Mass Alliance, a coalition of political organizations dedicated to making Massachusetts more progressive is proud to announce their endorsement for their Rising Stars Program of Damali Vidot for Chelsea City Council.
“We are proud to endorse for our Rising Stars Program, Damali Vidot for Chelsea City Council,” says Mass Alliance Executive Director Jordan Berg Powers. “We know that Damali is going to continue to put the community first, focusing on what it will take to move Chelsea forward. We are excited to join Chelsea voters in supporting Damali.”
Damali Vidot, current City Council Vice President shared her message of One Chelsea, a vision of a more inclusive and participatory government. Committed to reinvigorating residents in local issues such as development without displacement, supporting Chelsea Youth and maintaining an authentic voice for all residents on the Council.
Councilor Vidot, ran a spirited campaign in the last Municipal Elections. She topped the ticket in the Preliminary and finished in the General with an impressive show of support in one of the highest voter turnouts in a municipal electoral race the city of Chelsea had seen in years.
“I am thankful to Mass Alliance and their members for their continued support. Mass Alliance has an endorsement process that holds candidates and elected officials to a high standard. Their renewed support for me in this second term means a lot, given that I am always working hard to learn more about local and state issues and they have been a rich resource for me and my leadership”. Vidot shared.
From re-establishing the Chelsea Youth Commission, kicking off The Movement with other Chelsea Leaders, as well as advocating against development that does not put residents first, she continues to be an emboldened and fierce advocate that is bringing many disengaged residents back into the many conversations that continue in building a city that is representative of all.
Although Damali is running unopposed, she did open a headquarters where she is making phone calls to voters, along with door knocking with supporters; continuing that same spirited campaign that she insists is essential in continuing to build community and engage with all residents as the general election nears on Tuesday, November 7th.
Mass Alliance is a coalition of political and advocacy groups that fights for a more progressive Massachusetts. Their member organizations advocate on a wide variety of issues, including civic participation, civil rights, economic justice, education, environmental issues, healthcare, reproductive rights, and worker’s rights.
Mass Alliance provides clear leadership for the progressive community, cultivates and empowers progressive leaders, and assists them in ultimately winning their elections.
The silent protest that was begun last season by former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, in which Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem before football games, exemplifies what freedom of speech and freedom of expression mean in our country.
Kaepernick, and his fellow players who have joined him this year, have been very clear from the outset that their sole motive behind their protest is to express their view that racism is alive and well in America at all levels of our society and that this problem needs to be addressed immediately.
Although no one can doubt the truth of that assertion, we realize there are many who believe that a football game is not the place for political protests and who are upset that the players are kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.
That’s their opinion and they, like Kapaernick, are entitled to express what they believe.
However, those (such as President Trump) who are attempting to discredit the protesters by asserting that the protesters are disrespecting those who have served in the military are off-base for two reasons.
First and foremost, the protesters never have made any negative statement about anybody in the military or that their protest is aimed at the military. Rather, it is clear that Trump and others are making this claim solely to discredit the protesters as a means of ignoring the serious issue of racism that the protest is all about.
Second however, the playing of the National Anthem before a game never has had anything to do with honoring the military. Rather, the tradition of playing the Anthem prior to the start of a sporting event has been to show our unity as a nation — every single American — and not limited only to past and present members of the military.
The Anthem before a game makes us realize that although we may be cheering for rival teams on the playing field, at the end of the day, we still are one people, one nation.
Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the National Anthem — which has resulted in his career being ended (at least for now) — truly was an act of courage and stands as a shining example to all Americans, especially our young people, of their right to protest peacefully in our country.
Just as there have been no shortage of supporters of the Chelsea High girls volleyball team taking a knee at the National Anthem this month, there is similarly no shortage of people who are bothered by the statement.
Veterans are particularly bothered by the choice of high schoolers using the National Anthem to protest injustice, as it is historically a time to remember American soldiers who are deployed, dead or disabled. In a City where the primary state veterans care facility – the Soldiers’ Home – is located, that rings even more true than the average locale.
