Healy has all Arlington residents in mind

Originally published in the Arlington Advocate, April 9,2020

In these extraordinary times, I am grateful to our Select Board and town manager for the work they are doing to keep Arlington informed and safe, and I appreciate their decision to delay our elections. As hard as it is to keep in mind right now, at some point the virus will start to ease and all the issues that were so important a month ago will come to the forefront again. Among them, our ongoing need for affordable housing; an increased commitment to transparency in all aspects of town government; the urgent need to create climate resiliency; and the necessity to make sure all our residents have a voice, and feel respected when they use it.

I believe the best candidate for Select Board to address these issues, with the interests of all Arlington residents in mind, is Michaiah Healy. She plans to focus on low- and moderate-income residents and further support the work of our Housing Corporation and Housing Authority. She plans to develop paths for residents to more-directly communicate with our town’s elected and appointed leaders, as well as expand town efforts to reach out to residents. And of course she will also direct those efforts at enhanced communication to relations between the APD and residents, with respect for all points of view as trust is rebuilt.

Michaiah comes from a family of teachers, veterans and police officers, from whom she learned the values of lifelong learning, and respect for different points of view. I’d love to see her bring these values to Arlington as a member of the Select Board, and hope you will join me in giving her your vote.

Wynelle Evans

Orchard Place

What is Arlington Fights Racism?

Submitted to the Arlington Advocate on April 21,2020

In 2019 a group of concerned Arlington community members came together to form Arlington Fights Racism (AFR) in response to local racist and hate-filled writings, sharing a vision of Arlington as a more inclusive and welcoming place. United, we work to challenge racism, inequity and bias in all forms; to promote transparency in our town government; and to foster a culture in our town and in our schools that identifies, includes and empowers underrepresented and marginalized community members – thus, helping to make Arlington a safer, more just community for all. Through this work, we observed the roles that institutional racism and a lack of representation and transparency have played in our town. As a result, we focused our efforts on building a grassroots election movement.

With that goal, AFR both reached out to incumbent Town Meeting members running for re-election and encouraged new voices and faces to run for office. Many barriers may prevent people from running for election.  It is expensive, time consuming and complicated.  AFR encouraged new candidates to run by promising to support their campaigns.  This group of candidates represent Arlington’s most diverse communities.  Our election will significantly increase the representation of marginalized communities in Town government.  Among us are naturalized immigrants, LGBTQ+ candidates, candidates of color, religious minorities, candidates with children of color and candidates hosting asylum seekers in their home.

AFR endorsed candidates for Town Meeting (TM) and town wide races share many values yet may differ on others.  We are all individuals with our own experiences, perspectives and concerns. One issue we all agree on is the need to proactively work to uncover and dismantle prejudice, bigotry, racism and discrimination. AFR created an Inclusion Platform that articulates these goals and unites all endorsed candidates on this one issue. This Inclusion Platform pledges to pursue and support policies that increase the diversity of representation in town government, require implicit bias and cultural competency training for town employees and officials, develop a Communications policy, and reverse the harmful precedent set by the Town’s recent use of Restorative Justice for a police officer’s hate-filled writings. For the complete platform and more information, please visit our website at www.arlingtonfightsracsim.com or Facebook Arlington Fights Racism. 

Please join us to create a town that is truly welcoming and inclusive for all Arlington’s residents.  We respectfully ask for your vote in the upcoming Town elections. Thank you and stay safe.

Elizabeth Dray

Candidate for Town Meeting in Precinct 8

April 21, 2020

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 26, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I am writing to recommend Michaiah Healy for Arlington Select Board. Michaiah is a leader who listens; she has an ability to bring respectful, collaborative and productive resolutions to complex problems.

Healy is from a family of Army and Navy veterans, the daughter of a public school teacher and a police sergeant. She is the mother of three young children, two of them in Arlington Public Schools. Professionally, she has served as a pastor and a counselor.

Healy has built relationships with town leaders and Arlington Public School parents as cochair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, and as a participant in the recent candidate interviews for the chief of police position. She has a substantial professional network in federal, state and neighboring government municipalities through her professional work and civic engagement.

As a woman of color, Healy’s election to the Select Board would be an important step in our town government’s development into a more representative system. If you’re curious to know more about her and what she stands for, visit healyforselectboard.com.

