Thousands March Against Vaccine Mandates

Boston Mayor's vaccine mandate deadline drives First Responders, City Employees, Local Business Leaders, and frustrated residents to protest.

January 17, 2022 8:22 AM EST

BOSTON, Jan. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Currently, City employees are able to provide negative COVID-19 tests in lieu of getting vaccinated. As of January 24, any City employee who has not been granted an exemption must receive one vaccine dose and a second additional shot or risk losing their jobs.

Over 2000 people gathered Saturday at Justine Mee Liff Park braving frigid single-digit temperatures and proceeded to march through Newbury and Boylston Streets. Protesters were calling on the Mayor of Boston to end vaccine mandates that lead to job losses, discrimination, and a loss of educational opportunities.  "The draconian imposing of mandates without regard to a person's unique situation, condition or beliefs is more than just discriminatory – it is brutally damaging," said Candice Edwards, one the organizers of the march.

Among the crowd were many Boston City employees who are being threatened with termination for not adhering to the new mandates. Boston Marathon hero and Police Sergeant Shana Cottone is one of those facing termination. A 14-year veteran Boston police officer, Sergeant Cottone has been placed on leave and was forced to surrender her gun and badge last Saturday for expressing her opposition to the mandates.

"People are standing up and making their voices heard," said Sergeant Cottone, President of Boston First Responders United. "We're standing up for one another and for workers' rights and civil rights. Tyranny is here on our doorstep and if we do not act now, in concert with ALL city workers, then we are sealing our own fate."

"This 'passport' mandate will have a tremendous negative impact, not only on our civil rights, but also socially and economically," said Attorney Ryan P. McLane, of McLane & McLane, LLC.

Faced with staffing shortages for essential emergency services as well as devastating economic implications for them and their families, the protest included many Boston City workers and emergency services personnel. "I've already lost my position as an EMT instructor because of the mandates. Next week I risk losing my entire career," said Liz Machado, Boston EMS Paramedic.

Local business owners like Jason Dunton, owner of UFC Gym Boston marched to let the City know about impacts on businesses still struggling to recover.  "Complying would force me to exclude 30% of my member base. I would have to close," said Dunton. 

Boston parents with concerns over lost educational opportunities and long-term impacts on essential child development joined to oppose vaccine restrictions including Alicia Mueller, mother of two and Administrator of Massachusetts Medical Freedom Homeschoolers.

"As the current Massachusetts law stands," said Mueller, "public & private schools are required to accept religious exemptions for entry into education. While those enrolled in traditional schooling have access to extracurricular activities such as art, music & physical education, homeschooling families rely on public accommodations to match these resources. Mayor Wu has made no acceptation for religious accommodations in her new B-together policy requiring vaccine passports for entry into many of the places, such as aquariums, museums, and concert halls that homeschooling families rely on in order to provide a well rounded education for their children."

"As a Registered Nurse, I have witnessed several cases of adverse events following vaccination. Medicine is not one size fits all, and I strongly disagree with any vaccine mandates," said Maren Brown, RN.

The event was organized by Massachusetts Says NO, a grassroots collaborative of other Massachusetts organizations all fighting the same issue: Government overreach on vaccination.   

Contact:     Candice Edwards 508.769.0412 [email protected]

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SOURCE Massachusetts Says NO

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