The More Women, The Better

The More Women, The Better

Say what you will about the state of politics in our country these days, one thing that is undeniable is that Americans have become more engaged in the political process than at any time in our recent history.

The recent election of scores of women, of diverse backgrounds, to public office has signified that men no longer will be running the show.

This is a good thing, not only for women, but also for men — and by extension, for our entire nation and the world — because when those who control our democratic institutions reflect the make-up of those whom they are serving, the end result will be policies that benefit all Americans, in all our diversity, rather than just the few.

It took the current political environment to wake us up from our complacency .

We look forward to our new Congress and trust that the talented and energetic women who will be serving as our senators and representatives will bring a positive attitude and some meaningful changes to the status quo.

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ELC Put on Lockdown Wednesday as Shots Fired Outside

ELC Put on Lockdown Wednesday as Shots Fired Outside

The John Silber Early Learning Center, or Shurtleff School, was put on a heavy lockdown Wednesday afternoon after police responded to shots fired on Congress Avenue.

There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

At 1:30 p.m., the ShotSpotter system triggered at 101 Congress Ave. near the school. Police discovered one man in the area who was hiding shortly after the incident. He was found to have a replica firearm on him and was taken into custody. However, later, witnesses said he had not been the shooter, but rather the intended victim.

Chelsea Police are looking for additional suspects.

Police were stationed at the school during the lockdown, and things were soon restored to normal. School was released by 2:30 p.m.

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Study the Three Ballot Questions

Study the Three Ballot Questions

There are three questions on the ballot for the upcoming state election on Tuesday, November 6. The three are about as unrelated and disparate as one could imagine.

The first question asks voters to adopt a proposed new law that would require minimum staffing by nurses in every hospital in the state. We have to admit that when we started reading the full text of the very lengthy proposed new law, our eyes began to glaze over because of the use of terminology that may be common to doctors and nurses, but which means little to the rest of us.

However, what is clear is that those who proposed this question have a good idea of what they’re doing.

We doubt there is anyone who would dispute that nursing care in hospitals is critical for patients. It also is beyond dispute that avoidable mistakes in hospital care are a leading cause of death of patients in even the best hospitals.

In our view, this ballot question comes down to a cost/benefit analysis: Is the added cost of minimum staffing for nurses (and by the way, no one really knows what that dollar figure might be) worth the undisputed benefits for patient care?

Question 2 seeks to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit the spending by corporate entities. The amendment is designed to overturn the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared unconstitutional the limits imposed by Congress on campaign spending by corporations.

In deciding this question, voters would do well to recall the words of Louis Brandeis, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

The only way to change Citizens United is to amend the Constitution — a drastic measure, no doubt .

Question 3 seeks approval of an already-existing state law, that was approved by the legislature in 2016, that bans discrimination against transgender persons. The law has been working well and is endorsed by many groups and organizations, including the Mass. Police Chiefs Association. A “Yes” vote keeps in place the current law.

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Chelsea Supporters Showed Resolve for Pressley from Day One

Chelsea Supporters Showed Resolve for Pressley from Day One

Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley enjoyed tremendous support in Chelsea from a wide array of residents and City officials in the Seventh Congressional District race.

Chelsea’s Saritin Rizzuto is shown on Sept. 4 at Ayanna Pressley’s
campaign watch party shortly after it was announced that Pressley won.

Pressley recorded one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history when she defeated Congressman Mike Capuano in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 3, and nowhere did she find a warmer welcome than from supports in Chelsea. Here supporters here, in fact, were some of the earliest to join her campaign this year.

One of Pressley’s most visible supporters in Chelsea throughout the campaign was Saritin Rizzuto, a well-known community organizer.

Rizzuto organized the largest local fundraiser of the campaign when more than 180 supporters came to the Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway for a meet-and-greet with the candidate.

Pressley, who was introduced by Rizzuto at the event, did not disappoint her supporters, delivering a rousing, inspirational address that had the crowd on its feet cheering.

Rizzuto and Pressley have been friends for 15 years. They have worked together on various issues through the years. Rizzuto served as a board member at Casa Myrna and Pressley was very supportive of the organization that seeks solutions to end domestic and dating violence.

