Meet Daisy J. Baez a 2015 Hispanic Woman of Distinction
Daisy is a well-known professional and activist with a proven track record of service to the south Florida community. As a strong advocate for Latino individuals and women she has broken many barriers including: First Dominican American individual and woman ever nominated for State Wide office in the State of Florida when she won the primary nomination for State Representative for District 114 in 2014; She was also the first Dominican American to head a Democratic caucus as President of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Miami Dade County and Member of the White House working group, Colombian Trade agreement in 2012.
Daisy was born and raised poor in the Dominican Republic, and shortly after arriving in New York in 1977 she joined the United States Army, hardly speaking English, and within one year earned the Army Commendation Medal, Soldier of the Quarter and Soldier of the Month, 15th Medial Battalion, 1st Calvary Division. She was assigned to one of the first basic training battalions that trained men and women together helping to solidify the gains of women in the Armed services.
“I have been breaking barriers for Latino women most of my life. I was the first woman in my family to own a car, go to college, and join the military. I have set the bar for Latino women in my community to spread the message that “si se puede!”” stated Daisy.
Daisy is the Founder and Executive Director, Dominican Health Care Association of Florida with the purpose of uniting and advancing the needs of healthcare professionals who are foreign medical graduates from the Dominican Republic, born in the Dominican Republic, or have economic ties with this group. She offers an annual scholarship designed to support minorities and women to obtain a license to practice professionally in Florida.
To further advance her causes, Daisy is a TV and radio commentator, political analyst and is seen and heard regularly on Spanish language TV and Radio conducting interviews with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Florida Senator Bill Nelson to name a few. She has been a guest on CNN Espanol, Mega TV, Yahoo Latino, WLRN, Telefutura and Radio Caracol.
Daisy finds time to be active on a number of boards including The Merrick House Museum, Barry University Advisory Committee and has been recognized with numerous awards including the Thelma Gibson Award by Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Mission de Amor Foundation, Coral Gables City Commission Recognition, Department of State Passport Agency, among many others.
When asked about the role that Latinas play in society she remarked; “Latino women are the heart and soul of our community. It has been a joy to see many of them raise to positions of power. But then there were the teachers who made a difference in my daughter’s life and education. The immigrant women who struggle day to day in desperately harsh conditions. The single moms working two jobs to make ends meet. Latino women are simply every day heroes! “
Daisy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s in Counseling Education.
She has raised her daughter Nicole as a single parent sometimes working two and three jobs to ensure her daughter receive a college education, and recently celebrated her graduation from Florida International University.
Meet the other 2015 Hispanic Women of Distinction: