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DSA Feed

This is a feed aggregator that collects news and updates from DSA chapters, national working groups and committees, and our publications all in one convenient place. Updated at 9:30 AM ET / 6:30 AM PT every morning.

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DSA Democracy Commission Meeting

The Democracy Commission was created by DSA’s 2023 convention to investigate structures of parties around the world, and what needs to change about DSA’s structures to make the organization more democratic and effective.

Meetings of the full committee are viewable by membership. 

The post DSA Democracy Commission Meeting appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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Against Rainbow Capitalism, For Queer Liberation!

If you attended the Utah Pride Center’s (UPC) pride festival or watched the parade, you may have noticed Salt Lake DSA was absent this year after having tabled at the festival for the past 2 years. Salt Lake DSA stands in unwavering solidarity with all working class LGBTQ+ Utahns, but we unfortunately do not believe the UPC does the same. The lack of grassroots and working class organizations tabling at Pride, the high cost of entry and booths, and the presence of anti-LGTBQ+ corporations and organizations (including the SLC police department and the FBI) at the festival shows why we believe this. Considering the Pride Center lost hundreds of thousands of dollars at the 2023 festival, laid off most of its staff, and suspended most of its operations in the fallout, it’s not a stretch to say that the UPC has lost the trust and support of the majority of LGBTQ+ Utahns.  During the 2023 Pride Festival, a UPC representative asked the Salt Lake DSA member who organized our booth to give our vendor tickets to Walmart because Walmart was running low. Even disregarding the fact that Walmart made over $157 billion in profits in 2023, this simple interaction was not only insulting, but shows where the UPC’s loyalties lie. They work to uplift corporations and assimilation politics, and isolate working class LGBTQ+ Utahns and organizations fighting for queer liberation. Salt Lake DSA fights for queer liberation in contrast to LGBTQ+ groups like the UPC and Equality Utah who instead fight for rainbow capitalism.

So, What is Rainbow Capitalism?

Rainbow capitalism is the interference of corporations and influence of consumerism within the LGBTQ+ movement in order to drive the revolutionary energy that is the LGBTQ+ movement towards assimilation into heteronormative society and into capitalism itself. While on the surface, rainbow capitalists pretend they are fighting for the interests of all LGBTQ+ people, the reality is much more sinister. 

The primary goal of rainbow capitalists is to maintain the status quo while putting a rainbow coat of paint on the harms the status quo does in order to pacify and profit from the LGBTQ+ community. The rainbow capitalists show their loyalty to capitalism first through how they conduct their queer activism. Whether it’s by trying to posture themselves as “the normal gays, not like those other weird gay people” in order to gain a seat at the table with queerphobic fascists (as Equality Utah does with Republican state representatives), forcing attendants at Pride festivals to pay in order to attend, or excusing the harm corporations do to the LGBTQ+ community because they change their logo to rainbow colors during June, the rainbow capitalist drives the pride parade off route and turns it into a profit parade. 

The natural conclusion of rainbow capitalism is LGBTQ+ people who are working class, gender non-conforming, or are of a marginalized racial group are cast out of Pride celebrations, and many queer people are led to believe that the path to Queer Liberation is spending money on rainbow sunglasses from big corporations like Amazon or Target. 

The UPC is the embodiment of rainbow capitalism in the state of Utah, and to make this clear, let’s take a look at who is sponsoring this year’s Pride festival.

Who’s sponsoring UPC’s Festival?

L3Harris – L3Harris is an arms manufacturer and the 6th largest defense contractor in the United States. L3Harris makes bomb release mechanisms for F35 and F16 fighter jets used by the Israeli Defence Forces to drop bombs in Gaza during Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians. This highlights rainbow capitalism’s use of queerness as a tool of imperialism by pinkwashing the horrors of the military industrial complex and using a colonized peoples’ alleged reactionary views on LGBTQ+ rights to justify colonization and genocide. Clearly for L3Harris, queer rights is when the bombs used to genocide Palestinians are made by a queer person.

