I’m John Barros and I’m running for mayor of Boston. To understand why I’m the right person to lead Boston through its next era, you must understand not only my stances on issues, but my history and what I’ve accomplished.
My family is originally from the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa. My father made various trips to the U.S. working on a cargo ship and decided to stay. At first he worked on Cape Cod on a cranberry bog, earning about 10 cents an hour. Eventually he saved enough to move into Boston and marry my mother. They settled in Roxbury, where there were lots of other people holding onto the American Dream and making it come true. My story is an American story. It’s a Boston story.
The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) taught me that no dream is too big. At that time there were many vacant lots in our neighborhood, known as the Dudley Street neighborhood, being used by trash haulers as illegal transfer stations. The activity was further blighting the neighborhood and contaminating the environment. This was creating a dire situation with seemingly no hope.
I got involved with DSNI when I was just fourteen. We organized the community to protest the dumping and were able to close seventeen illegal trash transfer stations. That success spurred us on to develop affordable housing, small businesses, better schools, gardens and parks to revitalize our neighborhood, while keeping its character and ensuring its residents could afford to stay.
After Dartmouth College and working as an underwriter for an insurance company, I returned to DSNI. I’ve led the organization for the last thirteen years. Today, a big part of our work focuses on education, because we have come to understand that quality educational opportunities for all children is central to addressing poverty and improving the lives of our neighborhood families overall.
So we sought and won a $6 million federal Promise Neighborhoods grant, which allowed us to leverage an additional $70 million in local funds, to strengthen neighborhood schools and coordinate all the services in the neighborhood to support our children to succeed in life.
The work I’ve spent my career—and indeed much of my life— doing is the very work we need to do citywide. We can build a citywide learning system that supports Bostonians from birth to career and ensures every child can attend a quality school. We can tackle the economy, public safety, the environment in a way that provides opportunity for all to prosper. We can use our rich potential in the arts to help do all of it.
Lots of people are sitting back trying to figure out who’s likely to win before they get involved. I’m asking people to Stand Up Now and help decide who should win. I have a vision for a Boston in which everyone participates and everyone benefits. If you share that vision, please STAND UP! Share this post, volunteer, and vote Barros on September 24th!
Together, we can make Boston even better.