City Designate Street To Late Community Advocate Connie Navarro

The City Of Muskegon designate Walton Ave. between Terrance to Pine St. as Connie Navarro Way to honor the late community advocate Erenia "Connie" Navarro.


WHEREAS, the City of Muskegon wishes to recognize and honor the late Erenia “Connie”
Navarro; and
WHEREAS, Connie Navarro was a community leader, a Latino champion, civil rights giant, small
business owner, social agency worker, a volunteer, a wife, a mother and friend of countless
Muskegon citizens; and
WHEREAS, Connie Navarro was born in Round Rock, Texas and moved to Muskegon during
World War II as a migrant worker, settling in the Muskegon project called “La Colonia” and
marrying the love of her life, husband Angel Luis Navarro in 1964, having three children; and
WHEREAS, a graduate of Muskegon High School, Connie Navarro was instrumental in the family
business Navarro’s Mexican Takeout in Muskegon Heights, which continues today by the family
after more than 40 years; and
WHEREAS, Connie Navarro worked for the Muskegon County Department of Social Services and
other local agencies helping Mexican Americans with basic human services and providing
bilingual assistance in health care and educational institutions, leaving a legacy of bridging the
Latino and Anglo communities; and
WHEREAS, Connie Navarro served her community through Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church
and the non-profit Latinos Working for the Future, which she co-founded with her husband;
WHEREAS, Connie Navarro in her final years co-authored an historical book “A New Home in
Michigan: The Mexican-American Experience in Muskegon;” and
WHEREAS, over her life Connie Navarro received prestigious awards for her community
leadership and service from Muskegon Community College, the Muskegon Rotary Club, Black
Women’s Political Caucus, the Muskegon Women’s Club, Michigan State University and Grand
Valley State University among other institutions; and
WHEREAS, Connie Navarro was a trailblazer who touched thousands of lives by fighting for
justice, inclusion and diversity, and for making sure all voices were heard and everyone’s
experience was valued; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Muskegon City Commission honors and recognizes
Connie Navarro by designating Walton Avenue from Terrace to Pine Streets as Connie Navarro
Kenneth D. Johnson
Mayor, City of Muskegon


POR CUANTO, la Ciudad de Muskegon desea reconocer y honrar a la fallecida Erenia “Connie”
Navarro; y
POR CUANTO, Connie Navarro fue una líder comunitaria, campeona latina, gigante de los
derechos civiles, propietaria de una pequeña empresa, trabajadora de una agencia social,
voluntaria, esposa, madre y amiga de innumerables ciudadanos de Muskegon; y
POR CUANTO, Connie Navarro nació en Round Rock, Texas y se mudó a Muskegon durante la
Segunda Guerra Mundial como trabajadora migrante, instalándose en el proyecto de Muskegon
llamado “La Colonia” y casándose con el amor de su vida, su esposo Ángel Luis Navarro en
1964, teniendo tres niños; y
CONSIDERANDO QUE Connie Navarro, una graduada de Muskegon High School, jugó un papel
decisivo en el negocio familiar Navarro's Mexican Takeout en Muskegon Heights, que continúa
hoy en la familia después de más de 40 años; y
POR CUANTO, Connie Navarro trabajó para el Departamento de Servicios Sociales del Condado
de Muskegon y otras agencias locales ayudando a los mexicoamericanos con servicios humanos
básicos y brindando asistencia bilingüe en instituciones educativas y de atención médica,
dejando un legado de unir a las comunidades latina y anglo; y
POR CUANTO, Connie Navarro sirvió a su comunidad a través de la Iglesia Católica Our Lady of
Grace y la organización sin fines de lucro Latinos Working for the Future, que ella cofundó con
su esposo; y
POR CUANTO, Connie Navarro en sus últimos años fue coautora de un libro histórico "Un nuevo
hogar en Michigan: la experiencia mexicano-estadounidense en Muskegon"; y
POR CUANTO, a lo largo de su vida, Connie Navarro recibió prestigiosos premios por su
liderazgo comunitario y servicio de Muskegon Community College, Muskegon Rotary Club,
Black Women's Political Caucus, Muskegon Women's Club, Michigan State University y Grand
Valley State University, entre otras instituciones; y
POR CUANTO, Connie Navarro fue una pionera que tocó miles de vidas al luchar por la justicia,
la inclusión y la diversidad, y por asegurarse de que se escucharan todas las voces y se valorara
la experiencia de todos; y
AHORA POR LO TANTO SE RESUELVE que la Comisión de la Ciudad de Muskegon honre y
reconozca a Connie Navarro al designar Walton Avenue desde Terrace hasta Pine Street como
Connie Navarro Way.
Kenneth D. Johnson
Alcalde, Ciudad de Muskegon