Please join me in voting for Michaiah Healy for Arlington Select Board on April 4.

— Kate Tranquada, Park Avenue Extension

Vote Healy, Martyn and Preston

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 26, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

We write in support of three candidates in the upcoming election for town offices.

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

These are times of change in Arllngton and around the world. Directions we take locally and decisions we make in the coming years will shape the town in decades ahead. We need forward-thinking, respectful leadership on the Select Board, and Michaiah Healy can provide those talents. She listens carefully, analyzes problems thoughtfully, and will help us build consensus that will serve our needs not only now but for years to come.

We urge you to support Michaiah Healy for Select Board.

Lynette Martyn for School Committee

Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens and community leaders. Lynette Martyn is a forward-thinking advocate for the kinds of programs and schools that will help today’s students become those leaders. Her leadership experience on the Diversity and Inclusion Group positions will enable her to make important contributions and provide guidance to programs that embrace the increasing multicultural diversity all around us and build on it in the years ahead.

Jo Anne Preston for Housing Commission

Jo Anne knows and cares about housing in Arlington. As prices soar and teardowns increase, where will longtime residents live, and more important, how will they live? Joanne understands publicly supported housing. She knows that buildings must be maintained, but she places equal emphasis on quality of life for citizens aging in place. She will help Arlington access programs for residents to help them cope with mobility challenges and increasing isolation. For the benefit of our seniors, please support Jo Anne Preston for Housing Commission.

— Nancy Stevenson and Neil Clark, Beverly Road

Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I am writing to express my enthusiastic endorsement for Michaiah Healy for Select Board.

While I appreciate the decades-long service of incumbent Diane Mahon, I do believe it is time to elect fresh faces — and perspectives — to our board in order to reflect Arlington’s changing demographics and its evolving needs as a municipality.

It is time to have more elected officials who are widely available and open to listening to Arlington’s residents. Healy has demonstrated this quality in her work with the Diversity Taskforce Group and in her willingness to meet with and promote residents’ efforts towards increasing inclusivity in Arlington. Healy’s reputation as someone who is open to meeting with people one-on-one and learning about them and their needs and concerns is well-known to those who work on diversity issues in Arlington.

As the chair of Arlington’s Diversity Taskforce Group, Healy has brought an even-tempered mindfulness to her role. She has been proactive in recruiting new members and in ensuring the task force functions as a group that concretely advocates for more equitable policies here in Arlington. Under her tenure, the task force has promoted solid efforts to make Arlington a more inclusive town for its residents. In addition to this work, Healy brings to the table her experience as a mother of young children, as a pastor, and as a disability advocate with the Disability Policy Consortium.

Accessibility is a critical quality for any elected representative in earning my vote. If Michaiah Healy is elected, I have no doubt that Arlington will benefit greatly from this and other qualities she has already demonstrated in her endeavors to further the quality of life for all Arlington residents.

— Montserrat Zuckerman, Gay Street

Efficiently addressing equity issues: Lynette Martyn

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I am writing to voice my support of candidate Lynette Martyn, who is running for School Committee in Arlington this spring.

As a mother of two young children in our town’s public school system, Lynette is someone with an insider’s perspective of how the schools are functioning for our children. Additionally, Lynette has years of experience calling attention to and efficiently addressing equity issues on the structural level in Arlington, most notably including in our public school system. Lynette was the main founder of the Diversity and Inclusion Groups (DIGs) — groups of parents and caretakers concerned with such issues occurring in all of our respective elementary and middle schools. She is also serving her fourth year on the superintendent’s Diversity Advisory Committee.

Considering the high racial disparity rates in suspensions at our schools, and our low ranking in special education, it is apparent that Arlington is currently failing many of its underprivileged students. The centerpiece of Lynette Martyn’s platform is to ensure our public school system works for and benefits all of our students — including students of color, English language learners, students with disabilities, special education students, and students from low-income families. It is only when we bring all of these students into our full consideration, and create an atmosphere where they not only succeed but can thrive — that our schools fulfill their mission and purpose. But in order to achieve this, we will need a strong advocate who prioritizes equity and compassion on the committee. Lynette is one such advocate. I hope others who are concerned about these issues agree and will vote for her come election day.

— Edith Wun, Marathon Street

Town election endorsements

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

When you go to the polls on Saturday, April 4, for our local Arlington town elections, I ask that you support three wonderful candidates for town government.

