A Democratic Socialists of America talk and a domestic violence vigil.
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Sidewalk Socialism event introduces Somerville DSA slate
The Democratic Socialists of America held an online panel, introducing viewers to the “Somerville Slate” of city council candidates, in an event on Oct. 6 called “Sidewalk Socialism in Somerville.” The Somerville Slate is composed of seven DSA members who could be elected in November, which would make Somerville a socialist majority city council. Hosted by Matt Miller, the candidates present were Tessa Bridge, Willie Burnley Jr, Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen, Charlotte Kelly, Becca Miller, Councilor J.T. Scott, and Eve Seitchik.
Ewen-Campen spoke to the fact that he had been elected to City Council in 2017, which was part of what he called a “groundswell of community organizing that was happening in Somerville at that time.”
“In that election, we all kind of came together, challenging some ‘good old boy’ incumbents, around the idea that the local government in Somerville at that time really had not been reflecting the values of the community,” said Ewen-Campen. “Local politics in Somerville, like many cities around the country, was really dominated by a pretty small network of ‘good old boys.’” He added that during his time in the city council, leaders have made progress on the housing front, as well as in reducing surveillance oversight by the Somerville Police Department. “We were the second city in the entire country to ban the use of facial recognition. That was part of what has now become quite a large movement, that includes cities like Boston and many others.”
Kelly explained what “Sidewalk Socialism” means to her and her vision for what she sees as a “socialist future.”
“Sidewalk Socialism is about building trauma-informed services, building the kind of community care that centers healing and justice,” said Kelly. “Sidewalk Socialism, to me, means investing in public health services, like a free public health clinic, here in our community, or addressing the rat crisis that we’re experiencing right now, every single day, in Somerville.” She added, “We have a truly transformative opportunity on our hands to put more resources into the hands of working class and poor people. At the end of the day, if we shift the material conditions of our neighbors, if we make people’s lives more livable, if we bring people into the political process, that is the disruption of capitalist realism.”
Somerville’s annual Domestic Violence Vigil
Mayor Joe Curtatone, the Somerville Commission for Women, and RESPOND Inc. invite residents to join them for the annual Domestic Violence Vigil on Tuesday, October 26, to commemorate and honor those who lost their lives to domestic violence in 2021. The vigil will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at Statue Park in Davis Square.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” said RESPOND’s Director of Philanthropy and Engagement Greta Hagen. “Historically, we have gathered to commemorate those lives taken by domestic violence in the previous year, to remember the gravity of what we are working to end. Real lives have been lost, and humans that were here in our community are no longer here. This year feels especially important, because abuse thrives in isolation. Survivors know this; allies of survivors know this. The pandemic has really deepened that for folks. The coming together again, as a community, to say that violence is not welcome in Somerville feels especially important this year.” She added, “RESPOND has traditionally been part of this, and we are excited to partner with the Women’s Commission again this year, especially under the direction of the new Racial and Social Justice Office in the City of Somerville.”
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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.