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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

2 New Members Elected to Boston Schools Committee

The Boston Schools Committee’s two vacant slots are now filled by the “Westie Whites” debacle, as Acting Mayor Kim Janney announced two new members—one of whom doesn’t have English as her primary language, a step Jenny called a “big step forward.” ” Said. “

Jenny chose Rafaela Polanco García and Lorena Lopera for the two open positions on a seven-member school committee, revealing that she was filling the two spaces vacated by Latinas with people who fit the same profile.

Jenny said the resignation “created a void in representative leadership, as more than 40% of Boston Public School students identify as Latino and 10% live in public housing.”

The two women selected for the spot spoke both English and Spanish.

“I have spent my entire professional career working to improve access to quality, educational opportunities for children and families – mostly those that are often not prioritized,” said Lopera, who worked for Columbia Talked to his family about illegal immigration when he was a child. She is currently the Massachusetts Executive Director at Latinos for Education.

Polanco Garcia, manager of parent engagement at St. Stephens Youth Programs, said Boston public schools have “serious work to do”.

“We need to emphasize that they are safe and loving communities for everyone who walks through the door,” said Polanco García, who advocates for “sanctuary schools” policies.

Jenny noted the fact that Polanco García, who was sworn in through a translator, mainly speaks Spanish.

“That means we have to work very hard to meet his needs,” admitted Jenny, “and in doing so, we will advance our school district and our city.”

She said she expects Polanco García to use an interpreter during meetings, and that the body will have to make sure all documents are in Spanish.

She said it would “create greater access to Boston public schools for the larger number of Spanish-speaking families, and as we do more to serve Spanish-speaking families – the largest language group outside of English – It will help that we do a lot for other languages ​​as well.”

Lopera and Polanco García are both interim choices whose terms expire when Jenny’s acting mayor is sworn in in November.

Last month the resignations of president Alexandra Oliver-Davila and member Lorna Rivera led to two inaugurations. During a controversial school committee meeting on exam schools for the last time, then-member Oliver-Davila sent Rivera a text saying “I hate WR” – West Roxbury – to which Rivera replied “Westie whites.” that sick.” Oliver-Davila said, “I really feel like saying that too!!!

The pair left during the ensuing firestorm, though both attempted to lay the blame on “racism” against them, and only Oliver-Davila apologized.

During the same meeting when the two exchanged texts, then-president Michael Loconto was heard mocking Asian names over a heated mic, leading to his resignation in a rocky year for the mayor-appointed body.

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