Recovering from the devastating impact of Covid 19 requires investing in vaccine awareness, availability, and secondary treatments. We need to double down on our outreach efforts, partner with local advocates, religious leaders, and trusted members of the community in order to inform residents on the safety, efficacy, and importance of receiving a vaccine. We will also ensure treatments for secondary causes and collateral health problems arising from Covid diagnoses are addressed and covered.
Since health is a holistic endeavor, we'll advocate for mental health services that will work with families to support treatments in the home, that partner with nutritional assistance, and access to gyms available throughout the district. Access to a variety of treatments will best suit our diverse community. We will also activate campaigns normalizing mental health treatments and make finding mental health services in our district easy and accessible. We will work to strengthen the collaboration between mental health providers, Boston Public Schools, DCF, law enforcement, and other public services to ensure successful outcomes.
The destigmatization of addiction, partnered with a health promotion campaign to provide substance abuse services for all residents is central to our agenda to heal our community from the double-edged crisis of drug use and crime. I'll fight to break up the concentration of methadone clinics that create easy targets for drug dealers and criminal activity, spreading the burden across the city into manageable pockets of treatment. This will allow us to better manage enrollment into treatment programs and provide adequate security measures. We will do more than talk about the tragedies of opioid addiction. We will enact evidence-based policies to confront addiction, clearing a pathway towards recovery.
For all residents, especially our BIPOC community, healthy food needs to be accessible and affordable. We can reach this goal by increasing urban farm programs, repurposing abandoned city lots to produce local fruit and vegetable resources. We'll fight for greater transparency and accountability to combat the ongoing epidemic of women of color, particularly Black women, being ignored by their health care providers. Increasing awareness around appropriate patient/doctor communication will address the dismal record of Black birth complications and infant deaths. We will also create an information campaign along with a helpline to keep our residents abreast of their rights regarding healthcare and health coverages.
Finally, in order to reestablish a healthy community, we need to engage with one another. It's essential to update our infrastructure to accommodate our blind, wheelchair-bound, and differently-abled community members with greater access to brail signage, ramps, and accessible throughways. Inclusion must also address cultural stigmatization that discourages our LGBTQ+ community from participating in community functions and feeling safe in their own community. I will also encourage and make space for community reconciliation opportunities, such as healing circles, meditations, and community events.
Black and Brown homeownership, while above national average, still isn't equitable. Homeownership is the primary source of wealth building, and not having access to those opportunities deprives residents of this investment. My agenda will broaden and assist homeownership through banking program collaborations and establishing a reparation fund, to close the wealth gap. We will also encourage alternative paths to homeownership through city-assisted programming, such as rent-to-own opportunities.
I'm focused on making rent in the city of Boston equitable and fair. We will invest in affordable housing by creating incentives for competitive rents, limit evictions, and deregulating redundant red-tape to lower costs, reducing rents city-wide. We will also incentivize developers to ensure that any new construction mandates at least 25% affordable units.
Rolling back building antiquated regulations and reforming zoning laws will allow Boston residential buildings to grow along with its population by building relationships to make progress in this seemingly intractable problem.
We must improve recreational services and seniors' transportation access. Creating closer alliances between community centers and assisted living spaces is important for social cohesion, community engagement, and increased productivity for our elders and youth population. Increasing volunteer opportunities and highlighting the possibilities of working with elders will help our seniors be fully incorporated into the community.
We will provide senior services that'll make home environments safe and healthy because our seniors earned the right to remain happy and healthy in their own homes. Greater access to transportation and improvements to meal deliveries will give our seniors a better quality of life and the dignity they deserve.
We will forge stronger relationships between government and private agencies. Boston is home to an ever-growing list of the most successful companies in the country, and we need to collaborate with them to create pathways for local residents to gain employment and to be prioritized in hiring practices. I will fight for a minimum wage that reflects a living wage and eradicate the sub-minimum wage for waitresses and other low-wage tip workers.
We'll prioritize making business loans and competitive interest rates available to minorities, creating entrepreneurial opportunities and opportunities for upward mobility. We will advocate for our residents with local banking institutions, and look to establish city-backed grants and loans.
Provide small business assistance with developmental support and entrepreneurial services. We need to make access to free financial literacy courses available online and in person. Courses that teach saving habits, budget management, investment strategies, and paths to homeownership, plus many more should be available.
