Sociedad Latina would like to respond with the following to the Mission Hill Gazette’s article “Official proposes ‘NU neighborhood council.’” (Jan. 11).
John Tobin’s proposal to create a “Northeastern Neighborhood Council” that can open avenues of communication between Northeastern and Mission Hill is appreciated. At the same time, more details regarding the process of its implementation and tangible goals that will result need to be clarified to ensure this council has purpose and is inclusionary and timely. We believe there is still a need to immediately address the current and long-standing issues of the Mission Hill community directly with residents.
There are questions about its implementation and access. If it is truly to be a neighborhood council, all Mission Hill residents and organizations need to feel like they have the ability to use this council as a point of real connection to the university, a place they believe can generate definite changes to the current state of danger to quality of life for Mission Hill residents. How will this be ensured? How will council representation and its facilitation function? Who will be chosen to be on the council, how will that unify and not divide the community, and who will facilitate to ensure the least bias toward any parties?
At the most recent meeting of the Northeastern Task Force on Jan. 28, it was clarified that this group would begin at the end of this current Institutional Master Plan (IMP) process and include current members of the Task Force to ensure that there is representation from those currently serving and understand the process of developing this next IMP. But we need to work together to ensure that residents who are living in real time with real issues are involved. Again, it is not only Sociedad Latina and City officials who have expressed concerns and issues, but residents of all parts of the Hill, of all ages. They all deserve to feel heard and responded to.
If Northeastern is committed to Boston’s future, as it says it is, then it’s time that it sees itself as part of the community. As this good neighbor, it should move beyond dialogue to presenting solutions to these outstanding issues, both in the upcoming IMP and through this potential group. As an active participant, it can help fix our community.
So again, on behalf of the youth and families of Mission Hill we ask: How and when will this dialogue turn into commitment and action that addresses these concerns? How and when will we really start working together help to make the real changes Northeastern already knows the community wants?
Monica Castro, Jerry Pyram, Jerson Familia, Brittney Bowens- Wiggins and Isahah Erilus
Youth Leaders, Sociedad Latina