Members of the Soldiers’ Home said they could not comment on the matter, but many who spend considerable time there were hurt by the choice.
Bruce Dobson, who is the vice president of the East region of the Vietnam Veterans of America Massachusetts State Council, said he would like to meet with the girls. He said they are simply being followers, and not leading for the change they want.
Instead, they are hurting people who have lost life and limb to protect them.
“Protesting is acceptable in our country,” Dobson, who lives in Winthrop, said. “But to take a knee during the National Anthem is not. The National Anthem is to show respect to the Veterans who gave you the opportunity to be able to protest. If the volleyball team wants to protest, go to the steps of City Hall and take a knee. That will get a reaction without being disrespectful to veterans. The volleyball team members are being followers; be leaders and do something in your community. I would be willing to engage the volleyball at any time.”
School Committeeman Richard Maronski said he doesn’t agree with their stance and doesn’t believe the schools should allow it. For him, not only is it disrespectful, but shows that the youth aren’t being guided correctly.
“One problem is the kid seem to be leading the way in what should be allowed; we have the tail wagging the dog,” he said. “We are in a soft school system. The standards are lessened. The sports program seems to be getting worse. On the issue, I don’t think it’s right and I don’t think they know exactly what they are doing…I don’t think it’s right they get to take a knee wearing a Chelsea uniform. They can protest on their own time…I support the kids on what’s happening to them and what’s said to them, but I don’t support how they are going about it.”
Maronski said he attends St. Michael’s Church next to the Soldiers’ Home every Sunday, and Father Healey reads a list of the soldiers who have passed every week. He said he would like the volleyball team to attend that sad ceremony, and to also become acquainted with the many wounded soldiers living in the Home – soldiers who hold the Anthem as dear to them as their own lives.
Chelsea Veterans Agent Francisco Toro said he had no official position, but as the City’s chief advocate and service provider, he’s already heard a lot of opinions. Interestingly, not all are against – yet not all are for either.
“I provide services to the veterans and am an advocate and a voice for the veterans in this community,” he said. “There are some veterans who think that taking a knee is disrespectful and some that don’t think it is. If you were to go and speak to a group of 100 veterans in Chelsea, I would say that there would be no one group on one particular side or the other…I’ve heard both sides from the veterans on this.”
Community Action Programs Inter-City (CAPIC) Executive Director Robert Repucci and honorees Richelle Cromwell, president of the CAPIC Board of Directors, and Leo Robinson, president of the Chelsea City Council, are pictured at CAPIC’s 50TH Anniversary Celebration Tuesday at the Homewood Suites Hotel.
Chelsea is one of eight winners of the 2017 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors communities for their unwavering efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives.
Chelsea is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Chosen from more than 200 applicant communities across the country, Chelsea’s award winning efforts include: reducing diesel emissions, collaborating to open up the city’s waterfront, providing services to the city’s most vulnerable, ensuring Chelsea is a welcoming community for all, tackling public health issues such as substance use and trauma, and engaging and empowering the city’s youth in environmental and food justice projects.
“So many residents, city leaders, businesses and community partners have come together to make Chelsea a healthier, more just community in which to live,” says Roseann Bongiovanni, Executive Director of GreenRoots and lifelong resident. “I am so grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for recognizing those efforts with the prestigious Culture of Health Award. It exemplifies a whole community coming together for the betterment of our people, our environment, our future.”
“For the past five years, RWJF Culture of Health Prize communities have inspired hope across the country. We welcome these new eight Prize communities who are forging partnerships to improve health for their residents,” said Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “There are now 35 prize-winning communities across the country that are thinking big, building on their strengths, and engaging residents as equal partners to tackle the problems that they see.”
“Being nationally recognized for this work, despite the many health challenges this community has faced and that still exist, is a reflection of the community’s resilience and commitment to one another,” said Leslie Aldrich, Associate Director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Community Health Improvement. “The friendships and partnerships that have been forged in the effort to make Chelsea a healthier place to live are true and lasting and what make Chelsea such a unique community.”
