Pressley takes on local, federal questions at Mattapan forum

US Rep. Ayanna Pressley, seated at right, addressed the audience at a forum organized by the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council last Saturday at the Brooke Charter School. Kevin Perrington-Turner photo

About 100 people assembled in the auditorium at the Brooke Charter School on American Legion Highway on Saturday to hear Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley speak at a forum that she had organized with the Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council.

“Mattapan has very often been left behind and forgotten,” Pressley told the crowd. “And so that’s why I wanted to begin as a member of Congress my series of town halls in Mattapan.

“I also want to lift up the fact that my district office is in Dorchester, not downtown. It’s at 1700 Dorchester Avenue. It’s accessible by bus and the T when it’s working,” she said.

Pressley addressed a variety of issues at the local and federal level, including concerns raised by seniors about the affordability of medications.

“Companies may say the drugs have this exorbitant cost because of research and development. None of us want to stand in the way of research development cures. But show us! There’s no transparency. It’s another example of people choosing profit over people,” Pressley said.

Pressley said she is advocating for “incarcerated men and women to be included in the census [according to] where they’re from and not where they’re warehoused.”

“If 1 in 4 people in this district has an incarcerated loved one, and we know that most correctional facilities are private prisons [that] exist in suburban communities, that means,” she said,“that black and brown bodies are being counted, and these communities are getting the benefit of federal dollars.”

The meeting ended with people lining up to have their pictures taken with the congresswomen and her team collecting contact info from residents. The forum earned strong reviews from attendees who spoke to the Reporter.

“I thought it was excellent. I just wish there were more people,” said Mattapan resident Jeri McNair. “It takes organizations. We have to organize. We have to come out there.”

Pascale Thomspan of Mattapan described the event as “inspiring” and said it “makes me want to run. I think the congresswoman was on point with all of the questions that were asked about gun violence, NRA, and housing affordability. And the work that she’s doing, it’s really powerful.”

“I see a change happening,” added Ayana Bean of Mattapan. “I think that my concern for the community is the crime. And also how we move forward with people that have criminal histories. And how we come together as a community and not shun or shame. Let’s move forward and let people be productive and still be able to live and thrive in their community.”

The Greater Mattapan Neighborhood Council will host its next meeting on Mon., July 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mildred Avenue Community Center. State Senators Sonia Chang-Diaz and Nick Collins are scheduled to speak.

For more, see g-mnc.org or email info.gmncouncil@gmail.com.