Endorsed
Candidates
2019

Endorsed
Candidates
2019

Ben Simmon

Ben Simmon: Cambridge City Council

Age: 34

Occupation: Musician and After School Teacher

How do you identify?

I identify as a Marxist/Socialist, a rock and roller, and a low-income renter.

What is your experience in activism and building social movements?

I was a lead organizer in the SaveEMF campaign, an effort to save a thriving artist community in Cambridge, Ma from being displaced so that a wealthy developer could convert our building into luxury office spaces. We, the artist tenants, organized into the Cambridge Artist Coalition. As CAC we successfully appealed to the city to negotiate for more time, mounted a letter-writing campaign, organized protests and and even went to court to fight our eviction. In the end, greed won out over community as it so often does, and we were forced out of the building, but this isn’t the end of our story. With one notable exception, we were extremely disappointed by the city council’s response to the EMF situation. The Mayor and many other city councilors have taken large campaign contributions from the very developer who we were in conflict with. They spoke as though they were concerned and wanted to do something to help us, but in the end they were unwilling to do anything that would alienate him or the developer class in general. The mayor offered me a seat on his “Arts Task Force,” which was set up in response to the EMF controversy. I accepted, but to my immense disappointment and frustration, the one thing that isn’t on the table for debate is the most important thing to discuss: the role development plays in erasing artists and arts spaces from our city. In fact, we aren’t speaking about development at all! Both myself and another displaced artist tenant from the EMF community are now running for Cambridge City Council to expand the minority of the council that isn’t beholden to developer money. My hope is to concurrently help to organize a movement for housing justice in Cambridge, because the fight for housing justice and the fight to stop the erasing of artists and artist spaces from Cambridge are part of the same fight. It’s the fight to empower the working class and disempower the developer class.

What is your story?

I grew up in a rent controlled apartment in Porter Square. In 1999, only four years after Cambridge lost rent control, our home was sold to a developer who kicked us out to turn the building into luxury apartments. By then rents had risen so much we couldn’t afford to stay here, and we resettled in the Midwest. I moved back as an adult in 2004 to find a very different Cambridge. The city I left had been an ethnically and economically diverse place, with thriving low-income and working class communities living alongside neighborhoods of great wealth. The city I returned to was far more homogeneous and more of the businesses were geared to wealthier residents. Many of my childhood friends were gone. And the ones that were still here, unless they were wealthy, were trying desperately to remain in the city they loved. Since then, this trend has only continued. For years I watched passively and bitterly as my city continued to change around me. I watched as it geared itself more and more to wealthy residents and transplants and displacement and gentrification eviscerated the community. It wasn’t until I became involved in the organized resistance to the EMF evictions and I experienced firsthand the power that comes with organization, that I began to understand how easily we could completely transform this city if we unite behind a common vision. We can take down the developer class, the de facto ruling class of Cambridge, and usher in an age of truly representative democracy if we only have the will and courage to organize and fight.

Volunteer and Contribute to Ben Simmon here: https://www.votebensimon.com/


Jivan 
Sobrinho-Wheeler

Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler: Cambridge City Council

Age: 27

Occupation: Project Coordinator for Land Conservation Programs at a Cambridge Think-tank

How do you identify?

I’m a brown man — the son of a father who grew up in the Portuguese colony of Goa in India and a woman who grew up on a farm in Iowa. I’m a renter, an organizer and a democratic socialist.

What is your experience in activism and building social movements?

I’ve been actively engaged in Boston DSA for the past year, especially in the Housing & Electoral working groups, where I’ve canvassed for Nika Elugardo, Yes on 1, and for the Stony Brook Tenants Union we’ve been supporting in Hyde Park. I’ve also been involved with the Healthcare Working Group where I’ve canvassed for Medicare for All and helped organize a Narcan Training. I’m inspired by the activists and comrades around me in BDSA and wouldn’t be running if it weren’t for the encouragement of many of you. Besides BDSA, I’ve been involved in Cambridge Bicycle Safety, Our Revolution Cambridge, and the Sunrise movement. With these groups, I’ve helped fight against fare hikes on the T and push for tenant protections like rental relocation assistance and the Cambridge Bike Safety Ordinance, which will mandate the creation of protected bike lanes on some streets in the city.

What is your story?