First, please vote for Michaíah Healy for Select Board. Her leadership, whether in Arlington’s Diversity Task Group as its sole chair for several years or in her current role as a support counselor with the Disability Policy Consortium, has proven she is a capable, compassionate and thoughtful leader with a demonstrated commitment to considering the needs of the community with an attentive ear. This is something we need more of in our local government and I feel her election will signify a turning point toward diversifying town leadership and making for an overall more inclusive town.

Next, I’d ask that you vote for Lynette Martyn for Arlington School Committee. The founding member of the Diversity and Inclusion Groups at the public schools and a mother of two children attending Brackett, Lynette’s passionate drive for community improvement has yielded tangible accomplishments. In particular, she has directly participated in efforts that have advanced warrant articles that became bylaws, such as our Trust Act resolution to make Arlington safer for our undocumented residents and visitors, and a waiver to our overnight street parking ban for low income and disabled residents who lack viable off-street parking options. Her knowledge and resourcefulness will make her an exceptional addition to the Arlington School Committee.

Finally, I am writing to endorse Jo Anne Preston for the board of directors of the Arlington Housing Authority. Preston is an active and vocal member of our community, especially when it comes to the need for more affordable and accessible housing. She is an experienced Town Meeting member, with an impressive professional background that in particular highlights a dedication to working with our senior population. When I listened to Preston at a recent virtual town hall, I was inspired by her ideas to apply for more grant funding in order to implement improvements in existing AHA properties and potentially even add new affordable housing opportunities to the AHA portfolio.

The combined expertise, experience, determination and community focus of these three outstanding candidates will help shape Arlington policy in a positive and more just direction for years to come.

I appreciate your vote for each of them in Town Election on Saturday, April 4.

— Jordan Weinstein, Lennon Road; Town Meeting member, Precinct 21; Arlington Democratic Town Committee member

Arlington Housing Authority election

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

While there are important, high-visibility elections, Select Board and School Committee, coming up on April 4, there is another election that is also important. That is a contested election for a seat on the Board of the Arlington Housing Authority (AHA).

This seat is for a five-year term, so the results of this year’s election can have a significant long-term impact.

The Arlington Housing Authority operates several housing-assistance programs which provide direct housing in government-owned developments or subsidized housing in privately-owned dwellings for persons of low or very low income.

Jo Anne Preston is one of the candidates running to serve on the AHA board. Jo Anne has extensive experience in serving this low-income and/or senior community.

• Town Meeting member for Precinct 9. Three (of the five) of the AHA’s properties are located here.

• Advanced degree in social science and gerontology.

• Worked with Medicaid Aid to the Aged.

• Former research director for the Institute for Aging Study, “Aging and Generational Relations.”

• Strong desire to improve lives of residents and increase access to affordable housing options.

In addition, I understand (as of the writing of this letter) that the incumbent does not intend to participate in the League of Women Voters Candidate Night debate. If correct, this will limit a full discussion of the issues being faced by the AHA and its clients.

Therefore, I respectfully urge that you consider voting for Jo Anne for this important community position. Thank you.

— Paul Parise, Hemlock Street

Supporting town candidates

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

Dear Arlington town residents,

Greetings. I write to encourage you to vote for the candidates endorsed by the Arlington Fights Racism slate in the town election. Please see https://www.arlingtonfightsracism.com/elections: Michaiah Heally for Select Board; Jo Anne Preston for Housing Committee; and Lynette Martyn for School Committee. Each of these candidates has demonstrated commitment to working for all residents of Arlington. Their dedication helps ensure our collective voices are heard in decision-making, whether our family has lived here for generations or has recently joined our community. They seek to build upon the best of Arlington’s traditions, as we collectively affirm our national motto, “out of many, one.”

Michaiah Healy, https://www.healyforselectboard.com, Select Board candidate: is co-chair of Arlington’s Envision 2020 Diversity Task Group, and is dedicated to sustaining Arlington as a welcoming place for all. Michaiah engages in problem solving collaboratively and as a facilitator, inviting contrasting perspectives and points of view, and seeking shared understanding and agreement. As ready to listen as to lead, a vote for Michaiah is a vote shared growth and prosperity for all residents.

