Chelsea Young Adult Alliance Offers Resolutions for Change in Policies and Practices

Letter from the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance:

Today, the Chelsea Young Adult Alliance publicly calls for change in policies and practices that uphold a system of prejudice, discrimination, and racism in education, housing, public health, and public safety. We call on city leaders to dismantle barriers that prevent equity, uphold racist practices, and create an equal community where BIPOC are treated equitably. City leaders have an obligation to intentionally and thoroughly address systemic racism for community-building efforts to grasp their fullest potential. 

We demand change and are dedicated to ensuring it comes about in the city of Chelsea and everywhere. As we continue this process, we want the voices of all of those who have felt injustice to be heard. Our direct next steps for affecting change includes the following steps:

Step 1: Create a list of resolutions for city leaders to address inequalities. These action items provide a strategy that the city can follow to ensure an equitable society.

Step 2: Meet with local leaders and politicians to conduct open conversations. 

Step 3: Document personal narratives/stories from Chelsea residents (Google Form).

Step 4: Conduct a city-wide town hall conduct an open forum for Chelsea residents.

Chelsea, MA, is not an exception, and we want to provide individuals with the opportunity to share why not.

Letter to City Manager Tom Ambrosino:

Dear Mr. Ambrosino,                                                                                               

We are writing to you on behalf of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) of Chelsea. Over the past several weeks, the murder of George Floyd and the coronavirus19 pandemic have exposed longstanding racial inequities in many forms in our city, state, and country.

As the leader of this community, you publicly shared your sentiments against police misconduct. You expressed your outrage at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, along with many officers including the Chief of Police, Brian Kyes, who has “taken a knee” in solidarity with protesters showing a sign of commitment towards working for a new social justice that would be fair to all.  

We in the Chelsea black community have no illusions that the moment for action is now. The call is clear – we must stand in unison to condemn and arrest racism and the violence that it so often leads to. As the leader of Chelsea, it is your duty to promote and foster the belief; that all classes, races, ethnicities, and identities deserve the best, that “black lives matter,” and “all lives have equal value” as ordained by God Almighty, as encapsulated in the Equal Employment and Opportunity Council (EEOC) Act of 1972 (Pub Law 92-261).

Today, we call for change in policy that is ingrained in the legacy of slavery in areas such as education, housing, public health, and public safety. As a community, we can and must intentionally address systemic racism. The time is here and now. We have put together a comprehensive plan for policy reform that addresses racial inequities and strongly believe swift implementation of these innovative resolutions will sustain our commitment and solidarity as one Chelsea.

Best Regards,

Jayde Umemba

Chelsea Young

Adult Alliance

Ola Bayode

Chelsea Young

Adult Alliance

Kyle Umemba

Chelsea Young

Adult Alliance

Joan Cromwell

Chelsea Black

Community President

Resolutions for Chelsea City Manager to Address Systemic Inequities

Cities, municipalities, police departments nationwide, and even The United States Congress are looking at reform proposals that bridge the gulf, not “gaps that may exist to prevent fulfilling the mission” this moment calls to stop discriminatory and systemic exercise of inequities that permeate through the fabric of this community and throughout society in general.

True, the demands of this moment are still being formulated, however, they are tied by a common thread. They come with a charge to challenge and rethink notions of what it means to be fair. And to rethink everyone’s obligation to be a party to that struggle. To be not merely not racist, but actively anti-racist. To be an active participant in building something more just…                                                                                                               

(shared words by Adrian Walker)

It is in the vision that all stand united against being divided in the face of police brutality on innocent and law abiding citizens of Chelsea, which the task force recommends…

1. The City Manager will officially acknowledge the systemic inequities against minorities within the city of Chelsea, MA, and across the nation.

2. Introduce Director of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) division within the City of Chelsea Human Resource Department.  D&I should oversee the mobilization and actualization of housing, public health, and action plans for public safety

3. Include racial equity requirements under the city’s annual budgeting process. This program would require each city department to annually establish policies, practices, and community engagement strategies designed to confront systemic discrimination and advance equity. 

