome homophobia, transphobia and police brutality, or help them get a job,” she says. I’d like to see stop-and-frisk policies being amended, expanded employment protections for LGBT folks, and anti-bullying/hate crime education in every school in NYC.”

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