“Because I knew her background, I had seen her in action, and I had seen her be a fierce advocate for people, I wanted to be involved in her campaign for Congress,” said Rizzuto. “Ayanna asked for my help and I said, ‘I’m with you, 100 percent.’’’

Council President Damali Vidot was one of the first elected officials to endorse Pressley many months ago, and campaigned vigorously for her in Chelsea and beyond.

“I stood proudly with Ayanna as gatekeepers questioned her viability and intentions, from the beginning,” said Vidot. “It wasn’t just her impassioned speeches about real issues affecting us locally that drew me to her. It was the depth of understanding in which she spoke about Immigration, transit justice, and other inequities in the district. It didn’t take much convincing for people to join the A-Team. Our local grassroots efforts proved to be successful in drawing out more people than the last similar Congressional race in 2014, despite going up against establishment politicians  and organizations.”

Marisol Santiago was also a major force for Pressley in Chelsea, having worked on many campaigns in the past. She said Pressley gave everyone a choice, and also caused her to think about her community.

“Ayanna Pressley gave us a choice,” she said “This campaign was an opportunity to look closely at our shared values and ask ourselves what we could accomplish if we were to push ourselves further. Being complacent has never been an option, nor being a good vote was ever enough. Ayanna spoke to these truths and her campaign for Congress brought to the surface the deep differences between what people were used to and the push for more. Her voice amplified our resolve. Our organizing required us to ask these questions of ourselves and our communities.”

Rizzuto said Pressley’s experience as a councillor-at-large in Boston, coupled with the personal challenges she has confronted in her life, set a strong foundation for her run for the congressional seat.

“Ayanna can relate to the situation of people who have struggled, who have been homeless, who have victims of sexual assault,” said Rizzuto.

Rizzuto said the campaign event at Tu Casa in Chelsea drew a substantial crowd even though there was a last-minute change in venue. “There was an issue with a local venue that wasn’t unionized, so we moved the event to another location,” said Rizzuto. “We pulled it together with her team on 24-hour notice.”

Pressley’s speech that night rallied the troops and kept the campaign momentum going in Chelsea.

“With Ayanna, when you hear her speak, that’s when you know you’re going to vote for her,” said Rizzuto. “I knew she was powerful in communicating with the voters. The voters understood that Ayanna was someone who would fight for her constituents every day. I’m confident that she will be a great congresswoman.”

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Capuano and Pressley Debate in 7th Congressional as the Democratic Primary Approaches in Sept

Capuano and Pressley Debate in 7th Congressional as the Democratic Primary Approaches in Sept

With the Democratic primary coming up on Sept. 4, Congressman Mike Capuano and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley discussed the issues of transportation and housing, among others, in the Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District Debate held at UMass Boston on Tuesday, August 7.

From the start, the two sides agreed on their stance against the current administration, although the stance wasn’t simply to be anti-Trump. Capuano pointed to several issues, including healthcare and women’s rights.

“With Donald Trump in the White House, we are in the fight of our lives,” he said. “He’s threatening everything that we care about.”

Challenger Pressley stressed that she wasn’t dismissing the efforts of the incumbent Capuano, who is serving his 10th term in Congress, and his experience, but she emphasized the district’s need for activist leadership.

“What this district deserves, and what these times require, is activist leadership, someone who can be a movement and a coalition builder because, ultimately, a vote on the floor of Congress will not defeat the hate coming out of that White House,” Pressley said. “Only a movement can, and we have to build it.”

Capuano said his run has been a combination of both votes and advocacy. “Votes are important, and, by the way, with Democrats in the majority, we brought healthcare to 20 million people,” Capuano said. “Votes are part of what we do, but advocacy behind those votes and part of those votes is just as important on a regular basis, and my record shows we do both.”

Capuano, who cited how the district has seen its public transportation grow during his tenure, said his experience matters.

“In the final analysis, the votes on the floor of the house are going to be, for the most part, the same,” he said. “The effectiveness of what’s behind that vote will be different.”

Fighting for a majority minority district, Pressley also noted her frustration against the charges of identity politics being lobbied against her. The first woman of color elected to the City Council, Pressley recognized the importance of race and gender but said it can’t be recognized for the wrong reasons.

