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Gabriela Coletta Zapata

City Councilor, District 1

Fighting on behalf of her community is the only thing Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta Zapata has ever known. Raised by community advocates in East Boston, Gabriela grew up attending civic association meetings, neighborhood events, and even multiple protests against airport runway expansion with her mom, Nina. Gabriela has dedicated her entire life to working in service to others and giving back to the beautiful, diverse neighborhood that has given her so much.

Gabriela brought her passion for public service in her role as Chief of Staff to Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards. She centered and amplified the lived experiences of those systemically overlooked in every policy discussion, constituent case, and civic engagement initiative. She spent the entirety of her tenure in the neighborhoods of Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End understanding constituents' concerns to build bridges between differing populations. 

Most recently, Gabriela has been leading the New England Aquarium’s efforts around achieving a resilient, accessible, and inclusive downtown waterfront for all as their External Relations Manager. She’s worked diligently to ensure the waterfront remains welcoming for all Bostonians by expanding access to the Aquarium and its home on Central Wharf for BIPOC and non-English speaking individuals and families.  

Gabriela has worked to advance and empower women by building pipelines to leadership across the Commonwealth. As Associate Director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (MWPC), she furthered MWPC’s mission to recruit, elect, and train women to run for office across Massachusetts while creating strategies to elect endorsed candidates for its Political Action Committee. Gabriela is also a frequent guest trainer for Emerge Massachusetts, where she advises women seeking to run for office or manage campaigns for female candidates.

As Campaign Manager for Councilor Edwards successful 2017 campaign, Gabriela activated and mobilized a grassroots campaign consisting of a broad coalition of residents, unions, volunteers, and advocacy groups numbering over 500 people - all of whom felt disenfranchised by the political establishment - to elect the first African-American woman to represent us on the Boston City Council. Gabriela was State Representative Adrian Madaro's (D-East Boston) Community Liaison where she sat shoulder-to-shoulder with community members for years listening and learning about their priorities. Prior to that, she was his field director during his successful and contentious 2015 special election campaign. She was elected as the Democratic State Committeewoman for the 1st Suffolk and Middlesex district in 2016 and to the Ward 1 Democratic Committee in 2020.

Gabriela is a proud product of four Boston Public Schools and graduated from Boston Latin Academy. She received a degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Boston as well as a minor in Human Rights. She currently lives in East Boston with her partner, Sebastian Zapata. In her spare time, she loves to cook dishes that honor her Italian and Mexican heritage.

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