Jo Anne Preston, Housing Committee candidate: has advocated and worked for fair and affordable housing for all ages in Arlington for more than two decades. She is a hard worker committed to working on behalf of our seniors and lower income residents to ensure comfortable housing is available to all. She will attend to protecting Arlington’s environment in the midst of growth and redevelopment initiatives. Jo Anne diligently collects information to inform her decision-making and listens to contrasting perspectives before proceeding.

Lynette Martyn, Electlynette.com, School Committee candidate: has put in many hours behind the scenes to encourage the voices of families of all backgrounds to participate in important school community discussions about budget, curriculum, teacher recruitment and development, as well as on school and district policies that promote more effective K-12 education for all children. Lynette’s concern for students, teachers, schools and families add a constructive voice to build on past successes in Arlington Public Schools and ensure we become more effective in “raising the floor” of academic success for those students and families whom we collectively must serve better in our public schools. I encourage folks to support Lynette’s candidacy.

These three candidates from the Arlington Fights Racism initiative are committed to collaborative and inclusive decision-making to benefit all town residents. As we move through this 21st century, we need stewards of town resources who work to ensure multigenerational and new members of our community are heard and respected. We need consistent professional development for town employees and information for families that promotes cultural competency, transparency, and gives everyone the best chance to succeed. Whether your key concerns are town operations, housing, and/or increasing the effectiveness of our schools for all children, please join in supporting Michaiah, Jo Anne and Lynette for the future growth of Arlington.

— Ben Moynihan, Plymouth Street

Vote Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

Please vote for Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the upcoming 2020 town election. As a brown woman who would like to see more compassionate, diverse and strong town leadership, I am glad to be backing the town’s historic first woman of color running for this position.

I have gotten to know Michaiah as a co-chair for the Arlington Diversity Task Group (DTG) as a thoughtful, inclusive, kind consensus builder and leader with a desire to make Arlington a place that is great for everyone! We need the skill sets she brings to the table of having worked with diverse communities such as her leadership with the Diversity Task Group and Envision Arlington, building communities as a pastor and organizing and supporting communities with her work as a disability advocate. She is humble, detail oriented and is a doer who has the experience and willingness to be open to all viewpoints and help guide the conversation to action.

Even her values spell out Representation, Equity, Sustainability, Public Safety, Environment, Civility, Thoughtful Housing — bringing out some of the issues she hopes to address if elected as part of the Select Board.

The town of Arlington has many challenges in the near future, and we need Michaiah to bring that compassionate and experienced voice that will be open to listening to all viewpoints and helping to move the conversion with her consensus building skills.

Vote Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the upcoming Town Elections this year!

— Mona Mandal, Water Street; Town Meeting member, Precinct 9


Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

This is an extraordinarily challenging time in our nation’s history. Our climate and nature itself are seriously threatened — and at present our national government is not only failing to address this crisis, but is cancelling many of the positive changes made in recent years. In addition, we are all struggling to adjust to a frightening global pandemic, which carries with it a financial crisis. And, as I expect is true everywhere, Arlington has its own problems and challenges.

But there are positives too; nationwide an astonishing number of people are standing up and speaking out — individuals who want to “be part of the solution.” Locally a group, Arlington Fights Racism, has come together to address both local and broader issues. AFR is offering a slate of candidates for the many open seats to be decided by the April 4 election. There are candidates for the Select Board (Michaiah Healy) the School Committee (Lynette Martyn) and Housing Authority (Jo Anne Preston) as well as candidates for open Town Meeting slots. Many of the TM candidates have set up meetings for their precinct members. Detailed info about all of these candidates and the precinct meetings can be found on the web at www.arlingtonfightsracism.com/elections. Check it out! Vote!

— Kathleen Lentz, Newport Street

Jo Anne Preston for Housing Authority

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

It is my pleasure to write here in support of Jo Anne Preston’s candidacy for the board of directors of the Arlington Housing Authority.

Affordable housing has become a leading issue of concern on the local as well as the state level. In the Boston metro area, an average person would have to make $34 per hour working full-time just to afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent, according the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Yet the average hourly salary in our Massachusetts is $15.80. The scarcity of affordable housing in our town means that the Arlington Housing Authority, one of the two main suppliers of affordable housing in Arlington (besides the Housing Corp of Arlington), is a critical agency in satiating overwhelming demand. In addition to the five properties under its domain, AHA also runs the Section 8 housing choice voucher program that serves hundreds (if not thousands) of people across the state.

