For Alejandra St. Guillen, she is no stranger to community work. She led the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement (MOIA) and statewide Latino advocacy organization ¿Oiste?. She is running for the at-large seat on the Boston City Council.
“Michelle Wu convinced me to run,” St. Guillen said. “I got into this race given my experience in MOIA and ¿Oiste?. My background as a teacher in Boston Public Schools and New York City made this a good opportunity to continue my service.”
St. Guillen was born in Boston, raised by a father from Venezuela and mother from Canada. During her tenure at MOIA, she worked on the Boston #toimmigrantswithlove public art project and created the Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund.
“Chinatown is perfect example of a community that’s being really constrained by economic forces,” St. Guillen said. “I grew up in Mission Hill, which is going through similar issues for gentrification and displacement.”
St. Guillen’s younger sister Imette was murdered, a tragedy that propelled her community activism.
“The best way to honor her memory is to make sure people are living the lives she didn’t get to live,” St. Guillen said. “They live in a home they can afford. They’re not choosing between rent and food. Schools are healthy environmentally and children have the resources they need to be successful students.”
St. Guillen noted Boston has a growing senior population, particularly immigrant seniors who are linguistically isolated.
“The Chinese community is largest foreign born population in Boston,” St. Guillen said. “Things change as you get older, so services should be provided in a culturally competent way.”
St. Guillen wants to see sustainable climate action, as different parts of Boston are affected differently. And as the mother of a toddler, she wants to see better child care and Pre-K options for families.
“The city is at a crossroads about what type of city we want to be,” St. Guillen said. “The council plays a critical role at policies to put in place. Boston is the engine where people from all over the world study, work and be part of health care.”
The at-large council seat was vacated by Ayanna Pressley, who won the Seventh Congressional District seat. Runner up Althea Garrison is serving before the next councilor is elected. Julia Mejia is also running for the at-large seat.
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