Representing ALL of our community

Ashawn understands what it's like to struggle and because of that he knows the value of having a strong community! Ashawn's story starts off like a lot of others here in Dorchester, with his childhood. His Father came from the Dominican Republic and his Mother was raised right here in Boston being of Haitian descent. At a very young age his father was deported due to a drug bust, and soon after his mother's presence began to fade because she was addicted to drugs. So his grandmother stepped in and raised him. 

His grandmother worked hard to provide for him and his siblings by working as a lunch monitor at the Lee School on Talbot Ave. When he was 8 years old she lost her job due to budget cuts and it became hard for her to provide for them. She was barely able to put food on the table and at times she wouldn't eat just to make sure they could. Eventually the state got involved, and Ashawn and his twin sister Ashanti ended up being taken by the Department of Children and Family Services. 

For a while they bounced from house to house, but were eventually adopted by the Small family. There were many times they almost gave up, but they never did and that kept Ashawn going. 


When Ashawn was 11 he realized that things won't change unless you work to change them yourself. After this realization he began becoming involved in political organizations, pushing for policies as an advocate, working in politics and taking leadership roles.


Political Involvement:

  • Massachusetts Young Dems, Massachusetts High School Dems and Student Voice

  • Democratic Socialists



  • Pushing for Gun Violence Prevention in Boston

  • Advocating for Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley’s proposed legislation to lower the mandatory minimum voting age in federal elections, with the National Youth Rights Association.

Experience in politics:

  • worked as an organizer with Elizabeth Warren.

  • worked on the Mayors Youth Council as the Youth Arts & Culture Director.

  • volunteered for numerous candidates including Boston City Councilor, Julia Mejia, and United States Senator Ed Markey.

Leadership roles:  

  • Youth Government, United States (MA) Senator-Elect

  • Vice President for the National Youth Rights Association

After his grandmother passed, Ashawn remembered something she said when he was young, "You have a special calling in this life." With these words he developed the drive to fight for change by running for city council in his community of District 3. Ashawn will work to uplift, empower and bring unity to our neighborhood!




Early Education & Adult Education

Will work to expand programs from pre-k, and early childhood educational programs to continuing adult education and vocational/trade initiatives. Equitably funded education should be a right, and accessible for everyone, throughout their lifetime. 

Education Funding

Support sharing school fundraising throughout Boston Public Schools for amounts raised at individual schools that are over $10,000. I also support a foundation budget for every school that would ensure a baseline of funding, with additional funding added, based on individual student needs. Will advocate for investments in school buildings and municipal city WI-FI

Access for All students

Will advocate for more dual language instruction at BPS and to hire more school staff that are able to speak in student’s native languages. Would push for schools to minimize substantially separate classroom placements, and fully fund, and staff inclusion classrooms.

Community Representation

Support an Elected School Committee including a voting student member.


Funding Skill Development Programs

Will prioritize investments in vocational and technical training programs for youth, including urban farming. Will work to increase access to meaningful summer and year round jobs, including expansion of the "Mayor's Mural Crew," and ensure fair job-market competition. 

Apprenticeship Programs

Support apprenticeship programs for city jobs that would build toward full-time jobs at graduation. Possible departments would include the Parks Department, Public Works, and Inspection Services. Jobs would include park staff, driving jobs, office staff, and building maintenance. This direction would ensure that more city jobs are filled by current residents as well as offering youth job training.

Civic Engagement

Support lowering the voting age for municipal elections to 16, to offer a voice to students who already have significant political, environmental, and financial investment in our city. 

Increasing Liquor Licenses in the City

Will propose a city policy to allow one liquor license to be broken into two licences, and for the original owner to be able to sell one of the licenses to a small business owner and also keep one. This would bring in money for business owners and also make it easier for small businesses to buy liquor licences. I support City Councilor Lydia Edward’s focus on offering new licenses to minority businesses.

Supporting Small Businesses

Will work to include training and support for business cooperatives. Will advocate for free permitting for pushcarts, food trucks and tents for the first year of business. Will assist under represented business owners in joining the database for city contracts and work to make it possible for them to automatically place bids. 


Flexibility in Zoning

Will propose more flexibility in zoning, that would reduce the joint costs of housing and commercial space for business owners.  I would have a city council hearing to reevaluate the percentage of commercial space and living space that is needed in the city.


Funding Skill Development Programs

Will strongly support skill development and job training programs focusing on STEM,  including access to internships. ESL courses would be prioritized as well. 

Local Hiring Initiatives

Will work for a requirement that new businesses in our District have at least 50% of their employees be from Distict 3 to be eligible for economic development funds.

Supporting Work from Home 

Will advocate that all Boston employers will allow all of their workers that can work from home and wish to, job protection to make this choice. This should remain a viable option for disabled workers, parents and others who prefer it, moving forward.

Increase Access to City Jobs and Contracts 

Will work to ensure that groups that are currently under represented, will have preference for new positions and city contracts, including offering  pipelines through the career development offices of state and community colleges, residing in Boston

Protecting Immigrants

Boston’s status as a sanctuary city needs our vigilant support so that immigrants will not be deported, and will remain protected under DACA. Will work with community groups to support this work including with the Muslim Justice League

Municipal I.D.