Intermountain Health – Intermountain Heath is the largest healthcare system and largest private employer in Utah. In true rainbow capitalist fashion they promote themselves as being a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, but in reality they only give that support when it is convenient. The biggest example of this was the abrupt termination of their plans to provide gender affirming surgical care in 2023 after that year’s vicious attacks against the LGBTQ+ community by conservative politicians. Intermountain had hired a surgeon specializing in this field, and just before surgeries were scheduled to start for patients, Intermountain abruptly ended their gender affirming surgery program and left many trans patients scrambling to find an alternative provider for that critical care.

Target – Target is seen by many in the LGBTQ+ community as a “progressive” corporation that supports LGBTQ+ rights, but like Intermountain Health, Target caved quickly to right wing backlash and threw the LGBTQ+ community under the bus. Target scaled back its pride-themed merchandise from 2,000 items to just 75 items (and only offering them in half of their stores) after a right-wing rage fest on social media and several stores, including three stores in Utah, received bomb threats from fascists. This once again proves that rainbow capitalists prioritize profits and the status quo at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Solution

We have seen how we can’t rely on large corporations or even some LGBTQ+ nonprofits to prioritize the LGBTQ+ community, so what is the solution? 

Working class LGBTQ+ people must fight rainbow capitalism and assimilation politics in order to achieve liberation for all LGBTQ+ people. We must be openly and visibly queer; we must confront heteronormativity not by trying to blend in, but by standing out. We must not forget that our own queer liberation is dependent on the liberation of all people, especially Palestinians. We must fight against the commodification of housing that leaves a disproportionate number of queer people homeless. We must fight for the abolition of police, who have historically targeted LGBTQ+ people and enforce laws that violate our rights (i.e. HB257, the “bathroom bill” that prevents trans people from using public restrooms). In short, in order to fight rainbow capitalism, we must fight capitalism itself. Socialism is the only path to queer liberation and liberation for all.

The post Against Rainbow Capitalism, For Queer Liberation! first appeared on Salt Lake DSA.

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How Will the 2024 Election Impact Labor Law?

Presidential administrations have many options at their disposal to influence the relationship between workers and their employers. As administrations come and go, they often end up turning the same dials back and forth, depending on the party in power. These dials exist where the law is subject to interpretation, allowing the person tasked with enforcing […]

The post How Will the 2024 Election Impact Labor Law? appeared first on EWOC.

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Palestine Solidarity Priority Project: Half point retrospective

Although we had been working alongside the local pro-Palestine movement prior to March, our chapter membership’s approval of the Palestine Solidarity Priority Project Proposal has allowed us to further and more formally immerse ourselves in the local struggle for Palestinian liberation. Over these past three months we have had some major wins along with a few setbacks that triggered some moments of reflection, but first we will present a quick overview of the proposal defining our work and setting our goals.

Our proposal has two pillars of activities for our chapter to engage in; the first is escalating our participation in the Cleveland Palestine Advocacy Community (hereafter referred to as CPAC) by mobilizing our members to events and taking part in meetings, the second is undergoing our own flyering/canvassing campaign in local neighborhoods where we think people would be receptive to a pro-Palestine message. Alongside these efforts we are to create a new set of Cleveland DSA shirts with a design reflective of this project’s focus on Palestine. To oversee this work the proposal sets up the following leadership roles; Communications Coordinator, Community Outreach Coordinator, Mobilization Lead and Project Administrator.

March

In March our chapter hit the ground running by mobilizing to CPAC events and meetings, the first of which was the car caravan on March 9th. The caravan was made up of some hundred or so vehicles with all sorts of Palestinian paraphernalia ranging from Palestine flags to car accessories with keffiyeh designs. The caravan made its way along the local highway toward the Hopkins airport, disrupting traffic all along the way. Upon arriving at the airport entrance we were greeted with a police checkpoint that prevented entry into the airport itself so the protest pivoted to shutting down the airport entrance from the highway for the next several hours. We also joined CPAC on March 30th for the rally and march through Cleveland for “Land Day”, a commemoration to the mass protests that broke out in 1976 in Palestine when the Israeli government expropriated thousands of dunams of Palestinian land.

