People of Chelsea: Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh – 2022

By Darlene DeVita

The following is one in a series of sneak peeks at the upcoming People of Chelsea additions by Chelsea Photographer Darlene DeVita. The new work will ultimately appear on the fence of the Chelsea Public Library (CPL) Spring of 2022 a collaboration between the People of Chelsea project and the CPL.)

I’m a Mattapan girl from Blue Hill Ave. I worked with the Soldiers Home for many years. 25 years ago I thought it was time to come over here with commandant Mike Resca who I had known through being the Director of Veterans Services. Chelsea was always to me a desirable place to live, and the Soldiers Home was welcoming. I’ve been here ever since.

Currently, I consult for several elected and appointed officials. Having spent over 30 yrs at the State House and Boston City Hall.  Besides being an attorney, I’m also a certified social worker, working with those with substance abuse.  I’ll be 70 this year. (Top Secret!)

In ‘76 I graduated from UMass Boston with a BS in management.  In ‘81 I went to Suffolk University for a Master of Public Administration. In ‘87 I received my Doctorate of Jurisprudence. I’ve been involved in progressive values my entire life. My fear for Chelsea is it’ll be gentrified much sooner than later.  Rents are putting it out of reach of our new Americans. I can’t control it. The city manager can’t control it. Our City Council can’t control it. It seems to roll on its own. 

You can’t really appreciate Chelsea in a vehicle.  You have to be on foot.  You know Eleanor St? You can get great legs if you march up and down Eleanor every day. I see nothing but the best for the future of this city with the hardworking, I refuse to use the word immigrants; I say New American’s. You just need to work hard. Education is the quickest way to advance yourself in this country.   And our New Americans are well aware of this.

I feel one of the biggest reasons I’ve been so accepted in Chelsea is that women, often Latino women, sometimes feel marginalized disenfranchised, and historically, people like myself have been marginalized disenfranchised. Not included in the mainstream of events. I didn’t do anything to make this happen it’s just how people view people such as myself. As Dr. King said,  “I always judge a person not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”   If I had my way, the motto, that’s on all of our currency, E Pluribus Unum, would be underneath Winnisimmet, the original Indian name on the City Seal, meaning, “Out of many, One.’’  This is the 21st-century melting pot here in the city of Chelsea, and I’m proud to live here. 

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