Lindsay Sabadosa of Northampton Mass has been an activist, an organizer, and an impassioned advocate for women's health, and many other issues for, well, a long time, because she started at 9-years-old! Although the life-long activist never thought that she would run for office, she eventually changed her mind after so many community members told her she should. Now she is a candidate for State Representative in the Massachusetts First Hampshire District.
On her very early start in activism
When I was nine years old I lived in Westfield, Massachusetts and we had a local branch of our library that was a very important place to me. I volunteered there. I spent a lot of time helping set up the arts and crafts that they did every weekend for children in the community. I learned the whole Dewey Decimal System, which is very exciting as a child. It was just this really magical place. The staff was wonderful. They really connected with the children and with community as a whole. And it was a place where people did come together and there weren't a lot of those places in our town. So you can imagine it was fairly devastating when the city decided to close down that branch library because of budget cuts.
So along with my mother, we organized a protest march. People I’ve spoken to when I visit claim it remains the only protest march that has ever happened there. I think someone should change that soon. But we were one of the first organizers in town and so we organized the march from through the city to the main branch of the library where we were met by the mayor. The march was really just to say cutting the budget for a place in the community that is important to people is really not acceptable. And it was scary because I was nine and I had to go up to the mayor and in some way, and I don't remember what I said, but in some way try to verbalize the fact that budgets are values and he was not representing the values of the community by the budget cuts that he was selecting.
So I actually got to sit down with the mayor after that, he invited me to his offices. It was very, very intimidating as a child to go into the mayor's office and talk about budgets. But I went and I expressed my views and he told me that I was wrong basically, and that they were going to have to cut the library anyway so we didn't win the fight. But it definitely taught me that whether you win or lose, it is still absolutely important to speak up and to make sure that another viewpoint is being heard. Because if we hadn’t been heard, if we hadn't organized that march, he wouldn't have known that he was cutting something essential to the community. Westfield is a big place, so the branch library was on the north side of town, but all of the sort of business district is on the other side. He wasn't aware of what was happening in this sort of other place in town where we really didn't have a spot to go besides the library. So I'm grateful that I had the courage to stand up and tell him and I'm grateful for that experience of learning that you always, always, always stand up for what you believe in and that's something that I have carried with me for the rest of my life.
I think maybe this is coming through a little bit in this conversation, I was definitely someone who loves to debate."