Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan is proud to celebrate Local Black Heroes throughout the year. During Black History Month, we are highlighting several Local Black Heroes and businesses. Sign up for our e.news to get updates in your inbox and learn more about the impact of local heroes in your community.
Monteze Morales is the Director of Kalamazoo Promise Services at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) and a liaison for formerly undocumented students. She has over 20 years of experience advocating for educational success through her work as an educational consultant.
Morales was appointed to serve as a Kalamazoo County Commissioner in 2021. Because of the contributions she made to the county in her first year as a Commissioner, the Board of Commissioners elected her as Vice-Chair after just one dedicated year of service.
Through her work, Morales amplifies the voices of our community. She is a dedicated advocate in helping students succeed academically.
A LINEAGE OF INSPIRATION
Morales’s mother is an advocate for education and doing the right thing. Morales’s grandmother lived her life as a community activist and servant leader. Their influence inspired Morales to pursue education, and shaped her into the person she is today. Morales shares, “They are the reason why I understand and dedicate myself to the work that needs to be done while using my influence to amplify the voices of others.”
Morales’s servant heart, imparted on her by her mother and grandmother, is evident through the ways she interacts with the community. As a passionate advocate for education, Morales’s work as an educational consultant allows her to dig deep into preparing students for academic success.
Morales’s service to the community is felt amongst Kalamazoo residents. She shares, “Contributing my time is important. I do not take it lightly. I appreciate those who trust and allow me to be engaged in their lives.”
Morales believes it’s important to “remain in alignment with whatever you believe in or higher power you serve.” She shares that doing so helps her to press “reset” and be intentional with herself and her desires. Additionally, she explains that sharing her Afro-Latina culture through cooking for others also serves as a source of comfort.
A NOTE TO HER YOUNGER SELF
When asked what she would tell her younger self, if given the opportunity, Morales shares, “Be quiet. Listen more. Trust the process. Stay dedicated to what you know is true, and strong enough to know when to let go without regret.”
“I hope to leave a legacy of love, learning, equity, and community,” Morales explains. Her contributions to education, as well as her service as a County Commissioner, will be felt for decades to come by everyone in Kalamazoo.