Maria Carrasco to be Honored

Maria Carrasco moved to Lynn in 1982 and since then she has been involved in the community, both as an elected official and a citizen. Friday night she will be honored by the New Lynn Coalition at a dinner to be held at the Franco-American. Veterans Post.

Carrasco, chair of the New Lynn Coalition, has served five terms on the Lynn School Committee and worked on a number of political and issue campaigns. She has also served on several boards including North Shore Community College, the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund and Neighbor-to-Neighbor. She is the first Latina to be elected to municipal office in Lynn.

“Lynn is my city. I’ve lived here longer than I did in Dominican Republic,” said Carrasco, 67, mother of three and grandmother to six. “To me it’s an honor and a privilege to be recognized.”

The New Lynn Coalition was formed in 2011 in response to issues in the city regarding minimum wage and a feeling of divisiveness in the community.

“We don’t want to have two Lynns’ we want one,” Carrasco said, during an interview in a Munroe Street coffee house, adding the that coalition fostered a study with an overview of the city.

Carrasco’s greatest accomplishment with the coalition has been the development on Washington Street, which helps address the housing needs of the city.

“The investor worked with the coalition to include affordable housing and donate $100,000 to help fill a need for education, English as a second language courses, computer courses, courses for paraprofessionals to work in the schools,” she explained.

Three years ago the coalition hosted an event at the Lynn Museum. People from all ethnicities were invited and came to share their immigration story.

“Lynn is a city with great diversity, but sometimes it can feel like there are two Lynns,” she said.

Carraso has worked to bridge the diversity, going door to door for elections, registering people to vote and spreading education through workshops.

Retired from the North Shore Career Center. She plans on working with State Rep. Peter Capano.

Looking down the road, Carrasco reflects on how  Lynn will be 10 years from now. While she would like to see Lynn grow she doesn’t want to see her community priced out, rents in Lynn can range from $1,600 to $2,000 – just for a two-bedroom units. In order for people to make it they have to work two or three jobs.

“There will be different faces, but we don’t want the displacement of people already here. There will be a lot who leave,” Carrasco said, adding she is not interested in any political office.  “I try to concentrate my energy to see if we can create a Lynn organization that can mold minority candidates and campaign managers.”

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