Monday, June 24, 2024

Since I am not seeking reelection on Tuesday, many have asked me whom I support to continue our work. I have enthusiastically endorsed four challengers: Vernon Walker, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Dan Totten and Ayah Al-Zubi. All are experienced climate champions, community organizers and strong advocates for social justice who have bright futures as leaders of our community.

Cambridge is a great community because of  the relentless progress we’ve made on issues of race, gender, inequality, housing and the environment. One of the ways we’ve been able to accomplish that has been by significantly increasing the diversity of perspectives that are represented on the City Council. The three councils I’ve served on have been the most diverse in city history in terms of race and gender.

The net result has been increasingly progressive policy making and a deeper focus on our most vulnerable residents. In the six years that I’ve been on Council, we have approved transformative, groundbreaking legislation, often with an overwhelming majority, sometimes even unanimously. We’ve accomplished so much this term, including universal preschool, amendments to the Affordable Housing Overlay, the Green New Deal for Cambridge, a linkage fee increase that will generate millions for affordable housing, a new shelter for refugee families, the continued rollout of our protected bike lane network, a Cambridge Rise Up income program for families, the rollout of an alternative response team and Heart – and that’s barely scratching the surface. 

I’m proud of the way this council has worked together to make a profound difference in people’s lives. I have particularly enjoyed collaborating with Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Councillor Burhan Azeem and councillor Marc McGovern on so many impactful matters this term. But opposition to our justice agenda has coalesced into the increasingly shrill Cambridge Citizens Coalition, whose president famously opposed a Black-owned Cannabis retail store opening in Harvard Square. This organization is attempting to undermine our diverse and effective council by supporting a slate of candidates that is overwhelmingly white, privileged and opposed to change. Their list even includes Robert Winters; when it surfaced that Robert had endangered Cambridge residents by alerting a group of conservative activists to a drag story hour at the main library, the CCC didn’t even appear to understand why that was so dangerous and disqualifying. 

I have a deep and abiding faith in Cambridge voters that knowing these facts, they will choose continued progress toward justice and stand against bigotry, hate and inequity. Cambridge is an amazing community and deserves to be governed by a diverse representation of its people. To that end, I strongly recommend that you vote for the four council challengers I have endorsed: Totten, Al-Zubi, Sobrinho-Wheeler and Walker. With them at the top of your ballot, Cambridge will keep its eyes firmly on the prize of justice for the most vulnerable.

The writer is a Cambridge city councillor.