My family moved to Concord in 2018, just before having our two children in 2019 and 2021. We spent time together discussing the warrant and issues at hand, especially those related to the school system, eager and excited to participate in shaping our community.
Unable to secure a babysitter, when Sunday came we decided I would attend Town Meeting with our 3-year-old while our 1-year-old napped at home with my husband. At Town Meeting we checked out the babysitting offered by the town; while a nice gesture and helpful for older children, it was not practical to leave my young son for many hours with strangers in an open gym without direction. He wanted to stay with me. As the hours passed and discussions went on he had enough and I had to leave without casting my vote on Article 17 and many others. We were happy the school budget ultimately passed, however, I felt sad, disappointed and defeated that our family could not participate this year. For these same reasons, it’s likely we won’t be able to (fully) participate for several years to come.
Concord prides itself on its past of revolution and democracy. On being inclusive and progressive. It is time to think about applying those ideals to Town Meeting. Parents, the elderly, disabled, folks working weekends, etc. are excluded from the process. We need to allow for mail in ballots or, even better, digital ones. In 2023 requiring folks from all walks of life to participate yet forcing them to join a meeting for many hours across multiple days is a relic that needs to be retired. I hope the town and leadership can think more inclusively and help make Concord more democratic in the years to come.
Hunters Ridge Road