4.The city of Chelsea should reevaluate citizen-led committee(s) and decisions and outcomes made by city boards and commissions, to ensure decisions are proper, equitable, and representative of city demographic

5.The city of Chelsea should develop strategies to increase the level of civic engagement in Chelsea’s annual budgeting process. Any strategy should focus on improving the overall level of engagement between Blacks and the City Council regarding fiscal related decision-making processes.

Public Safety:

Resolutions to Address Systemic Inequities

1. The city of Chelsea should constitute an independent or autonomous citizen-led Police Oversight Committee with subpoena powers, and should consist of residents of Chelsea. The committee should provide policy guidance, budgetary recommendations, and civilian oversight of the Chelsea Police Department. Within predefined parameters, the committee should oversee the mobilization and actualization of the Resolution to Address Systemic Inequities listed here.

a. The Police Oversight Committee, City Manager, City Councillors, and Police Chief should conduct a quarterly review tracking progress made on the Resolution to Address Systemic Inequities listed in here…

2. The Chelsea Police Department should provide annual report on:

a.   Arrest data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age

b.    The use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.

c. The diversity within the police department at a hierarchical level

3. The Chelsea Police Department should provide residents with full visibility into ALL police complaints and records of misconduct.  The City Manager and Chief of Police, should work with The DA’s office to prevent officers who are terminated with cause in other districts from getting rehired in the city of Chelsea

4. The Chelsea City Manager should work in tandem with the Chelsea Chief of police, and the Suffolk County DA’s Office, to ban and prohibit law enforcement based on racial, religious and discriminatory profiling

5. The City Manager should hire a third-party auditor to annually review city-related departments (outside of Education) that accrue expenses greater than $10 Million over five consecutive years, to efficiently manage “non-essential” costs and reallocate revenues from wasteful expenses to deserving social services, new public safety systems, and towards police reform initiatives

a. Following the audit, the City Manager should consider using a third-party independent consultant to establish a socially equitable ratio of spending and reinvestment activity for identified departments.

6. The Chelsea Police Department should expand upon current laws enacted towards Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act.  The Chelsea Chief of Police should make it mandatory for law enforcement officers in the city to undergo mental health evaluations semi-annually, and increase their overall usage of peer mentoring programs

7. The Chelsea Police Department should create law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and require the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century policing

8. The Chelsea Police Department should redistribute funds from the Civil Asset Forfeiture program towards youth recreational programs in the city

9. The Chelsea Police Department should review its current practices, and immediately ban and prohibit policies and practices that involve Choke-holds, Carotid-holds, and No-knock warrants in the city of Chelsea

10. The Chelsea Police Department should immediately make it mandatory in the city of Chelsea for police and law enforcement officers to fund and use dashboard and body worn cameras at all times and when in patrol in the city of Chelsea

11. The Chelsea Police Department should require a semi-annual Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) sensitivity training provided by a Third-party agency (minority-owned business). Each police officer would be required to have annual recertification upon completion of the D&I training

12.    The Chelsea Police Department should reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.

13.    We expect the City Manager to establish standardize review process for address claims on discrimination filed by POC officers.  It’s imperative that city leadership should create a protection program immediately to protect the privacy and integrity of any reporting process.

14.    Our citizens expect leaders in Chelsea to be on the record in support of Marijuana Diversion programs and support of misdemeanor bail reform. The city should reduce its reliance on court fines and jails as a revenue source.

15.    In general, you should change police use-of-force policies and emphasize de-escalation training suggested through these initiatives.

Education: Resolutions to Address Systemic Inequities

We expect the city of Chelsea to be fully responsive and compliant to EEOC Act of 1972 (Pub Law 92-261), whereby a level, fair and equitable playing field exists at all new employment and promotions within the Chelsea school system, at the Chelsea City Hall offices, The Chelsea Fire departments, and the Chelsea Police Force rank and file.

Like other municipalities and agencies, the city of Chelsea should be in total compliance at all times with the mandates of Equal Employment Opportunity Act designed to prohibit job discrimination.  Therefore, we expect you, the City Manager, to provide the required leadership to ensure full and unabridged compliance of this law; by providing immediate funding to promote internal checks and balances or policies that assure the rules are the same for ALL applicants and employees at all city establishments.

