Special to The Record
The Mass. Trial Court, the City of Chelsea, and the Chelsea Collaborative hosted a virtual town meeting to address concerns the Chelsea community has regarding access to the courts and to resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mass. Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey, First Justice Matthew Machera, Chelsea District Court, Chief Probation Officer Carmen Gomez, and Deputy Court Administrator Linda Medonis, each delivered remarks at the forum.
Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino spoke about city resources and its ongoing efforts to assist residents in need during the pandemic. Dr. Dean Xerras of MGH Chelsea and the Chelsea Board of Health updated the community on COVID-19 statistics and affirmed the continuing importance of following social distance guidelines.
Chelsea Police Officer Sammy Mojica highlighted the Police Department’s efforts in reaching out to the community during the COVID-19 crisis.
Marta Soto, staff Spanish interpreter at the Office of Court Interpreter Services in the Mass. Court System, did an excellent job of translating the remarks into Spanish. Soto has been a consistent and valuable source of assistance at the virtual forums. It is not an easy assignment on a live broadcast to instantly convert a speaker’s remarks to a second language, but Soto has mastered that art and gained the appreciation of Chelsea residents for her expertise.
In an interesting change in format, the speakers occupied the entire screen during their individual remarks as opposed to having multiple faces on screen at once as in some of the previous forums. The new format seemed to work well.
Workforce Development Manager Sylvia Ramirez represented the Chelsea Collaborative, welcoming residents to the forum, introducing Justice Carey as the opening speaker, and thanking each official for participating in the forum. The Chelsea Kiwanis Club, over which Ramirez presides, is making monthly $1,000 donations to Chelsea during the pandemic.
Following is a summary of the remarks made by Mass. Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey:
“I’m really honored to be here today with all of you, although I wish it were under better circumstances. I think we’ve all been affected by the reality of the coronavirus, but no community has suffered more than the community of Chelsea, which is one of the reasons we decided that we needed to reach out to you to let you know what kind of resources we have available to you and that we’re here to help.
I wanted to make sure that everyone understood that while a courthouse building may be closed, our court is not closed.
We know that your lives are not on hold as a result of the coronavirus crisis. We are here in the court system to help you.
We are thankful to for the community members whose strong support in the community that we have. This, of course, starts with the City Manager, Tom Ambrosino, who before working for the City of Chelsea, worked in our court community so we’re grateful for his effort. Another bright light is the Chelsea Collaborative, who has fundamental in pulling this whole initiative together. We are always happy to work with the Chelsea Police Department which is incredible and we work hand in hand to help insure that everyone understands the services available.
“I want to thank you for your attention and we want to make sure that you understand that we are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day at the Chelsea District Court. We are here to help and hopefully you will leave us today with further information about how to access the services of the court.”