Mimi Parseghian shares her observations on the past week in Lowell:
It was a slow political week in Lowell but not in our country.
It has become difficult to have a civil discussion on immigration. We live in the age where so many believe that they are entitled to their own facts, not merely their own opinions. (h/t Sen. Patrick Moynihan).
Here in Lowell we live in a city that was built by immigrants and today thrives because of the children, grand-children and great grandchildren of those immigrants along with newly arrived refugees and other immigrants. I would think that if you are a descendant of an immigrant, you would find the compassion to try to understand why there are so many Central Americans knocking on our door.
What role did U.S. foreign policy play in the turmoil that continues to dominate Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador?
As a granddaughter of refugees and as an immigrant myself, I have a deep appreciation for all those countries that gave my family a home. I am forever grateful that no one built a wall.
World Refugee Day was observed this past Wednesday. According to UN figures today, there are 24.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world today. That does not include the 40 million who are internally displaced; that is those who have been forced out of their homes and relocated somewhere else in their country. Today, we have 10 million stateless people. And which countries did the majority of the world refugees originate: South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.
There is a direct consequence for drafting policies that create turmoil. We should own it.
Back to local issues. On Wednesday, the Lowell School Committee passed a motion (4-3) that “Request Administration to present by the first School Committee in January 2019 a plan to rezone the district to ‘neighborhood’ schools – presentation should include est. transportation cost saving along with number of students and schools affected and what the new start and dismissal times will look like.”
We have not had neighborhood schools since 1988 when the federal government directed the Lowell Schools to assure that all students have equal educational opportunities.
This motion has already generated some discussion on social media. I think it is a good time to review this issue. I do not know if six months is enough to gather the necessary data, analyze it and come up with effective recommendations. Will the public be allowed to give their opinions as the Administration gathers the information or will we need to wait until the report is completed? Also, how will the 1988 ruling be integrated into this new system?
Although the City Councilors did not have a meeting this week, they were quite busy attending so many public events. If you are City Councilors you have two jobs; first your professional career and second serving on the Council.
Whether you agree or not with their individual approach and views, we should appreciate the time and effort that is put into participating in community activities. The increase in cultural, social and philanthropic activities combined with social media has added to the necessity to be out and about almost every day.