Mayrani Velazquez: Instilling the value of education in Terrell ISD
Mayrani Velazquez, a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas and founding member of Sigma Lambda Gamma at the campus, was raised in Terrell, Texas – the same city where she is currently running for a position on the school board. As a candidate for Terrell Independent School District, Velazquez accredits much of her campaign knowledge to the Latino Center for Leadership Development (LCLD), an institution in North Texas that trains aspiring politicians to serve communities through elected offices. Outside of LCLD, Velazquez emphasizes the experiences she had growing up in the school district she now aspires to serve. She was the first to graduate high school and go to college in her family and thanks her father for instilling the value of education in her. Now, Velazquez seeks to strengthen the relationships between families and schools.
Velazquez was raised in the city of Terrell, Texas but was born in California, where she lived for a short period of time. While in California, Velazquez attended elementary school in a small Danish community. It was there that Velazquez was exposed to a variety of diverse cultures; she remembers potluck lunch events at school where everyone would bring an interesting myriad of dishes ranging from spaghetti to enchiladas. Velazquez also remembers the feeling of that tight-knit town, saying “we [were] all a community, regardless of background, race, or language.” This feeling of closeness carried over into Terrell, a city of almost 16,000 people, where Velazquez moved with her family at a young age.
Velazquez described the City of Terrell as a small but supportive community, where everybody knows one another. Now, Velazquez plans to give back to her community by running for Terrell ISD School Board, District 3. She hopes to be a voice for all TISD students and families by creating a stronger family-school partnership, or in other words, stronger resources for families to engage with the district and vice versa. Outside of her family-school partnership improvement plan, Velazquez plans to advocate for smarter districtwide investments and safe innovative campuses.
Velazquez’s passion for education stems from the early influences of her father, whom she also refers to as her first role model. She described her father as a man of integrity and a hard worker, specifically mentioning the fact that he was able to provide for his family even with only having received a 6thgrade education. Velazquez maintained this passion for education and considered running for office to help open doors to a brighter future for students.
Through LCLD, Velazquez has gained nationwide information on Latino communities and the issues affecting them. She has also established a supportive network of mentors who have helped her with the process of running for office. Outside of the support from LCLD, Velazquez relies on the guidance of her family and friends. She says, “these are the people who will provide you countless hours of their time because they know you and are familiar with your passion and ability.”
Velazquez believes that women will reach parity in government sooner than expected, saying “women are starting another rights movement but [on] an exponential level. The more women in office, the greater [the] opportunity to identify other women to help along the way – the greater [the] opportunity to break those systemic barriers.” She wants aspiring young women interested in politics to share their goal of running for office to locate support and guidance. Velazquez believes that there is never a perfect time to get involved, you can start today in an area you are passionate about.
Mayrani Velazquez is currently running for Terrell ISD School Board Trustee, District 3. Her election day is May 5th.