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Lost Somerville. Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.
Lost Somerville. Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.

Race and Social Justice Talk, Hip Hop Festival and More!


Ribbon cutting this Wednesday for five new condos in Union Square



Talk About Race and Social Justice

The City of Somerville’s Racial and Social Justice Department invites the community to the first in a series of monthly virtual forums on Thursday, Aug. 18, at 6 p.m.

“The RSJ Department wants to ensure that the community has access and opportunities in various ways to be informed and engage with the department and its initiatives,” said RSJ Department Director Denise Molina Capers.

Formed in 2021, the RSJ Department is working on a number of initiatives related to racial and social justice including reimagining policing and public safety, hosting conversations with neighborhoods affected by increased gun violence, and increasing support for City commissions. As this work continues, there will be many opportunities for the public to be involved. Updates about the RSJ Department’s work and engagement opportunities will be posted at

“The RSJ Department staff have very quickly started to work on big, complex issues in our community and I encourage residents to take this chance to meet them and learn about what they have been doing,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “As we work together on issues like tackling systemic racism and other forms of oppression, reimagining policing and public safety, and creating a more equitable city, it will be important to have all voices at the table.”

Pre-register online or call 311 to get call-in information. Interpretation into Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Nepali, Mandarin, and American Sign Language will be provided.


Hip Hop Festival Coming to Union Square

Support your local hip hop artists. The eighth annual Evolution of Hip Hop Festival will take place this Saturday, Aug. 20 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. (rain date Aug. 21) in Union Square Plaza.

This Arts Union event will feature rappers, singers, spoken word poets, dancers, and visual artists from Somerville and surrounding cities. This showcase of hip hop music, dance and culture will include live art, interactive activities, craft vendors and local community groups.

This family-friendly event is produced by ArtsUnion in partnership with Wat’s Da Wurd & Mass Movements. Started in 2005, ArtsUnion is an initiative to enhance the cultural economic development of Union Square.

The performance lineup and complete information will be online soon.


Get Ready to Vote

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the State Primary election will narrow the field for U.S. Representative, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Governor’s Council, State Senator, State Representative, District Attorney, and Sheriff.

The deadline to register for the primary is Saturday, Aug. 27. You can register one of three ways: online, in person at City Hall (93 Highland Ave.), or by calling the Elections Department (617-625-6600, ext. 4200) and requesting a voter registration form. You can also call 311 (617-666-3311) and an operator will connect you to Elections.

Registered voters can vote early in person or by mail. Early Voting will take place at City Hall from Saturday, Aug. 27, through Friday, Sept. 2. Visit the Election Department website to see the full schedule and other details.

Applications to vote by mail must be received (not postmarked) by the Somerville Elections Department by 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29. Download an application from, pick one up in the Elections Office at City Hall, or request one to be mailed to you by calling Elections at 617-625-6600, ext. 4200.

Eligible voters who submit valid applications will receive their ballot in the mail. Ballots must be completed, signed, sealed, and received by the city no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Voters can check the status of their ballot on the state’s website.

You can return your application and ballot by mail, or at one of the drop boxes in the following locations: City Hall concourse (93 Highland Ave.); East Somerville Community School (across from 68 Glen St.); in front of the Argenziano School (290 Washington St.); in front of the Somerville Community Baptist Church (31 College Ave.); or in front of the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powder House Blvd.).

Completed applications can be emailed to, but ballots cannot be returned by email.

For all information about voting in Somerville, go to

Photo credit: Lost Somerville. Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.

This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

All Somerville Wire articles may be republished by community news outlets free of charge with permission and by larger commercial news outlets for a fee. Republication requests and all other inquiries should be directed to Somerville Wire articles are also syndicated by BINJ’s MassWire state news service at


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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

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