^ DJ Akrobatik : guest columnist
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My friend John Connolly has been pegged as “the education candidate” which is just fine by me. John knows that in order to make progressive change, we must begin with our core, Boston’s youth. John has made education one of his top campaign priorities because it should be. Boston is a world-class city and in order to remain such Boston’s youth deserve a world-class education in a world-class public school system.
Recently I hosted an event at the Middle East in Cambridge that was packed to the hilt with bright, eager-to-party students from Harvard and MIT. My curiosity compelled me to poll the young crowd to find out how many of them were actually from the Boston area…. The result – Crickets. Of the 150 students in attendance representing two of the world’s most prestigious institutions, I counted three from the Boston area. Three.
As a local artist, born & raised in Boston, I was bothered by the lack of ‘Boston’ present in that room. I began to wonder why are there so few locals attending our most prestigious colleges and universities? Why does it seem as though there are pathways from all over the world leading young talent to these schools, but why are the young people born and raised in our own backyard outnumbered so drastically on campus?
John R. Connolly — to ue his full name — and I have talked a great deal about this situation. We have spoken about the variables that may be contributing to the lack of locals at these prestigious universities. We have discussed why certain obstacles are present and ways to overcome theses roadblocks. All of our discussions seem to consistently lead us back to one common topic, education. Throughout this Mayoral race, there has been a lot of talk about what can be done to make our city better, more progressive, and more like what a modern-day metropolis in America should be – but at the end of the day, we know that we must first build a solid foundation, our education systems.
By now you must be asking : “So, why is a rapper so vociferously supporting a mayoral candidate?”
Well, first off, I, DJ Akrobatik, am more than just a rapper. I am an educator, a concerned citizen, and most of all – a voter. I want my city to be better, and like John, I believe it starts with education. I am confident that with my help as well as that of others in the local arts community, we can bring this city the diversity of art it so desperately needs.
But beyond all of those reasons, John Connolly is my friend. I have known him since he was my quarterback in the huddle on the freshman football team at Roxbury Latin. I know his family. He and I have many, mutual, life-long friends. I have witnessed his progress in education and politics throughout his adult life. I trust this man will be an incredible leader for our city. He loves what we are and is passionate about what we can become under his watch.
Yes, Marty Walsh talks a fairly good game. He has some cool insights on what to do to make Boston’s streets safer. Thing is, when it comes issues like the safety of our streets, Connolly not only has cool sights; he has real solutions to the problem., Let me remind you that it was John Connolly, not Marty Walsh, who recently sat and mediated conversations with rival gang members. To me, these types of actions are solid indicators of a true leader.
Almost all of Boston’s elected officials of color, in particular those who lost in the primary election, have decided to publicly endorse Marty Walsh. In my opinion, this is some form of racial solidarity that is confusing and yet to be clearly explained. John Barros, Charlotte Golar-Richie, Felix Arroyo, and all of our City’s Elected Colors of Bennetton have stepped up to urge the minority communities of Boston to support Walsh. Not one of these officials seems to have presented a definitive reason as to why Walsh is their choice over Connolly. I can only assume that the reasoning is based on personal political agendas far more than it is about improving Boston. After all, none of these officials had anything good to say about Good Ol’ Marty as recently as July.
In closing, I ask the people to join me and vote John Connolly, for Mayor. It is my hope that sometime down the line, I will be hosting a Harvard /MIT event — and when I ask how many students hail from the Boston area, the voices respond, so many that it’s too loud for me to hear myself think.
Imagine that. And I will know I’ll have John Connolly to thank.
— Akrobatik / guest columnist