About Gloria

My name is Gloria Caballero Roca and I am honored  to be running to be your next Mayor of Holyoke. 

I don’t come from a political background. I am a humanist. I was born in Cuba  raised by a single parent and am the third  of four siblings. Born in the eastern part of the island, I was raised in Old Havana, lived in a cold chamber whenI was three. My mother was given a room at what used to be Montserrat Hotel and this is where I was raised. We lived there for more than twenty years carrying water, selling things on the street to help my mother make ends-meet, dealing with power outages, building our own chairs and more to make it day by day. The room had to be divided in order to put a bed on one side and the table and chairs would be on the other and no television or refrigerator for almost a decade of my life. We had to study very hard and  be excellent students and race was always an issue as a Afro Cuban Woman. 

At 19 I was in college, had a baby and like my mom a single parent, struggling, and still living in the same room with my siblings. Like many others, baby in one hand and book in another because I was dedicated to a better future for me and my son. At 23 , After graduating I was asked to stay at the university teaching English for professionals whose expertise were with the Slavic languages.

Photo Courtesy of: Ron Lemelin and www.rl-photos.com

Married in 1994, my second son was born in 1996 and in 1997 I  came to the United States. After two years teaching at Milton Academy,  I decided to go back to college in order to be a college professor. I moved to Holyoke in the year 1999, and Umass Amherst opened its doors to me with the possibility to teach and do an MA/PhD program which I graduated from.

I was acknowledged in 2004 with an Excellence in teaching award, and graduated with a dissertation on allegory history and fiction in the works of Alejo Carpentier and José Saramago.  I then worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Earlham college, a quaker founded institution and recently went back to college for a two year Erasmus Mundus MA program on Women’s and Gender studies at the Universities of Oviedo, Asturias, Spain and Lodz, Poland. Back On May 10th 2021, I defended my second doctorate in Autoethnography, diaspora and transnational experience. 

All of the above grounds me, show that I can set goals of high standard, focus and accomplish them successfully. 

I want my neighbors in Holyoke to be presented with  opportunity like I was, to be part of the decision making in our city, to take pride on who they are, where they come from and live in a city that is safe, that offers a bright future for all of us, that is part of model that motivates our  people  to explore fields never imagined by them.

The challenges before us seem daunting from education to employment to housing  and much more which has only been exposed further by the past year but I am a testament to hard work, dedication, and overcoming adversity and am ready on day one to tackle these challenges as well. 

I have long felt inspired by the enormous potential of Holyoke which to a large extent is rooted in its past but that can serve as inspiration for a daring future of participation and inclusion with the possibility of renewed pride in the success of a vibrant and revitalized city.   

I am an intellectual, an activist, and someone with a deep understanding of the human experience, and most importantly, a hard-working woman. Every day, I will show up and work tirelessly for the people of Holyoke to provide them with the leadership they deserve, and a future they can be proud of. Let’s make history again, let’s break barriers again, and together show that a community’s biggest asset is its people. Vote for Gloria in September.  Let’s invest in us! Let’s invest in hope!