Mary Zendejas Leader Spotlight

This Month’s Leader Highlight:   Mary Zendejas

HLB Leader/Board Member for 1 year, Long Beach resident for 21 years and Storytelling Film Participant

Who is your role model?

I have two role models.  First, Cynde Soto. She is a Long Beach resident (and HLB Board member too!) who is a great advocate for the Disability Community.  She is involved statewide as well as locally to try to bring issues to the table and find solutions that would improve the lives of people with disabilities.  Second is President Roosevelt…he had polio like me and was very active and did not let his disability define his presidency but rather let his actions define his presidency.

What’s one thing you would like to see changed in Long Beach?

More affordable, accessible, and mixed housing for all of Long Beach’s residents.  Long Beach is a beautiful City with a very diverse community and having affordable, accessible and mixed housing would definitely showcase our true beauty.

How have you grown through your involvement with Housing Long Beach? 

I have become more knowledgeable about what affordable and accessible housing is and I have learned that the majority of residents in Long Beach qualify for affordable housing. This means that our hard working residents like our teachers, our managers, and many Long Beach workers would benefit from affordable housing.

What skill has been most useful for you to learn?

I have loved all the projects and events which highlight the need for affordable housing.  Also the opportunities to go to the city council meetings and learn what is going on with funds in regards to affordable housing.

1239593_638389972848229_58888716_nWhat is your favorite memory with Housing Long Beach? 

Sharing my story in the film for the story-telling project. It had a strong impact on the community and brought much needed awareness to the housing issues that the City of Long Beach is facing right now.  When I heard that other residents were having the same issues as me, like not speaking up about unacceptable housing conditions because of the fear of retaliation, I decided to get involved and tell my story about the challenge of finding affordable and accessible housing.  Many people feel that they must live in unsafe and harmful housing because they are afraid and can’t afford to move.  That is why I am passionate about bringing awareness to the city of Long Beach residents.

How has your involvement impacted the city of Long Beach as a whole?

My involvement has impacted the city of Long Beach by reaching out to the Latino Community as well as to the Disability Community and sharing my housing story so that others will be knowledgeable and not have to struggle with housing issues like I have struggled.