Our work with CPAC was not limited to just protests, we also pursued a more targeted campaign at the Cleveland City Council, demanding that they pass a ceasefire resolution for Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza. Although our members had been attending these council meetings and giving public comments alongside CPAC members prior to the project’s start, its passage gave the newly appointed project leadership the ability to officially mobilize our members to join in the pressure campaign. After weeks of public comments from both our chapter’s members as well as CPAC members, on March 25 our efforts were rewarded when the council finally gave in to our demands and passed a ceasefire resolution! In parallel with CPAC’s Cleveland based pressure campaign our chapter had also been spearheading our own similar campaign for a ceasefire resolution in the Cleveland Heights City Council which followed suit with the passage of a resolution on April 1.

But perhaps the most intense moment in our chapter’s March solidarity work would have to have been the arrest and subsequent jailing of two of our members. These comrades had been “wheat pasting” some pro-Palestine posters up around the Case Western campus late one evening when they were spotted by the university police and detained. After some intense questioning the officers placed them in the County jail where they were held over the weekend under trumped up charges. But, after inundating their office with calls demanding for our comrades’ release, they were set free with the charges against them dropped!

April

In April at the general meeting our chapter voted in the formal leadership group as defined by the original proposal, who were then onboarded and took over the execution of project tasks. One of which was assisting in our chapter’s fundraising concert at Happy Dog on 4/19. In total the concert raised $2,128 which was then donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is a UN body that was set up in 1949 to support the Palestinian refugee population. Our Palestine Project leadership team also produced an Anti-Zionist resolution to be reviewed and discussed by the rest of membership with the hopes of a successful vote by the general body in the coming months.

On the CPAC front our recent success with the Cleveland City Council resolution had us shift our focus on a new target, Cuyahoga County Council, and with it a new, perhaps more substantive demand, divestment from Israeli bonds. These bonds are, in effect, a loan to the Israeli government and our county currently has around $16 million “invested” in these bonds. With the new target and goal also came a new tactic. Unlike Cleveland City Council’s 10 speaker maximum, County Council had no limit to speakers for public comment which meant if we were able to mobilize enough speakers we would be able to filibuster the meeting. So with this new tactical approach in mind we and CPAC intensified our mobilization efforts not just for attendance to the meetings but also to give public comments that would take up as much of the meeting time as possible.

Meanwhile on the local university campus of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), the CWRU SJP chapter was facing suspension for posting pro-Palestine flyers around campus. We released a statement alongside other CPAC member groups denouncing the CWRU administration’s actions. However this suspension, rather than coercing the students into compliance, only served to further radicalize the rest of the student body. It was in this environment of strained tensions between the university administration and its students that on April 29th the students began the CWRU encampment.

May

May started off with the CWRU encampment already in full swing, with events like teach-ins, crafting and even a concert to occupy the students and community member participants. Although the initial set up of the encampment at the end of April saw some intense police aggression against the students and community members (a DSA comrade was arrested briefly before being released by officers due to “having nowhere to hold them”) the bulk of subsequent antagonism came from a tiny group of hostile counter protesters. Local rabid Zionists Alex Popovich and Lawrence, well known for their uncanny ability to reach new depths of depravity in their remarks and protest symbols, set up shop each day on the sidewalk just outside the KSL Oval where the encampment was set up. They would blast Zionist propaganda through speakers and yell insults and threats at the students and supportive community members. In this tense environment of combative counter protesters, prowling police from various local departments and looming reprisals from a hostile university administration the students managed to hold strong together in their tents for over a week even participating in the Rally for Rafah that CPAC organized at the Wade Lagoon. Finally on March 9th, after also setting up a sit in at the administrative building overnight, the encampment disbanded. In the immediate aftermath the administration hit several of the students with “code of conduct violations” for their participation in the encampment and even went as far as denying them the ability to attend graduation and withholding their diplomas. Both Cleveland DSA and CPAC have been assisting these students fight the administration by offering legal aid and pressuring the administration with phone calls and emails with some successes in negotiations, but the situation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, back at the County Council, CPAC and DSA’s efforts at mobilizing were bearing fruit as the number of attendees as well as speakers for public comment continued to grow with each passing meeting. Our demands to the council members also became more defined with the following 3 demands; passing an ordinance that prohibits investment in any foreign government, providing a report that outlined the “due diligence process” that led to the investment and reinvestment into these Israeli bonds and finally the creation of an investment review board that is headed by community members to scrutinize and, if needed, reject investment decisions made by the county. We were also able to squeeze in a disruption of a mayor Bibb event going on at a local brewery after a council session, which ended with him sheepishly retreating from his event and CPAC commandeering the podium to bring awareness to the ongoing atrocities Israel was committing in Gaza.

