The Chelsea Collaborative has made history in many ways and the impact of our resident-led work can be felt in every corner of Chelsea. We reach nearly 4,000 Chelsea residents each year with our organizing, education, and direct service programming each year. Among our most notable achievements include: 


  • Successfully advocated for Chelsea to become a Sanctuary City. The resolution passed in 2007.
  • In February 2017, the Chelsea Collaborative led the City of Chelsea to join Lawrence in filing suit against President Trump, contending his executive order threatening to pull federal funding from Sanctuary Cities is unconstitutional. As leaders of the campaign for Chelsea to become a Sanctuary City in 2007, we know that communities are safer when local police are not entangled in federal immigration enforcement. In April, a federal court issued emergency relief in the form of a nationwide injunction to prevent the executive order from taking effect, saying the president has no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending. Read more here, here and here.
  • In 2017, in response to federal policies and rhetoric targeting immigrants, we have activated a multi-organizational, regional Humanitarian Crisis Plan and provided training on the plan to dozens of other organizations including workers centers, school districts, colleges and hospitals. The plan was developed by the Chelsea Collaborative and partners following the 2003 New Bedford immigration raids and convenes all local resources (including first responders, city and school officials, nonprofits, religious institutions, elected officials, and others) to support community members in the event of ICE raids or mass deportations. 
  • Created the Shanbaro Community Association to provide targeted supports to Chelsea’s growing Somali Bantu refugee population in Chelsea and surrounding communities; Assisting over 65% of Somali Bantu refugee families in the Greater Boston area to navigate school, government, health care systems and more


  • In 2016, the Chelsea Collaborative organized to successfully pass Chelsea's new Wage Theft Ordinance and hold businesses accountable to employees. 
  • We have advocated for workers’ rights extensively, mobilizing hundreds of immigrant workers to recuperate more than $1.5 million in back pay, stolen wages, and discrimination settlements. 
  • We file average of 5-10 cases/month with the Attorney General’s office and connect workers with pro-bono legal representation. Recent victories include: 
  • Restaurant workers Ana and David won back payment from unpaid hours and overtime
  • AMC cleaning workers finally won the last $70,000 from unpaid hours and overtime
  • Construction workers Mauro P. won back $1,100 and Victor won back $1,069
  • Restaurant workers Noe M. and Jose R. each won back over $10,000 in unpaid overtime
  • In honor of International Workers' Day, we lead our members and community partners to stand with workers through a Day of Action each year on May 1, attended by thousands of people. 
  • We are a key leader pushing for passage of statewide wage theft legislation (the Act to Prevent Wage Theft & Promote Employer Accountability -H1033/S999) and are optimistic that it will pass. The measure, which passed the state senate last year by a vote of 38-2, now has bipartisan support and more than 130 co-sponsors in the House. Our Senator from Chelsea, Sal DiDomenico, presented the bill.
  • We are creating systemic changes to the way immigrant workers are treated by strategizing with the Attorney General’s Office and other Workers’ Centers across Massachusetts on individual workers’ rights campaigns to root out worker exploitation and mistreatment across the state. 
  • We are increasing statewide capacity of workers’ centers throughout Mass. by providing technical assistance to help workers’ center staff better understand the legislative process and their role within the statewide wage theft campaign. We also provided training to other workers’ centers to support members on immigration issues as immigrants are vulnerable to workplace exploitation and mistreatment. 


  • Helped thousands of homeowners stay in their homes and fightback against predatory loans
  • We celebrated a major victory in July 2017 with new legislation to expand the housing court in Massachusetts. We worked for four years to bring a housing court back to Chelsea. While the original legislation came with a $750,000-line item to support the expansion, based on our continued advocacy, we found out recently that the line has been increased to the full $1 million we originally called for. The expansion will drastically improve services available to members of our community facing hardship, evictions, unfair renting practices, etc. by connecting them to legal experts and advocates familiar with complex housing laws and resources.
  • We worked with the City of Chelsea and our partner organizations in 2016 to pass the Community Preservation Act (CPA), bringing $650,000/year in new state and local funding to Chelsea for affordable housing, green space, and historic preservation.


  • Created a hub for Chelsea youth to access employment, coordinating more than 40 local worksites hosting youth interns during the summers and school year. This is the only youth employment program in Chelsea and has served thousands of Chelsea youth since its inception.  
  • Thanks to youth advocacy led by the Collaborative’s youth Riot Squad, the City of Chelsea reactivated the Youth Commission in 2016 which liaises between our city’s young people and the City Council to increase youth voice and provide opportunities for more youth to have a say on the issues impacting their city, schools, and families. 
  • Engaged students, parents and families, and the Chelsea School Department to expand culturally proficient supports for Chelsea’s large immigrant and ELL student population. This resulted in four additional guidance counselors, translation of the school attendance policy into Spanish, and collaboration on a dropout prevention campaign. 
  • Worked with the School Department to ensure parents are part of their child’s education and that children are excelling academically.


  • Today Chelsea is a model for community-police relations, with our police force reflecting the diversity of our residents and forming relationships with our immigrant community based on trust, respect, and inclusion.
  • Established through the 5-year human services plan for Chelsea, some of Chelsea’s most successful current organizations including Centro Latino, Roca, Community Connections, and the Central Avenue Day Care Center
  • Established the Chelsea Community Fund that provides grants to organizations, and neighborhood groups benefiting Chelsea residents.


  • The Chelsea Collaborative is the birthplace of environmental justice for the City of Chelsea. We were an incubator for the recently-created organization, Green Roots, which began as an initiative of the Chelsea Collaborative 
  • Fundraised $1.5 million dollars, visioned and designed with the community the Creekside Commons Park, the park on the Mill Creek
  • Led an impressive campaign to defeat a proposed 260-megawatt diesel oil-fired power plant on the shoreline of Chelsea and within 250 yards of Chelsea’s only elementary school by engaging thousands of Chelsea, East Boston, and Revere residents, public officials and environmental organizations in the campaign
  • Developed new Kaboom parks
  • Initiated three community gardens


  • The Chelsea Collaborative is the home of so many community leaders advocating for a better future for Chelsea. Together, we’ve created a community where Latinos and immigrants are engaged, empowered, and respected. Resident leadership in Chelsea is stronger and more effective today than ever
  • Registered hundreds of people and encouraging non-partisan voter participation
  • In July 2017, through our lawsuit, Chelsea Collaborative v. Galvin, we successfully overturned the state’s requirement that eligible voters register to vote at least 20 days before an election to vote in that election. This ruling helps remove barriers to voter participation throughout Mass. 
  • Each year, more than 1,500 community members participate in trainings, workshops, and educational sessions on their rights, advocacy, and community action. Participants who attend trainings also have ample opportunities to put their skills into practice and assume leadership roles throughout our campaigns as they facilitate meetings, take minutes, knock on doors, attend hearings and testify, and share information to educate and engage other members of the community.