Sonia Chang-Diaz

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Sonia Chang-Diaz


Sonia Chang-Diaz is a State Senator from Massachusetts.

State Senate

Sonia Chang-Díaz is the first Latina elected to the Massachusetts State Senate. She is serving her second term on behalf of the Second Suffolk District, which is comprised of the Boston neighborhoods of Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Dorchester, Fenway, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roxbury, and the South End.

Senator Chang-Díaz serves as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education and the Vice Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. She also serves as a member of the Joint Committees on Children, Families & Persons with Disabilities, Municipalities & Regional Government, and the Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development committees, and the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures & State Assets.[1]

Background

Prior to attaining elected office, Senator Chang-Díaz served as a public school teacher in the Lynn and Boston school systems, where she learned first-hand the challenges facing our public school students, teachers, and parents and the role our state government can play in improving our educational system. Senator Chang-Díaz has also worked in public service as a Senior Legislative Aide to former state Senator Cheryl Jacques, as a key political adviser at the Barbara Lee Family Office, and as the Director of Outreach at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, a non-partisan fiscal policy think tank.

Senator Chang-Díaz was raised on the idea that leadership, at its heart, is about service. It is a value deeply rooted in her family’s long tradition of public service. A single parent, Chang-Díaz's mother raised her and her sister while dedicating her career to those most forgotten in our society: from adults with mental illness, to foster children in need of loving families, to at-risk toddlers and infants in Dorchester. Her father, an immigrant to the United States from Costa Rica, was our country’s first Latin American astronaut. Her sister is a teacher. And her grandfather has been recognized as one of the country’s most committed rural doctors. Senator Chang-Díaz currently resides in Jamaica Plain and is a parishioner at St. Mary of the Angels church in Roxbury.[2]

Mass Alliance/Democratic Socialists of America endorsement

In November 2008, several candidates for the Massachusetts legislature listed below were endorsed for the November 4 election by Mass Alliance. Boston Democratic Socialists of America had previously sent out postcards and emails in support of these candidates.

These include;

Sonia Chang-Diaz 2nd Suffolk District.

Of all the Mass Alliance endorsements, this was the most difficult for Boston DSA. After narrowly losing the September Democratic primary to Chang-Diaz, incumbent Dianne Wilkerson is running a sticker campaign to keep her State Senate seat. Virtually all accounts of her 8 terms in office credit Wilkerson with real accomplishments, along with a voting record progressive enough to get the Alliance endorsement in the primary. Her opponent, Chang-Diaz, seems to have similar positions on most issues—but not all. She has criticized Wilkerson for being too close to real estate developers (Columbus Center), and not critical enough of the Boston University biolab. Her supporters also bring up Wilkerson’s apparently chronic inability to pay her income and other taxes. Chang-Diaz, a former public school teacher, has worked for local progressive organizations, including Mass Vote and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Many groups, like Mass Alliance, who supported Sen. Wilkerson in the primary, are now supporting Chang-Diaz..

Supported Progressive Health Care Reform

In late 2009, Sonia Chang-Diaz was one of more than 1,000 state legislators to sign a letter entitled "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". The letter was a project of the Progressive States Network and was developed in consultation with national health care reform advocates, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Community Catalyst, Families USA, Herndon Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Northeast Action, SEIU, and Universal Health Care Action Network. The letter reads in part,[3]

"Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure... We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all."

Boston DSA forum

On March 3 2010 Boston Democratic Socialists of America held a forum "What to do about the housing crisis" at 33 Harrison Ave., Boston. Speakers were;

  • Grace Ross, former Green Party USA gubernatorial candidate, active with the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending , a coalition of 60 housing, social service and community groups, including DSA; they are supporting State House legislation to help home owners and tenants stay in their homes and stabilize communities.
  • Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston), a co-sponsor of one of the MAAPL bills, SB1609, which would protect tenants from eviction in fore-closed properties.
  • Melonie Griffiths, Tenant and Economy Organizer for City Life-Vida Urbana, the Jamaica Plain based social justice organization.[4]

2010 DSA endorsement

In 2010, Sonia Chang-Diaz, who was elected to the Massachusetts Senate, representing the 2nd Suffolk District, was included in a list of the mainly Massachusetts candidates endorsed by the Boston Democratic Socialists of America, published in the The Yankee Radical:[5][6]

In her two short years Senator Chang-Diaz has worked successfully for C.O.R.I. reform, opposed racial profiling, and fought the anti-immigrant fervor that came up late this spring in the Senate. She addressed the foreclosure crisis by helping to create protections from foreclosures and evictions. A former teacher herself, she has worked to protect K-12 funding, helped shape the educational reform package aimed at ending the achievement-gap, and fought to protect millions of dollars going to youth intervention programs, housing assistance and community healthcare.

2010 Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards

The 2010 Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards, sponsored by Boston Democratic Socialists of America, took place Tuesday, June 13, 6:30—8:30 P.M., at the Jamaica plain home of environmentalist Marcia Peters and David Karaus.

2010 honorees were "two champions of social justice and grassroots democracy: Georgia Hollister Isman and Jack Clark". Honorary Co-Chairs for the event were MA AFL-CIO President Robert Haynes and State Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville), with special guest Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston).[7]

CORI reform

Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts (N2N-MA) members stood alongside Governor Deval Patrick on August 6 2010 as he signed CORI (criminal record) Reform into law. With the passage of this bill, Massachusetts becomes only the second state in the nation to prohibit both public and private employers from asking about a person’s criminal history on an initial job application.

Members of Neighbor to Neighbor have been organizing for CORI Reform since 2006, and "over the past week, doubts had grown about whether the legislation would pass in time for the end of the session on July 31st. The bill was finally approved by the House of Representatives and Senate in the last hours of the session."

Angela Estrada, a Neighbor to Neighbor member from Worcester who has a CORI record said, “This is a huge victory for Neighbor to Neighbor and all of the people that have worked hard for years to make this reform happen. We have made history today by changing this law. We know that when we all unite, we can win.”

Wilnelia Rivera, Campaigns Director of Neighbor to Neighbor spoke at the event, “This victory represents the power of people to make a change on Beacon Hill,” she said. “When people come together and get organized, they can win. This is our goal at Neighbor to Neighbor, and we’ll keep fighting until all residents of the state have access to jobs, housing, health care, and a quality education.”

Rep. Liz Malia, D-Boston, the lead sponsor of the CORI provisions in the House said, “I am incredibly pleased to be witness to this bill signing. CORI reform is going to improve communities throughout Massachusetts. I am very grateful to my colleagues, the Commonwealth CORI Coalition, and Neighbor to Neighbor, for their hard work – we would not be here today without them.”

Neighbor to Neighbor’s unique model of community organizing and grassroots advocacy was recognized by CORI Reform advocates. “Neighbor to Neighbor has played a crucial role over the years in the CORI Reform Campaign, bringing the voices of people directly impacted to the State House, building a diverse coalition, and working with us on legislative strategy,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston. “Their work was critical to making this victory possible.”

Virgenmina Perez, a member of the Holyoke Chapter of Neighbor to Neighbor who’s son has a CORI, said after the event, “It is a blessing that this bill has passed. We know that this is going to impact many people and open doors to work and housing for all communities. It was worth the wait! Yes we can!”

Friday’s signing was held at Freedom House, an organization with a sixty-year history of fighting for social justice for communities of color. It was a fitting location for the culmination of this civil rights battle.[8]

Campaign for Our Communities support

The Campaign for Our Communities, was a 2012 Massachusetts organization seeking progressive tax reform to raise at least $1 billion in new revenue to partially address the state’s $2 billion shortfall.

The organization's our model legislative initiative being “An Act to Invest in Our Communities” (sponsored by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Rep. James O'Day.[9]

Our goal is to continue to build a broad coalition of communities, businesspeople, and labor to mobilize to preserve our essential services in a fair and balanced way.

The campaign's contacts were Harris Gruman of SEIU, and Rebekah Gewirtz.[10]

"Budget for All"

November 6, 2012 - by a three to one margin, Massachusetts voters "sent a clear message to both Democrats and Republicans in Washington about the federal budget crisis and the impending "fiscal cliff"". The Budget for All ballot question passed by 661,033 to 222,514 votes. It calls for no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or other vital programs; investment in useful jobs; an end to corporate tax loopholes and to the Bush cuts on taxes on high incomes; withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan now; and redirection of military spending to domestic needs and job creation. The question passed by a wide margin in every district and all 91 Massachusetts cities and towns where it appeared on the ballot, ranging from most of Greater Boston to Holyoke to Norwood, Lawrence and Fall River.

Initiated by over 80 community, peace, labor, and faith groups, the Budget for All was supported by State Treasurer Steve Grossman, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, and Representatives Barney Frank, Mike Capuano, Jim McGovern and Ed Markey, along with 10 State Senators, 18 State Representatives, and 15 city councilors.[11]

State Senators backing the initiative were William Brownsberger, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Sal DiDomenico, Kenneth Donnelly, Pat Jehlen, Thomas McGee, Stanley Rosenberg, Dan Wolf.

State Representatives were Cory Atkins, Linda Dorcena Forry, Sean Garballey, Louis Kafka, Jay Kaufman, Jason Lewis, David Linsky, Denise Provost, Frank I. Smizik, Ellen Story, Timothy Toomey, Jr., Marty Walz, Alice Wolf.

Leaders of the movement were;

International Women's Day Celebration

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Chinese Progressive Association (Boston) International Women's Day Celebration March 8, 2017 - 5:30pm

SEIU 32BJ Local 615 26 West Street Boston, MA 02111.

Celebrate International Women’s Day and the Chinese Progressive Association Workers Center’s 30 years of organizing.

Honorary Committee


CPA 40th Anniversary Gala dinner

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Chinese Progressive Association Friday, May 19, 2017 6:00 – 9:00 pm, at Hei La Moon Restaurant. 88 Beach Street in Boston Chinatown

BUY TICKETS OR MAKE A DONATION for CPA’s 40TH ANNIVERSARY GALA

References