Letter to the Editor

Ruiz’s comments online were not up to Chelsea standards

Dear Editor:

As residents, it is a breath of fresh air to see transparency and inclusion being prioritized in discussions around the future of our city.

As we reflect back on the Campaign to Elect Damali Vidot to Chelsea City Council, we are reminded of her commitment to One Chelsea. A reminder of how we needed to bring back authentic leadership, community involvement and accountability in City government.

In recent discussions around proposed youth centers and programming, we stand proud of Damali’s voice in championing our vision of what inclusiveness and leadership means.

Often times, people are not present at city meetings and not everything makes it into our local newspaper. What we can rest assured with is, she is courageously advocating for us at every turn even when the stakes are high and when we are not in the room. This very leadership is what is right about Chelsea and in electing Damali Vidot as Councilor At-Large to represent the people, to represent the voices of families and its residents.

As parents, as students, as service providers and seniors, we are proud to say she continues to deliver on her promises. Once a campaign is over, governance begins.

With one of the highest voter turnouts in a Chelsea municipal election, it was clear that what she spoke about resonated deeply within this community. To govern with a principled stance, grounded in our shared values and within a body of councilors who would be committed to rolling their sleeves up and getting to work.

Council President, Damali Vidot is a People’s Champ. We define that by her relationship building, mentorship and dedication that has allowed for dialogue and involvement the city has not seen in some time. Whether it has been on development issues in which displacement is a concern, creating programming for youth that drives real positive impacts and outcomes, when it comes to increasing communication between residents and City government around decision-making, she has been clear that whether cameras are on or off, she is always on our side.

We believe building community is integral in how we can envision a city that is inclusive for everyone. Recent discussions with John Ruiz around his wanting to give back to the city have prompted some interesting viewpoints. Anyone who wants to contribute in a meaningful way to the fabric of our city is to be welcomed provided that the manner in which it is done allows for community dialogue and the city is held to high standards, accountable to the residents and not handing out blank checks. The steps to solicit city funding, no matter who the individual might be, would have been told the same. Unfortunately, John Ruiz who is deeply loved by many in Chelsea was allegedly taken aback by some suggestions and conversations that ensued at this sub-committee meeting. The reality is in order to guarantee that City funding is allocated appropriately; there is a process that the City Manager must oversee. Councilor Damali Vidot did what any one of us would have done:  ask questions and encourage that Mr. Ruiz meets with youth and organizations already on the ground to better assess needs. Her response and opinions are not a determining factor in whether Mr. Ruiz is approved or not.

In order to continue to promote civic engagement, rebuild trust and inclusiveness, we need to be leading from a place of integrity and shared responsibility. We admire the intentions that John Ruiz has. However, posting on social media that Damali is responsible for the outcome is completely false and inaccurate.

We will also add that after all the work that so many of us do on a daily basis to be an example in raising our children and young adults, the comments on that post do not speak for Chelsea and the residents. We do not believe in name-calling. We will not stand for conversations or “posts” that demean others, or that stereotype Chelsea residents in an extremely poor and uneducated fashion.

We recommend that given Mr. Ruiz’s involvement with youth and young adults, he should reconsider what leadership he conveys through social media platforms and perhaps he can start with taking a stance against the above. We are about creating pride in our schools, and in living and building a city that we can be proud of and call home. If he seeks to work with Chelsea residents, this would be a great place to start.

Our collective focus can be on assessing how current programming is benefiting our youth, how are we meeting their needs, where are the gaps and when we can be merging and expanding services that drive positive results in order to continue this work.

 We commend the mentors, the organizations who are at the front lines day in and day out, and to our Council President Damali Vidot for being a staunch advocate for all residents – and in doing so with grace even when the conversations are tough.

These principles and commitment are what is right about Chelsea.

The Committee to Elect Damali Vidot

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