Letters to the Editor in Support of Michaíah Healy

Many of Michaíah's supporters have taken it upon themselves to write letters of support to the editors of Arlington local news organizations.

Interested in writing a Letter to the Editor in support of Michaíah? Email us at michaiahforselectboard@gmail.com to make arrangements.

Read all of the Letters to the Editor supporting Michaíah Healy for Select Board

Letters to the Editor

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Michaiah Healy’s skills and listening abilities would be a wonderful addition to the Select Board. Many other letters have detailed her outstanding qualifications. I am writing to share some of my firsthand observations.

I have watched Michaiah approach issues with fairness and a penchant for encouraging all sides to voice their opinions. I have seen her respect others, even if she didn’t agree with their positions. I have seen her bring people of diverse perspectives together to collaborate.In this unprecedented time, we urgently need calm, proven leadership. Michaiah’s experience as a pastor, a community catalyst and an advocate with people who have disabilities makes her especially well-suited for serving on the Select Board. Her commitment to basing decisions on facts is urgently needed in meeting today’s challenges. As a proven leader, mother, wife and an African American woman, Michaiah will bring a comprehensive and unique perspective to Select Board deliberations and actions.

Arlington will surely benefit for having Michaiah on the Select Board.

Miriam Stein
Oak Knoll

Support Michaiah Healy for Arlington Select Board

I write in support of Michaiah Healy for Arlington Select Board. Her knowledge, experience, and personal qualities make her a particularly strong candidate:she brings exactly the skills and awareness we need in Arlington’s leaders.

One of her strengths is her emphasis on representation. She knows, from her work in the Massachusetts’ Disability Policy Consortium, Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, and as a pastor and community organizer, the importance of participatory process. She seeks to include the participation of all affected by town decisions—especially those who are underrepresented. Having listened to town departments, committees, and residents, she seeks to build stronger government-community partnerships—by, for instance, finding new ways of holding conversations.

This means a different input from that of “we’ll tell you what we’re going to do, and you can ask questions,” which is the lowest form of participation. Such partnerships would make Arlington stronger—not because of fewer differences, but because people with different standpoints engaging through a participatory process make a community more robust.

This grows out of the kind of person Healy is. She does not go through the motions of listening to you, then bulldoze you back to whatever she wants to talk about. Instead, you feel truly heard: you can have a real conversation with Michaiah. Speaking personally, it’s been much easier to accept decisions I disagree with if I’ve been properly listened to in an inclusive process. Healy also insists on civility and mutual respect as part of this process. Disagreements are never going to go away—nor should they. But Healy’s approach would help these disagreements become an opportunity for growth instead of entrenchment.

She would bring this approach to issues pivotal to Arlington—affordable housing, density zoning, environment, transport—that shape our town’s future. Her expertise would be especially valuable in the kinds of divisions of the Lt Pedrini case. Growing from her experience with mediation and problem solving, her approach could help rebuild trust between the community and the APD.

In sum, Michaiah would be an extremely strong addition to our town’s Select Board. She is proud of Arlington’s achievements, and would build upon the work of the town’s departments and committees. Alert to the experiences that shape people’s lives, she would reach out to all residents affected by specific issues. Thoughtful, analytical, creative, and pragmatic, she would help make Arlington a truly livable town for all its residents.

--Rosalind Shaw, Richfield Rd.

Dear Editor,

I’m delighted to support Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the Town election on April 4 [sic, now June 6]. My social and racial justice work is no secret in Arlington. And I firmly believe that a town-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is exactly the medicine we need right now as Arlington Police and Human Rights Commission are reporting a sharp rise in hate crimes, hate speech and harassment for our most marginalized communities. As a proud gay man and joyful Papa of a multi-cultural family, I can tell you that life for communities of color, refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers, as well as religious minorities and LGBTQ+ folks has never been more challenging.

Michaiah’s election as the first woman of color in our Town’s history should be reason enough to support her. But Michaiah is truly exceptional beyond any label or category. I’ve observed her thoughtful and collaborative leadership as Chair of our Diversity Task Group where she has created safe space and conversations for innovative and effective programs in diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. Michaiah’s work in Arlington has been built on the idea that we are stronger together when all voices are heard and valued. And she cares deeply about how we govern, and how we treat each other. Michaiah is committed to promoting an atmosphere of respect by adhering to a code of kindness and equity in our public processes and conversations as well as in our personal interactions. May we have more of this please?

