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LETTERS

Kennedy is giving people of Chelsea good look at kind of leader he’ll be

Representative Joseph P. Kennedy lll spoke at a Massachusetts Business  Immigration Coalition meeting in September 2019.
Representative Joseph P. Kennedy lll spoke at a Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition meeting in September 2019.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

We write to respond forcefully to columnist Scot Lehigh’s latest dig at Representative Joe Kennedy III, who is seeking Ed Markey’s Senate seat (“Joe Kennedy looks deep inside himself — and discovers a cool head in a time of crisis,” Opinion, May 1)

We write from Chelsea, the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Commonwealth. We write from a place forced to breathe dirty air, ride crowded buses, and sleep in insufficient housing because decades of systemic injustice have treated our people as less than — while just a few miles away, glistening skyscrapers dot the Seaport.

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Chelsea is hit hard right now. And before anyone was writing front-page stories about what is happening to our city, one federal elected official showed up for us: Joe Kennedy. He does not even represent our district in Congress. But he came to our aid anyway.

Nearly a month ago, he used his expansive digital channels to hold an emergency broadcast spotlighting what is going on here. He let local leaders do the talking. He asked questions and listened. He sent out urgent e-mails telling the world what is happening to Chelsea and raising tens of thousands of dollars for the organizations providing food and essential supplies to our residents in need.

As a result of the spotlight he cast, papers like this one started paying attention. TV crews started to broadcast from our streets. Other elected officials began to see and hear what was going on in this little 1.8-square-mile community.

That kind of leadership might be fodder for snarky columns. For the residents of Chelsea, it is a lifeline.

Judith Garcia

Vice president

Roy Avellaneda

President

Chelsea City Council