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Immigrant Activist, Centro Presente

Heritage: Guatemalan

Age: 27


Past Recognitions:      

  • Massachusetts Bar Foundation Legal Intern Fellowship

  • Equal Justice/Americorps Scholarship

  • Steinger, Iscoe, and Greene Latin Heritage Scholarship Awardee

  • Guatemalan Center of New England Scholar

  • Lehigh University Bosey Reiter Leadership Cup

  • Lehigh University Student Life Leadership Award

  • Lehigh University Martin Luther King Jr Oratorical Winner

  • Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity Alberto Rivera Award & Rising Star Award Ralph Albert Thomas '76 Leadership Award


By: Tim Estiloz


Mario Paredes was born and raised in Long Island, New York but has been a proud citizen of Boston since 2011. In that short time, Paredes has made a profound impact as a passionate advocate for the city’s immigrant community and beyond. He has worked with dozens of Greater Boston area community based organizations, schools and non-profits by motivating students, encouraging volunteerism and fighting for immigrant rights all while pursuing his law degree at Boston University.


As the son of hard working Guatemalan immigrants, Paredes saw Boston as a place where he could excel personally and professionally while helping the Latino community as a whole.


“I think I always found it important that once doors had been opened for me, that I wanted to open doors for others as well,” said Paredes. “I think the best way to do that is connecting with youth, immigrant populations and other marginalized groups, because I felt I was in that position growing up”.


Among Paredes’ many areas of community outreach and involvement, most significant is his involvement with the immigrants rights organization, Centro Presente in East Boston. His work with that organization has led him to be part of delegations to Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico to observe and help improve human rights conditions in Central America.


“What motivates my efforts is having hope that things will get better for our communities,” said Paredes. “I feel like there’s so much work to be done out there. I see that there’s so much youth in the same position I was in years ago who have a lot to offer as well. I want to use my background in law, business and education and continue to stay involved at the non-profit level and also work in local government. I always want to work directly with the community.”


Paredes is proud to be named among the El Mundo Boston Latino 30 Under 30, stating it gives him motivation to continue the work he’s been doing within the community.


“I think working in the public interest is not always easy work, when compared to other professions I could have chosen,” said Paredes. “However, it’s work that’s very gratifying to be able to give back to people… and this honor not only gives me the extra push to keep going; but also, to continue to give voice and help open doors to others as well.”


“Being in Boston, I’ve had nothing but great opportunities open up for me,” said Paredes. “I believe part of that is because people want to uplift each other here and I want to live in a city like that, which makes me want to invest back into the community.”

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