Yes on Three

By Rev. Courtney JonesPsalm 139 proclaims, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made.” I believe that all of us are wonderfully made in our diversity. Every person has been made in God’s image — and everyone who lives their truth, and lives authentically, is living the way that I believe God intended. Every person holds something in them that is a reflection of the divine, and that showcases the divine to the rest of the world.

Transgender people go through a unique journey wherein they discover their authentic selves — a fundamental journey we all must take but a journey marked with particular struggles for their unique experience. In my mind, the question of transgender inclusion is a matter of faith: it is an expression of faith in a God who transforms our lives and makes us whole. Living our authentic lives is part of God’s call to us and is part of our spiritual work. In order to do this spiritual work, we need one another.  That’s why transgender people are leaders in my congregation and make valuable contributions in the community, and I’m proud to welcome them in my doors. Our transgender neighbors are people of faith with unique contributions to offer, and, like everyone else, we must treat them with dignity and respect. That is why we must vote yes on ballot question 3 in November.

In 2016, at the urging of civic, business and community leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts legislature passed – with a bipartisan, supermajority vote – historic nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public places such as restaurants, stores, and hospitals. Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill in July 2016. Shortly after it went into effect, a small group of opponents gathered the small number of signatures required to place the law on the ballot for repeal in November 2018.

Think of a time that you have felt your humanity invalidated, a time when you were asked to convince someone else of your right to live freely. Imagine not being able to move through the world as the person you were born to be. For most of us, it’s not imaginable. For transgender people, it’s a reality that they face daily. This law is crucial because it’s about ensuring that all people can live their lives freely and safely. It’s about demonstrating empathy and promoting fairness.

At the heart of my faith is a God of compassion and a God who is love. That is the heart of this law, and my faith asks me to bear witness to God’s love by supporting full protection for all persons under the law. I would ask anyone not in favor of transgender protections on religious grounds: how can you reconcile your love for God with a lack of compassion and understanding for an entire group of people? We are all God’s children. We cannot deny any person equal treatment and equal protection in one breath and claim Jesus in the next. Our Christian faith asks us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. I support transgender people not in spite of my faith, but because of it. Upholding the transgender protections law is the right thing to do. If you are also someone who believes in treating all our neighbors the way you would want to be treated, vote yes on question 3 for dignity and respect this Election Day.

Rev. Courtney Jones is the pastor at Hope Central Church in Jamaica Plain.

How we’re creating more affordable housing

By Mayor Martin Walsh

Boston is going through a period of historic growth— the kind our city hasn’t seen in decades. More people are choosing to put down roots and start families here. More businesses are choosing to open their doors here. Students from all over the world come to attend our universities and colleges each year. As Boston grows, we must keep our focus on the families and communities that make our city the diverse, welcoming and world-class place it is. To do that, residents must be able to afford to live here in the city they love, families must be able to grow, and young people must be able to make our city their home.

To achieve that, we’re working hard to increase Boston’s affordable housing stock — that includes building housing across a range of incomes, and focusing on ensuring there are income-restricted homes being built throughout Boston.

Recently, we increased our overall housing goals from creating 53,000 units to 69,000 units by 2030 to meet Boston’s growing population and increase the number of housing opportunities available to residents. These new housing goals, which were first set in 2014 through our housing plan, build on our commitment to increasing access to home ownership, preventing displacement and promoting fair and equitable housing access.

As we build more housing in Boston to relieve housing pressure, our regional partners are also working to ensure their cities and towns keep up with the demand for affordable housing. Boston can’t do this alone — and that’s why I’m proud that recently I joined leaders from 14 surrounding communities who are part of the Metro Mayors Coalition to announce a new regional housing production goal for coalition cities and towns to meet the demands of a robust regional economy and a growing population in Boston and surrounding areas. Together, the 15 members of the Metro Mayors Coalition announced a target to create 185,000 new units of housing across the region by the year 2030.