Chelsea will receive a $25,000 cash prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities and have their inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other seven winning communities are: Algoma, Wisconsin; Allen County, Kansas; Garrett County, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; San Pablo, California, Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The state of Massachusetts now has the greatest number of Prize winning communities. Past winners include: Cambridge (2013), Fall River (2013), Everett (2015), Lawrence (2015).
To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Chelsea had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria:
Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health
Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
Securing and making the most of available resources.
Measuring and sharing progress and results.
“I am so very proud of the City and all of its non-profit partners,” says Tom Ambrosino, Chelsea’s City Manager. “This prestigious award from Robert Wood Johnson serves to confirm the incredible, collaborative work that occurs daily in this community to improve the health and well-being of its residents.”
Chelsea will join this year’s other Prize winning communities at the Culture of Health Prize Celebration and Learning Event at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey on October 11-12.
Learn more about Chelsea’s work, as well as this year’s other Prize winners through a collection videos, photos, and more at www.rwjf.org/Prize.
There’s no better preparation for the future than one’s history.
And there’s no better thing to celebrate than a 50th Anniversary.
The CAPIC human services organization will accomplish both things at it’s 50th anniversary celebration of the corporation on Sept. 26 at the Homewood Suites in Chelsea on Beech Street.
CAPIC provides a range of anti-poverty human services for Revere, Chelsea and Winthrop – from Head Start to Fuel Assistance to Wrap Around Services for the Opiate Epidemic.
“Most people think about CAPIC, and they think of fuel assistance and HEAD Start, but there are other things that go on here,” said Executive Director Bob Repucci. “So many people participated in building up things like CAPIC that exist today and they get forgotten. I consider it part of my job to resurrect them and give them a second life here.
“These are the people that really, really did the work that bore the fruit,” he continued. “My job here has become in the last few years to piece together the history and let it be known to the people doing the work today who it was that came before them…This is a very, very, important part of history. We want to not only honor the hard work, but also see the problems before they happen and be pro-active from knowing our history.”
The keynote speaker will be Speaker Bob DeLeo, and Repucci said they will honor long-time Board President Richelle Cromwell and Chelsea Council President Leo Robinson (a former employee of CAPIC).
“Leo worked here from 1972 to 1988 and Leo goes by the book,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people know that. Leo knows there’s a process for change to occur and he’s good at that. He does his research and he knows how government works.”
Other guests include Housing Secretary Jay Ash, as possibly Gov. Charlie Baker or Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
CAPIC got its start under late President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. As part of that effort, his Legislation included the Office of Economic Opportunity and that federal office offered grants to municipalities.
Chelsea and Revere banded together and got a $150,000 grant to share in 1965, with the group banding together in 1967 to form CAPIC. Winthrop was always part of partnership, but wasn’t confirmed until 1992 by the state.
Dick Incerto was the first director, and offices were in Chelsea and another was in Revere on Revere Street.
“The emphasis from 1967 was alcohol and drug us, housing, and tenants rights,” he said. “They focused on breaking barriers people had from achieving self-sufficiency.”
The Board was a unique format as well, he said. It was and still is comprised of a business leader, a low-income person and an elected official from each community. There are 21 board members.
“The integration of these three sectors onto one Board ensured that the agency would receive proper information,” he said. “That’s been the glue all these years – that tripartite glue of people on the Board.”
After Incerto, other directors included Walter Brown, Bob Mahoney and Pete Tata. Repucci came on board in 1972 to work on health care access and issues – something CAPIC still focuses on heavily.
Many of the programs in the area have been spin offs from CAPIC, including the model Upward Bound program that became Choice Through Education, or the Alcohol Outreach Program, which became Chelsea ASAP.
“If I were not here, the history of this organization I’m afraid would not be communicated,” he said. “So, I want to bring the people who started here back to meet the new generation. That’s what we’re hoping to do.”
