Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley Joins The Big Cheese Initiative

Congresswoman Pressley visits Boston Latin Academy in advance of the Big Cheese 20th Anniversary celebration

On Wednesday, April 12th, United States Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) visited Boston Latin Academy as part of BPIE’s 20th anniversary Big Cheese Reads campaign. Students in grades 7-12 gathered in BLA’s auditorium to hear Congresswoman Pressley speak, with topics ranging from federal spending, bodily autonomy, and police violence to the importance of young people having a voice and the power of having an adult who believes in you.

Students asked impressive questions about the Congresswoman’s role models, her work to expand funding for education and support services, and how she and other policymakers are working to preserve public education in the face of book bans and the rewriting of curriculum that removes Black and Indigenous history. Check out some of the highlights from Congresswoman Pressley’s visit below.

On youth mental health:

“Trauma is the second pandemic. Young people are experiencing anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation. We know your mental health affects your readiness to learn. We get close to fully funding schools when educators can be educators, and they don’t also have to be social workers.”

On the person who inspires her the most, her mother:

“I was inspired by her resilience and her sacrifice. She said I was born in the month of February because I was destined to make Black history. I was born two months premature, and she says it was because I was ready to get out and get to work.”

On the power of young people:

“It’s important that we see each other’s fights as our own. Whether you’re of voting age or not, I’m your congresswoman, I am accountable to you. We need you to operate with entitlement – you are entitled to quality health care and schools that are fully funded.”

Scenes from Boston Latin Academy