March Forward Massachusetts, a nonprofit formed by the organizers of the Boston Women’s March For America, announced its first official action as an organization to sponsor Bill S.365, “An Act Restoring Financial Transparency in Presidential Elections,” according to a press release published on Wednesday from March Forward Mass.
The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Michael Barrett, would require any candidates running for office to release their tax returns before being allowed to appear on ballots, according to the release.
Barrett wrote in an email that in the past, voters simply assumed candidates followed unwritten laws like this.
“The 2016 election shattered this confidence,” Barrett wrote. “I hope we can come together to rebuild it.”
Barrett wrote he is excited to have earned the support of March Forward Mass and thinks they will contribute to the bill’s success.
“I’m thrilled March Forward Mass is joining the effort,” Barrett said. “I was at the Women’s March in Boston. Marchers kept the peace and stayed organized amid huge numbers. That incredible spirit will go a long way.”
Yordanos Eyoel, the spokesperson for March Forward Mass, said the organization was in the works and had plans to take action even before the Women’s March.
“We really wanted to be responsive to what the community wanted,” Eyoel said. “We stayed until after the march to figure out the best course of action and based on feedback that we received, it became very clear that having an organization and entity to channel the energy … was the best possible work for us.”
Eyoel said the bill was an important first action for the organization because 25 states across the country are working toward similar legislation.
“Massachusetts will be the first in actually taking this into a bill form,” Eyoel said. “We saw this as a great opportunity. Activism in Massachusetts has continued to lead the country in several ways.”
Several Boston residents said they were please to see activism in Massachusetts did not stop after the Women’s March.
Susan Roberts, 62, of Allston, said founders of movements as powerful as the Women’s March should form larger organizations more often, but worries about keeping participants engaged.
“I’m not sure where all of the more recent activism is going to go,” Roberts said. “I hope that it will go somewhere productive. It’s not clear to me how an organization is going to be able to hold people together in that way for a long period of time which is probably going to be necessary.”
Anthony Lopez, 45, of Brighton, said he tends to follow what his political representatives say but groups like March Forward Mass speak better for the people.
“[Political organizations make] everybody happier,” Lopez said. “Being part of a group would be more effective. I like it.”
Travis Newman, 27, of Brighton, said although marches are fun, an organized and active group of protesters is more effective.
“Sometimes too many different things get going on at the same time and it doesn’t feel like there’s direction and organization,” Newman said. “It’s good that people care and I think just for people to find ways to connect that are positive … and solve issues.”
Newman said protesting is not the only way for concerned citizens to voice opinions.
“If people have good honest conversations with each other, I think that’s the most important thing,” Newman said.