The event is invitation only and guests of an invited person are $25. It is not a fundraiser, but donations are welcome. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the program starts at 6 p.m.
r of the community and executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative since 2006, is stepping down as the leader of the well-known agency whose headquarters are on Broadway.
Vega, who has earned victories for Chelsea residents against injustices and helped improve community-police relations, informed her friends and colleagues in a personal letter this week that she would be stepping down.
“The Collaborative has been my home for 29 years and the time has come for me to move on,” wrote Vega, adding that it has been “a tremendous honor to lead such a skilled and dedicated staff.”
City and state officials reacted with deep emotion that Vega, who has done so much to improve the qualify for life for residents and helped establish the Collaborative as a national model, would be calling it a career in the city.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino praised Vega as a tremendous advocate for residents who worked tirelessly on their behalf in important causes. Ambrosino said that Vega was “a true friend” to the city and a highly respected community organizer statewide.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico said that Gladys Vega “has been an outstanding advocate for the City of Chelsea and a champion for the many new residents from throughout the world who call Chelsea home.
“It has been a pleasure working with her over the years to serve the city and to enhance the social, environmental, and economic health of our community and its residents,” said DiDomenico.
Vega began her association with the Collaborative as a receptionist when executive director Edward Marakowitz headed the organization and it was located at 300 Broadway.
Vega’s passion for her work and the personable and professional manner in which she conducted herself became obvious to her colleagues. A 1985 graduate of Cheslea High School who had come to Chelsea from Puerto Rico when she was nine, Vega understood the challenges facing Latino residents and how to best help them grow and prosper in their new community.
Vega became the office manager and then worked as a tenant organizer. She showed her impeccable community organizing skills right away, fighting for tenants’ rights and gaining an important victory against an absentee landlord. Her organization has stood at the forefront advocating for immigrant families. The Collaborative became the go-to place for Chelsea youths seeking a summer job.
The question being asked by residents in all corners of the city is: Why is Gladys Vega leaving at the height of her power and name recognition and with the unmatched skills to rally people for important causes locally and nationally?
“I always told my family when I turn 50 years old (she celebrated her birthday at a large party in June), that I wanted to do something different because I feel the Collaborative has taken my social life away in a manner that all I do is work and be committed to the organization and the movement,” said Vega, who has two children, Melinda, 28, and Jerry, 21.
She spoke emotionally about the loss of her mother, Juanita Vega, who was a great inspiration in Gladys’s life. “There have been all these things that have happened in my life and I have never slowed down. I want to try a different job and leave myself time to help raise my two grandchildren. I have never been happier to have those two individuals in my life and I want to make sure that I don’t steal time from them like I stole from my two children.”
Vega also talked about health issues that she has had in the past but she happily reports to her many friends and supporters, “This year I’ve been in the best health. It’s been a very good year.”
There have been so many personal accomplishments during her brilliant reign as executive director, it was difficult for Vega to pinpoint one.
“But I’d say my biggest accomplishment was putting Latinos on the map and building a bridge between communities regardless where people come from and regardless of documentation,” said Vega. “To be able to put a passion in people that Chelsea is a great community to live in – we are a group of people that have worked very hard to build up Chelsea. Our movement has made history because our goals have always been to focus on the growth and betterment of Chelsea as a community.”
Vega lauded the many Chelsea administrators and community leaders that have helped the Collaborative succeed on its journey. She singled out the leadership of former city manager Jay Ash. Vega was front and center involving Latinos in city government when Ash ably piloted the total resurgence of Chelsea. She traveled with many others to Denver when Chelsea received the coveted All-America City Award from the National Civic League.
Many say that honor was Jay Ash’s finest hour as city manager and Gladys Vega was a valuable member of the team – its preeminent community organizer – that helped bring the city national recognition.
“We, those of us who care deeply about the community, worked with Jay Ash to help turn the city around,” said Vega.
She also spoke reverentially about the positive impact that Police Chief Brian Kyes has had in helping immigrants feel safe in the city.
