People of Chelsea: Margaret Hernandez and 2-Year-Old Son Gabriel and Friend Andy Ramon

By Darlene DeVita

The following is one in a series of sneak peeks at the upcoming People of Chelsea additions by Photographer Darlene DeVita. The new work will ultimately appear on the fence of the Chelsea Public Library (CPL) this fall in a collaboration between the People of Chelsea project and the CPL.)

My parents are from Framingham, but I grew up here. My mom decided to go back to Framingham my senior year, but I decided to stay, so I moved out at the age of 16 to finish my senior year here. I decided to have my son in 2018. Then I went to school at Lincoln Tech.  I’m first generation (El Salvadoran) to graduate and continue school.  

I don’t plan on leaving. I like it here. Chelsea has played such a big role in our lives.  I want my son to grow up here, but by the way, things are going…there’s a lot of violence that goes on; that’s my only fear for my son; maybe this is not the best place for him. I’ve never encountered anything bad I think it depends on the people you hang around with.  It’s hard to say.  There’s a very nice guy who lives in front of my building (Danny).  He’s old but very nice, very generous. He gives back to everybody on the street, does little food pantries on Saturdays, teaches the kids how to ride bikes. I want him to teach my son. On Christmas, he gives to us. He’s one of the main reasons I don’t want to leave.  

Right now, because of the Pandemic, I’m not working. It’s hard to find a job. Interviews are through Zoom, a lot of emails.  But I’m hopeful. The good thing I can say is that I’ve done it on my own, here in Chelsea. I’ve been able to raise my son and will continue to do so.  I’m only 21. I want my son to see that I didn’t stop, so you shouldn’t either. I made my own life, and now I have my own apartment.  (UPDATE: Margaret is currently working at MGH.)

ANDY, (19).  We met at the beginning of the pandemic, went to the same high school but for some reason; we never ran into each other. I met her through my cousin. The pandemic is rough for anyone in general, but I didn’t realize I didn’t have many friends until the pandemic because I’m at home; I didn’t know I was so “lonely.”  Meeting her and Gabe helped me cope. I made a really good friend. 

I live in Chelsea, too, with my parents. I want to stay there for as long as I can. We’ve had a pretty peaceful life in Chelsea. We are separating now because [my] family wants to become homeowners. Even though Chelsea is a low-income city, it is very expensive.  An apartment can be going from $2000 – $3,000 just because we’re so close to the City. That’s the only thing that’s pulling my family apart. 

I’m going to school for counseling and education at Bunker Hill, getting my associate degree, then transferring to Salem State. I’m also first generation to graduate from high school and college. My mom and dad are from Honduras.

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