Letter to the Editor

A Look Back at 2020

Dear Editor,

Thank goodness — 2020 finally draws to a close. It’s been quite a year to be a new Boston City Councilor. Although this wasn’t the year that any of us had hoped for, I’ve been grateful every day for your trust in placing me in this position. To wake up each morning and ask how to make myself of use to the residents of Boston in tackling this crisis has given me a clarity of purpose in this hard season.

I’ve sought to answer that question each day with a bias for action. At different times that has meant delivering thousands of boxes of food to our constituents, or creating an impromptu youth jobs program for our office, or helping get our homeless families housed. It has meant pushing our universities to invest in more robust COVID control plans to keep our communities safe, or mobilizing to successfully prevent closure of the E Line to Heath St.

But I’ve also tried to tie every concrete effort to something more systemic. We didn’t just run our own District 8 food and youth programs, for example; we negotiated to increase city funding for food access and youth jobs by millions. With the pandemic illuminating every existing crack in our unequal society, we need to figure out how to properly mend our issues, not just paper them over with one-off solutions.

In that vein, I’ve been particularly proud of the work we’ve done on housing this year — from a groundbreaking new fair housing zoning amendment, for which I did detailed policy drafting, to the funding of a new City affordable homeownership program that in its first few months has already helped scores of families, 80% people of color, to buy their first home. On the housing front and on many other policy issues, from historic preservation to climate response to police accountability, I have also planted seeds this year that I look forward to seeing bear fruit in 2021. More on that in the coming weeks. 

Wherever this email finds you, I hope you and your household are safe and healthy, and that you will join me in looking forward in hope and expectation for a better 2021.

Kenzie Bok 

Boston City Councilor

District 8

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