Pain and Promise - Rachel for Cambridge

Pain and Promise

Dear Friends,

I’m struck by how much pain and promise there is in our community right now.  

As the world reels from the police murder of Tyre Nichols, locally we grieve further tragic losses, including the police killing of 20 year-old Sayed Arif Faisal and the death of a CRLS student.  Losing young people so tragically is heartbreaking.  Our schools continue to have counselors available for students and to share resources with families.  I hope we will all lean on one another, and that we can share perspectives on how to improve behavioral health supports with City leaders, including the School Committee. 


Within a week of the grief-stricken community meeting at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School pictured above, I was back in the building for the joyous occasion of Putnam Ave Upper School students sharing their “Stories of Self.”  I was inspired by the students’ writing about their lives, and grateful for a team of educators working to build pride in students’ identities while skill-building.  Among others, I heard from a sixth grader who almost fell in the Charles River, a seventh grader whose art is their passion, and an eighth grader who immigrated from Bangladesh to the United States.  Our young people have so much talent and potential!  


[This photo is from the CRLS Astronomy class’s final project day - students created games, incorporating their content knowledge and using 3D printers at the Hive.]

In other news, the School Committee and administration are deep into the budget process.  We’ve had multiple workshops, held three community meetings, collected 500+ surveys, connected with 120 families through the DHSP Community Engagement Team… and there’s more to come!  Superintendent Greer will present her proposed budget to the Committee on March 14th, and there’s a public hearing on March 21st.  If you haven’t already weighed in, I hope you will email the Committee your thoughts and/or sign-up to speak at the public hearing.

[Dr. Greer speaks at a Community Budget Meeting last week.]

Finally, I want to take a moment to remember former Mayor and State Representative Alice Wolf, who passed away last week.  Alice lived a full and extraordinary life, starting as a child in Austria during the Holocaust, and continuing in Boston where her family fled to escape its horrors.  She went on to build a wonderful family and have a deep impact in our community, on topics ranging from the environmental quality of the Charles River to LGBT+ rights to developing our Sister Cities program and helping advance dozens of other progressive priorities.  I had the privilege of interning for Alice in her first term as State Representative, when now-Representative Marjorie Decker was her legislative aide.  Alice later advised me on my campaigns for School Committee.  I will always be grateful for her service to Cambridge and her personal mentorship. 

As always, I welcome your reflections and questions.

In collaboration,


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