Sexual violence among students impacts 1 in 4 women and 1 in 16 men (1). These numbers are staggering and overwhelming, but it is important, not to become numb to those numbers, and to remember that they impact the people all around us. With upwards of 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students living in Jamaica Plain, studying across different universities, this problem is particularly critical for our community. Setting the rate of prevalence against the student population of our neighborhood, we can estimate that of the 4,000 current students living in our community, 625 of our community members will be sexually assaulted during their time in college. This number is appalling, but to most college students, it is tragically unsurprising.
Every spring, the city of Boston releases our Imagine Boston Capital Plan for the next five years. It outlines where our city’s budget will be focused, our longer-term plans, and our priorities. Essentially, the capital plan details what initiatives and projects in your neighborhood and across the city that we’ll be investing in to make Boston’s future brighter. From Jamaica Pond to the Curley K-8 School, it’s my priority to create growth and opportunity for every Bostonian in every neighborhood. Boston will be at its best when all its residents have the support and opportunity they need to thrive.
If you asked anyone working today, I bet they can remember their first summer job. It might have been flipping burgers, lifeguarding at the community pool, or helping kids as a camp counselor. Growing up, everyone in my neighborhood had a summer job -- it meant independence, and extra money in your pocket. I remember my first job -- I was a doughnut finisher at the Dunkin' Donuts in Andrew Square. The work wasn’t glamorous.
Today in Massachusetts, 1.2 million workers risk losing employment if they take time off work to care for a new child or to address a family medical emergency. Too many people are working every hour they can but still cannot get ahead, and a family emergency can quickly turn into a financial disaster. The current federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allows certain workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave a year to care for a newborn, adopted or foster child, a family member, or for the employee’s own medical condition. FMLA guarantees that you can return to your job at the end of a leave. It is a minimum standard, and many states have chosen to expand either the amount of leave available or the types of eligible employees. In Massachusetts, the FMLA applies to private employers with 50 or more employees, public agencies, including local, state, and federal government agencies, and public or private elementary and secondary schools. Only 60% of Massachusetts employees are covered in these classes.
From around the world and across our nation, people look to Boston for hope, for opportunity, and for a chance to build a better life. From the first immigrant who set foot on the Shawmut Peninsula to the first student from Puerto Rico who stepped into a new classroom this fall, for nearly four centuries Boston has been more than the place we share. It’s the hope we bring. It’s our determination to show a better way forward, lifting one another up along the way. This spirit has continues to remain in Boston.