Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Citywide Senior Center in Central Square, seen Sunday. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Our country is experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime crisis. I am most afraid for the vulnerable in our city. Many elderly and disabled residents don’t have family, and some have family members but don’t want them risking their own health by helping them, especially if they must travel long distances to do it. These frail, afraid residents turn reluctantly to friends and neighbors for help, such as by picking up needed medicines – everyday errands we very recently took for granted.

For some reason, the Mayor’s Office decided to hold a virtual town hall to address the questions and concerns of local businesses before holding any town hall for local residents to ask questions or voice concerns. They put the needs of business before the needs of the people they are charged with protecting. I found this obscene and shockingly disturbing.

For city elected officials to put businesses before residents is simply negligent. They must make their first priority the very residents they chose to lead. The time for protecting and assisting the city’s coffers is not now.

Congress came together rapidly to address immediate business concerns by passing legislation to not only help stimulate the economy, but help protect millions of Americans losing their livelihoods, including members of my own family. National news commentators described it as Congress stopping the immediate bleeding. 

I had already lost trust in our federal government. I am on the verge of losing trust in my municipal government because it hosted a town hall for business first, and didn’t demand the city close all nonessential businesses and implement a stay-in-home order before Gov. Charlie Baker did.

I cannot believe, but will always hope, that I am not alone in this opinion.

Emmanuel “Manny” Lusardi is an East Cambridge resident, long time immigrant advocate and former Liaison for Immigrant Affairs to the Cambridge Mayors office.