Article, photos, and information provided by the Asian American Civic Association:
Asian American Civic Association (AACA) hosted the City of Malden’s newly elected Mayor Gary Christenson as part of its Fall 2011 Community Forum series on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 at 12 - 1 p.m. More than 75 attendees crowded into AACA’s fourth-floor conference room to listen to Christenson speaking on “Embracing Diversity in the City of Malden.”
“Mr. Christenson was known for his efforts in connecting with people and embracing different ethnic groups, including the Asian American community,” said Mary Chin, President of the Asian American Civic Association, at the opening remarks. “AACA is also serving people from different cultural backgrounds, and we understand how challenging it is to understand the needs of different communities.”
The forum was conducted in a town hall format – Christenson was given the opportunity to present his points at the beginning to the forum, and the audience was allowed to ask questions afterwards.
Christenson spoke on topics such as diversity – how the city of Malden is now the second most diverse city in the state – and housing – the benefits of buying a home and living in that home in Malden. He was proud of what he had done for embracing diversity in Malden.
“My proudest moment at the campaign is that we had made sure we were welcoming all cultures,” said Christenson.
Christenson also explained his team is currently working on the phone bank project which allows people to access information in their own languages when calling to the government offices.
Councilor Anderson had glowing remarks for Christenson at the forum, stating that Christenson’s landslide victory, over Deborah Fallon who had name recognition, was a testament to Christenson’s ability to communicate and capture the community’s imagination.
“Gary won by winning the majority of the minority votes,” Anderson said.
Christenson went on discussing the five most important features of Malden: the tremendous location which is accessible by the T, being on of the most diverse city in Massachusetts, opening a bike path linking to Metro Boston area, having nearly 30 areas of worshiping and a diversified schooling system.
One of his future goals is to increase the percentage of affordable housing in Malden as 20% of housing in Malden is affordable housing.
“If you dream big and work hard, you can make it in Malden.” Gary said at the end of his speech.
One question asked by the pubic at the forum was whether there currently is, and if not would be, a hotline where Malden residents would be able to voice their concerns regarding the conduct of city officials.
Christenson responded that there is and that the city is currently working on ways to improve its tracking method, so that residents who filed complaints could track their complaint as it went through the government system.
At the conclusion of the forum, which lasted an hour, Christenson was presented a cake, by AACA, in recognition and congratulations of his victory.
About the Asian American Civic Association:
Founded in 1962, Asian American Civic Association (AACA) is a non-profit organization based in Boston Chinatown providing a wide range of services to immigrants and other economically disadvantaged people, including English classes, social services, job training, early childhood education, a bilingual newspaper, and youth initiative for teens. For more information, please visit www.aaca-boston.org.