We expect your Office of Human Resources to create an Equal Opportunity and Outreach group.  A new division to offer periodic workplace learning and professional development opportunities to city employees including at the barest minimum workshops on developing cultural competence, bystander awareness, unconscious attitudes/implicit bias, and inclusive communications.  Measures that address marginalized identities.

Mobilization

1. Develop a strategic Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, led by a dedicated Steering Committee (made up of community members, students, families, teachers, and administration) to build a diverse multicultural competent and healthy institution.

Begin with multicultural competence self-assessment.

2. Allocate essential financial, personnel, and technical resources required for implementation of the action plan.

3. Introduce Director of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) under the Chelsea Public Schools (CPS) Human Resources Department  to oversee the mobilization and actualization of the Education: Diversity and Inclusion action plan.

Current State

4. Provide a report on employee headcount by race and ethnicity at all staffing levels, including data on promotions. This report should separate Teach For America (TFA) educators vs non-TFA educators. but include breakdowns for other teacher pipelines such as Teach for America, City Year, etc.

Provide detailed insight on the BIPOC pipelines of employment.

Provide detailed insight on the retention of Black staff.

Provide detailed reporting on diversity across leadership positions. Each school will identify the number of faculty annually promoted to leadership positions by ethnicity.

Faculty, Administration, and Staff

5. Implement annual professional development training on multicultural competency, diversity, de-escalation methods, restorative justice, and trauma for all staff. Prioritize the reallocation of continuing education units (CEU) towards the topics mentioned above.

6. Eliminate Student Resource Officers within schools.

Reallocate the SRO budget towards funding for social workers, school psychologists, and translators.

7. Increase overall headcount of Black Full-time equivalents (FTEs). Provide current and prospective Black staff with comprehensive professional development opportunities and pathways to increase long-term retention.

Increase the number of alternative certification programs (traditional certification programs are often in under-performing colleges and produce an overwhelmingly white teacher workforce)

8. Increase educator salary to incentivize Black educators to teach in CPS.

9. Establish and standardize a review process for addressing discrimination claims filed by BIPOC educators.

Draft written protections for Black educators.

Draft written consequences to where racial discrimination, bias, attacks, etc. become fireable offenses that are not protected by union contracts.

Students

10. Connect with CPS students of color and listen to their experiences and what they would like to see change at CPS.

Create forums and leadership roles that allow for students to offer their perspectives on the current state of schooling and what they would like to see change in those environments.

11. Establish a Black Student Mentor Program. Establish Black Student Affinity Groups that create safe spaces for students to come together (beginning in early education through high school).

12. Conduct climate surveys to gauge how students are impacted by racial injustice and how they perceive incidents and topics pertaining to race are addressed in their school environment.

Establish an open door policy for students to disclose perceived racial injustice. Collect, record, and analyze data so as to ensure remediation and create prescriptive recommendations to ameliorate learning environments.

13. Reevaluate detention and in-school suspension framework and incorporate a Restorative Justice approach.

Curriculum

14. Reevaluate Chelsea Public School (CPS) curriculum and professional development program. We will provide a further detailed action plan that identifies how to reevaluate the resources being leveraged in the current curriculum.

Early education: Reassess toys, content, curriculum, and environment to ensure that all aspects display diversity to promote equitable learning. This includes, but is not limited to: books and stories that are incorporated into classroom time, dolls and puppets used for classroom activities, and posters/art used to decorate classrooms.This diversity should also include different family dynamics, disabilities, and gender identities. We will provide a further detailed action plan that identifies how to reevaluate the resources being leveraged in the current curriculum.

15. Incorporate Black (+LGBTQ) speaker series to discuss topics such as: education, art, professional development, discrimination/racism (middle school – high school).

Public Health:

Resolutions to Address Systemic Inequities

The task force views Racism as a public health crisis. Health inequities at their very core are due to racism. As the vulnerability of the city’s overall health continues to increase, the city should RECREATE a Public Health Department that is proactive, responsive and equipped to undertake numerous public health crises. This task force asks that The Department of Health and Human Services address the following:

1. Make publicly available diversity data on the makeup of the local board of health. Diversify the Board of Health to include youth perspective and to be more representative of the racial and ethnic composition of Chelsea.     