In Cleveland DSA specific news we completed revising the aforementioned Anti-Zionist resolution to better reflect the chapter’s views and intentions with its current and future Palestine solidarity work, and ended up passing the resolution at the June general meeting. Given the significant changes that had occurred in the political landscape around Palestine solidarity work, the leadership team also put together a list of amendments to the original proposal which was also passed in the subsequent June general meeting. Finally we hosted a Protest 101 teach-in event to go over some best practices when organizing and participating in protests for our members and CPAC members on 5/18.

As we hit the halfway point for our 6 month project the leadership team has been reflecting on these events as well as the unfinished work that is outlined in the proposal to chart out the course for the remaining 3 months. Although the full liberation of Palestine and its people, both within its borders and exiled across the world, is still far off in the distance, it is our chapter’s hope that our ongoing local work as well as the work being undertaken by our fellow chapters across the country and the broader left movement will drive our world closer to a just conclusion to this century long struggle for liberation.

Free Palestine!

——————————-

Note: A previous version of this article stated that Cleveland DSA had officially joined the Palestine coalition with the passage of our priority proposal in March 2024. A prior resolution passed in January 2024 had already “affirmed our participation in” the coalition, itself following two months of chapter participation in Palestine rallies. The March priority proposal called on Cleveland DSA to “escalate and centralize our contribution to the Cleveland Palestine coalition”.

The post Palestine Solidarity Priority Project: Half point retrospective appeared first on Democratic Socialists of America.

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Chapter Statement: Continue the Fight for Energy Democracy in Rochester

Chapter Statement: Continue the Fight for Energy Democracy in Rochester

by Brent L, Co-Chair ROC DSA

The following statement was delivered to City Council on behalf of ROC DSA at Speak to Council on Thursday, June 13. The community is encouraged to show up at the City Council and Budget Vote on Tuesday, June 18th to continue the fight for a public utility!

Good evening, City Council. I am one of the Co-Chairs of the Rochester Democratic Socialists of America. I am delivering the following statement on behalf of our chapter which is part of the Rochester for Energy Democracy Coalition

For too long the residents of this city have had their electricity controlled by a handful of capitalists whose priority is not to supply folks with power, but to reap profits off the backs of ratepayers. I’m of course talking about RG&E, their parent company Avangrid, and THEIR parent company Iberdrola, which is all the way in Spain. 

That means your constituents’ heat, appliances, medical devices, and other items necessary for survival being controlled by people whose number one priority is accumulating profit. We must take the power back from the capitalists by removing the profit motive, and putting control back in the hands of our community. Public power also means lower electric bills, access to lower interest rates, local jobs, and a just transition to green energy. As socialists, we believe in people having democratic input in all aspects of their life—and that includes their access to electricity! 

Three months ago the Monroe County Legislature showed that these goals are not a priority for them. They’re more concerned with listening to RG&E’s corporate lobbyists. Well the ratepayers, and the climate, cannot wait for the County to get it together. This is where City Council comes in. We’re calling on you to fully fund and commission an implementation study to replace RG&E with a public utility; giving us the facts on both a County and City-wide level. 