Will advocate for the implementation of a municipal I.D. This will help Immigrants feel safe in their home. A municipal I.D will also be beneficial to students.

Defunding the Police

Support defunding areas of the police budget that would be better spent on violence prevention, mental health/addiction services, and community investments including housing, healthcare, and education. Advocate defunding police overtime, the helicopter budget, as well as contracts with Boston Public Schools, and the federal government. Also support freezes in areas like police transportation, and new hires. In addition, will push for the following municipal changes:

  • Police working special details like community marches and parades would wear body cams, and that footage would be reported within 24 hours.
  • Less than lethal weapons would be in use by the police and the use of pepper spray and rubber bullets would be abolished in Boston. 

  • Creation of a civilian-led police review board, with subpoena power for police brutality and intentional escalation. 

  • Training that shares clear guidelines against escalation tactics and police brutality that would be cause for termination of employment and losing pensions.

  • Ending the BPD gang database. 

  • Community policing where police are residents in the particular areas that they are allocated, and would partner with their neighbors so that they can best promote peace in their communities.


Quality of Life

Will enhance quality of life through better connections to affordable housing, health care and employment, including advocating that all city jobs are shared through the Boston Age Strong Commission.


Civic engagement must be accessible for mobility access, as well as through digital access. This includes providing a stenographic record for city council meetings for those who are hard of hearing and/or have audio processing challenges. Also accessibility needs to extend to mobility on city streets, in transportation, and in competitive employment.


Would share information about age related benefits, including that that residents age 60 or older can take at least three credits per semester at any state-supported school in Massachusetts and receive free tuition.


Rent Control 

Support rent control to help keep our district affordable, and a cap on the yearly raise of rent for tenants at 3%. To have this option available in Boston, I support Massachusetts Bills H 1316 and H 3924.

More Affordable Housing Options

Will advocate for more mixed income cooperatives as homes, artist studios, and for live/work uses. Will support tiny houses, and rooming houses. Also will push developers to build more large units for both families and college students. 


Development With Out Displacement 

Support tenants having the right to first refusal to purchase a property when it is for sale, or partner with a Community Land Trust.

Make the T Free for Students & the Elderly 

I would prioritize making the T free for our students and elderly residents. I would support a free T for all. 

Additional Routes 

Will push for the additional bus routes that District 3 needs, for the entire neighborhood to have equitable access to public transportation. To make the Fairmount line more accessible, I will advocate for the T to offer hourly service.

Encouraging Bike Travel

Will advocate to increase the number of bike lanes and provide funding for low income residents to purchase bicycle helmets and bicycles. 

Service the Buses 

Will advocate for an increase in the times that the buses are serviced in our district for regular cleanings and repair.

Parks & Community Spaces 

Through safe and beautiful outdoor spaces we will connect with our community and support families. I will advocate that communities with the least green space will have priority for park funding.


Urban Farming

I will also push for creating sustainable urban farming that will protect our community, and position our district to thrive in the 21st century economy.

Solar Panel Funding and Zoning Help

Will work to secure subsides to assist residents in installing solar panels or windmills on their property. Will also support residents with the zoning approval process to achieve these goals.

Banning Single Use Plastics 

Support banning single use plastics and educating residents on how to recycle. 


Safe Injection Sites & Safe Disposal Sites

Will work to create more safe injection sites to reduce risks and overdoses. Also will prioritize creating more safe disposal sites and have Drug Take-Back Days by partnering with the DEA. In addition, I will work with AHOPE to implement clean syringe vending machines.

Reduce Supply and Reduce Criminalization 

Work with law enforcement to target dealers, and not addicts. Will advocate for the implementation of the LEAD program as an alternative to arrest. Will also advocate for Drug Courts to be implemented in Boston. 

Prevention Through Education

Will educate parents about the symptoms of adolescent drug use and advocate for education at school. 

Destroying Stigma 

We must work together as a community to normalize talking about addiction and treatments for it. This will also encourage parents to educate their children about the danger of opioids. 

Mental Health

Will destigmatize care for mental health and trauma, and support restorative healing practices, including conflict resolution, and community building. This would include creating a mental health awareness program to teach parents how to identify signs of a mental health issue with their children. In addition will advocate that city funding for healthcare provide subsidies for more self care options.

Equal Access to Medical Care

Looking to San Francisco and Los Angeles as an example, I will work with other councilors and local organizations to develop a program that will provide medical insurance for low income residents of the city regardless of citizenship and immigration status. This will save lives and help our community prosper. 

Disability Justice

Will advocate that community based services become more accessible and better funded so that institutions and nursing homes are not the only viable option. Also will oppose care rationing based on age, disability and medical conditions.


Our city office will prioritize supporting residents in their right to a safe home and workplace. This will include providing access to legal help, safe shelter, and developing financial plans.

Boston is our home and our family. Together we can create and build a healthier, safer, and more vibrant community here in District 3 and locally.


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Paid for by Committee to Elect Ashawn Dabney-Small

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