A staffer for City Councilor Sal LaMattina was recently sworn in as a U.S. citizen during a ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston.
Camilo Hernandez, an East Boston resident that works on constituent services throughout LaMattina’s district officials became a citizen on October 6 after taking the oath during the naturalization ceremony.
A native of Colombia, Hernandez has been active in the community, participating and organizing neighborhood programs at Piers Park Sailing Center, Zumix, Mario Umana Middle School Academy, as well as sharing his passion for tennis by teaching the game to children via the Tenacity program.
Hernandez has worked closely with Latin Americans here and various immigrant communities.
In August 2010, Hernandez helped turn the former Maverick Street home of Zumix into a center of culture and learning for Latino and non-Latinos alike.
Dubbed Casa de la Cultura (Home of Culture), founders Hernandez and Gladys Oliveiras, with the help of the local Colombian community, turned the small building on the corner of Maverick and Frankfort Streets into a welcoming place of culture, art, music and understanding.
“We want to be the bridge between the Latino community here in East Boston and the rest of the neighborhood and city,” said Hernandez after the center opened. “We envision a place of cultural activities, art, music but also a place to promote Latino and non-Latino culture with Spanish classes, English classes and other events to unify the different cultures living in the neighborhood.”
Hernandez came to the U.S. as a tennis pro at the age of 20. Upon arriving in the U.S. Hernandez found it important to learn English in order to have a better understanding of his new environment and strove to one day become a citizen.
“It’s scary enough being in a new place but it’s more scary if you don’t speak the language,” said Hernandez. “Once I became fluent in English the next logical step was citizenship.”
In his capacity as an aide for LaMattina, he has continued promoting the diversity of Eastie and District 1.
Hernandez is trilingual and is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.
He has a degree in business administration from Universidad de la Salle, Bogota, a B.S. in management from Cambridge College, and a Business English Certificate from Harvard Extension School.
“I’m very proud of Camilo,” said LaMattina. “Since coming to my office he has worked hard to addresses the issues of all residents in my district and he worked equally as hard to become a citizen of the United States.”