My name is Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler. I’m a renter, I’m a bicyclist, I’m a tenants’ rights activist, and I’m the son of man who immigrated to the United States and a woman who grew up on a farm in Iowa. I work with environmental programs at a land-policy think tank in Cambridge and in my spare time, I’m an organizer: with Boston DSA (the Democratic Socialists of America), and Our Revolution Cambridge, Sunrise and Cambridge Bike Safety. I’m not running because I want to stop being an organizer, I’m running because I want to be a more effective one and uplift the movements through my position. I lived in a couple of different places growing up. One of them was not too far from here in Springfield, MA where my parents were working at the time. When they got divorced, I was still a toddler, and my mom wasn’t making very much money, so we moved into subsidized housing. For quite a few years after that, she worked whatever job she could get that would work with the daycare’s schedule—telemarketing, administrative jobs, working with migrant families. And during this time, I was on CHIP, the children’s version of Medicaid for health insurance. Today, my mom is a professor of political science at a public university. And I work at a nationally recognized land-policy think tank based in Cambridge. But there’s a chance that neither of those things would have been possible if we hadn’t had access to those social programs, those public commitments like CHIP and subsidized housing. I was on CHIP as a kid, but my mom went years without health insurance or being able to go to the doctor. I have no idea what we would have done if she’d gotten sick or been in an accident during this period. Or what we would have done if we’d moved into the wrong apartment—one where the heat went out in the winter or one that had toxic mold, like the ones nearby where I’ve helped support tenants unions at with Boston DSA and City Life Vida Urbana. My campaign is built on the idea that Cambridge doesn’t have to wait on the federal or state government to improve to start confronting the social and political crises of our time: housing justice, climate change, and racial, gender and economic equity. Instead, we should lead the way in tackling them and become a city that others look to as an example of what they can accomplish by acting boldly.

Volunteer and Contribute to Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler here: https://www.votejivan.com/


Lee Nave Jr.

Lee Nave Jr.: Boston City Council, District 9: Allston-Brighton

Age: 29

Occupation: Community Engagement Coordinator, Nonprofit work on Juvenile Justice/Foster Care issues

How do you identify?

He/Him/His

What is your experience in activism and building social movements?

For over a decade I have worked on progressive movements centered around young people and families. In 2012, while a graduate student, I co-founded and managed a nonprofit called Student Voice. For nearly four years, I worked with students, teachers, advocates, and elected officials on enhancing student engagement as well as empowering students in decision making. For the last four years as Community Engagement Coordinator with Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CFJJ), I have worked with parents, youth, youth-serving agencies, and educators to develop preventative solutions to youth incarceration. I am currently working with community members all over the state as well as the Commissioners of the following state departments: Department of Children, Youth and Families, Probation Service, and Department of Youth Service in creating a system wide strategic plan to better serve system-impacted young people. Also with CfJJ, I work to lift up authentic stories for testimonies, train community members on legislative advocacy, and help lead a Juvenile Justice Coalition that succeeded in advancing one of the most progressive criminal justice reform bills passed in state history in April 2018. My work continues to stem around the need for coalition building for diverse populations of professions and backgrounds.

What is your story?

I was born in St. Louis and primarily raised in Ferguson, MO. Yes, THE Ferguson. I graduated from a non-accredited high school and left the city for college because I knew that what I wanted for my future was not what my community could offer me. While in my final year of high school, I worked part-time for a nonprofit based in an inner-city middle school. My primary role was leading a team of 7th graders around South Side St. Louis, to create a magazine featuring local businesses. I also found purpose in tutoring and mentoring youth who had few black male role models in their life. I saw the positive impact individuals and systems play in developing future generations. I’ve also seen what systems can do to harm children and families. Since then, I’ve worked primarily in youth advocacy roles. I went to school to better understand how I can help to address systemic issues through policy and advocacy. I always had a feeling growing up that systems (education and justice to name a few) were not really designed for people of color to succeed. With over a decade of advocacy experience, I know that one of the biggest obstacles to successful policy change, is who is in charge of making the policies. As an employee of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, I have witnessed white-privileged adults, elected into office, justify why it is okay to arrest eight year old black kids from Mattapan. I want to step into my leadership and replace racist leaders with my progressive and just vision for Boston to create a systems built for all. That is where true equity and equality will emerge from.

Volunteer and Contribute to Lee Nave Jr. here: https://www.votenave.com/


Curtis Tuden

Curtis Tuden: Medford City Council

Age: 31

Occupation: Registrar/Data Manager for Medford Public Schools

How do you identify?

Male, cis, straight, abled, educated, working class, white & privileged.

What is your experience in activism and building social movements?

My lifetime of activism started with parents who organized the community and raised me to support public schools. My career has been spent working for the district but a deep concern about climate change drove me to years of environmental activism. Inaction by elected officials led me to run as a progressive in 2017 for Medford City Council. The loss was tough but I learned a lot and am ready to finish what I started. Also listed below are former and current activism experience. Our Revolution Medford (2017 Endorsement) Boston DSA member Medford Energy and Environment Committee Chair SAFE Medford Medford People Power Indivisible Mystic Valley 350MA Mystic Valley NAACP Mystic Valley Uhuru Solidarity Movement Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility Medford Housing Coalition

What is your story?

I’m a lifelong, third generation, resident of Medford who has spent decades working to support progressive causes in the community. My 2019 candidacy for City Council is founded on supporting the freedoms of Medford families and constituents who face environmental, economic, and social injustice every day. My grassroots organizing and coalition building will lead to a slate of new policies for community prosperity.

Volunteer and Contribute to Curtis Tuden here: https://votetuden2019.com/


Questions?

E-mail the Electoral Working Group

electoral@bostondsa.org