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Councilor FitzGerald Delivers His Maiden Speech

Councilor FitzGerald offered his first hearing order to discuss the current trauma response resources in the City of Boston.

“We have all heard the phrase ‘hurt people hurt people,’ and so it is imperative we take it upon ourselves as a City to be there to stop that cycle,” said Councilor FitzGerald during his maiden speech.

This week, standing before his family, friends and colleagues, Councilor FitzGerald offered his first hearing order to discuss the current trauma response resources in the City of Boston and the potential for expansion.

According to the hearing order, in 2023, there were a total of 144 shootings and 37 homicides across the City of Boston, with the first murder of 2024 occurring in Dorchester on the first of this year.

When Councilor FitzGerald first began campaigning this past year, he spoke of the importance of keeping families in Boston, and that when the infrastructure for a city is built around families and their needs, it is to the benefit of all residents in that city.  That infrastructure involves housing, schools, and jobs, among others. “But all of these cannot exist without one overlying principle,” said Councilor FitzGerald. That principle is that we feel safe in these spaces. He continued, “To keep families in Boston, an individual's mental health around these matters must be prioritized, and safety is our top priority.”

The presence of violence can generate long term neighborhood trauma across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston among individuals and communities of all demographic groups. Unresolved trauma can leave both victims and witnesses with long-term negative impacts, including substance abuse, mental health issues, employment or educational difficulties, and the committing of further crime and violence.

Councilor FitzGerald’s hearing order touched on trauma response resources, such as trauma-informed care, which uses counseling and other reflection centered healing and the Boston Public Health Commission’s Neighborhood Trauma Team Network, a 24/7 support hotline for residents dealing with trauma.

Finding effective trauma coping resources can be difficult and many individuals coping with these issues do not know where to turn and what resources are available to them. “We as a City need to do better in providing our constituents with these support systems and not rely solely on non-profits and other entities in which we cannot have our own oversight and accountability. My hope is that with this hearing, we can shed light on the work of the services we are offering and lend more support to the efforts of our hard-working city workers and esteemed members of the Boston Public Health Commission that tackle these issues on a daily basis,” said Councilor FitzGerald.

The hearing order was assigned to the Committee on Public Health.

Listen to Councilor FitzGerald’s maiden speech.

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