Letter to the Editor

I Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with Those Against the Substation

To the Editor,

East Boston has a long, storied history of fighting back against special interests with an activist heart.

As many Eastie residents know, in the 1960s the Maverick Street Mothers blocked construction vehicles with baby carriages to protest against airport expansion. They began protesting because of unsafe conditions, noise, and pollution negatively impacting their quality of life.

The spirit and legacy of the Maverick Street Mothers lives on through today’s environmental justice battles. Last week, WBUR highlighted the stories of Diana Cifuentes and Maritza Manrique as they fight against the proposed Eversource substation on the banks of the Chelsea Creek. Reading the article filled my heart with pride and joy and I am honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with those against the substation.

The activism of Diana, Maritza, and the rest of the activists organized by the incredible work of GreenRoots echoes the fight of the Maverick Street Mothers in the ‘60s. This community has shown time and time again that it will stand up and fight when faced with injustice, whether it’s caused by airport pollution or a new substation.

The proposal is the wrong idea, provides the wrong energy source, and is at the wrong location.

Despite the victories of the Maverick Street Mothers, East Boston continues to be overwhelmed by more than our fair share of environmental burdens with the airport, jet fuel tanks, and pollution from the traffic on Route 1A. Adding a substation on a flood prone site in a densely populated neighborhood to that list is unacceptable.

A few years ago, I set up the Edwards Empowerment Fund to distribute Maverick Street Mothers Scholarships to local parents that have shown a commitment to the community and a desire to empower themselves by continuing their education. My hope is that the scholarship will help the legacy of the original Maverick Street Mothers live on as future Eastie generations fight against their own injustices.

Last fall, Martiza and Diana received Maverick Street Mothers Scholarships from the Edwards Empowerment Fund in recognition of their work in the neighborhood. I’m so grateful for all of the donors and sponsors that contributed to help provide an opportunity for them to reach their full potential. It’s heartwarming to see the community come together to support activist parents as they work to make our neighborhood a better place to live.

I look forward to celebrating each honoree’s successes along with a new group of activists at this year’s scholarship celebration in November.

City Councilor

Lydia Edwards

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