Erenia “Connie” (Ramirez) Navarro 1940-2022

Excerpt from her obituary - Connie was born, in Round Rock, Texas, the eleventh of twelve children. Her parents, Esteban and Concepcion Ramirez, moved the family to Muskegon during World War II. She worked as a migrant worker before settling in a Muskegon, Michigan project called “La Colonia” where her father found a factory job making engines for General Motors which is now called Textron Corporation.

Connie was the 11th child and the first to graduate from Muskegon Senior High School in 1957. This was a great achievement for her because she had been stricken with tuberculosis and was hospitalized at the Tuberculosis Sanitorium for one year until her return home. Her parents provided a tutor at home to assist with her studies. Later, she attended Muskegon Community College for a short period of time, but left to help her parents with their Mexican restaurant, La Villita.

In 1964, Connie married the love of her life, Angel Luis Navarro whom she met while picking in the fields as migrant workers. The newlyweds moved to Florida where they experienced all of the racial prejudice of the south. Their lives were constantly under attack both by physical and social prejudice. They moved back to the Muskegon area in 1969 when the Navarros bought a family business that specialized in providing Mexican food and ethnic products, Navarro’s Mexican Takeout, and introduced the community to authentic Mexican food — her heritage. Today the more than 40-year-old business remains strong rooted in Muskegon Heights, Michigan where her mother’s recipes continue nourishing community.

Connie was a tireless advocate for the Latino community, a trailblazer who believed that all voices needed to be heard and everyone’s experience was valued. It was her mission; no, her legacy to connect people from all of Muskegon’s communities and to introduce us as neighbors.

She did so on the job, first working for the Department of Social Services in Muskegon, helping Mexican-Americans with home care, budget management and with bilingual assistance at area hospitals and educational institutions. Later, she worked for Vista as a liaison for the Latino community at the Family Coordinating Council. Again, she provided translations for people seeking health care and served as a “bridge” between the Latino and Anglo communities. Throughout her career, which included time at Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Mission for Area People, she was one of the first bilingual employees.

Her dedication to diversity and inclusion extended to community work, volunteerism sitting on numerous boards and even the business world. She and her husband, Angel Luis Navarro, co-founded their non-profit, Latinos Working for the Future in 1991 and were active in the Latin America Club promoting the Latino culture and advancing higher education for students.

Because of her heritage — with those strong, resilient roots — Connie knew she had to preserve and tell the stories of the Latino people who call Muskegon home, before they were forgotten. She co-authored a book, “A New Home in Michigan: The Mexican-American Experience in Muskegon,” about Ryerson Heights, a federal housing project where many Latino families lived during World War II and immediately after. Connie called the project “La Colonia,” which translates to colony or neighborhood.

She was equally as dedicated to preserving many Latino customs in church at Our Lady of Grace, often organizing special masses and celebrations such as the Virgen de Guadalupe mass and volunteering in the Ladies Guild.

Connie was honored for her service. She received the Women of Accomplishment Award from Muskegon Community College, the Black Women’s Political Caucus Award, the Maria Zavala Award from Michigan State University’s Dia de la Mujer and the Muskegon Woman’s Club Woman of Accomplishment Award and is a Muskegon Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow. Most recently, she received the Gordon Olson Award from the Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University for “using history to give voice to a diverse community.”

The Navarro family kindly ask for you to honor her legacy of inspiring young Latino students and entrepreneurs by donating to The Angel Luis and Connie Navarro Legacia Fund held at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.