I'd been a Town Meeting member for just two years. Most of our volunteers had never worked on a political campaign before.
We ran on a platform of building a more inclusive, innovative and progressive
One thing you learn quickly as a person of color who talks about racial justice -- that's all some people think you care about; they tag you as a single-issue candidate. Not everyone could see that a focus on equity and inclusion is central in policy making related to finance, housing, transportation, sustainability, good governance and every other issue municipalities contend with.
Yes, we held events with two of the most electrifying new members of
These two women have my support for life -- they call, I come.
But, respectfully, I don't think those events are why we won that race. They amplified our campaign and certainly helped with fundraising, but it was our non-stop, on-the-ground, personalized approach to campaigning combined with a positive, forward-thinking and resonant message that won it for us.
I'll never forget the day we held that amazing rally with AOC, who's been a close friend since she was a student back at BU. It was thrilling. We were joined by mutual friends, who came to
I remember one neighbor who kind of waved me away -- not everyone enjoys an unsolicited knock. I gave a smile and waved back and as I turned to walk away, he said, "Wait, didn't I just see you on TV with AOC?" "Yep," I responded. "So, what are you doing here?" So, I told him, "That event was all about grassroots organizing, doing the work, and the importance of local elections. So, here I am."
That was the ethos of our campaign -- we ran for select board like it mattered, because it does.
I was clear at every house party and at every forum that residents would be voting for the rookie member of a five-person board -- not the mayor and certainly not the Messiah. That was true then and it's true now, but still, I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish in the last year.
I was proud to work with the
I was proud to cosponsor warrant articles that banned new gas infrastructure in
I laid out the connections between all of these issues in my
Some key lines:
"We have the unique opportunity to enact a suite of legislation that will make
"Those who call ourselves progressive can't just be there for the environment or education or affordability or justice -- we have to be there for all of it."
I'm proud to have been part of the push for a more progressive
While the health toll of our current crisis is measured daily in positive cases and far too many deaths, there are other preexisting conditions which this virus has brought to our attention.
Our school buildings remained closed for the remainder of the year, while teachers continue the work of educating our kids remotely, highlighting our racial and economic digital divide -- lack of computer access, slow internet speeds or no internet at all.
Likewise, the closure of schools and childcare centers has exacerbated our childcare crisis. Those who must now work without the benefit of schools or childcare now see what many low-income parents, particularly single parents -- mostly women -- have struggled with for far too long.
Many of us have been feeling a sense of isolation during this crisis. That's a feeling that too many elders in our community know all too well. A feeling that's been exacerbated by the necessary closure of our senior center and the virtual nature of our current support structure.
We've known for some time that 40% of Americans have said they would struggle to come up with
Our local food pantry provides evidence that food insecurity existed well before this virus. And now, the threat of going hungry or missing a meal has become real to so many more of our residents.
A lack of access to healthcare, housing, transportation, decent pay, and opportunity -- all exposed as pre-existing conditions inflamed by this current crisis.
And it's all worse if you're black or poor or undocumented.
Systemic inequalities -- particularly economic and racial inequalities -- are all staring right at us.
Even as we address their symptoms through our
It's our responsibility to meet these challenges with policy, not platitudes.
We must state clearly -- through policy and funding -- that food insecurity is unacceptable. That lack of childcare access is unacceptable. That racial disparities in healthcare are unacceptable.
That isolation, domestic abuse, homelessness -- that systems which allow our neighbors to subsist at a level so low on Maslow's hierarchy that it can barely be called survival is simply unacceptable.
The truth is that we're all living different pandemics right now.
Those with children, the elderly, those in nursing homes, first responders, healthcare workers, business owners, artists, transit workers, teachers, youth, nonprofit leaders, municipal workers, elected officials, immigrants, Asians, blacks, janitors, farmers, grocery workers -- all living different pandemics.
I'd encourage you to stop for a moment and think about how someone in a situation different than yours may be struggling during this pandemic, and even before it began.
If ever there was a time to think beyond ourselves, this is it.
I plan to use the next year to gather and join with others to work within and outside our system to meet these challenges with meaningful policy solutions.
Let's not just stop at aid efforts, which have always been critical, but deficient. We need long term solutions that permanently improve the quality of life for all of our residents and nearby neighbors.
It won't be easy, but I'm convinced we can move
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