Part of ensuring that affordable housing is accessible and equitable is having dedicated and compassionate Board members who care about present and prospective tenants and voucher holders of the AHA. In that vein, Preston is the perfect candidate. A former tenants rights activist, Preston is also a retired social worker with Medical Aid to the Aged, a volunteer with the Council on Again, and has a Ph.D. focusing in gerontology — all invaluable experiences considering that a high proportion of AHA tenants are seniors. She is an active Town Meeting member, which means she also understands the basics of local governance.

AHA board members have a recent reputation for being relatively non-responsive to tenants and generally hard to reach. Preston has vowed to be communicative and available to tenants and local voucher holders. She has also pledged to be proactive in seeking ways to expand and maximize affordable housing options through the AHA here in our town. Finally, Preston’s addition to the AHA will add some much-needed gender diversity to a board currently comprised entirely of men.

— Asia Kepka, Silk Street

Folks like Healy, Martyn and Preston needed in town government

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I am writing to support the slate that Arlington Fights Racism has put forth for the next town election. This includes, Michaiah Healy, Lynette Martyn, Jo Anne Preston and myself.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know several of the candidates and am extremely impressed with their ability to communicate effectively across groups and differences, and creatively problem solve.

Michaiah Healy, for Select Board, is passionate about making Arlington a welcoming place for everyone. I have talked to her many times over the past six months and also seen her work through the town’s Diversity Task Group. I have seen the time and dedication Michaiah puts into doing whatever work is necessary, seeking diverse view points, and her ability to share creative thinking in finding solutions that work for everyone. She would be a refreshing new voice on the board.

Lynette Martyn, for School Committee, would also be another great addition. I appreciate her tireless working for all folks in town and her ability to be honest, listen and not shy away from truth telling and in supporting the idea that Arlington schools should work for all students. Lynette also supports the on-going work around cultural competency in education. Lynette will add a positive, passionate voice to the issues facing Arlington in education today.

Jo Ann Preston is a tireless advocate for equity within our town housing and concerned about gentrification and its effect on residents. As a long time renter I so appreciate her knowledge, advocacy and hard work that would go into her being an informed member of the Housing Authority.

Lastly, as a member of Precinct 3 who is running for Town Meeting, it is the example of the work, energy and passion of these inspiring Arlington residents that made me want to be involved in town government. I appreciate the opportunity to actively listen to my fellow neighbors, be part of creative solutions that support all of our community and learn more about the issues facing us all.

I hope you will remember these names when you are voting on April 4. We need folks like Michaiah Healy, Lynette Martyn and Jo Anne Preston in town government.

— Paula Jordan, Windsor Street

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

I’m delighted to support Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the Town election on April 4. My social and racial justice work is no secret in Arlington. And I firmly believe that a townwide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is exactly the medicine we need right now as Arlington Police and Human Rights Commission are reporting a sharp rise in hate crimes, hate speech and harassment for our most marginalized communities. As a proud gay man and joyful Papa of a multicultural family, I can tell you that life for communities of color, refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers, as well as religious minorities and LGBTQ+ folks has never been more challenging.

Michaiah’s election as the first woman of color in our town’s history should be reason enough to support her. But Michaiah is truly exceptional beyond any label or category. I’ve observed her thoughtful and collaborative leadership as chair of our Diversity Task Group where she has created safe space and conversations for innovative and effective programs in diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. Michaiah’s work in Arlington has been built on the idea that we are stronger together when all voices are heard and valued. And she cares deeply about how we govern, and how we treat each other. Michaiah is committed to promoting an atmosphere of respect by adhering to a code of kindness and equity in our public processes and conversations as well as in our personal interactions. May we have more of this please?

And Michaiah has all of the necessary ingredients for intelligent, effective and inclusive leadership on Select Board — she has worked as a pastor, community organizer and now as a Disability Advocate. With B.A. in biological psychology from Tufts and M.A. in counseling with a concentration in mental health from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Michaiah has the well-developed soft skills in human relations and community building so lacking now in town government.

And it should not go unnoticed that she is a super loving Mom, devoted friend, respected colleague, sought after collaborator, disciplined team member and one of the kindest and most delightful humans one could ever encounter.

Arlington will be extremely well served by Michaiah Healy — please give her one of your two votes for Select Board on April 4.

