Last November, voter turnout was the key to turning the corner on the hatred and ineptitude of the former presidential administration. The highest-ever percentage of voters ages 18-29—53%—showed up to cast their ballot for change. Our kids, who were in 5th grade in Boston Public Schools at the time, were super-engaged: watching parts of the debates, discussing the election with their teachers and classmates, and accompanying us to the polls. And during the run-up to this September’s primaries, we had multiple conversations about how exciting it was to have so many women of color on the ballot and what kind of change that could represent for the city.
At home and during their time in BPS, our kids have learned about how long it took women to secure the right to vote, and how hard African-Americans fought for decades to secure equal access to voting rights. And in both spheres, our kids are learning to be critical thinkers—why did it take women and people of color so long to get the vote?—and how to focus on how they might create change.
As middle schoolers now, our kids get it: The ability to vote is the ability to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and their policies.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey named two new Boston School Committee members, including Jamaica Plain resident Lorena Lopera. Along with Lopera, Polanco Garcia of South Boston was also named to the School Committee. Lopera is a Boston Public Schools parent and Executive Director of Latinos for Education, New England, which is a national organization dedicated to creating leadership pathways for Latinos in education. She is currently co-chair of the Hurley K-8 School Site Council. She has been very involved with organizations focused on expanding educational access for Latinx youth and students of color, including Roxbury-based Sociedad Latina, La Vida, Inc., and Building Excellent Schools, plus national organizations such as City Year and the Posse Foundation, according to a press release.
Alexandra Oliver-Dávila was elected chairperson of the Boston School Committee. A position she was quickly elected to in November of the former chair resigned. “Growing up as a Latina learning English in Boston, I am intimately familiar with the hurt and pain caused by racist practices and ideologies, and I have experienced the barriers to opportunity that our young people encounter every day,” said Oliver-Dávila. “There is much challenging work ahead to develop our competencies and closely examine our policies to improve outcomes for our students. I thank my fellow members for their support and their unwavering commitment to our students and families.”
Oliver-Dávila is a Roslindale resident and a Boston Public School parent.
Former Boston School Committee member and past president of Boston's League of Women Voters Mary Tamer has thrown her hat into the ring for the District 6 Boston City Council seat. Tamer is a West Roxbury resident, and announced her candidacy on Facebook. "I am running for City Council because residents of Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Mission Hill deserve strong leadership as we face a second COVID-19 spike and then proactively plan for an equitable recovery. Bostonians have been so vigilant throughout, but it is critical that our elected leaders are giving our neighbors the support that they deserve," wrote Tamer. Tamer was on the Boston School Committee from January 2010 through December 2013.
Boston School Committee Chair Michael Loconto resigned Thursday morning after an unmuted mic caught him mocking ethnic names during a virtual public committee meeting. Late Wednesday night after more than six hours into a school committee hearing, Loconto was overheard making fun of Asian people's names who had signed up to testify at the hearing. The hearing was about delaying exam school admissions tests for a year due to COVID-19, which the committee would vote unanimously in favor of. Loconto quickly apologized for what he said, and would apologize again on Thursday morning, as well as submit his resignation to Mayor Marty Walsh. The mayor said Loconto's comments were "hurtful and wrong," while accepting his resignation.