A coalition of advocacy organizations today released questionnaire responses from 26 Boston City Council candidates. The questionnaire asks candidates where they stand on a wide range of issues that impact the daily lives of Bostonians—criminal punishment, policing, surveillance, immigration, and civil rights and civil liberties.
The questionnaire was created and distributed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, Boston Users’ Union, Cosecha, Council on American-Islamic Relations-Massachusetts, Digital Fourth, Families for Justice as Healing and Student Immigrant Movement. Sent to all 44 candidates for Boston City Council, the questionnaire underscores issues that impact Bostonians, particularly people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and other marginalized communities.
"At a time when Muslim communities nationwide are resisting Islamophobic policies and anti-Muslim rhetoric, it is exciting to see that energy in our local city elections,” said Nazia Ashraful, MPH, Director of Government Affairs at the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Massachusetts. "We expect all candidates running for any level of office in the Commonwealth to place importance on issues relating to surveillance of marginalized communities. This questionnaire is just one of many steps to that end goal."
“As a group whose members are all either current or former drug users everyone in the Boston Users' Union has experienced the many harms caused by over-policing. The ongoing ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ that began on August 1 has turned the sidewalks in front of health care centers and public health spaces into police staging grounds where Boston Police Department and other law enforcement conduct warrant sweeps, stop and frisk passersby, illegally demand photo IDs from pedestrians, search personal belongings without warrants and even confiscate prescribed medications from people who are assumed to be using drugs or who look poor or homeless,” said Aubri of Boston Users Union. “This questionnaire is an invaluable resource for anyone who is concerned about the human rights of some of Boston’s most marginalized and criminalized community members. It offers us all the chance to hear responses from City Council candidates - either through their answers or through their silence - to questions from community partners about some of the most important public health and public safety concerns. Just as important, this questionnaire also offers us all a way to hold our elected city councilors accountable after the election results are in.”
The candidates’ responses are available online as a voter education resource in advance of the Preliminary Municipal Election on September 24.