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Senator Patricia Torres Ray- Cohort 16 Graduation Speaker

Senator Patricia Torres Ray was the keynote speaker for Cohort 16's graduation on December 14, 2013. Senator Patricia Torres Ray was born in 1964 in Colombia. She comes from a family of eight siblings and has a large extended family that maintains close ties. Senator Ray lived with her family in Pasto until she met my husband, Jack, a student from the University of Minnesota, who had traveled to Colombia for a study abroad internship. They were married in 1987 and moved to Minnesota where she learned English, worked various jobs, and completed her education. She has two degrees from the University of Minnesota: a Bachelors Degree in Urban Studies and a Masters of Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute; where she is now Adjunct Faculty.

Prior to her election to the Senate, Senator Ray worked as a State Program Administrator for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.  She has twenty years of experience in public service and community organizing and has vast expertise in building partnerships between agencies, non-profit organizations, tribal reservations and other organizations that serve children and families.  In addition to her strong commitment to public service, she has served as a board member of the University of Minnesota Children, Youth and Family Consortium, the Minnesota Early Care and Education Finance Commission, the Minnesota Children's Trust Fund, Cultural Beginnings, the Greater Minneapolis Day Care Association, West Side Health Center, Kids Count, Children’s Defense Fund, National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, The Build Initiative, and The Northway Community Trust.

Senator Patricia Torres Ray served as the keynote speaker for Cohort 16. She discussed the many challenges that advocates today are facing and how MAPL graduates, being uniquely trained in community organizing, will be poised to work for change going forward. She lamented that the work of an advocate is not easy and encouraged them to be persistent and transformational leader.

In the past, Graduation speakers have included:

Mark Dayton, US Senator, Minnesota
Nancy McCormick, Midwest Regional Director, AFL-CIO
Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Reservation
Mary Lahammer, Program Host & Political Reporter, Twin Cities Public Television
William Lucy, International Secretary-Treasurer, AFSCME & AFL-CIO
Neva Walker, Minnesota State Representative
George Latimer, Former St. Paul Mayor
Don Fraser, Former Minneapolis Mayor
Albert Quie, US Representative, Minnesota
Kathryn Martin, Former Chancellor, UMD
Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State, Minnesota
Jon Pratt, Executive Director, MN Council of Nonprofits
Toni Carter, County Commissioner, Ramsey County, MN
Melvin Carter III, St. Paul City Councilor
Yvonne Prettner Solon, Minnesota Lt Governor
Tom Horner, Founder of NextMinnesota  

Congratulations to members of MAPL Cohort 16!
Go forth and advocate!