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Board of Alderman passes ordinance

NASHUA – While some members of the Board of Aldermen already refer to themselves as “Alderwoman,” recently passed legislation officially provides this option for members to choose how they would like to be referred to as.

“I brought this forward to really start a discussion in this city about what we can do to start making things more equal,” Alderman-at-Large Ben Clemons said.

Now that the amended version of Ordinance 20-005 has been approved, members of the board may choose to be referred to as Alderman, Alderwoman or Alderperson – providing inclusive options for those who identify as male, female or nonbinary. The amendment strikes the last sentence of the original ordinance, which read, “Members of the Board of Aldermen may choose to be referred to as Alderman, Alderwoman, or Alderperson. Whenever possible, members of the Board of Aldermen will be known collectively as Alderpersons.”

By striking the last sentence, the ordinance now reads, “Members of the Board of Aldermen may choose to be referred to as Alderman, Alderwoman, or Alderperson.”

“I appreciate the perspectives of everyone on this board, but I would like to remind people that the board didn’t always look like this,” Alderwoman-at-Large Shoshanna Kelly said. “One of the things I talk about when I talk about our board is how proud I am that we are a true representation of our city. We have seven women, we have four or five people under age 40, we have two people of color. The board didn’t always look like this, and there is a reason why my sign said Alderwoman, because if there is a little girl in Nashua who wants to be on our board, I want her to know that she can be. So, it’s not just a name.”

While some members of the board did not feel legislation was needed to refer to members in such a way, the ordinance was ultimately declared duly adopted during the March 10 Board of Aldermen meeting.

“I think whatever gymnastics we go through to justify continuing to do things the way they always are, flies in the face of progress,” Alderman Tom Lopez said. “I think this does no harm. It just enables and empowers somebody to feel a little bit more welcome, and I would argue that if it makes someone feel more welcome than it is needed.”

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.

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