Racial profiling continues to be a problem in Massachusetts and throughout our country, as people continue to be prejudged because of the color of their skin. Often, police officers will attack first and ask questions later. According to the ACLU Massachusetts, Black and Latinx motorists are significantly more likely to be stopped and have their vehicle searched. A 2018 analysis of Boston court data showed that Black motorists are nearly 15 times more likely to be charged with a motor vehicle offense in certain parts of the city. In the movie The Hate You Give two innocent Black teens are driving on a back road at night enjoying each other’s company when they get pulled over by police for being Black.
Boston is a leader on climate action. We’re preparing our communities for climate impacts like coastal flooding and heat waves, and we’re cutting the emissions that cause climate change to begin with. We’ve committed to becoming carbon neutral by the year 2050, and we’ve developed a Climate Action Plan to get us there. An important part of this work is bringing more clean, renewable energy into our city. And now, we’re taking another big step in this work with the rollout of our Community Choice Electricity program.
When I went blind at age 10, I frequently found that the first thing I heard from others—family, friends, and strangers alike—was something along the lines of how terrible it was, how sorry they were for me, or how that person could not imagine what I was going through.
These reactions make an impact on you and make you begin to question what your life will be like moving forward and whether the dreams you once had for yourself are now possible. I found these negative thoughts hard to silence because I struggled to find examples of others like me who were blind and who had still accomplished their dreams. There were no blind athletes competing in Olympics, Super Bowls, or World Series; no blind people winning on election night; no blind people accepting Oscars, Emmys or Tony Awards; and it was rare, if ever, that I remember blind people being discussed in the news. For a group of people consisting of roughly one out of every four American adults and who are the largest demographic minority in our country, it is astonishing how infrequently the stories of the disability community are told in society. Storytelling is a powerful way to provide positive role models for people within the disability community and to educate others outside of it about the experience of what it is actually like living with a disability. This December 3 in honor of the International Day of People with Disabilities, let’s strive to share more stories and experiences of people with disabilities and let’s start with these three steps.
I began my career in housing first working with individuals facing homelessness in California at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes and then as a housing advocate for the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston. The work showed me that housing is about more than finding a place to live. Stable housing plays a role in creating a solid foundation for improving someone’s health and their ability to receive support for mental health issues, recovery and addiction, and trauma. Reliable housing can also enable connections to transportation, education, and work opportunities. COVID-19 has only made the work of providing housing more difficult and important.
ByMayor Martin J. Walsh and Superintendent Brenda Cassellius |
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping Boston’s families safe, healthy, and equitably supported has been our top priority. That’s why we made the tough but necessary decision to close Boston Public Schools buildings in March. In a matter of days, we began distributing Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to students, we set up meal sites to continue feeding tens of thousands of students and families, and we transitioned to fully remote learning. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort, and one we kept up while planning the upcoming school year. We are still facing uncertainty from coronavirus, but the values that guide us are unchanged.