— Chris DiMeo, Park Avenue

Lynette Martyn for School Committee

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 19, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

We, Nada El-Newahy and Khaled Aly, write this endorsing Lynette Martin’s running for School Committee in Arlington.

Her main vision is for school system that welcomes, engages and is inclusive for all Arlington families. She wholeheartedly wants to be the catalyst to significant inclusion projects in our town’s school system, and has managed to found the parent-let Diversity and Inclusion groups in Arlington schools.

Even though our school system ranking is generally high, we aren’t doing so well when it comes to our special needs students and services, not when they’re privileged! Despite the fact that special education is a source of crucial services and supports for students with any kind of disabilities, students of color or of any minority group, with disabilities still face significant obstacles that hinders their ability to succeed and flourish in school. Lynette wants to help bridge this gap and to help eliminate any educational segregation they may face, which ultimately improves outcomes for those minority children with disabilities.

What can we do? We can vote for someone who has a passion for positive change. A community is strengthened by how diverse its people are, and we need to see ambitious goals of increasing diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts.

— Khaled Aly and Nada El-Newahy, Hilton Street

We are Arlington

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

“You know you can’t win.”

You didn’t grow up here. Your name doesn’t sound like ours. You didn’t go to the right schools. Your kids don’t look like you. The “right” people don’t know you. You’re not like the “right” people. You’re not like us.

“What are you trying to accomplish?”

You know who makes the rules. You know who runs things. They’re not giving that up. They’re not letting you in.

“Why are you trying to change things?”


We, the members and candidates representing Arlington Fights Racism, believe in a fairer, more inclusive, more respectful Arlington, the town we love. We, who are running for town-wide offices and Town Meeting seats, seek a town government that is racially diverse, gender diverse, age diverse.

Longtime participants and first-time activists, we will be introducing ourselves and asking for your votes. A knock at the door, a conversation over coffee, we have a message to share:

We are Arlington. We are the “by the people.” We want your voices with ours in the making of a better Arlington.

Please see our website arlingtonfightsracism.com for details of our support for townwide candidates (Michaiah Healy, Select Board; Lynette Martyn, School Committee; Jo Anne Preston, Housing Authority) and Town Meeting members.

— Michael Ruderman, Alton Street, candidate for re-election to Town Meeting in Precinct 9

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published March 12, 2020 in the Arlington Advocate

As a Town Meeting member, I have seen that members of Town Meeting and the Select Board are thoughtful people working towards Arlington’s best interest. I have also seen that there are many voices in Arlington who are rarely heard in Town Hall. Arlington will be a better community and a better place to live if everyone is brought to the table. It is for this reason I enthusiastically support the candidacy of Michaiah Healy for Select Board.

I have known Michaiah for many years and have been increasingly impressed by her leadership, wisdom and ability to build consensus. In her role as co-chair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, Michaiah actively worked to bring new voices into town hall. She has listened to and advocated for the inclusion of all viewpoints as she has worked with town leadership including the members of the Select Board and the town manager. She has the wisdom and patience to find creative solutions to the complicated issues facing our town.

As a member of the Select Board, Michaiah will bring a new breadth of understanding of the needs, hopes and fears of our community to town leadership.

— Rebecca Persson, Fremont Street

Creating Safe Communities

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published December 5, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate

Approximately 50 people gathered at First Parish Unitarian Universalist for “Creating Safe Communities,” organized by Arlington Fights Racism, facilitated by Dr. Rick Pinderhughes of Visions Inc. (which is conducting the bias evaluation of the Arlington Police Department), and co-sponsored by Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project, and the ArCS Cluster. AFR plans more such events as we work to reach additional Arlington residents, seeking to understand the state of our community today. Participants included everyone from longtime residents to the very newest, with the majority representing groups harmed by Lt. Pedrini’s words. Some members of the Arlington Human Rights Commission and one Select Board member also participated.

When town leaders learned that AFR organizers had brought in Dr. Pinderhughes with their own resources, they demonstrated their support by paying his fee on our behalf. They also sent a letter of support and, respecting our wishes, they were not present at the event.

