Ten years ago, young, starry-eyed, and broke, I moved to Cambridge to begin a new life. My husband was about to start his PhD program, and I hustled working temp jobs to eke out a living. We moved into a one-bedroom student apartment and sat down to make a budget for our upcoming expenses. It was a struggle to make ends meet. I started clothing exchanges with my friends just to to feel like I had something new to wear, and eating out was reserved for special occasions. Every penny counted.
But despite these challenges, I fell in love with Cambridge. I loved that it valued candor, tolerance, and open-minded discussion. I loved its history alongside modern, forward-looking growth, and the hardworking and self-sacrificing people I met.
Fast-forward ten years and a few promotions and we’re still making sacrifices every day so we can stay in Cambridge. We live in the same small apartment and I still replenish my wardrobe by swapping clothes with friends.
But I’ve also learned that my experience is not unique. Many individuals, families, and business owners who want to stay in Cambridge for good are forced to leave because they simply cannot afford to stay. And to build a community, we need people to be able to stay.
Watching as my favorite small businesses close and friends leave Cambridge, I knew something had to change. I am running for City Council because I have a vision for Cambridge and I know I can bring positive change to this city. I want to make Cambridge an inclusive community that celebrates and rewards everyone who works hard to make this their home. I want everyone who lives here to feel like they belong here.
And I believe I’ve got what it takes to bring that change to City Council.
Through my work in education, I’ve come to see how important accessible education is for all, regardless of age, background, or socioeconomic status. Every day, as part of my job at Harvard University’s scholarship office, I help college students access financial support and encourage them to aim high and go after rigorous educational opportunities.
I’ve helped create curriculum for schools in developing countries at Teachers Without Borders and raised awareness about human rights abuses in Latin America with Human Rights Watch. Over the years, I’ve come to strongly believe that education is a public responsibility: it’s the public’s responsibility to seek education, and also to provide it.
In my community service work with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’ve had a chance to enter the private lives of those in our community who struggle with mental illness and homelessness. Spending time in their homes, I’ve watched the current system fail these individuals and their families over and over again. I’ve also been alarmed by the pervasiveness of substance abuse in Massachusetts, and to understand possible solutions I dove into graduate research on adolescent overdose. Watching as people turn their lives around, I’ve come to believe that we need a system of social services that is based on forgiveness and non-judgment.
As a member of Cambridge City Council, I will continue to listen to your concerns and struggles as well as your dreams and vision for Cambridge. I will make sure that this collective knowledge and insight serve as the foundation for City Council’s decisions and will help make this city a place where people can not only live, but stay.
Learn more about my solutions for Cambridge: My Platform