Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins hosted the “Women of the Boston City Council” for the Department’s latest Directions for Corrections community forum.
Held at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square, Sheriff Tompkins moderated a lively and informative discussion with City Council President Michelle Wu, At-Large City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Annissa Essaibi-George, and District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell. 

With more than 250 attendees seated for the night’s event, the discussion focused on, among many other items, the need for more affordable housing, dealing with violent trauma, economic development, civic engagement, human trafficking, healthcare, education, public safety and many other issues critical to the citizens of Boston.
Addressing the topic of civic engagement among the younger residents of Boston, Suffolk County and beyond, Councilor Pressley decried the lack of emphasis placed upon students about the role that government plays in the lives of those most affected by its rules and regulations. 

“We pretend that kids turning 18 will spontaneously combust and suddenly care about government,” said Councilor Pressley. “We need civics [in the classroom].”

Echoing her colleague’s sentiments, Councilor Campbell added, “We need everyone engaged because government affects your everyday life.” 

Touching upon the topics of education and economic development, former teacher, current business owner and newest Council member Essaibi-George offered, “We have to stress the importance of improving public education. And, it’s time for teachers to have a seat at the ‘big kids’ table in that discussion.”

Speaking about the role that the Council plays with respect to government as a whole, Council President Wu said that some of the answers to today’s most pressing problems currently exist, if only one knows where to look.

"We do work that the state and federal government can't in this political environment -- the work that needs to get done," said Councilor Wu, before praising some of the city’s successful community organizations. "The best solutions are already out there on the grassroots level." 

Wrapping the evening by thanking the audience for their interest in the forum and the panel of Councilors for their participation, Sheriff Tompkins reinforced the theme of civic responsibility and participation. 

“We get the government that we deserve,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “If you do not participate, then you don’t get to whine about what is happening. If we deserve good government, then let’s make that happen.”