Step up where the County Legislature has failed us, and show the people of Rochester—who have been calling for a public utility for years—that you truly represent them. 

The post Chapter Statement: Continue the Fight for Energy Democracy in Rochester first appeared on Rochester Red Star.

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Tender Comrades: On New Relationships

Welcome to our new column: Tender Comrades. This will be a semi-regular advice column from a leftist perspective. If you or a loved one have questions regarding any and all aspects of life, be it romance, etiquette, family, or work, don’t hesitate to contact Tender Comrades at asktendercomrade@gmail.com


Dear Tender Comrades,

Since it’s gemini season, do you have any advice on how to attract a gemini? There’s this guy I’ve been into for a while, but I don’t know how to make a move. What are the intricate and mystical workings of the gemini brain?

Sincerely,

Gemini-less in greater Portland

Mx. Criticism: Huge news for you! Both myself and Dr. Self-Criticism are geminis, and therefore experts in this field. If I can be controversial for a minute, and show a little bit of my gemini nature off, I’m unsure if the astrology aspect is really the issue you’re writing about here! Astrology can have cultural significance, but it doesn’t have the ability to magically tell you how to navigate a new relationship. It seems to me that you might be looking for a cheat code to understanding someone’s mind, but those don’t really exist. 

Dr. Self-Criticism: Astrology DOES have cultural significance! If you think I learned about my sun, moon, and rising signs just to flirt with baristas and the people in theater school… you’d be right. But in all seriousness, astrology is as good a tool as any for understanding and critically evaluating our relationships with others AND it’s no joke that being astrologically literate can be key for queer flirtation. 

Mx. Criticism: Call me uncultured then, but my simple answer to your question is that you should continue getting to know this person and then tell them how you feel when the moment feels right. Starting a romantic relationship means taking on the risk that those feelings are not reciprocated. Plan a date, and invite the person on it. Try to make it clear you have romantic intentions, even if it’s scary, and they will either be interested in you or not. It’s okay to slowly build up by flirting or casually hanging out, but eventually you’ll have to make the ever-daunting first move. The best part of having a crush is learning things about them and weighing if the risk of failure is worth the reward of a brand spanking new relationship. Maybe you’ll even fall in love! Enter this new stage of flirtationship with an open mind, and try to pick up on the clues they give you. Do they swipe up on your instagram stories? Are they open to hanging out one-on-one? Does it seem like they are flirting back with you? Those are the cues to follow, not checking to see if you’re astrologically compatible. 

Dr. Self-Criticism: I agree, but I think it’s worth taking the gemini-ness into account. Geminis can be flaky, easy to agree to plans and overcommit, eager to please people in the moment at the risk of disappointing later. With this in mind, make it easy for your gemini—make the plan, invite them, and make sure to follow up. In this case, a double (or even triple) text is not out of pocket.


Dear Tender Comrades, 

I’m new to Portland and it’s hard out there meeting people either socially or to organize with. I’ve been a member of DSA for a while, mostly just paying dues,  but I want to get involved now that I live in a place that’s this small.  How do I build connections with other queer socialists for friendship? How do I decide what projects to commit myself to? 

In solidarity,

New in Town

Dr. Self-Criticism: Spring is the worst season to feel socially isolated, especially in a place that totally comes alive with the long days and warm weather. It can be very hard to find a social home, let alone a political one when our culture and communities are so intentionally fractured by the ruling class. So don’t feel alone or let your loneliness spiral: it’s hard for everyone and the bosses want it that way. The more separated we are, the more vulnerable we are to exploitation and violence in all forms. Case in point, even in a city as out and queer as Portland, we really only have three expressly queer bars and not a single good place to meet new friends or lovers during the daytime and without alcohol. 

