Guest Op-Ed: Baker’s Reopening Plans for the State

By Damali Vidot

I applaud the State Administration for stepping up and meeting the needs of our most vulnerable in Chelsea, Charlestown, and the rest of our impacted communities in Massachusetts. At a time when we need collaboration and transparency between local and state officials for life-altering decisions, it is essential to prioritize local voices in these conversations as state officials.

Since my involvement in the City of Chelsea’s Pandemic Emergency Response Team – working alongside residents and community leaders and coordinating support from the state and the National Guard–I’ve stressed the importance of having a diversity of neighborhood voices in the planning of a response to this pandemic.

And most recently I’ve been struck the most by the conversations I’ve had, for example, with mothers in Chelsea and Charlestown, as they juggle the responsibilities of being a parent, provider, and source of strength for their families. And so it has become all the more urgent that the collective lived-experiences of these voices, as well, remain at the forefront of our deliberations to reopen the state.

Reopening our communities cannot force us to choose between public health or financial stability. Instead, it must be a coordinated, science-based plan, with leaders at the table who represent and have been most impacted by the crisis. COVID-19 has shown us that the most vulnerable in our communities will continue to suffer long after this pandemic if we do not collectively work to build a resilient, equitable future.

The heartfelt dedication and work that has so far been devoted in response to this crisis is truly a testament to the collective efforts of many people from our community who share similar lived-experiences and who are all striving to create a more just and equitable future for everyone–no matter what side of the Tobin Bridge we’re on.

For over 2 months, At-Large Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot has been at the center of the COVID-19 emergency response efforts in her city, working with the Chelsea Pandemic Response Team, organizing local elected officials, Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Lahey Health, faith-based leaders, nonprofit organizations and others to secure life-saving resources for food assistance, emergency housing, financial assistance, and PPE to support both our front line responders and those most vulnerable in our communities.

Damali Vidotis At-Large Chelsea City Councilor. For more information on Councilor Vidot and the campaign, please visit our website www.votedamali.org. You can follow us on Twitter @DamaliVidot and on Facebook @DamaliVidot.. Councilor Vidot encourages all residents to register to vote at sec.state.ma.us/ovr, and to vote on Primary Day election day, Tuesday, September 1.

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