Letters to the Editor

No Need to Change What Isn’t Broken

Dear Editor:

In 2019, the Costume Industry proposed National Trick-or-treat day on the last Saturday of October but still have Halloween on October 31. Worcester also proposed this. I personally don’t agree with this. What is the point of Halloween if you trick-or-treat on another day? What do you do? Also, Halloween was always on October 31. Why change it now? It’s been a tradition. Another thing is, Halloween is supposed to be spooky and scary. If you trick-or-treat in the daytime, then it would be much harder to be scary. It is the whole point of Halloween.

2000 years ago, the Celts celebrated the New Year on November 1. On October 31, they believed that the living and the dead combined, so they lit bonfires and dressed in costumes to ward the ghosts away.

As a kid, I loved Halloween because we went out at night and we got to dress up.  Another thing I like about Halloween is the performances and decorations on Dunster Street right here in Jamaica Plain. They would never work in daylight. If Boston changes the tradition that has been here for thousands of years, that takes some of the fun out of Halloween.


Virginia Choe

Thank You and Goodbye, JP

Dear Editor:

I will no longer serve as the Jamaica Plain Liaison for the City of Boston. I have accepted the position to work for Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy as his special assistant throughout his senatorial campaign.

It has been a distinct pleasure to work with the community of Jamaica Plain and get to know the wonderful people that make it such a vibrant community. The neighborhood associations, the non-profits, local leaders, the small business owners, and the J.P residents in general taught me what it truly means to be there for one another. Thank you for the guidance and the mentorship throughout this unique journey.

 Most importantly, I’d like to thank Mayor Walsh for believing in me and giving me the chance to serve the neighborhood the helped raise me. This was certainly a place where I was able to grow as a public servant and as a resident of this city.

I’m excited to start this next step in my career.

Enrique Pepen

Standing up for the Children

Dear Editor:

Many children with cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and other serious chronic diseases receive life-saving treatments at Boston hospitals. Some of the children, who come from countries where these treatments are not available, have received permission to stay in the United States from United States U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. This permission, called medical deferred action, is comparable to DACA, “deferred action for childhood arrivals,” in that reapplication is required every 2 years. It is different from DACA in that there are no explicit guidelines, and obtaining this status is extremely challenging; most applications are denied.

In late August, families of children with these serious illnesses, here in Boston and around the country, received letters from USCIS that renewal or new applications for medical deferred action would no longer be considered and that they had 33 days to leave the country or be deported. For the sick children and their families, these letters came like death sentences.

 Many members of the medical community rallied in support of their patients and spoke out publicly, including at a Congressional hearing sponsored by JP Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Backtracking slightly, USCIS stated that once a patient entered into deportation proceedings, they could request deferral of deportation from ICE.

Jamaica Plain nurses, nurse practitioners, medical students and doctors were strongly represented at a September 17th event of medical professionals at the JFK Federal Building, which houses the USCIS Boston Field Office. They gathered to deliver a letter from the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization representing ~60,000 pediatricians, to the USCIS Boston Field Office. The letter, to the Department of Homeland Security Acting Director, asked, “While we urge you to reverse this decision immediately, we would also like to better understand how a decision this consequential for the health of children could be made with no public input or opportunity for public consultation.”

About 50 medical students and -professionals in white coats, gathered at the JFK building to deliver the letter, were joined by immigrant advocates. The Irish International Immigrant Center of Boston leads the legal effort against revocation of medical deferred action, and its director Ronnie Millar updated the gathering on the latest developments. The Chelsea Collaborative, a major immigrant-led community-based organization in our area, was represented by Yessenia Alfaro, Director of Organizing, who addressed the group and expressed her support and appreciation.

Two days later, USCIS announced that medical deferred action applications would again be accepted, reversing their previous statements. This announcement was a win for the nursing and medical professionals around the country who stood up for patients. But for the affected families, it is not the end of their fear. Their applications are processed one by one, and just as family separations at the border have continued despite a retraction of the official policy, USCIS may now deny these applications out of public view.

Still, it was a step in the right direction. A cause to contemplate the chant Yessenia started – When we fight, we win!

Julia Koehler 

Rebecca Webb

Denise Zwahlen

Judy Goldberger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *