Opinion: Progressive Coalition of Amherst Is Empowering a Grassroots Movement for Change 


Three members of the "Slate for Change" address the crowd gathered at an election night event at Ginger Garden on November 7, 2023. L-R, Allegra Clark (council candidate in District 2), Ellisha Walker (incumbent candidate for Councilor at large) and Jennifer Shiao (incumbent candidate for School Committee). Walker and Shiao were re-elected. Photo: Art Keene

The Progressive Coalition of Amherst (PCA) Executive Board extends its gratitude to all candidates and voters who participated in the recent election, especially to our endorsed candidates: Martha Toro, Laura Jane Hunter, Jennifer Shiao, and Bridget Hynes for School Committee, and Ellisha Walker, Allegra Clark, Amber Cano-Martin, and Vince O’Connor for Town Council. These candidates ran on a platform of change and helped amplify uncomfortable but necessary conversations on a variety of issues facing our town. We are grateful for their optimism and hope for our community, and for their commitment to activism and advocacy for the betterment of Amherst. 

PCA is particularly pleased with the victories of three of our endorsed candidates: Incumbents Ellisha Walker and Jennifer Shiao, both women of color, and newly elected, experienced educator Bridget Hynes. 

The voters sent a clear message that the perspectives brought by Councilor Walker, as the youngest member of the town council, as a BIPOC woman, and as a single parent, were important to return to office. She courageously and brilliantly asked difficult questions, challenged entrenched, conventional positions, and raised critical issues in ways that ultimately led to stronger policy outcomes. Likewise, the voters sent a clear message that Jennifer Shiao’s leadership during a tumultuous and painful chapter in Amherst’s history, was valued. Bridget Hynes will bring her strong listening skills, and wealth of experience as an educator to the task of collaborative decision making that will be much needed on this next school committee. 

PCA is delighted that this year’s pool of candidates had greater diversity of lived experience than ever before. They were renters and homeowners, BIPOC and white, LGBTQIA+, and working parents with young children. PCA will continue to advocate for the whole community, and will continue to organize to advance our shared goals of greater equity, social justice, transparency, accountability, inclusion, and community engagement. PCA invites community members to join our work in a shared vision that prioritizes safety, belonging and building an Amherst where all can thrive. 

The PCA Executive Board 
Pat Ononibaku, Deb Neubauer, and Amilcar Shabazz 
Contact: progressivecoalitionamherstma@gmail.com 

Spread the love

1 thought on “Opinion: Progressive Coalition of Amherst Is Empowering a Grassroots Movement for Change 

Leave a Reply

The Amherst Indy welcomes your comment on this article. Comments must be signed with your real, full name & contact information; and must be factual and civil. See the Indy comment policy for more information.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.