My name is Joel Richards - I am a public school teacher, first-generation American, and a proud union organizer. My wife, Madeligne, and I have made a home in Dorchester where we raise our two sons, Joel Caleb and Johan Sebastian.
As a teacher in Boston Public Schools, I’ve seen time and again how our city fails our youth. I could not stand by and let my students and coworkers go unsupported, so I became active in my union, organizing with my fellow educators. Together we fought for smaller class sizes, increased funding, more teachers of color, and a safe learning environment for all. After years working shoulder to shoulder with my fellow teachers, I was asked to be Regional Representative for the Boston Teachers Union.
After 13 years as a public school teacher, and as a Black man in America, I personally understand how our systems put down our Black and POC youth. Determined to uplift my students, I became Chair of “Black Lives Matter at School”. As Chair I organized to break down the school to prison pipeline by pushing for restorative justice practices and demanding Counselors not Cops.
Outside my work, I spend my weekends traveling Boston delivering sermons across congregations. I dedicate getting to know the people and the families in our churches. What I have learned is that no matter the congregation, our communities are connected by the values of racial justice, uplifting those in need, and the desire for our neighbors to live safe and dignified lives.
In the wake of COVID, our community has collectively felt the pain of watching small businesses that have been part of the city for generations shut their doors for good. As the former Chair and active member of Fields Corner Main Street, I am in constant communication with small business owners and workers to best support them through this hardship. Small businesses now more than ever need our city’s support to stay open, and need leaders in our government to protect them from being pushed out by big businesses gentrifying our community. Our small businesses hold together the vibrant culture of each neighborhood, and as a city we need to do everything to preserve what makes us special.
I’m running for City Council because I see our community surviving and I know together we can do More for District 4!