So, where to make friends? Where to find comrades? I’ve noticed that I often meet the best friends and build the strongest relationships from mere exposure. They’re the people that I already spend the most time with: classmates and coworkers. Not everyone you study or work with will be your cup of tea, but find the one or two people you seem to connect with the best and move intentionally to build a relationship with them. Ask them to coffee, to art walk, to breakfast, or for a bike ride! In the best case, you’ve made a new pal, in the worst case, you can mark them down as a five on your spreadsheet and move on to the next potential natural leader for your organizing committee.

Mx. Criticism: Definitely agree with Dr. Self-Criticism here—I’m relatively new to the city, and have moved back and forth a couple times. Everytime I’m back I feel the yearn for a deeper and more intimate community. To be honest, I’ve met most of my friends and comrades, at work or through other mutual friends. I tend to be the first person at a new job to invite people over for dinner or out for drinks because so much important community building and organizing happens in the workplace. What’s so beneficial about organizing with your coworkers is the proximity you have to others face-to-face. You learn about people’s interests, struggles, and everything in between in one eight hour shift. This is especially true to my fellow service industry folks because who amongst us has not bonded over a shift beer or juicy customer gossip.  

But I will point out that an issue arises here if you work alone or work from home because those organic relationships can be harder to find. My suggestion is to start by finding the causes you care about, and you might find that a lot of people are already working on them. Reach out, show that you’re interested, and help us start building the world we want to see! Find alternative ways to meet people in person, even if that means hanging out at the community garden or going to queer led events. Once you make connections with a couple people, the rest tend to follow. Infiltrate those friendship groups! The gay bar scene may be rough, but there are so many community leaders hosting smaller and more thoughtful events than a viewing of RuPaul’s Drag Race. 

Dr. Self-Criticism: Yep. Some of the strongest connections I made upon moving back to Portland were through mutual aid volunteer work during the worst months of the COVID pandemic. But you don’t need an acute crisis to make friends: there’s always bike party, sunday DIY baseball, and having an extra smoke to share at the back of a demonstration.

Mx. Criticism: Grace Lee Boggs says “Movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass”—so put yourself out there. We have a world to win! 

Love and solidarity, 

Tender Comrades 

The post Tender Comrades: On New Relationships appeared first on Pine & Roses.

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Mayor Wu Cuts City Council’s Proposed Funding for Youth Jobs, Keeps $474.3 Million for Police

By Vanessa Bartlett

BOSTON — Last Friday, members of Youth Jobs and Power Union (YJPU) rallied with other community members in front of City Hall to demand that Mayor Michelle Wu accept the budget amendments added by the Boston City Council to increase funding for youth jobs, housing and other community support programs. 

The budget amendments passed by the City Council in a 10-3 vote would have allocated an additional $2 million for youth jobs and $2.25 million for rental assistance and land trusts. They would also have shaved $3 million from the mayor’s proposed $50 million increase to the police budget. 

In a letter to the City Council, Wu explained her choice to veto many of their proposed budget amendments, which would have reallocated $15.3 million, and defended increasing the police budget by over $50 million.

“We restore funding to ensure effective operations in core city services and public safety, including where new funding is needed for the Boston Police Department to operationalize contract reforms in modernizing paid details, upgrading technology, and other planned improvements,” wrote the mayor. Although she vetoed many of the budget changes proposed by the City Council, Wu kept $750,000 in additional funding for youth jobs, and an additional $500,000 for housing.

In 2020, community efforts resulted in a decrease in the police budget from $414 million to $404 million, and in 2022 the police budget was decreased to $395 million. Following Wu’s election in 2021, however, the police budget was increased to $405 million. Wu’s initial 2025 budget would give the police $455 million, but following contract negotiations recently settled with the police union, Wu’s June 10 revised budget now gives police $474.3 million. 

“We want the money that she’s putting into Boston police, which is actually doing more damage than good, to actually put it into the resources we need, like youth jobs and affordable housing,” said Victoria White, a 15-year-old Dorchester resident who helped organize the rally. 

Victoria White, 15, said that when she injured her foot, money from her youth job helped her pay for transit.

Funding for youth jobs and for the police both have noticeable effects on the lives of children in Boston, said Khalil Howe, an adult supporter of YJPU. Howe said when kids have well-paid summer jobs, they are less likely to be harassed by police. 

“Over-policing for kids in Boston looks like being locked up, having police sirens constantly going on in their neighborhoods, having police at construction sites, having police in their schools,” said Howe. Constant police presence makes kids feel “like they’re a criminal.” 

Youth jobs give kids from Boston a chance to feel connected to their communities. Janiah Noel Lee, a 17-year-old high school student in YJPU, said her youth job has taught her public speaking skills and gave her “more knowledge about how we can really fight for our community.” 

Lee, a 17 year old high school student who talked about the benefits of youth jobs.

Community groups from Boston have come together to form the Better Budget Alliance, which advocates for funding for community projects. In a press release, members of the Alliance urged Wu to “respect the City Council’s new powers as co-creators of the City budget, and to fully accept the important investments the City Council has made in community priorities including anti-displacement, housing stabilization, youth jobs, and migrant crisis support.”

Source: City of Boston

“In my community, we know that affordable housing and just mental health crisis response keep us safe, not police. There are so many youth wishing for a home and a community that cares. People deserve to have resources in their communities,” said Alexa Santana, one of the speakers at the YJPU rally on Friday. “People deserve real safety, not police. I’m angry and disappointed in Mayor Wu.”

In her 2024 State of the City address, Wu guaranteed a summer job to every BPS student who wanted one. Unfortunately, according to the City’s Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity, which oversees job placements for Boston youth, the City fell short of its goal. Out of 12,000 applicants, approximately 9,000 youths in the Boston area were placed with jobs, and of those, 5,500 positions were funded by the City. That means roughly 3,000 youths who wanted to work were not placed.

Eliza Parad, a member of the Better Budget Alliance, said that community groups spoke with a wide range of Boston residents to work out a budget proposal for community programs that totaled $35 million. While not providing the ideal amount of funding, the City Council’s proposed budget amendments reflect many of the priorities identified by the group. “Vetoing most of the amendments means that [the mayor] is not respecting the will of the voters,” Parad said. 

The mayor’s veto is not the final word on the budget. The budget will now return to the City Council for a final vote. If the Council can assemble a two-thirds supermajority, they will be able to override the mayor’s veto.  

One sign at the rally, a giant certificate of achievement for Mayor Wu: “Biggest Disappointment Ever”.

Although the mayor’s proposed budget for 2025 does increase funding for youth jobs, housing and other programs, the stunning $474.3 million figure for police stands out. 

“A budget is a reflection of values, and the police budget has $450 million. It’s the second biggest slice of the budget after the public school budget. And compared to, let’s say, housing, which has a total of 40-something million — and we’re in the middle of an ongoing housing crisis,” Parad said. “When you compare things like that, you see that the City values policing, and that policing has a disparate impact on black and brown residents and young people… it’s kind of doubling down on that.”

Vanessa Bartlett is a staff organizer for UAW, an editor of Working Mass, and a member of Boston DSA. She has a background in print and radio journalism, but please don’t hold that against her.

the logo of Boston DSA

Mayor Wu Cuts City Council’s Proposed Funding for Youth Jobs, Keeps $455 Million for Police

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By Vanessa Bartlett

BOSTON — Last Friday, members of Youth Jobs and Power Union (YJPU) rallied with other community members in front of City Hall to demand that Mayor Michelle Wu accept the budget amendments added by the Boston City Council to increase funding for youth jobs, housing and other community support programs. 

The budget amendments passed by the City Council in a 10-3 vote would have allocated an additional $2 million for youth jobs and $2.25 million for rental assistance and land trusts. They would also have shaved $3 million from the mayor’s proposed $50 million increase to the police budget. 

In a letter to the City Council, Wu explained her choice to veto many of their proposed budget amendments, which would have reallocated $15.3 million, and defended increasing the police budget by over $50 million.

