About Maria

Service to the Town

Maria has served on the Chapel Hill Town Council since 2013. She values broad participation in government and open access to all. Before being elected to Town Council she volunteered in service and leadership roles from translating during emergencies for the police department to co-chairing a committee for Chapel Hill 2020.

Advocacy and Activism

Display at the Smithsonian
Campaign literature displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum commemorating Maria’s role in broadening voting access in North Carolina

Maria was honored at the Anacostia Community Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, for her role in broadening access to the vote in North Carolina. She was one of the first people arrested in the Moral Monday’s movement to insure access to the polls.

For thirty-plus years she has worked for social justice causes among the disenfranchised and in the corridors of power. Maria has worked among migrant farmworkers and served on the North Carolina State Board of Education and many places in between.

Studies at UNC

Maria holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UNC Chapel Hill. She began her studies here in 1994 and moved permanently to Chapel Hill two years later. During her tenure on the Town Council she has worked with the university and the town to develop policies and collaborations of mutual benefit to us all.

Affordable Housing

Habitat House Dedication
Celebrating the completion of two new houses

Maria has worked diligently to support affordable housing initiatives. Working with nonprofit organizations and developers alike Chapel Hill has set in motion the process of doubling the number of affordable housing units by 2019.

International Connection

At Pisac Market high in the mountains of Perú, 2016.

Maria was born in Perú and as a teenager lived in Guatemala and Mexico as well. She maintains ties with family in Peru and continues to work to build understanding between her birth country and her North American homeland. She became a U.S. Citizen in 1987, and has worked tirelessly for cultural understanding both in Peru and in the United States.