Jonathan King

published Public Education forum 9/23/20 in Forums and Summit 2020-10-05 14:29:32 -0400

Public Education forum 9/23/20

Towards a Vision of Student Health, Wellness, and Racial Justice in Cambridge Public Schools.

On behalf of the Cambridge Residents Alliance, Our Revolution Cambridge, and Citizens for Public Schools, thanks to everyone who joined us for our recent panel discussion, "Towards a Vision of Student Health, Wellness, and Racial Justice in Cambridge Public Schools.”

More than 100 people joined the Zoom meeting to listen to and engage with the powerful and dynamic panelists. For those who were unable to join us, we are pleased to share the video of the event [link].

Here are some highlights from the six panelists. Watch the video [link] for the full panel discussion.

Cambridge School Committee member Ayesha Wilson, a product of the Cambridge Public Schools and now a youth program developer at CRLS, spoke about what it takes to create safe, equitable systems and the need for Cambridge schools to adopt contingency plans during the pandemic. She asked what it means to be an anti-racist school district and shared the example of fellow panelist Betsy Preval using A Raisin in the Sun to teach anti-racism to her students.

Betsy Preval, Director of the National Education Association Massachusetts, Cambridge Education Association Board member and on the leadership team of Educators of Color,  has been an English teacher in Cambridge for eight years. She said we have a society of haves and have nots by design, not by accident. While COVID has created new problems, many of these problems were not caused by but exacerbated by the pandemic. She spoke of the need to have meaningful shared power with marginalized youth and families of color and to bring an intersectional perspective to the work of anti-racism in education.

Kini Udovicki, born and raised in Cambridge, has been a school adjustment counselor for the last 19 years, and has worked at the Cambridge Street Upper School since 2012. She is a cultural proficiency seminar facilitator and Co-Founder of the Friday Night Hype mentoring program for Cambridge students. She addressed the need to Integrate social-emotional learning with anti-racist teaching.  She said this anti-racist work should happen across the district, affecting the choices of literature, how math is taught, and how history and science can be integrated into anti-racist teaching.

Emie Michaud Weinstock, a Haitian, Black mother of two, is a founding organizer of Cambridge Families of Color Coalition (CFCC) with a long history of advocating for racial justice in Cambridge schools. She described Building Equity Bridges, which seeks to eradicate nine barriers to racial equity. She named white privilege, bias and lack of coherence, all of which have inequitable impacts in the district. She said CFCC has demanded regular meetings with The Superintendent and shared advocacy skills to empower folks to attend school committee meetings and join the Superintendent’s working groups.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) Senior Leo Austin-Spooner is one of the co-presidents of the student body as well as co-president of Project 10-East, CRLS’s gender-sexuality alliance. He served on the Superintendent’s COVID-19 Task Force as well as the CPSD Student Task Force to help advocate for students during the school-reopening process. Leo said returning to school has been anxiety-provoking for students, with constant, stressful last-minute changes.  If administrators are not going to be accountable to meet students’ needs, he said, student government is looking at what they can control. They’re looking at what makes an equitable, anti-racist school. To support students, they created a community resource directory with information on where to find academic support. He called for uplifting black excellence and black joy, black heroes and scholars, and dismantling the centering of white narratives.

Lisa Guisbond, Executive Director, Citizens for Public Schools and author of numerous articles in the NYT, Boston Globe, and elsewhere, linked anti-racist work with the fight against high stakes standardized testing.  She quoted author Ibram X. Kendi, who said “Standardized tests have become the most effective racist weapon ever devised to objectively degrade Black minds and legally exclude their bodies.” Kendi says that to be an antiracist, is to work to expose and eradicate such ideas wherever you encounter them. So antiracist work must include the fight against testing policies that disproportionately negatively impact students and communities of color. CPS [link] continues to do this work and invites others to join them.


Drew King, Nella LaRosa Waters, Shelley Rieman, Lisa Guisbond, and our affiliates at CRA, ORC and CPS

published '17 Election Flyer in Elections 2017-10-20 19:45:32 -0400

'17 Election Flyer

Endorsed by the Cambridge Residents Alliance:

L to R - Dennis Carlone, Sumbul Siddiqui, Vatsady Sivongxay, Jan Devereux, Quinton Zondervan

5 unique perspectives and skill sets -- together they represent our future.
for a truly progressive City Council majority
 Quinton Zondervan is President of Green Cambridge, a bold business leader and environmental
advocate who uses his technical and organizing skills to take local action on climate change.
 Vatsady Sivongxay is an attorney, community advocate, and refugee immigrant who knows how
to take problems to solutions through policy development and community engagement Sumbul
Siddiqui is a native Cantabrigian, attorney, and CRLS graduate who grew up in public and
subsidized housing. She provides legal services to low-income communities.
 Jan Devereux was endorsed by the Alliance and elected in her first run for office in 2015 based
on her development and leadership of the very effective Fresh Pond Residents Alliance.
 Dennis Carlone was first endorsed by the Alliance and elected in 2013 and again in 2015. As an
architect and urban designer, he fought for, and secured the comprehensive Envision Cambridge
planning study now underway.
(listed above in reverse alphabetical order)