“We restore funding to ensure effective operations in core city services and public safety, including where new funding is needed for the Boston Police Department to operationalize contract reforms in modernizing paid details, upgrading technology, and other planned improvements,” wrote the mayor. Although she vetoed many of the budget changes proposed by the City Council, Wu kept $750,000 in additional funding for youth jobs, and an additional $500,000 for housing.

In 2020, community efforts resulted in a decrease in the police budget from $414 million to $404 million, and in 2022 the police budget was decreased to $395 million. Following Wu’s election in 2021, however, the police budget was increased to $405 million. Wu’s proposed 2025 budget would now give the police $455 million. 

“We want the money that she’s putting into Boston police, which is actually doing more damage than good, to actually put it into the resources we need, like youth jobs and affordable housing,” said Victoria Wite, a 15-year-old Dorchester resident who helped organize the rally. 

Victoria Wite, 15, said that when she injured her foot, money from her youth job helped her pay for transit.

Funding for youth jobs and for the police both have noticeable effects on the lives of children in Boston, said Khalil Howe, an adult supporter of YJPU. Howe said when kids have well-paid summer jobs, they are less likely to be harassed by police. 

“Over-policing for kids in Boston looks like being locked up, having police sirens constantly going on in their neighborhoods, having police at construction sites, having police in their schools,” said Howe. Constant police presence makes kids feel “like they’re a criminal.” 

Youth jobs give kids from Boston a chance to feel connected to their communities. Janaiah Noel Lee, a 17-year-old high school student in YJPU, said her youth job has taught her public speaking skills and gave her “more knowledge about how we can really fight for our community.” 

Lee, a 17 year old high school student who talked about the benefits of youth jobs.

Community groups from Boston have come together to form the Better Budget Alliance, which advocates for funding for community projects. In a press release, members of the Alliance urged Wu to “respect the City Council’s new powers as co-creators of the City budget, and to fully accept the important investments the City Council has made in community priorities including anti-displacement, housing stabilization, youth jobs, and migrant crisis support.”

Source: City of Boston

“In my community, we know that affordable housing and just mental health crisis response keep us safe, not police. There are so many youth wishing for a home and a community that cares. People deserve to have resources in their communities,” said Alexa Santana, one of the speakers at the YJPU rally on Friday. “People deserve real safety, not police. I’m angry and disappointed in Mayor Wu.”

In her 2024 State of the City address, Wu guaranteed a summer job to every BPS student who wanted one. Unfortunately, according to the City’s Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity, which oversees job placements for Boston youth, the City fell short of its goal. Out of 12,000 applicants, approximately 9,000 youths in the Boston area were placed with jobs, and of those, 5,500 positions were funded by the City. That means roughly 3,000 youths who wanted to work were not placed.

Eliza Parad, a member of the Better Budget Alliance, said that community groups spoke with a wide range of Boston residents to work out a budget proposal for community programs that totaled $35 million. While not providing the ideal amount of funding, the City Council’s proposed budget amendments reflect many of the priorities identified by the group. “Vetoing most of the amendments means that [the mayor] is not respecting the will of the voters,” Parad said. 

The mayor’s veto is not the final word on the budget. The budget will now return to the City Council for a final vote. If the Council can assemble a two-thirds supermajority, they will be able to override the mayor’s veto.  

One sign at the rally, a giant certificate of achievement for Mayor Wu: “Biggest Disappointment Ever”.

Although the mayor’s proposed budget for 2025 does increase funding for youth jobs, housing and other programs, the stunning $450 million figure for police stands out. 

“A budget is a reflection of values, and the police budget has $450 million. It’s the second biggest slice of the budget after the public school budget. And compared to, let’s say, housing, which has a total of 40-something million — and we’re in the middle of an ongoing housing crisis,” Parad said. “When you compare things like that, you see that the City values policing, and that policing has a disparate impact on black and brown residents and young people… it’s kind of doubling down on that.”

Vanessa Bartlett is a staff organizer for UAW, an editor of Working Mass, and a member of Boston DSA. She has a background in print and radio journalism, but please don’t hold that against her.

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