2. The Board of Health should provide quarterly reporting; defining up to date health data that clearly define impacts on communities (racial, ethnic, geographic locations)

3. Diversity and Inclusion Officer will oversee the implementation of disparity reduction strategies. Designate HR’s Diversity and Inclusion officer, who shall have supervisory oversight and implement disparity reduction strategies.  Where such personnel is nonexistent yet, create and fund one

4. The Department of Health and Human Service must  recruit a reflective diverse workforce that is more representative of the racial and ethnic composition of Chelsea.

5. Evaluate community concern regarding leadership of overall management of public health care organizations in the Department of Health and Human Service.

6. To promote the wellness of all, we recommend that Department of Health and Human Service establish a more collaborative relationship with community-based organizations in Chelsea

7. The city of Chelsea should make more effort to increase community-based education in promoting preventive and pre-screening measures to combat chronic illnesses which is widely recognized to disproportionately impact black and people of color.

8. Publicly advocate against decades of environmental racism, and demand economic compensation to mitigate health effects from public and private sectors. Implement citywide net zero strategy to decrease air pollution.

9. Encourage MGH Chelsea and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Care-Chelsea network to hire more black and brown practitioners to combat the disproportionate impact of health disparities and promote communication and trust.

Housing: Resolutions to Address Systemic

Inequities

1. The City Manager should conduct and publish studies that determine impediments to fair housing, that examine racial barriers to housing, and develop comprehensive blueprint to dismantle racism and bias, when they exist, in the local housing market (rental & ownership)

2. The city should develop more affordable housing, rents and ownerships that are truly affordable to members of the Chelsea community. (based on the true average median income (AMI) of Chelsea residents

Strong efforts should be made to protect existing affordable housing in the city.  The City Manager should increase and appropriate more funding for affordable housing for all low income members in the Chelsea community

3. The City Manager should track and keep records of vacancy rates in large-scale apartment complexes and develop creative ways to repurpose vacant units to help combat incidence of homelessness and housing insecurity in Chelsea

4. The city of Chelsea should devise creative ways to conduct fair and unbiased advertisement to fund and promote affordable housing for Chelsea citizens

5. The Planning and Development division at the Chelsea City Hall should be mandated to monitor and ensure that developers uphold the terms and conditions of their contractual agreements to develop affordable housing units in mixed-income buildings

6. The city of Chelsea should revise its current policies and update requirements that promote a more diverse and inclusive workforce with better job opportunities for BIPOC in the housing segment

         7.         City leadership should increase the support of the local Community Land Trust to increase access to affordable housing, wealth building, and economic mobility for Blacks.

8. Preserve and protect all Public Domain within the city of Chelsea from private companies (parks, schools, libraries). The city should recreate and update accessible maps that could also be accessed digitally, and highlight those Public Domain spaces earmarked for the public

9. The city of Chelsea needs new programs to address and combat banking and mortgage industry practices of predatory and racial discrimination in mortgage lending, to members of the Black community, minorities, and people of color.

10. Work more closely with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), ICC, and other regional players to address housing inequities experienced by Black people and BIPOC.

11. Launch Anti-Displacement Fund to support Blacks and People of Color who are more disproportionately displaced by gentrification. We recommend that the city create funding to promote this initiative through Linkage / Transfer Fees, and from such other funds collected from city developers

This fund can be created by implementing Linkage/Transfer Fees.

Funds should be collected from developers to support this initiative.

12. The city of Chelsea should begin to regulate bank-owned properties. New city ordinances should be required to hold banks accountable everyday bank-owned homes, dwellings and properties remain blighted. Revenue generated should be used to service new affordable housing programs and initiatives

13. City leadership should devise new initiatives for rent-to-own housing for Chelsea citizens.  Without exceptions, the City should refuse and bar any developer, who refuse to be noncompliant with the program requirements to provide affordable units to qualified low income from operating in the city of Chelsea.

14. The public requires openness and transparency regarding the allocation of Community Fund.  The city manager should have full oversight over resources committed into the Community fund and make fair and balanced determination where the funding gets allocated

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