Crisolita Figueiredo is a “Cabo Verdean to Know.”
Crisolita Figueiredo is running for Pawtucket City Council Ward 1 office. She is originally from Sal, Cabo Verde and immigrated to the United States in 1995. Married and a mom to 3 girls, she has been living in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for the past 23 years. Mrs. Figueiredo completed her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island and is employed as an eligibility specialist for the State of Rhode Island at the Department of Human Services. I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions to allow the Cabo Verdean community to get to know her better.
What is your major goal for this year?
My biggest goal for this year is to win the Pawtucket City Council Ward 1 election and become a clear and consistent voice/leader of my constituents in my district. I want to be able to make a difference in our city.
Why did you decide to run for office?
I have always been interested in civics participation and politics in general. But, what really made me interested in running for office is that over the past few months, I sounded out our community, our constituents and our business leaders, and I realized that everyone is eager for a change in our community for a better Pawtucket. We want a more inclusive, diverse, prosperous, and rehabilitated Pawtucket. We want a city with more opportunities for its citizens and business patrons.
What makes you the right candidate and what do you have to offer?
I have been a long time and active resident and participant in the civics duties of the city. I know what kind of change the voters in my city are aspiring for. My sound leadership and proven experience working at the grassroots level with parents in educational matters, combined with my knowledge of the city’s politics, makes me the right candidate for Pawtucket City Council Ward 1 office.
How are you planning to make a difference if elected?
I want to be an active leader and a consistent voice for my community and my constituency. I want to be the eyes and ears of my constituency as well as the business leaders in my community, so that I can listen to their major concerns and bring them to the table of the city council forum.
Pawtucket is a very diverse city. However, its diversity is not reflected in the City Council. The city needs people that will work for the best interest of the community. Education needs a major make-up. We need to change the educational system in a way that it will benefit our community and ultimately our children. We have so many young and talented kids in our community, but we must find ways to allocate resources to provide them with guidance as to what might be better options for them after graduating from High School. We should provide them with sound technical job training or to find ways to create a pipeline for them to land in community college or major local colleges and universities. We must find ways for our schools to collaborate with major local corporations where high school graduates or potential college graduates can go on to do internships and job training, which will lead to better and more qualified professionals with high incomes in our community.
There are not enough educators of color in the Pawtucket School system. We need more qualified professionals, such as interpreters, that play a pivotal role in the day-to-day operations of the city. One of the main reasons why there is a lack of engagement or participation by parents in the education of their kids is the language barrier. We need to bring the parents, especially the immigrant parents to the table and make them feel like partners/stakeholders in the education of their children as well as the entire educational process itself.
How can the community contribute to your campaign?
To win a political election, one must have a solid agenda and a great campaign team. I need as much help as I can possibly get from my community. I would truly appreciate the support of anyone in my community in helping me get elected to this seat. First off, I need as many volunteers as possible so that I get my political agenda out there in the community.
In addition to a strong campaign team composed of great volunteers, I need financial support and contribution of any electorate, company or citizen interested in helping shape or change our community. These days with the global pandemic COVID-19, it is hard to organize fundraising events in person with attendance of potential donors. So, if anyone is interested in donating to my campaign, please feel free to contact me directly via my Facebook campaign’s page.
What message do you have for the Cabo Verdean community?
My fellow Cabo Verdeans are warm-hearted and intelligent people. We have so many talented and qualified Cabo Verdean professionals in Pawtucket and the surrounding cities. However, very few of those talented and experienced professionals are interested in running for political offices in order to better educate our constituents in a wide array of topics. We could also work to become more united and support each other more.
What are you most proud of?
Being a mother to three beautiful, smart, caring young girls is what makes me most proud. My daughters are my motivation as well as what makes me strive to fight for a better life for the underprivileged children. I always try my best to be a good role model parent for my children.
What obstacles did you face while trying to achieve your goals and how did you overcome them?
I was faced with many obstacles as an immigrant. I spent the first 11 years here in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant. Back then, it was less difficult to live and thrive as an undocumented immigrant. For example, it was easier to get a job, which then helped make the rest of your life less difficult. More importantly, as an undocumented immigrant, you were less likely to be chased by the Immigration authorities and had less of a chance of being detained and deported then, than now. I was able to get a driver’s license, which facilitated my life tremendously during those days. Today, we have many undocumented immigrants driving illegally, which can lead to a wide array of issues.
What and who inspires you?
My inspiration is seeing people loving and helping one another. For that, I admire Princess Diana Spencer. She led by heart and not by the rules of the book. You can never go wrong when leading from the heart. She went out in the world and loved people regardless of your socioeconomic status, race, gender, creed or beliefs. Her simplicity and humbleness inspire me to do what I do.
Anything else you would like to add?
We are currently living in an uncertain and very turbulent time. We are dealing with many crises ranging from an economic depression to a huge mass of unemployment and a global health pandemic. So, there is nothing better than standing out and fighting for what is right for your community. I ask that you help me fight for our community by voting for me on September 8 to be the next for Pawtucket City Councilwoman.
To nominate someone to be featured as a Cabo Verdean to Know, please email CaboVerdeanToKnow@gmail.com.