Vilma Vazquez
2013 Ripple Effect Awardee

Action for a Healthy Holyoke! - Neighbor to Neighbor

Vonetta Smith

Hampden County

Vilma Vazquez is a full-time dedicated caregiver for her adult daughter with special needs. Last winter she was faced with the threat of losing her housing voucher in Holyoke Hills. Instead of letting that defeat her, she took her struggle as source of inspiration to take action and stand up for what was right. Vilma joined Neighbor to Neighbor which served as her vehicle in her fight to protect affordable housing vouchers at the subsidized housing development in Holyoke Hills. That was only the start! Buoyed by small victories in this arena, after NEVER having been actively political before, Vilma stepped up her leadership and pursued new topics, such as shutting down the Mt. Tom coal plant and putting an end to 50 years of contamination. From door-to-door outreach to public accountability sessions with state officials, Vilma is a woman who found her voice as a result of the funding of the Women’s Fund.