“[Representation] doesn’t matter so we have progressive cred[ibility] about how inclusive and representative we are,” Pressley said. “It matters because it informs the issues that are spotlighted and emphasized, and it leads to more innovative and enduring solutions.”

The debate was hosted by WBUR, the Boston Globe and UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. It was moderated by WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti and the Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker.

The Democratic primary will be held on Sept. 4, while the general election is on Nov. 6. However, the race between Capuano and Pressley will be decided in the Sept. 4 primary.

The 7th district encompasses parts of Boston, Cambridge and Milton, and all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph and Somerville.

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Battleground Chelsea:Capuano Draws Local, National Endorsements

Battleground Chelsea:Capuano Draws Local, National Endorsements

When the chips were down a few years ago and few were willing to stand up, rock the boat and call on President Barack Obama to slow down deportations from the country and places like Chelsea – Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez told a crowd of people at Pan Y Café in Cary Square last Friday that one man stood with him.

That man was Congressman Michael Capuano, and the popular Latino congressman from Illinois appeared with Capuano Friday morning, July 20, in Chelsea to endorse Capuano and remind voters here how hard Capuano has been working – both in good times and bad times.

“Ten years ago I came to East Boston to tell President Obama to stop the deportations,” Gutierrez said. “There wasn’t a lot of Democrats who wanted to strongly tell our president to do that. Barack Obama was popular, we liked him and we wanted him to success, but the deportations were continuing. Not many wanted to do that. Mike didn’t hesitate. We met with immigrant groups together 10 years ago to deliver that message and we’ve been working together every since then on these issues.”

Gutierrez has become a very popular member of Congress in the last few years as immigration issues have come to the forefront and he has combined with others like Capuano to tell the stories of those caught up in the system. Capuano took him on a tour of two locations in Chelsea Friday and one in Boston – talking to Latino and immigrant groups throughout the City. It reinforced that battle ground nature that Chelsea has taken on within the congressional race between himself and challenger Ayanna Pressley.

On Friday, he also received the endorsement of Councillor Leo Robinson and Roy Avellaneda. State Rep. Dan Ryan, who previously endorsed him, was also in attendance – as were several local movers and shakers.

“I didn’t know a lot about Mike when I came on the City Council many years ago, but on the advice of a neighbor and other councillors, I met with him and he was a solid guy,” said Avellaneda. “I looked at his resume and I’ve never looked back and never regretted supporting him. I’ve called on Mike so many times over the years for an issue regarding Chelsea…He earned my vote back then and has for the last 20 years.”

Robinson reminded everyone that Capuano has always brought home important monies for Chelsea from the federal government, including money recently allocated for rebuilding Quigley Hospital at the Soldiers’ Home.

Capuano was gracious, and said he really appreciated the support from Chelsea and Gutierrez, his colleague in Washington, D.C.

“It’s nice when you’re under the gun to learn who stands with you,” he told the crowd, moving on to the immigration issue and the family separation he recently saw in a trip to the Texas/Mexico border. “It’s a simple question. Do you like people or don’t you? Do you want to be a country that’s welcoming or don’t you?…None of us would have said that we would live in a country where the official policy was to rip nursing infants from their mothers…It’s horrible and it’s not right. Infants and their mothers should be together…Unless Democrats get the House back, we won’t have any progress on these issues. If Democrats get the House back, I promise you we will deal with the TPS (Temporary Protective Status) issue. We will deal with the infants ripped from their mother’s arms. We will have honest discussions and debate about comprehensive immigrations reform. It will be difficult, but at least we will have a chance because we’ll be talking about it.”

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Chelsea Officials Endorse Pressley Ayanna Pressley

Chelsea Officials Endorse Pressley Ayanna Pressley

Six Chelsea city officials endorsed Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley’s candidacy for U.S. Congress at a campaign event last Thursday night at the Mystic Brewery.

City Councillors Damali Vidot, Jamir Rodriguez, and Enio Lopez and School Committee members Lucia Henriquez, Kelly Garcia, and Julio Hernandez each praised Pressley in separate speeches stating their endorsement.

Vidot, who has been a force in Chelsea politics since being elected as a councillor-at-large in her first run for citywide office, said she embraced Pressley’s candidacy from the beginning.

