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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

New group of racial justice leaders names Sonia Chang-Díaz their top candidate for Governor

 New group of racial justice leaders names Sonia Chang-Díaz their top candidate for Governor 

20 community leaders, elected officials, advocates cite Chang-Díaz’s record fighting for communities of color as a determining factor for their endorsements 


BOSTON, MA - Twenty racial justice leaders from across Massachusetts are backing State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz as their top candidate for Governor. This group of racial justice champions joins a group of over 50 elected officials as well as national and statewide progressive organizations who are supporting Chang-Díaz’s candidacy.


The new endorsers include elected officials, community leaders, activists, and organizational leaders who all support Chang-Díaz for her track record of delivering results, not just words, on issues of racial justice.


"I’m honored to have the endorsement and support of these leaders of color," said Chang-Díaz. "We have so much work to do to move the dial on racial justice in Massachusetts. We need to close the racial wealth divide, invest in our students of color, provide paths to homeownership, follow through on implementing our criminal legal reforms, and ensure that leaders of color are included at every decision making table. I’m grateful to have these champions in that fight with me."


Chang-Díaz was elected Massachusetts’ first Latina and Asian-American State Senator in 2008. On Beacon Hill, she’s passed major progressive reforms, including $1.5 billion in progressive education funding to close opportunity and achievement gaps, criminal justice reform, and LGBTQ equal rights legislation. She’s been key to passing major racial justice policies, including budget measures to build wealth and small business ownership, reforms to Massachusetts' system for English language education, equity provisions in state law governing the new marijuana industry, and a statutory ban on racial profiling by police.


The new slate of endorsers praised Chang-Díaz for her record of fighting for racial justice on Beacon Hill alongside activists and community leaders, even when it wasn’t politically convenient.


"I have fought alongside Sonia to ensure that racial justice is central to how Beacon Hill leads the Commonwealth," said Russell Holmes, State Representative, 6th Suffolk. "I’m confident that as Governor, Sonia will continue to lead the fight for justice. I’m proud to endorse her to be the next Governor of Massachusetts."


"Sonia's been breaking barriers and delivering real results for over a decade — and often when no one was watching," said Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune. "She's lit the path for racial justice and progressive change on Beacon Hill, and made the impossible possible over and over again. That's the kind of leadership all of our communities need in the Governor's office. I'm thrilled to support her candidacy."


"Sonia has been leading with urgency and insisting that communities of color are put front and center for over a decade," said Malia Lazu, an entrepreneur and racial justice advocate. "We have an open Governor’s seat and a choice between the status quo and moving our movement forward. This is the moment we have been waiting for, and Sonia is our candidate."


"In my years directing Neighbor to Neighbor, Sonia never failed in reaching out to us to engage us and seek our input, whether it was criminal justice or education reform," said Maria Elena Letona, former Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor. "And she never failed in sitting down with us to listen to our concerns and champion climate justice legislation for us. I have never known an elected official who is as proactive in engaging and attentive in listening to people of color communities."


"An effective governor for Massachusetts must have two qualities: a progressive vision to uplift every member of our state and the experience to operationalize that vision. Senator Chang-Díaz clearly has both," said Sana Fadel, racial justice advocate and community leader from Newton. "In her rise from local activist to state senator, she has carried some of the most impactful policies from a call to action to implementation. I was so impressed with her power, pragmatism and effectiveness through some of the toughest policy debates bringing to fruition school equity and policing reforms that have only made Massachusetts stronger. She has the vision and the expertise to earn my vote as our next Governor."


"From championing investments to close the achievement gap, her leadership on CORI reform, racial equity and her bold vision for addressing climate change, Sonia Chang-Díaz has shown us what deep listening and swift action can look like for working families and all of us. The will to change is here; the Governor we need is Senator Chang-Díaz," said Nate Bae Kupel, a racial justice and community leader in Malden.


The slate of endorsers includes:


  • Russell Holmes, State Representative, 6th Suffolk District

  • Ruthzee Louijeune, Boston City Councilor

  • Izzy Rivera, Holyoke City Councilor

  • Bobby Bailey, Fall River School Committee Member

  • Josh Alba, Lawrence School Committee Member

  • Malia Lazu, Entrepreneur and racial justice advocate from Boston

  • Hodan Hashi, Co-Founder of Black Boston, Inc.

  • Colette Phillips, CEO, GetKonnected

  • Maria Elena Letona, Former Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor

  • Shaleen Title, social justice advocate and former Cannabis Control Commissioner

  • Diana Hwang, Founder, Asian American Women's Political Initiative

  • Miren Uriarte, Founder and Professor, The Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy

  • Tanisha Arena, Community leader from Springfield

  • Lezlie Campbell, Community leader from Springfield

  • Sana Fadel, Advocate and community leader from Newton

  • Helina Fontes, Community leader from Lynn

  • Nate Bae Kupel, Community leader from Malden

  • Jean-Luc Pierite, Indigenous Community Leader from Boston

  • Saritin Rizzuto, Community leader from Wakefield

  • Nicole Eigbrett, Community leader from Somerville

 

Full list of 50+ endorsers across the state here: https://www.soniachangdiaz.com/endorsements 


About Sonia Chang-Díaz:

Sonia is the daughter of a social worker and America’s first Latino astronaut, Franklin Chang-Díaz. She was elected the Commonwealth's first Latina and first Asian-American State Senator in 2008 and quickly became a driving force behind many of the state’s biggest progressive reforms — including landmark $1.5 billion progressive education funding reforms, criminal justice reform, LGBT equal rights, and police reform and accountability. For more information about Sonia Chang-Díaz and her campaign for Governor, please visit www.soniachangdiaz.com.


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COURTESY PHOTOS OF ENDORSING RACIAL JUSTICE LEADERS (download them here):


Russell Holmes


Ruthzee Louijeune

Colette Phillips 

Sana Fadel



Maria Elena Letona


Lezlie Braxton Campbell


Malia Lazu

Nate Bae Kupel


Helina Fontes


Diana Hwang


Hodan Hashi


Bobby Bailey


Saritin Rizzuto


Tanisha Arena


Shaleen Title


Izzy Rivera 


Jean-Luc Pierite



Miren Uriarte


Joshua Alba


Nicole Eigbrett

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