Thanks to you, in just a few days, I will be sworn-in as a Member of the Cambridge School Committee. What an honor and privilege to work with and for you to improve our schools.
As you may know, this is a particularly difficult time for our school community. Our students, teachers and many residents are in pain over how racist incidents have – or have not – been addressed in our school system. While I remain deeply troubled by the process used to respond to the School Committee incident with CRLS students last year, I believe we have an opportunity to move the needle on racial equity. In this moment, students, teachers, families, elected officials and district administration all acknowledge that bold, systemic change is needed. I ran for this office to work on racial equity and look forward to working with all of you, with fellow policy makers, students, teachers, and the Building Equity Bridges movement to leverage this opening. In fact, I did not wait to be sworn-in to share my perspective about how we need a new culture of accountability and healing: here is the public comment Members-Elect Wilson, Villarreal and I made collectively on December 10th.
On a different front, many of our neighbors are legitimately concerned about plans for the new Tobin/VLUS building. As the public comment I submitted to the City elaborates, I share the concerns about the size of the footprint and the loss of open space. In my mind, in addition to addressing these issues, we need a comprehensive facilities plan, one that looks forward at least 10-15 years and includes enrollment projections, programmatic shifts and equity throughout the city. That is, how should a new Tobin/VLUS building fit into citywide plans?
Two closing requests:
First, before the hard work is fully underway, please participate in the inauguration! I am excited to join School Committee Members Manikka Bowman, Fred Fantini, Ayesha Wilson, José Luis Rojas Villarreal, as well as our to-be-named new Mayor and colleague, this Monday, January 6th for our swearing in. We will gather in the Cambridge Public Library Main branch at 6p.
Second, I have no doubt that my learning curve will be steep in 2020. I ask that you help me have impact by sharing your reflections, questions and ideas. Please share this message with your friends and neighbors too.