“From the moment I found out Ayanna was running, I was on board,” said Vidot. “The reason I’m supporting her is because I follow politics very closely and I have seen the work she’s done on the Boston City Council advocating for families and for girls. The way she has been able to lead, so authentically and gracefully and not allow anything to interfere with the work she has been able to get accomplished, it’s just magical for me.”

Vidot said people in Chelsea are enthusiastic about Pressley and welcome her positive energy. “The people are loving her. They love her message. She’s real. There’s a whole different energy. We have such a diverse group of people that are supporting her.”

The endorsement event followed a second campaign reception earlier that drew a large crowd at Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway. Saritin Rizzuto organized the gathering and was pleased with the sizable turnout of supporters.

“My friend, your advocate, and our candidate for the Seventh District congressional seat ,” said Rizzuto in an enthusiastic introduction of Pressley.

Pressley thanked her many supporters at Tu Casa.

“As I look out at all of you, I’m overwhelmed – and my heart is so full,” said Pressley. “Chelsea from the very beginning – you have been so very good to me.”

Pressley is challenging incumbent Michael Capuano in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary in the Seventh Congressional District.

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CBC Hosts Candidates Forum for District Attorney, U.S. Congress

CBC Hosts Candidates Forum for District Attorney, U.S. Congress

The Chelsea Black Community (CBC), under the leadership of President Joan Cromwell, hosted a Candidates Forum on June 27 at the Chelsea Senior Center.

Four of the five candidates for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s position in the Sept. 4 Democratic Primary– Linda Champion, Rachael Rollins, Shannon McAuliffe, and Evandro Carvalho – participated in the forum. Cromwell announced that DA candidate Greg Henning was invited to the forum, but was unable to attend due to another commitment.

Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, candidate for U.S. Congress, took part in the CBC’s Congressional Candidates Forum. Congressman Michael Capuano was unable to attend because Congress was in session in Washington, D.C.

The four DA candidates presented their qualifications for the position and stated how they would run the DA’s office if they were elected. There were some spirited remarks by the candidates while discussing issues such as immigration, sanctuary cities, criminal justice reform, the homeless, diversion programs, the opioid crisis, and the safety of residents in Suffolk County.

Rollins delivered the most eye-opening comments of the forum when she spoke about the lack of diversity in positions of leadership at ROCA, the Chelsea-based agency led by CEO Molly Baldwin. Rollins’ comments came after McAuliffe, a former director at Roca, had rebutted Rollins’ earlier statement that she [Rollins] had management experience at Massport, MassDOT, and the MBTA, which, Rollins noted, are much larger organizations than ROCA.

McAuliffe said, “We heard a little bit about Roca leading 17 people and I want to be really clear about this: The staff of Roca is 17 people, but it is an agency with over 200 young men who are the highest risk in the county, and helping to give them what they need to actually turn away from crime. I will let everybody leave their own opinions to themselves about the MBTA and Massport and what we’ve actually seen about those companies, but what I can say about Roca is that it is effective, it’s data-driven, it’s innovative, and it’s about leading radical change.”

Rollins responded vigorously to McAuliffe, saying, “I was fortunate enough after Shannon left Roca, to be offered the job of director of Roca, and what was disappointing to me is that I would have been the first person of color in the 30-year history of Roca to ever have that position. Roca has inserted itself into communities of color and its management is historically not people of color. And I am very, very tired, very candidly, of communities of color being led by people that don’t look like us, and we are not asked to sit at the table. So I am very proud of my history of hiring people of color, and women, at the MBTA, Massport, and MassDOT, and I hope ROCA works really hard to make sure that they get some more diversity in their leadership.”

Pressley, who received the most enthusiastic ovation of the night upon her introduction, said, “I am running for Seventh Congressional District because this is the most diverse district, and yet it is the most unequal. And if you need any evidence of that, you get on the No. 111 bus and just try to get to work on time, or you can get on the No. 1 bus in Harvard Square in Cambridge and ride it all the way to Dudley Square in Roxbury. And what you will see visually is a stark contrast of life experiences, median household income, and life expectancy drop by decades.