And Michaiah has all of the necessary ingredients for intelligent, effective and inclusive leadership on Select Board – she has worked as a pastor, community organizer and now as a Disability Advocate. With BS in Biological Psychology from Tufts and MA in Counseling with a concentration in Mental Health from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Michaiah has the well-developed soft skills in human relations and community building so lacking now in Town government.

And it should not go unnoticed that she is a super loving Mom, devoted friend, respected colleague, sought after collaborator, disciplined team member, and one of the kindest and most delightful humans one could ever encounter.

Arlington will be extremely well served by Michaiah Healy – please give her one of your two votes for Select Board on April 4 [sic, now June 6].

Chris DiMeo
124 Park Avenue

Vote Michaiah Healy for Select Board – Letter of Support

Please vote for Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the upcoming 2020 town election. As a brown woman who would like to see more compassionate, diverse and strong town leadership, I am glad to be backing the town’s historic first woman of color running for this position.

I have gotten to know Michaiah as a co-chair for the Arlington Diversity Task Group(DTG) as a thoughtful, inclusive, kind consensus builder and leader with a desire to make Arlington a place that is great for everyone! We need the skill sets she brings to the table of having worked with diverse communities such as her leadership with the Diversity Task Group and Envision Arlington, building communities as a pastor and organizing and supporting communities with her work as a disability advocate. She is humble, detail oriented and is a doer who has the experience and willingness to be open to all viewpoints and help guide the conversation to action.

Even her values spell out Representation, Equity, Sustainability, Public Safety, Environment, Civility, Thoughtful Housing – bringing out some of the issues she hopes to address if elected as part of the Select Board.

The town of Arlington has many challenges in the near future and we need Michaiah to bring that compassionate and experienced voice that will be open to listening to all viewpoints and helping to move the conversion with her consensus building skills.

Vote Michaiah Healy for Select Board in the upcoming Town Elections this year!

Mona Mandal, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 9
14 Water Street, #2

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

As a Town Meeting member, I have seen that members of Town Meeting and the Select Board are thoughtful people working towards Arlington’s best interest. I have also seen that there are many voices in Arlington who are rarely heard in Town Hall. Arlington will be a better community and a better place to live if everyone is brought to the table. It is for this reason I enthusiastically support the candidacy of Michaiah Healy for Select Board.

I have known Michaiah for many years and have been increasingly impressed by her leadership, wisdom and ability to build consensus. In her role as co-chair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, Michaiah actively worked to bring new voices into town hall. She has listened to and advocated for the inclusion of all viewpoints as she has worked with town leadership including the members of the Select Board and the town manager. She has the wisdom and patience to find creative solutions to the complicated issues facing our town.

As a member of the Select Board, Michaiah will bring a new breadth of understanding of the needs, hopes and fears of our community to town leadership.

— Rebecca Persson, Fremont Street

Over the last year, I have watched the current Selectboard, not only ignore but dismiss extensive citizen input on issues affecting our town. We have an opportunity on April 4 [sic, now June 6] for a fresh voice, a citizen-centered voice, who will welcome and respect citizen input into the decision making in our town.

That voice is Michaiah Healy. With the complex issues we are dealing with, it is important to embrace a diversity of opinions and be willing to seek creative solutions so that everyone feels equally valued and included. That has not been happening.

Michaiah, as a woman of color, is deeply committed to a respectful process that leaves no one out. She is also committed to having Arlington be a safe space for all to participate. She is a creative thinker who believes that sometimes, to do things well, you might need to take more time.

She has done an amazing job serving as chair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group and has built relationships with and worked alongside our town manager, chief of police and others in town leadership. She is a woman with a high standard of integrity who is unafraid to ask difficult questions in order to do things right and to serve all people.

She is a courageous leader and tireless researcher who has the insight to ask those questions and to not settle for making decisions until all those questions have been answered. I have complete trust in Michaiah and it is without hesitation that I support her candidacy for the Select Board. I hope you will vote for her, too.

