Friday, August 10, 2018

Lorraine Granado - Cross Community Coalition

“Look at all these wonderful opportunities to make it better.” Those were the words of Lorraine Granado, a fourth-generation resident of the industrial neighborhood of Elyria who wanted a better life for her three sons and her grandchildren. Where others saw interstate highways, heavy industry, pollution, unemployment and inadequate city services, Granado saw possibilities. Granado created the Cross Community Coalition in 1987, that brought together the neighborhoods of Globeville, Swansea and Elyria. *.
The Coalition established its Family Resource Center in the shadow of elevated I-70 in a storefront at 46th and Josephine, and offered classes in English, GED preparation, job readiness and studies toward citizenship. There were programs for young adults: after-school tutoring, leadership development, conflict resolution and environmental education. Classes were also available in small business development, housing rehabilitation and home ownership.
Through the organization, citizens successfully fought the city's proposed medical waste incinerator, and a tent city for the homeless. The Coalition also joined a class-action lawsuit that required the ASARCO smelter to clean up yards and compensate residents for decreased property values. 
In 2005, the Coalition moved into a new 9,000-square-foot community center at 2501 East 48th Avenue. Poor health forced Granado to retire in 2009, but her efforts and those of the organization helped many individuals realize their goals, and the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods develop a strong voice for environmental justice.
On October 31, 2017, Denver Public Schools and CDOT's Central 70 project team dedicated the new east wing of Swansea Elementary to Granado. Her compassion, kindness and peaceful resolution skills brought diverse groups of people together to make positive changes in those communities. Although Granado couldn't be present for the event, a plaque near the main entrance to Swansea School commemorates her commitment to treating people with respect and love.
* The Board of Directors listed when the Cross Community Coalition was created included: Mary Miera Saragosa, Kenneth Mondragon, Michael Maes, Paul Garcia, Alvin Lewis, Shirley Castro, and Dana Louria. The Coalition was dissolved in 2011. Focus Points Resource Center occupies the space and continues the work.