Dr. Pinderhughes opened the event by explaining the norms and guidelines of this community forum and how to create a “brave” space. Some came to speak about how they have directly experienced racism, prejudice and bias in Arlington. Some came to express their fears and concerns for our and our children’s future. Some came to share stories of people they know who did not yet feel safe to tell their own stories. Some came to respectfully listen, to gain a greater understanding of their neighbors. All were promised that their words would be held in anonymity and that they could speak without fear of reprisals. The group then came back together to share closing thoughts on how to address these harms. Recommendations included: holding public shows of support for the marginalized; continuing to push town leaders for open, transparent communication regarding the work being done with APD; requiring Lt. Pedrini to publicly address those he’s harmed; asking town leaders to acknowledge, in order to avoid setting precedents for other towns, that this restorative justice process was seriously flawed; and requiring the town to create a clear policy for all town employees about hate speech on social media.

This process of understanding how members of our community have been harmed is ongoing; we do not expect quick, easy answers to our problems. AFR will continue its efforts to build trust through reaching out to the community. Please visit our website, www.ArlingtonFightsRacism.com, for more information.

Lynette Martyn
Eustis Street

Self-Reflection Needed to Fight Hate

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published December 5, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate

The hate that we are seeing around the country and the violence that follows is deeply disturbing. It is also disturbing to see that there are people in Arlington who think that Lt. Pedrini’s hate-filled words were a joke or tongue in cheek and rush to defend him. It might be hard to confront a friend or family member when they step out of line morally, but to avoid doing so is enabling them and depriving them of an opportunity to face the consequences of their actions and to grow. I don’t know of any religion that says that hate is OK, I don’t know of any code of conduct that says hate is OK. And yet when showing support to someone who spread hate and tearing down the very people who worked tirelessly to address it is what allows hate to continue, and gives the message that it is OK. It is not OK. Arlington Fights Racism is working to unite our town by addressing the harm done to our marginalized communities. Hate and indifference are dividing our town. How differently this might have turned out if the people who care about Rick Pedrini had helped him to see how his words hurt members of our community and offered him support to make it right. Perhaps there are people in town who share the same attitudes expressed by Pedrini. This is racism and is harmful to everyone, and surprisingly even to the person who harbors hateful thoughts. Racism and bias only keeps us separated from each other. We live in a racist country with a racist history so none of us avoids having some version of it. For white people to recover from our racism, we need to deeply examine the biases we hold and the values we hold and see if they are in line with each other. If we don’t do this self-reflective work, we are living in the dark and miss the opportunity to connect with the cross section of people who make up our community. The reality is that we have a rich and diverse country with people from all walks of life and all corners of the earth. We are a country of immigrants and the potential to break down barriers and learn about each other is endless. Arlington Fights Racism is encouraging people to talk with each other and seeking ways to make Arlington safe for all of its residents. Please join us if you would like to be part of this journey.

Lynette Culverhouse
Draper Avenue

What Is the Definition of a ‘Good Cop’?

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published November 21, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate

It took too long for me to do this, but I finally read Lt. Pedrini’s articles in the Massachusetts Police Association newsletter. I encourage you to do the same: https://www.arlingtonfightsracism.com/the-issues/what-pedrini-said. The secondary sources and small quotations don’t convey the seriousness of his words.

Lt. Pedrini — like everyone on the Arlington Police force — has sworn himself to uphold a code of ethics. An excerpt of this code is: “As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all man to liberty, equality and justice. I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all…”

But Lt. Pedrini wrote about a human being this way: “This animal needs to be put down, but unfortunately this is Massachusetts.” (Pedrini also swore to uphold the constitution of our state, but this statement from him calls his allegiance into question.)

The Arlington Police Department also proclaims allegiance to values of respect, tolerance, partnership and understanding. But Lt. Pedrini wrote: “It’s time we forget about ‘restraint,’ ‘measured responses,’… and other feel-good BS… Let’s meet violence with violence and get the job done.”
I’ve heard several people say, “Trust me, he is a good cop.” But how does a “good cop” say these things? This “good cop” wrote and submitted these articles, and helped ensure they were distributed to a wide audience. His words explicitly violate the oath he took as a policeman. Frankly, his words are really frightening.

One person told me not to “go by Lt. Pedrini’s words.” What am I supposed to go by? And why would a good cop not stand by his word? I ask the APD and our town leadership to be noncompromising in requiring our force to stand by their oath and for there to be clear consequences if people don’t.

Sarah Glover
Franklin Street