“I'm fighting for our community's right to work and live without having to pay outrageously expensive tolls or spending our lives in excruciatingly long commutes; for a quality education system that forges a school-to-success pipeline; and for truly affordable and inclusive housing accessible to working and middle class families,” says Aracely are the reasons why she is running for Neabsco Supervisor.
Aracely Panameño, 54, has been a Prince William County resident for more than 33 years. Professionally, she is a consumer, health, and civil rights advocate. She works for the Center for Responsible Lending as the Director of Latino Affairs fighting to eliminate predatory lending practices from financial markets. She is an expert on mortgage, auto, payday, and car-title lending.
Prior to working on economic justice issues, she worked on women's health and rights at various organizations including NARAL Prochoice America, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and more importantly was the founder and first executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Her advocacy and fight for Woodbridge residents dates back more than two decades. She fought for an elected school board when her daughter was starting at Marumsco Hills Elementary. Later, her daughter went to Graham Park Middle and graduated from C.D. Hylton High.
Aracely fought for homelessness prevention at the height of the foreclosure crisis by bringing government, non-profit, and industry resources to county residents who were at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. Her career is fighting for affordable housing, in both the rental and homeownership space, and fighting against predatory auto lending, payday, car-title, and other practices in financial markets that strip income and equity away from working people.
Aracely has worked to increase parent engagement in an effort to increase student success in schools. “The color of our skin, the texture of our hair, the name we bear, the zip code we are born and raised in should not be the determinants of our lives,” she says. Panameño believes that “families, young people, and especially children of all backgrounds should have equity of opportunity to live and succeed in Neabsco and in Prince William County, VA.”
Aracely Panameño was born in El Salvador, came to the United States as a minor in 1981 running away from the ravages of civil war, and has been a Virginia resident since. She became a legal permanent resident and a U.S. citizen through the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. She has a bachelor’s degree from The Catholic University of America, is a parishioner at Holy Family Catholic Church in Dale City, and has served on various boards of local, state, and national organizations. She enjoys dancing, yoga, long distance bicycling, and kayaking. She is the proud mother of Veronica, married daughter, and the grandmother of Gaby, 4, and Lani, 1.