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For 12th Suffolk hopefuls, campaigning a moveable mode

By Katie Trojano

Dorchester Reporter

Fluker-Oakley, a former teacher and public defender in the Boston Municipal and Chelsea District Courts, said campaigning has “changed drastically in the last three months. What’s been really great is that we’re still running a strong grassroots campaign even during this environment, particularly with calling voters and our organizing outreach is all being done remotely.”

She notched an endorsement last week from state Rep. Chyna Tyler of Roxbury. She has also won support from Sunrise Boston, a progressive group that is focused on “climate change through political action.”

Constituent engagement has been very much about conversations concerning systemic racism, the economy, and supporting health care workers, said Fluker-Oakley. “People are talking about racial justice and police reform, tackling systemic issues of racism and inequities, supporting our frontline workers and working with small businesses to ensure equitable access to economic recovery in the midst of this pandemic,” she told the Reporter.

The pandemic has highlighted racial health and housing disparities, which Fluker-Oakley said constituents are eager to address. “People really want to talk about getting to the root of the racial health disparities we’ve seen in Boston, particularly with people of color being disproportionately affected by COVID,” she said, adding that families have struggled with remote learning, and are anxious about childcare options and school re-openings. 

“Parents and grandparents have struggled with distant learning and schools being closed throughout this pandemic. They’re very anxious and wanting to know if and when their kids will be back to school in September,” she said. “As a former teacher and someone who ran an education nonprofit that’s deeply engaged in schools, I definitely understand the stress of waiting to see what schools will do.” 

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