Political Activist and Community Leader Yolanda Sanchez died earlier today. She was born in El Barrio/East Harlem, and has lived there for most of her life.
She is a graduate of The City College of New York/CUNY and has a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in Social Work with a Specialization on Community Organizing.
Considered one of the most ardent defenders of the Latino empowerment movement in New York City, Yolanda was part of the group that organized, in the 1960’s, the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs (PRACA) which established the first Puerto Rican foster care and adoption services agency in New York.
At Dr. Antonia Pantoja’s invitation, she joined the staff of ASPIRA in 1962. Yolanda was also one of the original board members of the East Harlem council for Human Services, Inc.
Through the EHCHS, Ms. Sanchez lead the team that developed and built Taino Towers, with 700 units of low and moderate income housing, and Casabe Houses, with 124 units of subsidized housing for the elderly. In 2010, under Casabe Houses sponsorship and financing, Yolanda developed C.A.C.H. E., (Casabe Arts, Culture, History, Education program).
In addition, Yolanda is a founding member of the National Latinas Caucus, a feminist organization. She also organized and served as first chair of El BAC (El Barrio Action Coalition). In the early 1970’s, she organized and led one of the first groups to travel from the United States to China after the Second World War.