During a recent visit to the Boston area, I shared a street corner in Somerville with the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS). Being as I am from New Beige, it caught my attention.

Since I had precious little time to investigate, I snapped photos and figured I would check it out online later.

I thought this might be a speakers' bureau that arranges for public speakers knowledgeable about Portugal and the Portuguese experience to address community events and such.

MAPS is actually a health and social services non-profit "for the Brazilian, Cabo Verdean, Portuguese, and other Portuguese-speaking communities to increase and remove barriers to health, education, and social services through direct services, advocacy, leadership, and community development."

MAPS in its present form was created in 1993 by the merger of two agencies: the former Somerville Portuguese American League (SPAL) and the Cambridge Organization of Portuguese Americans (COPA) which had served Portuguese Americans separately since 1970.

What Is The Massachusetts Alliance Of Portuguese Speakers?
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

MAPS has locations in Cambridge, Somerville, Brighton, Dorchester, Lowell and Framingham.

"MAPS does similar work to the Immigrants Assitance Center (IAC) but in the Boston Area," said Helena DaSilva Hughes, President of the New Bedford-based IAC. "They are a bigger agency and have several satellite offices."

The two agencies do not interact, according to Hughes.

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The MAPS website says, "The latest estimate (2014) shows almost 67,000 people of Brazilian ancestry living in Massachusetts (1% of the total population.)"

What Is The Massachusetts Alliance Of Portuguese Speakers?
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

"There are about 308,000 people of Portuguese ancestry reported living in Massachusetts, making up about 4.6% of the state population," according to the site.

It also reports that "The latest estimate indicates that roughly 60,000 people of Cabo Verdean ancestry live in Massachusetts (0.9% of the total population.)

The greatest concentration of Portuguese-speaking residents of Massachusetts is in the Greater Fall River area.

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