By Laura Al Bast
BU News Service
The Roslindale Day parade kicked off Adam’s Park for its 42nd year honoring a tradition that celebrates the diversity and beauty of the neighborhood and its residents. City councilor and mayoral candidate Tito Jackson and a couple of dozen supporters and campaign volunteers joined the parade in a march to support Jackson’s candidacy for the Mayoral elections coming up in November.
“I think it’s important to connect with every neighborhood in Boston, [because] every neighborhood is having the same issues.” Jackson said in an interview with BUNS. “People are being displaced out of their homes and pushed out of their communities. 87% of the housing is being built for the top 20% [of] people in Boston, so we have housing policies that are inconsistent with the fact that Boston is a city where 50% of people make $35,000 [annually] or less.”
Jackson emphasized on the need to see physical houses not only as investments but as homes for families.
“I’m marching for the middle class in Boston.” He stated. “There’s a question as to what direction the city of Boston is going to go in; Are we gonna be Boston where we have a robust and supported middle class or are we gonna be San Francisco where there’s only rich people and poor people.”
Jackson referenced to policies incumbent and opponent Mayor Walsh had put on the table as giving away 25 million dollars to ‘General Electric’ and said that those were not progressive policies but rather policies that sell out the middle class and help the rich.
“I will be the people’s mayor. That’s why I’m here.” He commented.
When asked about what he has to say to the growing youth community in Boston amidst a time when the political arena is at a crossroads, he mentioned that his field director is a 19 year-old Emerson college student who is “crushing it.”
“That’s what our campaign is about, I will govern like I run.”
He stressed on youth to use their voice and vote, and thinks that there should be students who run for city council. He mentioned that as mayor, he is going to create an electoral school committee for college students to participate in.
“You’re part of the city and you are the future of the city, and we need to absolutely not only encourage but demand that you step up and take part in this process because people [currently] make decisions for you.”
Steve Lewis, a photographer and videographer from West Roxbury who joined the Jackson march, expressed the importance of getting involved in local politics to make a direct change. He thinks that it’s especially important for Tito Jackson to get exposure and name recognition in neighborhoods like Roslindale and West Roxbury.
“Tito is incredibly personable, I met him twice and both times I felt like I’ve known him for a long time.” Lewis said. “I think that here in Boston, we’re doing much better than a lot of other cities, but as we’re climbing up we’re forgetting about our own citizens; focusing more on economic outlets and prosperity and forgetting prosperity for all. So I think it’s not just time that Boston has a mayor who can represent everyone, but also one that won’t forget about people who generally tend to be forgotten about in local politics.”
Tito Jackson spent his time at the parade running up to the side-walks greeting, hugging, and shaking the hands of neighborhood residents.
Linda Burnette, Roslindale resident and realtor, thinks that the mayoral elections don’t get much interest, but that she’s going to vote for Tito Jackson.
“It’s hard to get an incumbent out of office, especially when it’s a white Irish guy. As for Tito, [I think] we’re ready for change.”
Jeannetta Montissol, another resident that’s family and her were greeted by an energetic Jackson said that she found Tito to be ‘personable’ and ‘down-to-earth’.
Alison Angell, a Roslindale Resident, sat on the stairs of her front porch holding her crutch and waving as Tito Jackson made his way up to to say hello. She spent a couple of minutes talking to him with an overwhelming emotional expression on her face before he gave her a hug and went back to the parade route.
“I wanted to talk to him because I wanted to tell him that it was so important for me that he got on the ballot [for the General elections.]” Angell told BUNS afterwards. “I [was walking] to the voting place on Tuesday, and on the way home at a crosswalk, I was hit by a car [that] didn’t see me. So I had to go to the hospital and I’ve been out of work ever since.”
Angell mentioned that she was lucky not to have broken any bones but acquired neck injuries and a bruise on her foot. She said she wanted to make sure Jackson knew how important his candidacy was to her.
“To get to hug him and to see him and tell him is so wonderful and made it all worthwhile.”