Mary Ann’s sister Maria, born with Down syndrome, sparked her lifelong interest in language development and advocacy for public education. Her entry into political activism was organizing against segregated housing during the 1960s Black Civil Rights movement. As a public university staff member and active unionist, she promoted students, staff and faculty working together to defend the lowest paid. Mary Ann continues that work today with the Freedom Socialist Party and AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Retirees, Chapter 36. Her energy is currently dedicated to a campaign to pressure LA city officials to immediately re-purpose vacant city properties to house the homeless.