Particularly among our residence of color, the unemployment rate has been stubbornly consistent in robbing BIPOC Boston residence of opportunity. I'm dedicated to reversing this trend with a focus on increasing minority contracts with the city, while increasing awareness of available opportunities. Instead of waiting for community members to reach out to us, we are going to reach out to you.
Addressing violence from a public health perspective is the only way to systemically and permanently eradicate indiscriminate violence. I will address the root causes of violence, while supporting public safety measures proven to stop violence and keeps our neighborhoods safe. Part of my plan is to implement Street Teams trained in de-escalation and intervention techniques to high risk areas, hold restorative justice healing circles in collaboration with local clergy and leaders, and to laser focus law enforcement resources on the violence "super spreaders" who are responsible for the majority of offenses.
We have to treat crime as the public health crisis it is, addressing the trauma at it's root. Most crimes are committed by persons with mental illness, an abusive pasts, who are intoxicated, or in the midst of psychosis. Instead of letting our neighbors fall through the cracks, we should make robust mental health services and treatment accessible and affordable. A healthy community is the safest community.
Keeping our communities safe also relies on smart strategies that leverage the power of our collective responsibility, like making neighborhood jobs available to every youth who wants one. Shift funding towards community centers to provide creative opportunities, artistic expression, and constructive outlets, giving community centers on the front line adequate resources to support after school management and effective programming. Establish mentoring programs that'll connect every child/youth to a caring adult.
Doing this will allow us to regroup and re-imagine a 21st century public safety policy centered around restorative justice practices that actually heal and repair our community. Diverting our troubled youth away from prisons where they can be corrupted by hardened experiences, towards more productive and restorative practices will keep families together and neighborhoods safer.
Preparing our children for success in the real world needs to be our top priority. I'll advocate for a complete review of BPS curriculums, with an agenda to push our schools to a more diverse learning experience that emphasizes student's strengths and community needs. Increased 21st century vocational training, computer programming, coding, and computer language should all be standard classes. Ethics, robust civics, and financial literacy classes need to be available to all students.
Patents and guardians are central to a student's success. We have to bridge the gap between the school and home, creating better access and input for families, and more support for our educators. More opportunities for Home-school partnerships mean better outcomes for students. I propose a tool kit for every child to share with their parents that will contain resources to address the child's holistic needs.
Invest capital in places with highest impact for optimal returns. According to research, investing in education over security could result in a 50% drop in homicides. Simply by providing resources for BIPOC communities to graduate from college and gain access to equitable pay, we can reduce crime, proving the direct relationship between laws, policy, and racial equity.
Develop strategies to recruit a more diverse and representative school board and increased voter participation. It is important for those in positions of power reflect the people they are serving. With that in mind, I will push to add two additional seats to the committee for Highschool members in order to better address the needs of students.
Partner with community college and local industries to create training programs in emerging technologies and sectors with guaranteed job placement upon successful program completion. If we can combine these programs while easing some of the onerous regulations that keep production and business opening artificially suppressed, we will unleash our local economy. Part of this push for better infrastructure will also include improved management of school grounds, repairs, and maintenance. I'll fight for our children to attend schools that represent their promise and our ideals.
We have to be bold, allowing for experimental pilot programs for MBTA services, such as free fare during peak hours, reduced fares on weekends, and extended hours during summer nights and weekends. It's important to extend bike lanes and encourage the development of electric charging stations to meet 21st-century transportation demand.
We'll address traffic and building congestion, developing efficient reporting and response mechanisms for municipal issues and re-imagining the role of city lots and open spaces. Early reporting systems for potholes and road maintenance will save residents from countless expenses in car repairs and traffic delays. Creating safe walkways and bike lanes, along with substantial increases in lighting will make commutes safe and more convenient.
We should also offer abundant opportunities to attend ESOL classes for our immigrant community members. Providing our immigrant population with voting rights in local city elections contributes to good governance and civic engagement.
Civic education, engagement, and outreach campaigns to support understanding of local government's roles and responsibilities. Strengthen our constituent services and streamline our response times to ordinance and complaints. Increase voter registration and access. And stay accountable. We work for you.
Help community members navigate city resources and build trust through transparency. We will create a search terminal, laying out our agenda and its progress in an easy to use format, available publicly.