Mellissa Mark-viverito is the first Hispanic woman to hold the position as speaker of the New York City Council, which is the second most powerful position in the city government after that of the mayor.
She got there through a unanimous agreement after years of dedicated efforts towards activism.
Mellissa was born on the 1st, of April 1969 in San Juan to a Puerto Rico parent. She grew up in Bayamón but left for New York at age 18 based on educational purposes. Born into a wealthy home, her father a medical doctor founded the renowned San Pablo Hospital in Bayamón.
She schooled at the Columbia University where she earned her bachelor’s degree and also bagged a master’s degree from Baruch College studying public administration.
Before she took over the position as speaker in 2005, she had worked for many years in local activism, non-profit organizations, and labor.
Mellissa served as president of Mujeres del Barrio, and Strategic Organizer for Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), an influential health care workers union.
She was a member of Community Board 11, who coordinated the movement Todo Nueva York con Vieques.
Being the speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, has fought against comprehensive immigration reform, she has also advocated for local and national criminal justice reform.
She launched a Young Women’s Initiative to tackle problems of disparities faced by women in education, workforce development, healthcare, and the criminal justice system.
Mellissa was one of the Council Members to develop the first-ever Participatory Budgeting process in New York City and has been able to push for the spread of the budget to 31 districts across New York City. She succeeded in taking up a second term as speaker and also the third term in 2013.
During her second term, she served as founding co-chair of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus from 2010 -2013.
Mellissa is single but a successful woman who has been representing her country in the New York City. Mellissa is not eligible to run for re-election in 2017 based on term limits.