EDITORIAL — Belleville’s De Peña continues to blaze the trail for Latinas

A few years ago, we first met Naomy De Peña when she was a candidate for the Belleville Township Council. Not only did she win that election, she cruised to victory.

In the time since then, we’ve come to know a woman who has set the bar incredibly high and who has paved a pathway for herself — and a pathway for other Latinas to follow.

Magnificently, her presence on the Belleville Township Council, now as deputy mayor for the next 12 months, has opened doors that were heretofore un-crackable.

By winning her election a few years ago, she sent a stark message that it doesn’t matter where you started, it’s all about what you do with your life.

The daughter of missionaries, who was born  in the Dominican Republic, showed every little girl of Latino descent that you, too, can do anything you want if you work hard at it.

She demonstrated to every youngster that they, too, can be leaders. And no one, nothing, can stop them.

She’s shown what it means to be a small business leader and has set a tremendous example to be followed. 

Most importantly, she’s made it clear — gender, background, ethnicity are not, nor should they ever be, obstacles to obtaining everything a person dreams of.

She modestly says she doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer. Yet, it’s evident to us she is nothing short of a trailblazer.

The people of Belleville are fortunate to have her. And the world is a better place because of her. 

Her example continues to be one every child in this world — Latino or otherwise — should aspire to emulate, now and always.

Congratulations, madame deputy mayor.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.