Miguel C. Luna, 53, veteran Providence city counc

By David Klepper
Associated Press / August 20, 2011

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PROVIDENCE - Miguel C. Luna, a veteran councilman who had represented the city’s Ninth Ward for eight years, died Thursday, more than a week after a massive heart attack. He was 53.

Mr. Luna, the second Latino elected to the Providence City Council, died at Rhode Island Hospital, Mayor Angel Taveras said. He called Mr. Luna a “great man who made a difference in many people’s lives.’’

Mr. Luna was known for his advocacy for affordable housing, workers’ rights, and urban development. He was a founding member of the community group Direct Action for Rights and Equality, served as chairman of the Rhode Island Worker’s Rights Board, and helped create a citizen review board to examine allegations of police misconduct.

Council President Michael Solomon said Mr. Luna showed “an unyielding commitment to community service’’ and improving the lives of the less fortunate.

Governor Lincoln Chafee issued a statement calling Mr. Luna a friend who will be remembered for his warmth, dedication, and generous nature.

Mr. Luna, a native of the Dominican Republic, arrived in Rhode Island in 1984. He worked factory and construction jobs, according to his biography on the city’s website. He went on to work as director of transitional housing at the AIDS Care Ocean State Center.

He joined the City Council in 2003 and was most recently reelected in 2010. He was a longtime resident of the city’s Elmwood neighborhood and leaves three children, Dante, 13, Sofie, 11, and Omar, 9.

“He was like a brother to me,’’ said Councilman Luis Aponte. “Miguel’s been on the front lines of every important struggle in our great city, and I am saddened beyond belief by his passing. He was a hero in the true sense of the word - unafraid of taking on the powerful and relentless in his commitment to winning justice and fairness for all.’’

Mr. Luna had been hospitalized since his heart attack Aug. 9.

Taveras ordered flags on city buildings to fly at half-staff in memory of the councilman.

The funeral service is planned for 10 a.m. Monday in St. Michael the Archangel Church, 239 Oxford St., Providence. Mr. Luna will be buried in the North Burial Ground in Providence.