On Tuesday, she hung out with the star performer Jennifer Lopez. On Wednesday, she boogied to J. Lo tunes with Girls Inc. girls right here in Holyoke. We’re talking about Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico: she visited the Paper City the day after she was honored as one of 2018’s Time 100, at a celebrity-filled Manhattan gala thrown by Time magazine.

“If you think you can change the world, you can!”

— Carmen Yulín Cruz, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cruz became famous for heroically advocating for her city after Hurricane Maria hit the island last fall. Holyoke has the most Puerto Ricans, per capita, of any American city, outside of Puerto Rico. At Girls Inc., she hugged and danced with the girls and answered their questions. Yecelin, age 10, asked Cruz whose footsteps she followed. The mayor said it was her grandmother, a teacher, who taught her that “you have to make sure that others also achieve what they want to achieve.” 

Before Cruz left, she turned to the girls: “Now say it with me, ‘There is nothing that I cannot do.’” And they said it back loudly, con corazón. With heart.