“I love the fact that Chief Kyes gets the concept of diversity. I’ve worked very close with him and I know that people trust him and trust his leadership. I’m very proud to say that I was a part of the selection committee for chief and Chief Kyes has not let me down. I have been very impressed with his work and the police officers’ work in our community.”
Former Collaborative assistant executive director Roseann Bongiovanni and Colloborative President Rosalba Medina, a Chelsea Police detective, also drew plaudits from Vega.
“Roseann started at the Collaborative at the age of 19 – she was like my sister in the movement,” said Vega. “Little by little we kept working together until we built this environmental justice movement. Both of us learned together and worked very hard to build an environmental justice model that is the envy of other cities. We had more victories than we had losses.”
“It’s been an honor to work with Rosie Medina,” said Vega. “She has been a great liaison and partner in the Chelsea criminal justice system. Her leadership of our board has been outstanding.”
Vega said she worked closely with her cousin, Juan Vega, and community activist Tito Meza to help increase the number of Latino police officers in the department.
Vega regrets that she will not be continuing her work with current city manager Tom Ambrosino at the helm of Chelsea city government.
“As I think about moving on, I would have loved to have worked closer with him – my time with him has been brief, but it has been an amazing partnership. I think Tom, having been elected mayor of Revere, has a great sense of community organization and a sense of helping his constituents and listening to the people with a great level of professionalism. He treats everyone equally. I love what he has done as our city manager and I’m a huge fan of Tom Ambrosino – who has stated that there is no room for hate or injustice in the city.”
Vega will stay on board at the Collaborative until a successor is named. There will be a farewell celebration in December at the Homewood Suites Hotel in Chelsea.
City Council President Leo Robinson congratulated Vega on her successful tenure at the Collaborative, understanding that she has been one of the city’s most visible and most admired community leaders for three decades.
“Gladys Vega did a very good job for Chelsea residents and I wish her good health and good luck in all her future endeavors.”
Cambridge College, long considered a pioneer in adult learning, opens their new campus in Boston’s historic Hood Park (Charlestown), having moved from its former location on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.
The new, state-of-the-art campus consolidates the four schools into a single campus in Boston.
“We are delighted to welcome new, returning, and future students to Cambridge College’s beautiful new unified Boston campus,” said Deborah Jackson, President of Cambridge College. “The majority of our students live and work in the Boston area, and our new centrally-located campus will more effectively meet the needs of our busy students while attracting a broader population of new students.”
Located in the heart of Boston’s vibrant Charlestown neighborhood the new campus sits in the original home of the quintessential New England dairy company H.P. Hood and Sons. The bright and expansive campus offers a wide array of student centric amenities including multiple gathering spaces for small group work, flexible classrooms, ample free parking, a bus shuttle service, the CC Store, and the CC Bistro. As they head into their new modern classrooms, students will be inspired by wall quotes from luminary authors and thought leaders, and creative signage paying homage to Boston’s most notable thoroughfares, such as Washington Street and Commonwealth Avenue, will further enhance the Cambridge College student experience.
Located a mere five-minute walk from the Sullivan Square Orange line T stop, Hood Park is easily accessible to communities throughout the Greater Boston and surrounding areas. In addition, the campus is in close proximity to landmark development projects such as Assembly Row and the Schrafft Center. An array of anticipated new projects will provide a vast offering of housing and retail opportunities, green space, restaurants, and other exciting resources to the neighborhood.
Cambridge College’s new unified campus joins a community that has become a mecca for companies leading the charge in healthcare and biotechnology such as MGH Partners, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Associates, Tierpoint, ERT, and Indigo Agriculture, to name a few.
“We’re excited to become a part of this exciting and vibrant Boston neighborhood. We believe that the new Hood Park community affords us the unique and exciting opportunity to build relationships with some of Boston’s most innovative companies,” said Jackson. “We look forward to becoming a contributing neighbor to the community and hope to forge meaningful relationships with our new neighbors, employers and businesses to both support the neighborhood and Cambridge College.”
