To the Editor: ‘This We’ll Defend’

To the Editor:

As a lifelong resident of Dorchester, I have always taken great pride in telling people where I was from and still call home. I grew up with so many great people of strong moral and patriotic character and I was raised with pride in our heritage and in our community – possibly the most diverse couple of miles in the region. It was a desire to preserve and protect that community and the high esteem shown to our veterans that sent me into military service, first with the Marine Corps and then with Army Special Forces. The Army motto is “This We’ll Defend.” I believe that for each recruit who swears an oath to protect the nation, it is their own community that comes to mind when they say “This We’ll Defend.”

From Meetinghouse Hill and Ronan Park to Adams Village and the Neponset River, City Council District 3 was always a great community anchored by Adams Street, which connects Dorchester in a special way. It is shameful to watch politicians at City Hall, who have little understanding or appreciation of our neighborhood, pass legislation that dismantles that.

While St. Ann’s and St. Brendan’s churches are united under St. Martin De Porres Parish, this latest redistricting seeks to divide us and dilute our voice and vote at the polls. Oddly enough, they’ve divided us with a “Unity Map” that serves to bifurcate our parish and community. Outsider special interest groups reportedly created this map, with little interest in what is best for our neighborhood. This is blatant gerrymandering to suppress the community’s voice in city affairs. The city government is supposed to work for us.

Yet despite our community leaders and elected officials voicing our total opposition, the council imposed this map on us. Our community was ignored, dismissed. People who have never lived here have decided where the neighborhood begins and ends, and to which community we belong.

We are a diverse community not only of Irish Americans and Catholics but also of every ethnicity and creed imaginable. We are also home to some of the highest concentrations of veterans. So why would politicians want the voices and votes of our community to be divided and diluted? It is not for the community; it is in pursuit of certain councillors gaining power within the council while working to eliminate the voices of those we have elected to represent us.

This practice is illegal and we are protected at federal, state, and local levels against this. Boston isn’t the only city having these problems. Los Angeles recently had their Council president resign for doing the same thing. It is time for the attorney general and the court system to weigh in and fix this divisive and unlawful plan to suppress our voice and dilute our vote. It is also time for our neighborhood to come together and let the City Council know that this fight is not over because this is our neighborhood; this is our community, and “This We’ll Defend!”

Greg Kelly

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