Five days! That’s how long I have to talk to voters and ask them to support my reelection with their #1 votes. If you support me but haven’t yet let all your friends know you do, there’s still time to email your network.
When I was sworn in to serve on the School Committee in January of 2020, I had no idea of the extraordinary challenges ahead. Through the ups and downs of COVID-19, an interim superintendent search, and the ongoing challenges of improving our schools, I have walked my talk, promoting the policies, processes and expenditures that I have believed will help our students recover and thrive. My approach has included regular collaboration with students, families, staff, community members and colleagues to forward antiracist efforts.
Leading effectively comes at a cost, and I have faced vocal opposition in recent months. A group of residents is working against my reelection, as is their right. These families are upset because I have advocated strongly for vaccine mandates (now in place for all staff and soon in effect for students twelve and over at CPS-sponsored extracurricular activities). I have taken this position because I trust the Cambridge Department of Public Health, the Cambridge Public Schools’ Health and Safety Advisors, and the FDA. For me, the immediate, proven risks from COVID outweigh potential side effects from vaccines that may or may not emerge in the future. In our current circumstances, I see the need to put the greater community’s health ahead of personal choice. While I am clear about my position, I respect those who disagree, and I will go on engaging with people who hold different perspectives. That said, I would appreciate your help explaining my position on vaccines to your own concerned friends, especially before they vote.
There are still five days until voting ends. If you support my work to see a champion for every child, a district plan that translates into all of our students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations, the advancement of universal pre-Kindergarten, improvements in our career technical education, and, yes, adoption of vaccine mandates that will help students and staff continue to learn in-person safely, then I ask you to help before the polls close. Join me to talk to voters over the weekend or to hold a sign near a polling place on Tuesday. I am truly grateful to those of you who’ve helped so far, and I am excited to see more of you involved in the final push! Simply reply to this email to let me know when you’re available.
Finally, please grant me a moment to acknowledge the loss of one of our great Cambridge Rindge and Latin School educators last month. I was fortunate to have Donald Burroughs as an English teacher and community-builder in the Pilot School at CRLS. I will always remember him for introducing me to the author Gloria Naylor and for his singing in the Pilot plays. Donald, along with his amazing colleagues, gracefully held space for his students to reflect on controversy within the school and in the world-at-large. All of our children deserve teachers like Donald, who connect with them, hold them to high standards, push them, and laugh with them. May we honor his legacy by, among other things, continuing his work to advance racial equity in our schools. (You can hear School Committee Member Wilson’s and my tributes, as well as the memorial resolution for Donald, at the 3:32 point of this meeting.)
As always, I welcome your questions, ideas, and feedback.