The responses below are from 16 Cambridge City Council candidates, to a questionnaire circulated by the KSA to all 19 candidates in the summer of 2021.

“Cambridge is dividing into a barbell city – lower income residents on one end and very high income on the other. We cannot be anti-racist until we tackle this massive wealth inequality.” – Burhan Azeem

“Providing adequate and integrated affordable housing options is core to creating a community that has truly equitable access to local, geographically based community resources. Zoning policy supporting integrated access ensures that city funding cannot be selectively directed toward some, uniquely advantaged neighborhoods at the expense of struggling residents. We need affordable housing options in every area of our city.”- Dana Bullister

“We, the city, need to partner with successful entities to focus on those in need including the development of Universal Pre-Kindergarten for 2-5 year olds (providing space on the first floor of new buildings where retail will not work), after school and summer programs, long-term mentorships, training programs, and corporate/civic/institutional long-term commitment to under-performing schools, etc. “- Dennis Carlone, incumbent

“Funding social programs, addressing wealth imbalance/inequity, and meeting people where they are – not where you want them to be – is what works. In order to do that? We need to increase the city budget on necessary items (infrastructure, education, training, rental assistance, etc.) and diminish the city budget on unnecessary items (such as training courses above). That’s how you achieve an anti racist city.” – Robert Eckstut

“The Inclusion Drives Innovation program provides a good start to bringing antiracist awareness to select leaders of companies located in Kendall Square…To become an antiracist city, Cambridge needs to commit to more community conversations about racism that help citizens understand the impact of systemic racism and the resulting negative impacts.” – Tonia Hicks

“I am in strong support of Kendall Square’s international leadership in R&D, but we need to not only ensure that these opportunities are available to everyone in our city, and that the wealth and resources that come with them do not displace our long-time residents…We can’t just march for Black Lives, we need to encourage an equitable City by creating opportunities for anyone to be able to build a life here, create new generations of prosperity in the process, and invest in better educational outcomes, and close opportunity gaps for Black and brown students.” – Alanna Mallon, incumbent (Vice-Mayor)

“One of our biggest issues in Cambridge is that we think we are above race and class issues. We’re not. I’ve lived in Cambridge my whole life…You have to be intentional. Who do you hire? How do insure that you’re truly connected to the community and not just in superficial ways? What training programs do you offer? How do you hold people accountable? What is your financial commitment?” – Marc McGovern, incumbent

“Foremost, for Cambridge to become an antiracist city, it must recognize the exclusionary policies that created racist zoning codes which still exist. We must stop proscribing housing density in areas that would help alleviate the housing crisis. Affordable housing is necessary to ensure that lower income people, who are disproportionately BIPOC, have an opportunity to remain in Cambridge.”- Joe McGuirk

“As I learned in my years of service on School Committee – it is one thing to talk the talk of equity – and another to walk the walk we need to bring accountability into the work. We need to consciously set goals, include the community in setting goals and a plan – and then monitor progress. We need Kendall Square’s brain trust to help with our work -including  data analysis, data gathering, and formulating plans and programs – all with an equity lens. As we use data, we have to be aware of over-surveillance in many communities having been abused – we must ensure that the data isn’t inadvertently used inappropriately.” – Patricia Nolan, incumbent

That’s why last term I worked alongside former Mayor Marc McGovern to launch Cambridge Digs DEEP (Disruptive Equity Education Project) as a forum to spur these important conversations. This initiative provided the requisite community involvement and education needed to effect real, lasting change and progress toward equity.  Next time, I hope to continue this work.- Sumbul Siddiqui, incumbent (Mayor)

“There are no quick fixes available, but I believe that a strategy of having the City re-think our approach to civic engagement and outreach, for creating a standardized method of reaching out to all corners of our community, of cultivating relationships with “neighborhood ambassadors,” meeting people where they are, speaking *with* people as opposed to speaking *at* them, and centering our most historically-marginalized voices in our conversations would be important first steps.” – E. Denise Simmons, incumbent

“Cambridge must engage in the deep economic empowerment of our communities, especially those that have been historically marginalized. Small business ownership is the primary vehicle for upward economic mobility for working Americans, especially for immigrant, minority, queer, and women business owners. However, these groups routinely face discrimination and are left severely underfunded…Any long-term plan to solve the current housing crisis must ensure the replacement of segregated living patterns with fully integrated and balanced neighborhoods with equitable access to educational, economic, cultural, and recreational opportunities.” – Theodora Skeadas

“To become an anti-racist city, Cambridge must work to address our housing crisis with the urgency it demands and recognize that our relative financial stability as a city has not reached all of our residents…Thousands of residents have been displaced as housing prices have surged, and even as Cambridge’s population has grown overall in recent years, it’s Black and Brown populations have shrunk in some neighborhoods as they have gotten more expensive…We need to combine ending exclusionary zoning with a robust public response in terms of funding, tenant protections like rent stabilization, tenant opportunity to purchase, and right to counsel, and community responses like a Cambridge Community Land Trust.”  – Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, incumbent

“Being an anti-racist community starts with developing relationships among our residents and having challenging conversations regarding our present and past so that we can develop an anti-racist future.  The City Council can lead in this area by modelling this behavior and supporting these conversations throughout the city.” – Paul Toner

“Over the last decade, 17 percent of African-Americans have been displaced from Cambridge, the lack of affordable housing has pushed low and middle income families and individuals out of the city, and corporate developers are increasingly eliminating outdoor spaces for low-income communities in Cambridge, leading to more environmental devastation in our city…Increasing affordable housing and pathways to homeownership for low and middle-income residents is necessary for retaining our continued racial and economic diversity in our city. The wealth gap has widened between the have and have nots with Black and Brown communities most affected.” – Nicola Williams

“Cambridge’s Black population has been declining alarmingly as a result of gentrification and displacement driven by commercial development…Everyone involved in policy discussions in Cambridge needs to educate themselves better on the ongoing racist history of the United States, and the fact that Cambridge is neither immune from this history, nor somehow beyond it…To become more anti-racist we need to acknowledge the racism that exists in our systems of laws, customs and structures, and actively root it out.” – Quinton Zondervan, incumbent