I am writing to you today with Cambridge and legislative updates.
I am wishing everyone a safe and peaceful holiday with good health and joy, and I am wishing for a new year filled with peace and justice for everyone.
Table of Contents
- Cambridge Updates
- Legislative Updates
- A Glimpse at the Past Week
- Mental Health Services and Resources
Cambridge Hosting a Temporary Emergency Shelter Site at the Registry of Deeds Building
As you may have read in a recent Boston Globe article, Cambridge will be standing up a temporary emergency shelter site at the Registry of Deeds building (208 Cambridge St.). This shelter site will host 70 families and ensures that families who are placed on the emergency shelter waitlist will have a warm space to sleep. I am in frequent communication with my Cambridge legislative colleagues, City Manager Huang, Mayor Siddiqui, the Healey-Driscoll Administration, and the Secretary of State — who oversees the building — to ensure as comfortable and accommodating a stay as possible for the families. I will keep you posted as more information becomes available.
Porter Square MBTA Station Escalators
We know that two of the three escalators at the Porter Square MBTA Station have been closed for weeks. For those of you who are wondering, I have been informed by the MBTA that the systems in the escalators are largely outdated, and they are ordering a part that will likely take many more weeks to arrive. They are aware of the issue and, because the station is so deep, know that this shutdown presents unique challenges to folks at the station. There will likely need to be a future conversation about replacing the escalators entirely, but I wanted to assure you that I have heard your concerns and will continue to elevate them to the MBTA.
Cambridge Public Health Helpline Supports Residents with COVID-19
To speak with someone, call the confidential COVID-19 Hotline at 617-933-0797. Learn more here.
City Offering Free At-Home COVID Tests in Partnership with the Cambridge Health Alliance
The tests can be picked up Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM in the CHA lobby at 119 Windsor Street. Cambridge businesses or organizations that would like free rapid tests to provide to customers can call the COVID-19 hotline at 617-933-0797 to request them. The at-home COVID test expiration date can be checked here.
Update on legislation I filed this session
H.1451, An Act relative to expungement of juvenile and young adult records, which I co-filed with Rep. Kay Khan, was heard by the Judiciary Committee this week.
This bill would provide juveniles with the ability to have their criminal records expunged by a judge based on circumstances including their age; if they were a victim of trafficking; denial of employment, housing, training, or another opportunity due to the offense; engagement in treatment programs, volunteer work or other community public service; engagement and completion of education, training, or other academic or trade-related programs. This bill expands the definition of expungement to ensure that records would no longer be accessible or maintained by the court or criminal justice agencies.
A Glimpse at the Past Week
On Tuesday, I was proud to host my colleagues for a tour of the powerful "Call and Response: A Narrative of Reverence to Our Foremothers in Gynecology” art exhibition at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. Thank you to Bay State Birth Coalition for helping coordinate the tour and the Resilient Sisterhood Project for your work in putting the exhibition together.
The exhibition also served as a reminder of the stark racial inequities in maternal health that prevail today but are not inevitable. l had the honor of co-Chairing the Special Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health last session, and am committed to working with my colleagues in the House to pass legislation that builds on the Commission’s recommendations to improve the birthing experiences of all birthing people in the Commonwealth and eliminate the racism that leads to devastating maternal outcomes for Black women.
While the “Call and Response” exhibition closed yesterday, I encourage you to learn more about the art, artists, and story here.
Mental Health Services and Resources
If you or a loved one are struggling, please know you are not alone. There are some great resources here: https://www.decker4rep.com/2021/mental-health-services-and-resources/
Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Helpline
This initiative is designed to prevent intimate partner violence by fostering accountability and change in people who harm or may harm their partner. You can find more information at 10to10helpline.org or by calling 877-898-3411.
Overdose Prevention Helpline
The Massachusetts Overdose Prevention Helpline is a virtual spotting/overdose detection service for people who use drugs. Learn more at: https://www.massoverdosehelpline.org, or access it by calling 800-972-0590.
As always, please contact me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.