Cambridge College will host a Grand Opening reception on October 19. For more details and information, please call 617.873.0621 or email email@example.com.
Barbara Masser, MD, Medical Director of Chelsea Urgent Care, and Jose Abrego, MD.
Responding to community input, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has opened up a new urgent care facility in Chelsea, a facility that includes hours on the weekends.
The new medical offering opened on Monday, Aug. 7.
Chelsea Urgent Care is open eight hours a day, seven days a week: Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The addition of an urgent care practice complements the existing outpatient services available at BIDHC-Chelsea, which is located at 1000 Broadway.
Unlike most other urgent care facilities, board-certified emergency medicine physicians staff Chelsea Urgent Care.
“With access to board-certified emergency medicine physicians, Chelsea Urgent Care is essentially an extension of the emergency department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,” said Richard Wolfe, MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine at BIDMC. “Patients can expect the same top-tier care they would receive at our emergency department in Boston but now in a convenient, neighborhood location.”
Several in the community have called for more access to an urgent care facility open on weekends, none louder that Councilor Giovanni Recupero. The councilor called last year for the Mass General in Chelsea to keep later hours on the weekends, but to no avail.
He said he was really glad to see that Beth Israel had heard his message for more access and those of residents as well.
Access to Chelsea Urgent Care is available to patients over the age of 2 experiencing non-life threating injuries or illnesses, such as accidents or falls, sprains, broken bones, infections and high fever. More serious medical needs – such as those resulting from chest pain, heart attack or a trauma – will require an emergency department visit.
Dr. Barbara Masser, medical director of the Chelsea Urgent Care, said they are excited to be able to offer the new service in Chelsea and have gotten great feedback so far.
She said anyone can access services by walking in, but those who use Beth Israel will have a fully integrated compliment to the regular services that have been available for many years.
“We’re really excited because Chelsea is a really great community and we want to give them another option,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of great feedback from the community so far.”
The new Urgent Care will be located on the second floor of the existing center on Broadway.
“We strive to deliver the right care by the right provider at the right place and cost,” said Jayne Carvelli Sheehan, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President of System Integration and Care Coordination at BIDMC. “Chelsea Urgent Care allows us to treat patients with non-life threatening injuries or conditions in the appropriate setting. Local immediate care by our emergency medicine physicians can help avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency department and ultimately save patients time and money.”
To reduce time spent in the waiting room, urgent care appointments can be made online through the HYPERLINK “https://www.clockwisemd.com/hospitals/1934/appointments/new” Clockwise program. Through this easy-to-use program, patients receive timely text message updates on their appointment time. Free parking is available, and the center is located close to public transportation.
For less than the cost of movie ticket, Chelsea students can enjoy the magic of Boston Red Sox baseball at Fenway Park this summer. The Red Sox are offering young fans affordable tickets to games through the team’s Student 9’s program, which provides high school and college students the opportunity to purchase $9 tickets with a valid student ID at every home game.
“We want to make sure that this new generation of fans finds Fenway Park accessible, affordable, and enjoyable. It’s essential to the future of our game,” said Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. “We introduced the student 9’s to remove cost as a barrier for students, and allow for the spontaneity of deciding to come to a game last minute. Students can now come to Fenway Park for less than the cost of a movie ticket and with little advance planning.”
Student 9’s are the lowest priced tickets at Fenway Park and provide access with guaranteed standing room tickets and the potential for an upgrade pending availability.
Young fans can register to receive student offers by visiting redsox.com/student or text ‘students’ to the Red Sox at 23215 to sign up for alerts at any time.
Student tickets will be delivered to mobile devices or available through the Ballpark App. Students can scan their ticket directly from their phone when they arrive at the ballpark gates, and are asked to bring their student ID for verification to gain entry.
Student 9’s are part of the Red Sox’ “Calling All Kids” initiative, an ongoing effort to connect baseball to the next generation of fans. Calling All Kids aims to provide greater access to Red Sox games, enhance the kids experience at Fenway Park and celebrate the game of baseball in the community.