- Nekita Lamour
As an educator of color observing local elections, I’d like to share some experience with InsideMedford. Since I have lived in three North of Boston towns for close to 40 years, I have driven “inside Medford “ quite often and have friends in Medford.
My experience is that I have not seen a candidate who had truly been a spokesperson on issues like unemployment in minority subgroups , Parent/Community Participation in the Educational process, Achievement Gap, and/ or school to prison pipeline when they got elected. These issues adversely affect people of color and immigrants – particularly Blacks and Latinos. Elected officials tend not be to be too vocal in addressing or have legislations about staff diversity in the schools either. The lack of teachers or administrators as role models to ethnic populations who comprise a significant number of the student body in many North Boston districts is hardly discussed. The concept that an African friend told me “Let’s put him or her in office first” and hope he or she will help communities of color had not worked.
As voters vote for their candidates, whether it’s local, state, or national elections, my advice is to continue being involved in civic, cultural, and education activities and make our voices heard collectively. Based on my experience, meetings with elected officials that don’t include active grassroots work and efforts had not given results in building strong communities.
As those of us in the 5th Congressional district which includes Medford will participate in elections until December 10th, 2013, let’s keep in mind that voting one day for one’s favorite candidate is not enough. Continuous collective participation is what brings healthy communities, good education, better employment, and a strong middle class that we all envision.
Nekita Lamour, a Malden-based educator, has been in the field of ELL/Cross Cultural education for over 30 years- 27 of them in the classroom. She also ran for Ward 5 Councilor in Malden in 2009.