By Damali Vidot
Like so many of you, I have witnessed Chelsea through the good, the bad & the ugly. Yes, corruption, crime, drugs, receivership, bankruptcy & leaders who have put ‘self’ before ‘community’ have reared their ugly heads. But when we reflect on what it is that makes us the vibrant community we are- it’s none of those things. The spirit of Chelsea is one of resilience, lifting thy neighbor, celebrating our differences, welcoming newcomers from all over the world & a strong sense of pride for showing up for each other when it matters most.
In my time serving as an at-large City Council member, I’ve learned much about local governance, state representation, residents’ concerns & community needs. When I first jumped into politics in 2015- we had a very dormant campaign cycle and most people didn’t even know who their councilors were. I was proud to be part of the history we made in Chelsea by electing folks that represented the various sectors of our city & to increase the turnout of elections. In every campaign cycle held since 2015- we have seen more and more people becoming more civically engaged.
For too many years, those in power have maintained their status by keeping regular people like us- uninformed & uninvolved. Planes flying over our homes in the middle of the night; jet fuel soot left on our windowsills; underfunded schools; developments robbing us of our green space & a city so dense, we didn’t stand a chance against COVID. Through all of these active fights, we’ve yet to receive explanations for these inequities because quite frankly, folks in power don’t take 1000 municipal votes seriously enough to address those needs. You then add the fact that our city had to split representation between Charlestown & Revere and there lies the recipe for under-representation.
For too long, we’ve been overlooked, yet those in power have only gotten richer, more powerful. With the new 11th Suffolk district we have an opportunity to elect a State Representative that will cover all of Chelsea and a small precinct in Everett. Meaning that for the first time we will have 1 State Representative that will serve as the liaison between our municipalities’ specific needs and the state house. This is an opportunity to elect someone that will put the needs of Chelsea first and foremost.
I am proud to endorse someone that has shown up for this community when it mattered and not when it was convenient. A husband and father that has organized locally, regionally and beyond to get legislation passed and has the receipts to prove it. An at-large School Committee member that has topped the ticket in each of his elections and is always accessible/ responsive to our families. An organizer that has stood beside me and supported me during some of our biggest challenges. A candidate that has received endorsements from labor, all (3) teachers’ unions, environmental, social workers and progressive organizations because the answer is clear to them and to me that Chelsea’s first independent seat should be held by someone who understands the wide array of challenges and opportunities we have to finally get the advocacy we deserve. I wholeheartedly endorse Roberto Jimenez-Rivera for Chelsea’s first State Representative seat because he has proven time and time and again that community reigns supreme over self-interest.
Join me in voting for Roberto Jimenez-Rivera for State Representative on Tuesday September 6th. (Second on the ballot)
If you want to hear more about why Roberto is the candidate we deserve- come hear from him directly on Saturday July 23rd at 11AM at the Chelsea Public Library.
Damali Vidot is a Councilor-at-Large in the City of Chelsea.