The eighth grade students of the Rafael Hernández K-8 School were too young to vote on Election Day. Instead they got an Election Day education by hitting the polls to interview voters and learn about their views on the candidates and issues.
The following article was written by the eighth graders of the Hernandez School:
Views from Green Street
Eighth grade students from the Rafael Hernández K-8 in Egleston Square took a trip to the polls on the morning of November 2nd, 2021, the day of Boston's election. We went to the Bowditch polling station on Green Street to interview voters.
The weather was sunny and crisp, and many voters came out with their dogs and children. Fourteen students (and their two teachers) stood in a line in front of the Bowditch building with clipboards. Some voters walked by, staring with a confused look, but we pushed out of our comfort zones to start conversations with these strangers.
In Boston's almost 200 years of having mayors there has never been a non-white male elected as mayor. That changed on Tuesday when Michelle Wu easily defeated Annissa Essaibi George. Wu was first elected as an At-Large Boston City Councilor in 2014 at the age of 29, and will be sworn in as mayor on November 16. Normally elected mayors of Boston are sworn in the beginning of January, but Acting Mayor Kim Janey agreed to a quicker transfer of power with Wu and Essaibi George. As expected, Wu easily defeated her fellow At-Large City Councilor, by a wide margin.
At-Large City Councilor and mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George fielded questions about police body cameras, gentrification, development and more. The following interview was conducted through email. Q: What is your specific plan to address the rising cost of living in Boston? Essaibi George: Boston’s residents are struggling to pay rent, our families can’t find or afford stable housing, and too many individuals are experiencing chronic homelessness. COVID-19 has only emphasized these realities, and those effects will last long after the pandemic.
Jamaica Plain based nonprofit Ethos is solely devoted to keeping elders at home, and has always created opportunities to bring issues that are relevant to older adults to the forefront of debate among candidates for office and elected officials. With that in mind, Ethos will be hosting two forums, one for Boston City Council's District 6 race and a mayoral forum. Ethos will be hosting its Boston City Council District 6 candidates forum virtually with Kendra Hicks and Mary Tamer on Oct. 13 from 11 am to 12:30 pm. Ethos will be hosting its mayoral candidates forum virtually with At-Large City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on Friday, October 15, from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
With English High School students gathered in a packed gym, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law that boosts investment in public schools by $1.5 billion annually over the next seven years. Baker was joined by numerous elected officials and business leaders, including Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Boston School Committee Chairman Michael Loconto, State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, City Councilors Matt O'Malley and Annissa Essaibi-George, and more on Nov. 26. The Student Opportunity Act will particularly provide new funding to school districts with high percentages of low-income students and English Language learners who often live in some of the highest-need communities. “This is a monumental moment for the future of our Commonwealth.
Three incumbents coasted to victory in the at-large Boston City Council race, with one newcomer, Julia Mejia, earning a victory. And for the first time ever, the Boston City Council will be majority female. The at-large council race featured eight candidates vying for four spots. Incumbent Althea Garrison, who became a city councilor after Ayanna Pressley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, came in seventh. Just as she did in September's preliminary election, Michelle Wu topped the at-large city council race.
Tuesday's At-Large Boston City Council election is the hot contest, but there is also a very interesting citywide non-binding question. Before we get into the at-large race, let's talk about that non-binding question:
Do you support renaming/changing of the name of Dudley Square to Nubian Square? The Nubian Square Coalition is leading the effort to rename the square, which is named after Thomas Dudley, a former Massachusetts governor who supported legislation promoting slavery and the slave trade. Nubian Square would be named after the Nubian Empire, which was an ancient empire that ranged from the Upper Nile to the Red Sea, according to National Geographic. The proposed renaming is supported by many organizations, individuals, present and past politicians, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, District 7 City Councilor Kim Janey, NAACP Boston, and more.
Got any needles hanging around that you need to get rid of? How about any prescription drugs? This week you can drop off both of those items at different sites around the city, and in Jamaica Plain. Thursday will be Boston's first-ever needle take back day, which was organized by At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, chair of the Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Recovery and the Committee on Education. Numerous organizations have teamed up to initiate the day, including the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Boston University School of Public Health Activist Lab, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Grayken Center for Addiction at the Boston Medical Center.
The Boston School Committee is appointed by the mayor, but it wasn't always that way. Some people like that the seven-member committee is appointed and others would prefer to go back to an elected committee. There's also the option of a hybrid governance of elected and appointed. The school committee used to be a 13-member elected committee until a public vote in 1991 changed the governance to its current form. Back then there were lots of issues with having an elected committee, including not all neighborhoods being represented fairly.
The JP Progressives are hosting their annual fundraiser on Dec. 12 and it's going to feature several newly elected sheroes. "Our work this year was extensive, and we are proud of both the results that we helped achieve and the effort we put forward. We gathered signatures for ballot questions and candidates. We organized phone and text banks to elect progressive candidates to state and federal offices across the nation.