These candidates represent the diversity in our city and the transparency we need for a Cambridge that
serves all its residents. They prioritize housing for low, moderate and middle-income folks, as well as transit
and environment policies that put sustainability, livability, and affordability first. Each has pledged to
refuse campaign donations from large corporate or real estate interests that are seeking zoning
changes or other benefits from city council or boards.

See the full Residents Alliance 2017 Platform on our web site.
The Cambridge Residents Alliance
is an all-volunteer citywide organization formed in 2012 to work for a livable, affordable and diverse Cambridge and
promotes resident involvement in civic life and accountability by all city officials and departments to the city’s residents.
Sign up on the website to join the email list, or email to get involved in this election. [email protected]

published MBTA Fares in Neighborhood Voices 2016-06-16 07:38:43 -0400

Public Transit Battles Heat Up as MBTA

Hikes Fares

by John MacDougall, John Ratliff  and Jonathan King

Ignoring the testimony of hundreds of pubic transit passengers and dozens of community organizations, the MBTA Fiscal Advisory Board voted recently to increase fares an average of more than 9% for its buses, subways and commuter rail trains.

The increases extend to monthly passes high school students use to get to and from school. These fare hikes fall unfairly on those least able to afford them, and represent a regressive tax.

At the same time the Board raised fares, they cut services, most notably the late night service heavily used by hospital and restaurant workers.

Testifying at the Feb. 29 MBTA hearing, Jean Cronin, 74, of Central Square, active in the Mass Senior Action Council, spoke for many seniors in noting that the fare hike will be a serious burden for people like herself who still need public transportation to get to work. Social security recipients did not receive any cost-of-living increases in their checks this year.


Representatives from a number of Community Heath Care Centers explained that efficient public transit was absolutely critical for their clients to access adequate health care.

“Every business, institution and entity in the Greater Boston area either depends upon or benefits in some way from the public transit functions of the MBTA,” argued Jonathan King, speaking on behalf of the Cambridge Residents Alliance.

Studies from Transportation for Massachusetts and the T-Riders Union showed that the State Legislature had appropriated sufficient funds to cover the immediate deficits, without fare hikes.

The increased fares can only decrease ridership: they will push T and rail passengers who have access to autos back into using them. The shift back to cars will increase the burning of gasoline and hurt efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming.

The failure of the T and commuter rail during the heavy snow last winter has brought public transit problems into sharp relief. Traveling to, from, and through Cambridge has grown increasingly difficult in recent years. Given the regional importance of the Red Line, the bus lines and major vehicular routes, congestion in Cambridge causes serious problems not only for Cambridge residents, but for people throughout the Greater Boston area.         

Intense struggles are currently under way over:

  • Whether the MBTA fare increases can be rescinded;
  • Whether the desperately needed Green Line extension through Somerville—long  planned and fully designed—will be funded (see Connolly article in this issue of Neighborhood Voices);
  • Whether the federal and state capital funds needed for new Red Line cars, signal equipment, and power supplies will be appropriated.

On the recommendation of our Public Transit Committee (Torgun Austen, Mike Connolly, chair, Jonathan King, John MacDougall, and John Ratliff) the Cambridge Residents Alliance has joined with two of the coalitions addressing these vital issues: Transportation for Massachusetts and the T-Riders Union. Both groups oppose fare increases as a means of financing regional MBTA service.


The authors are members of  the Transit/Traffic Committee of Cambridge Residents Alliance and the Mass Budget for All Campaign. John MacDougall works with the 350Ma Transportation Group and the Climate Working Group of Mass Peace Action. John Ratliff is Secretary of Mass Senior Action, and active with the Budget for All and Raise-Up campaigns. Jonathan King is V-P of Cambridge Residents Alliance and works on Transit issues with the Budget for All Coalition and Mass Peace Action.

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signed up on Join Us Today 2020-11-30 10:56:20 -0500

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       The Cambridge Residents Alliance is committed to preserving and promoting a livable, affordable, and diverse Cambridge community. We are for development that benefits communities, not tears them apart; development that contributes to the social, economic, political and cultural progress of people; and for development that affirms the right of people to shape their communities and destinies. We work to increase public participation in governance and policy-making at the neighborhood level and citywide through education, organizing and impacting elected officials. By joining you indicate your  support for the above mission.

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donated 2018-12-31 12:03:18 -0500

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