Topping the 2021 to-do-list: Get more people vaccinated

Some thoughts as we head into a new year, leaving the horrors of 2020 behind:

Enough of the celebrity vaccinations in front of TV cameras. How about more shots for the rest of us? So far only about 2 million doses had been given out of 9.5 million doses distributed, according to the CDC. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Vice President Mike Pence promised a month or so ago that Americans would have 28 million shots delivered by the end of December. That’s one day away — we’re a little behind target, don’t you think? The vaccine distribution should be of concern to everyone if we are to have any chance of conquering this virus.

Local community health care centers have shown themselves to be frontline heroes in this pandemic as they serve the most vulnerable — the poor, Black and brown and immigrant communities — all the most impacted by the virus. There must be a better and more expansive way to include them in this fight and beyond to deal with health inequities revealed by the pandemic. Right now many of the centers are engaged in educating their communities, some of whom are reluctant to take the vaccine. Look for Massachusetts’ Community Health Centers to do even more when Mike Curry assumes the helm.

I’ve never been more proud of the NAACP on the national scene and locally as during these four turbulent years. Black lives have always mattered to the NAACP and they have a monumental body of work for over a century to show for it. My dream is that the NAACP will strike a more formal relationship with Black Lives Matter. Nationally, NAACP Chairman Derrick Johnson has mounted massive efforts to bolster equality in education, criminal justice reform and, as always, the fight against voter disenfranchisement.

Here in Boston, kudos to NAACP head Tanisha Sullivan for being front and center around criminal justice and education issues, helping to craft a successful city police reform bill and doing the right thing by helping to pause the Boston Latin school entrance exam issue, which needs to be fixed.

And speaking of criminal justice reform, how about the work of our DA Rachael Rollins? She has been phenomenal in righting some serious wrongs and fighting unjust treatment.

DA Rollins is seen as a potential successor to outgoing Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, as are Maura Healey and former Gov. Deval Patrick. I would also add City Councilor Lydia Edwards to the list of those who should be considered. She had a solid body of work on immigration issues before joining the city council and has been spectacular on the council

Here are a few more “build back better” in 2021 wishes.

  • I think we can expect great things from soon-to-leave Emerson College President Lee Pelton, who takes the helm of the Boston Foundation in January.
  • The designation of the Nubian Ascends team should help jump-start a much-needed renaissance for the Nubian Square neighborhood
  • I am super excited by the ongoing work toward completion of “The Embrace,” a memorial to Dr. Martin and Coretta Scott King first envisioned by entrepreneur Paul English. An exciting research-oriented King center that will focus on all the things the Kings championed and would support today will be housed in Roxbury. Kudos to the fabulous Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of King Boston, who is sure to bring the project up to an exciting new level.
  • Folks continually ask what I think will be the next big thing on the political agenda. I say redistricting — done every 10 years concomitant with the census. I am thrilled that many folks are currently working on what power sharing should look like.

Last, but definitely not least, my all-time top wish is for us  to “Warp Speed” cures for cancer, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Here’s to a New Year of health, opportunity and equality for all.


Joyce Ferriabough Bolling is a media and political strategist and communications specialist.

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