Nearly three years after becoming Mayor Thomas Menino’s liaison in East Boston, Ernani DeAraujo has announced he is leaving his post at the end of the month.
“After three extraordinary years of serving our community and our Mayor, I am leaving my role as your Liaison at year end,” said DeAraujo. “There will be lots of opportunities for farewells, thank yous, and reflection but I want to say how grateful I am to Mayor Menino for giving me a chance to give back to the neighborhood and City that has given my family and me so much.”
DeAraujo, a lifelong Eastie resident, brought some impressive credentials when he began as liaison in 2009. A Boston Latin School and Harvard graduate. He served as a White House Intern for Presidents Clinton in 2000 and Bush in 2001. After graduating Harvard in 2003, DeAraujo worked as an investment banker with JPMorgan Securities, Inc. in New York and Texas. DeAraujo attended law school at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia and was a summer clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Ponsor in 2006. As an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts, DeAraujo practiced in the Business Department of the law firm Foley Hoag LLP from October 2008 through December 2009 until landing the position as community liaison.
“I’ve had the good fortune to have worked in many interesting roles: the White House, Wall Street, corporate law, to name a few. Nothing compares to the last three years as East Boston’s liaison,” said DeAraujo.
Over the course of the last three years, DeAraujo was a permanent fixture at community meetings and volunteered his time at Eastie non-profits like Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) where he serves as NOAH’s board president.
He also worked to ensure the voice of the community was heard as plans moved forward to create a new library in the community.
“Anyone who loves and cares about East Boston should be saddened about the end of Ernani DeAraujo’s tenure as our liaison to city hall,” said Eastie activist Mary Berninger. “Ernani brought a sense of professionalism and dedication, coupled with his educational background and experience, to his position. His accomplishments in his role as liaison are second to none and he will be hard to replace. He has set the bar very high.”
But is was his work helping Eastie families displaced by house fires and other disasters in the neighborhood like the Chelsea Street building collapse in October 2011 that DeAraujo really shined.
The Mayor Menino commented that he was very proud of the work that DeAraujo did for the displaced residents after the Chelsea Street building collapse.
“I want to thank him for making sure every family had a roof over their head to organizing an impressive fundraising event to help residents recover essential belongings–everyone has pulled together to go above and beyond their duties as public servants to show how a strong community helps each other out in a time of crisis,” said Menino at the time.
When the disaster first struck, DeAraujo and other officials were faced with helping around 70 displaced people from the apartments at 53, 45, 43, and 41-39 Chelsea Street.
In less than a week, DeAraujo made sure everyone in need had been cared for and was provided with food and support as needed.
However, while he is leaving his post as liaison, don’t expect DeAraujo to venture too far from Eastie.
“One thing is certain,” he said, “my most significant next role will be an East Boston community activist. I suspect that there are lots of friends in our neighborhood who will help train me in this regard.”