“My opponent has been a reliable vote – given these times, that is no longer good enough,” Pressley continued. “This district deserves and these times demand activist leadership, leaders that will vote the right way, that will lead, that will legislate, that will be bold – and I want to underscore the intention in legislating: to uplift families, to advance communities, and to reduce harm.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, who represented Capuano at the forum, delivered a speech highlighting Capuano’s many accomplishments in office as Chelsea’s congressman.

Sharon Caulfield, associate dean of Bunker Hill Community College, did a masterful job as the moderator of the forum. Caulfield, whose husband, Michael, and daughter, Emily, looked on proudly in the audience, kept the program moving smoothly, was professional and courteous in her manner, and was impartial in her actions.

Joan Cromwell thanked Chelsea Community Cable Television and its executive director, Duke Bradley, for televising the forum and the Chelsea Record for its publicizing and coverage of the forum.

Cromwell said in concluding her remarks, “This [forum] was good.”

And all who participated in and attended the forum,  agreed.

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Public Library Featured on Gateway Trail

Public Library Featured on Gateway Trail

Recognizing the integral role that public libraries play in their communities, Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) has added a Gateway City Library Trail to its live app, MassBook Trails.

Chelsea Public Library is celebrated on the trail for providing democratic access to reading and 21st century gateways to opportunity for their patrons through digital connectivity and programming that enhances life-long learning and cultural assimilation.

“This trail underscores the unique history, architecture, and attributes of each Gateway City library,” explains Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director of Mass Center for the Book. “Some are ‘Carnegie Libraries,’ built through the generosity of philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie; others had humble beginnings as a shelf of books to loan at the local general store.  But this trail also reflects the common mission of these public institutions that is as important today as it ever was: our public libraries are centerpieces of civic engagement and advancement and benefit from the local, state and federal support they receive to further their objectives.”

Available on the web and as a free download, Mass Book Trails was launched in 2017 with two literary walking tours in Boston and two statewide trails:  Literary Museums of Massachusetts, and African American Writers Heritage Trail.  Additional tours are being added as libraries have accepted MCB’s invitation to develop their own local literary, cultural, and historic tours.

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.

For more information, contact info@massbook.org.  MassBook Trails may be found in the app store and through Google Play.  It is also available on the web at https://massbooktrails.oncell.com/en/index.html.

Cutline –

The Chelsea Public Library has been added to the MassBook Trail App for Gateway City Libraries.

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Celebrating Pride in Our Communities

Celebrating Pride in Our Communities

Every June, our communities come together to celebrate Pride Month, a tradition that grows stronger every year. In 1989, Massachusetts became the second state to pass a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry. Our state has always been a national leader on defending LGBTQ rights, and I’m proud of our communities’ work and reputation as a place that promotes inclusion and acceptance.

As we celebrate Pride in our communities, we look at how far we have come as a country, and how far we have to go. In Washington, Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are trying to roll back the gains the LGBTQ community has fought so hard to make. As your representative in Congress, you have my promise: I’ll never stop fighting for equal rights for everyone.

Last June, I sat down with bipartisan leaders at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute to focus on advocacy and activism within the LGBTQ community in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. The theme of the panel was “stronger together” — despite the people that try to drive a wedge between communities, we are the strongest when we stand united in the face of discrimination. That’s a value I truly believe in.

The LGBTQ community is no stranger to fighting for their rights, and I’m proud that I’ve supported my constituents on the issues that matter. This includes co-sponsoring legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act; fighting against defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman; working to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; and supporting the right of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor same-sex spouses for green cards before court decisions upheld that right.

I’m proud of my 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, but even prouder of the fact that when I served as Somerville’s mayor, I fought hard for equal benefits, including fighting against insurance companies who refused to extend benefits to same-sex couples. As mayor, I was successful in redefining who was eligible for extended maximum bereavement leave to include domestic partners — and all these fights came before our laws allowed or required these actions.

Today, we’ve come far. On Saturday, I’m honored to march in the 48th Pride Parade in Boston. 48 years of celebrating who people are, who they love, and the battles we’ve had to fight to make our city, our state and our nation a place where inclusion and acceptance are the norm, not the exception. I know we have work to do here in Massachusetts, and around our country. And during Pride Week in Massachusetts, I’m proud to join the LGBTQ community and celebrate what makes each and every person unique.

Happy Pride Parade, Pride Week and Pride Month — and here’s to another year of creating more opportunities for all.

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