We are at a pivotal time in Greater Boston as our economy continues to grow and thrive, and more people move to our communities. I know housing is the number one concern for so many families in Boston, and addressing it is my top priority. Of the 69,000 new units that will be created by 2030, 15,820 of them will be income restricted. By 2030, the total number of income-restricted housing units in Boston will be nearly 70,000. We are also committed to acquiring 1,000 market-rate rental units from the housing market and making them income restricted units.

If you think finding affordable housing, or becoming a homeowner, isn’t a reality for you — explore the resources the City of Boston offers. Take a home buying class. Apply for an affordable home buying opportunity. Apply for an income-restricted apartment. All our resources are available at https://www.boston.gov/departments/neighborhood-development, and we’ll continue to work hard to make sure all families who want to live in Boston are able to.

Extraordinary times call for our most extraordinary selves

By State Rep.-elect Nika Elugardo

Fellow residents of Mission Hill, Brookline, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain, thank you for leading the state in a historic turnout for a gubernatorial primary. Your leadership in GOTV and at the ballot box was truly extraordinary! Thank you for choosing me as your Democratic candidate for State Representative. It’s an honor to be entrusted to build on the legacy of our current Representative, Jeffrey Sánchez, who I know will continue to do great things in and for our community.

Since the primary election just weeks ago, I’ve met with more than 200 advocates and residents in all four neighborhoods, and my incredible team continues this outreach as we approach the general election and, hopefully, beyond. It’s an incredible honor and joy to get to know our district champions as I prepare for the prospect of representing you at the MA State House.

I’ve also been traveling the state to help Democrats who have serious challengers in the general. Since I’ll be running unopposed, it’s been my great pleasure to mobilize Team Nika in service to other candidates. As a leader in the community and economic development world for more than 20 years, I understand the critical importance of collaboration. We have to work together to make sure our district values are represented across the Commonwealth. I want to give special shout-outs to the Democratic nominees for Governor and District Attorney, Jay Gonzalez and Rachael Rollins, who are inspiring us all to work as a team on behalf of justice.

We’ve also been canvassing and phone banking to promote awareness of the three statewide ballot initiatives. I stand with the People’s Agenda, voting “yes” on all three. Issue 1 has arguments on both sides, but a “yes” vote protects workers and marginalized groups, while “no” protects privileged members of the medical community. I grew up in a family of tradespeople who struggled with addiction and other health problems compounded by housing instability and chronic unemployment. I’m always going to support union workers in their struggle for rights, as well as support efforts to make health care safer and more accessible. Issue 2 furthers the battle to get corporate money out of politics, and that’s core to my policy agenda. Issue 3, protecting trans rights, will likely do well in district, but we need to show up in record numbers to take a stand and to send a clear message to the state and nation. STOP harassing our trans family!!

Issue three is deeply symbolic for me. It challenges our state to once again lead the nation in demanding true justice for all. It’s symbolic of my own trajectory, not only as a public servant, but also in my personal life. For example, in my place of worship I’ve noticed increased resistance to the clarion call to stand with all marginalized people among us and abroad. My peers and I are combating this resistance as never before in our various local faith communities, just as all people are being called to stand in new ways wherever we may find ourselves. I am proud to stand, because we don’t just stand against hate and fear, however veiled they may be, we stand for love and for hope. We stand for each other.

Our ballot initiatives represent an absolute intolerance for injustice in all its forms. In these times we cannot abide resistance to basic conceptions of justice and fairness. We cannot abide it in our workplaces or our places of faith. We cannot abide it in our hospitals or public spaces. We cannot abide injustice anywhere. These are extraordinary times, and they call us to be our most extraordinary selves.

Fellow residents, for decades our district has led the charge for true justice for all. Our state needs our leadership as never before—not just at the ballot box but all year long. Elect me on November 6th, and I will lead the fight for justice with you and for you on Beacon Hill.

Voting is the beginning, so let’s get out that vote!

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