Hispanic Heritage Month Series: Maria Punzo-Arias

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

“I was very proud to appoint Maria as Cicero’s first Hispanic clerk. She was a trustee for eight years and she brings a lot of talent to the town. She manages her one of the most important functions in the town.” President Larry Dominick

Maria Punzo-Arias, Town Clerk

Unwavering in her desire to assist Cicero families, Cicero Town Clerk made history when she became Cicero’s first Latina town clerk, a moment in her life Punzo still finds incredible. “I began working for the Town in 1995, I worked hard, and always loved interacting with people, but I never would have thought I’d be representing my town in this capacity,” said Punzo. Maria Punzo-Arias is the first Latina to hold the office of Town Clerk in Cicero. While she was born in Mexico City, Punzo moved to Cicero as a child, graduating from Morton East High School and staying here for more than 34 years. She has been working for the Town since 1995 when she was hired on to clerk for the Water Department. Punzo shared with Lawndale Bilingual News the importance of her role as Town Clerk and the importance of her upbringing playing a vital role to her success.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Despite the negativity we see on the television that often bombards the Latino community across the country, we have to remember the accomplishments that Latinos have contributed to this country. We have to remember the hard-working families who sacrificed to create a better life for their children; my parents sacrificed and left everything they knew to have a better life. We have to honor the Latinos who have made this country what it is.


From early on my parents always instilled in me and my siblings the importance of an education. To get ahead in this country, to be stable, to be successful, to be independent we needed to study and work hard. My father was dependent on government assistance while he worked hard, my mother stayed at home to raise us. My parents always expressed to us that they wanted a better life for us. So throughout high school and college I worked hard. I tapped into the work ethic my parents instilled in me and knew from early on I could be whatever I wanted if I just focused and studied hard.

Town Clerk

This job is always fascinating. I truly feel pride when I step into my office knowing that I am representing a community that has given so much to me. I am representing all voice, all ethnicities, all religions, all backgrounds. I am there voice, therefore I take my job seriously and work around-the-clock to help families through their struggles. It can be challenging, it can be emotional, it can be daunting, but what motivates me, what I love most about my position as Town Clerk is the ability to meet with so many people living in Cicero.


My message for the youth in Cicero is to honor their roots, their community, their parents and study hard. Stay in school, volunteer and learn new skills sets so you can one day gain the confidence to become community activists, to hopefully represent your community in a larger capacity.

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