Lynette Culverhouse of Draper Avenue

Healy has all Arlington residents in mind

In these extraordinary times, I am grateful to our Select Board and town manager for the work they are doing to keep Arlington informed and safe, and I appreciate their decision to delay our elections. As hard as it is to keep in mind right now, at some point the virus will start to ease and all the issues that were so important a month ago will come to the forefront again. Among them, our ongoing need for affordable housing; an increased commitment to transparency in all aspects of town government; the urgent need to create climate resiliency; and the necessity to make sure all our residents have a voice, and feel respected when they use it.

I believe the best candidate for Select Board to address these issues, with the interests of all Arlington residents in mind, is Michaiah Healy. She plans to focus on low- and moderate-income residents and further support the work of our Housing Corporation and Housing Authority. She plans to develop paths for residents to more-directly communicate with our town’s elected and appointed leaders, as well as expand town efforts to reach out to residents. And of course she will also direct those efforts at enhanced communication to relations between the APD and residents, with respect for all points of view as trust is rebuilt.

Michaiah comes from a family of teachers, veterans and police officers, from whom she learned the values of lifelong learning, and respect for different points of view. I’d love to see her bring these values to Arlington as a member of the Select Board, and hope you will join me in giving her your vote.

Wynelle Evans
Orchard Place

Support for Michaiah Healy for Select Board

I write this in support of the candidate, Michaiah Healy for the Select Board in the upcoming elections in Arlington in June. I first met Michaiah in her role as the chair of Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group. I was struck by her calm demeanor and effortless ability to manage disparate and sometimes conflicting views to forge a positive path ahead for the betterment of the community. Michaiah’s leadership style is such that she continuously seeks to find an approach that stays focused on the goals while also ensuring that every person’s opinion is also valued. Last year, during a community hearing event that was held in response to the town’s handling of the offensive and racist writings of an APD officer, the town manager and then acting Chief Flaherty were invited to speak. Her mediation and consensus building skills were fully evident when there were comments that were at times emotional and fractious. Michaiah’s calmness and interpersonal skills that have served her well were in full display as she managed to keep the meeting to stay focussed on finding a healing path forward.

This town faces many important and challenging issues in the next few years, dealing with housing and climate change at the forefront. Especially during this time of great global crisis, I think the residents of the town will be very well served in electing Michaiah.

Rajeev Soneja
Mary Street

Michaiah Healy for Select Board

Michaiah Healy offers a clear choice for Select Board in the upcoming town election on June 6. Seeking to promote an atmosphere of respect and kindness in our public conversations and interactions, Michaiah is committed to a high standard of openness, transparency and accessibility in town government. Michaiah has been extremely effective as chair of our Diversity Task Force for two years now where she has shown that she cares deeply about how we govern, work together and treat one another. If elected, Michaiah would be the first woman of color to serve on the Select Board in our town’s history. She brings a proven track record of working with diverse groups of people in many settings and situations, has developed strong relationships with a wide range of boards, committees and departments, and has demonstrated expertise in fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in all her work. Michaiah has also made it a priority to listen to growing communities in our town who often do not have a voice — women, small business owners, seniors, people of color, renters, teens, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, LGBTQ folks and others who are often living on the margins and out of the mainstream of the community. And she is working hard to build the broadest coalition of Arlington citizens to help inform her service on Select Board.

In addition to Michaiah’s extensive community service, she has a strong background in effective and inclusive leadership — she has worked as a pastor, community organizer and most recently as a disability advocate. Michaiah has a B.A. in biological psychology from Tufts and M.A. in counseling with a concentration in mental health from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Michaiah’s experience has given her the insight and sensitivity in human relations and community building that will be an asset on Select Board.

Michaiah also brings a refreshing, common sense approach to some of the big issues facing Arlington today around thoughtful housing, public safety and civility, sustainable environment, and representation and equity. And she believes that the actions we take today have an immediate effect on all populations in Arlington and create long-term benefits for the quality of life in our community.

Please vote for Michaiah Healy for Select Board on June 6.

Silvia Dominguez
Thorndike Street

Healy for Select Board

I am endorsing Michaiah Healy for Select Board based on my interactions with her around the Diversity Task Group. She has led this group through years of monthly meetings, which deal with sensitive issues arousing strong feelings both on and off the committee. As a person of color, Michaiah will bring a necessary voice to the Select Board, but her long experience in public service of many types show that she will also bring fine organizational skills as well.

Andrew Oram
High Haith Road