DELTONA, Fla. – Maritza Avila-Vazquez took the podium with pride on Thursday in front of members of the Rotary Club in Deltona to shame some history about Hispanic heritage and why she calls the city she was elected in home.
“I love being out there, not just as a vice mayor or an elected official, but as a resident and a community advocate who cares for her community and loves helping the community,” Avila-Vazquez said.
She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York and always had a passion for spending her time with people from her community.
In 2018, she was elected District 3 Commissioner, and in 2021, she was chosen to be the vice mayor of Deltona.
She’s also considered the only Hispanic vice mayor in Volusia County.
“When I moved here, there were about 40,000 residents, now we are close to 100,000. Out of that 100,000, (over) 37% are Hispanics,” she said.
Avila-Vazquez explained the city of Deltona actually has the largest Hispanic population in Volusia County, with many buying home properties and opening businesses, like Unidos Supermarket and Fresco y Más.
“It’s mixed but predominately Puerto Ricans,” she said.
Avila-Vazquez said it’s important to embrace culture, a message she wants to spread to younger generations.
“We spoke Spanish at home, and we celebrated all the Hispanic or Puerto Rican festivals (and) holidays, and we kept the tradition of las Navidades and Día de Los Reyes,” Avila-Vazquez said.
The Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Latin Festival at the Dewey Boster Sports Complex in Deltona on Oct. 9.
“It’s just a great time for the whole family to come together and really embrace the heritage and what makes our community so much greater,” said Joseph Hearn, vice president of the Volusia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on the Latin Festival, click here.
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