Political dynamics are shifting in Hyde Park and the Savin Hill enclave in Dorchester as the two neighborhoods become more diverse, several community members said.
An analysis of racial and ethnic demographic changes in the constituencies straddling Hyde Park and Savin Hill found that the Asian population, although small, increased by 25.9% for Ward 13 of Savin Hill, Ward 10, while the White population has declined by more than 20% in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, in the politically dominant and Conservative-vote neighborhoods of Readville and Fairmount, the white population has fallen by more than 50% and now represents just over a third of residents.
Stephen McBride, who moved to Savin Hill three years ago and ran for District 3 city council seat in the last election, said the language could be a barrier for large participating Vietnamese and Cape Verdean communities. to politics.
“You have a lot of people who maybe don’t speak English, or who maybe don’t speak English well, and so it’s important to make sure that you can engage with these people in whatever way and in a way they can understand, ”McBride said.
McBride has said he is keen to introduce new voices into political conversations in the future.
“There are people who crave change, who have an appetite for a more progressive political style,” said McBride. The question now, he said, is “How do we get that energy, centralize it, and bring people together to really hold us accountable in two years?” “
During his campaign, McBride said, he focused on engaging the community so that all voices were heard on election day, but he didn’t have many opportunities to engage his opponent. , Frank Baker, the outgoing president who won the vote. McBride said he wanted Baker’s policies to reflect more of the change requested by the people he spoke to.
“I never saw a vision for politics,” McBride said. “I never saw anything substantial to change.”
Mike Szkolka, who has lived in Savin Hill since he was a child, said one of his main goals as president of the Savin Hill Civic Association is to involve people in the neighborhood, so that he understands how it can be difficult to get involved. However, he said he had not seen a political effort to involve less involved community members.
“I would say everyone knows it affects them,” Szkolka said. “I’m not sure anyone has ever made a good pitch to say: It impacts you, you can make changes, you can do things. “
Like Savin Hill, the people of Hyde Park have undergone significant changes. Between 2010 and 2020, the neighborhood’s black population increased by 18.7%, while the white population declined by 17.2%.
State Representative Rob Consalvo, who grew up in Hyde Park, worked in city government and served as a city councilor and now represents the 14th district of Suffolk. He said the neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes over the years.
“This community is much more diverse now,” Consalvo said, “with many voices heard and many people and voices having a seat at the table.”
Consalvo said civic and political engagement in Hyde Park is immense and the neighborhood generally has high voter turnout. As the population changes, Consalvo said it is adjusting its policies to meet the needs of the community.
“All these investments – the racial justice forum, the very first celebration of June 15, adviser [Ricardo] Arroyo’s efforts, which I applaud, to bring a brand new health center to Hyde Park for the first time – are all driven by the diversity of this community, ”Consalvo said.
Tanisha Sullivan, an elected member of the Ward 18 Democratic Committee, said that as a voter and resident of Hyde Park, she noticed a change in Consalvo’s campaign, especially in the 2020 election. Election topics included housing security and racial fairness, said Sullivan, who she says have been brought into the conversation because of demographic shifts.
“[Consalvo] had to respond to this during the election campaign and had to have a vision and plan for each of the areas that voters clearly identified as areas of concern, ”said Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP.
Jose Masso, a longtime Hyde Park resident and community activist, said the government as a whole was changing its agenda. He said the focus was no longer just “good jobs and good wages”.
“Now it’s ‘all of the above’,” said Masso, producer at WBUR. “We want to make sure that the education system is at the best level for everyone, including children in our communities. We want to make sure that our health care is providing the type of health care that we need. “
For a neighborhood to thrive, Masso said, all sectors of the community – public, private, cultural and nonprofit – must work together. He used the metaphor of a four-legged stool, each leg supporting the community of Hyde Park.
“If one of those legs falls off, the stool will tip over,” Masso said. “They all need to collaborate and be connected to each other. In the same way that you see a stool having a piece of wood that connects the four legs, so they must be seen that way.