“In their own words”: Tania Del Rio

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In their own words: Tania Del Rio

We are at a historic crossroads in our city. Over the past few years, voters have chosen change, electing trailblazers whose powerful blend of lived and professional experiences have brought our city closer than it’s ever been to a truly inclusive democracy. We’ve done so much, but the multi-faceted challenges we’re facing in District 1, and across Boston, will require us to come together in new ways. As a Candidate for Boston City Council District 1, I am bringing something new to the table: an outsider’s perspective with an insider’s leadership experience.

After growing up in many different places between my native Mexico City and the U.S, I came to Boston as a graduate student, finally finding my home in East Boston. After I received my Masters in Public Policy, I went to work at the Mexican Consulate downtown, where my job enabled me to help immigrants in many ways, from ensuring they had proper documentation to protecting them against wage theft and defending their rights in immigration detention, jails, and prisons.

In 2016, I found out that my job was going to require me to exchange my green card for a temporary visa. This was a scary prospect because I would be losing my pathway to citizenship at a time when hateful rhetoric and violence against immigrants was increasing. My husband was a student and couldn’t work at the time, and we were raising our first child. I resigned from my job, and we took a bet on this city.

We found a city where neighbors stuck together, and local government had our backs too. Through the City, we qualified for an income restricted home ownership opportunity. I found work in City Hall, starting in the Mayor’s Office and ultimately having the honor of serving as the Executive Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement. My team and I launched the Childcare Entrepreneur Fund to support childcare workers. I am excited to share that Mayor Wu is now expanding this work into its own Office of Early Childhood. We trained over 10 thousand people to negotiate for fair pay. Through these experiences, I witnessed first-hand that city government can work, we just need leaders who are willing to fight for it to serve everyone.

After I led the Office of Women’s Advancement, I was proud to continue my public service as the Executive Director of the YWCA Cambridge, an organization with a 3 million dollar budget and over $11 million in assets, including a historic building. During my time at YWCA, we housed dozens of women and their families, providing wrap-around services to holistically address the root causes and subsequent impacts of trauma, homelessness, and domestic violence.

Aside from my professional experience, I also consider my lived experience is equally as qualifying. I am a mother of two children, ages 6 and 2, and as any BPS parent can attest to, the past two years have starkly illuminated the great joys and challenges of our public school system. And, as an immigrant, I know how it feels to be an outsider to the system and to learn to find your footing.

These experiences have led me here today, and they differentiate me from the kind of politicians you may be used to seeing. I have the experience of working directly with people of all different backgrounds, on the ground, during the best and worst moments of their lives, in several languages. Each of these experiences helped me build an empathy that will allow me to serve this diverse district with authenticity and heart.

The number one feedback that I have received from District 1 residents is the need for more responsive, more accessible constituent services. As your City Councilor, I will respond to our District’s call for more responsive, accessible basic city services, starting by making our 311 mobile app multilingual, which is long, long overdue and additionally, perfectly possible. I will take action to prevent gentrification and climate displacement, no longer allowing developers to shortchange our community on affordable housing. I will be beholden only to you, my neighbors. I will push for accelerating carbon emission reduction by implementing a municipal carbon budget, and create economic opportunity for the most vulnerable people by implementing a guaranteed income pilot. And I will fight for quality schools in each part of the District.

For too long, Boston has been run by insider politicians. Now that we are on the precipice of real change, let’s keep moving forward. By stepping into our collective power, we can elect someone who is accountable to you, and only you.