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City Council Remembers Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao

Councilor Breadon opened this week’s Council meeting with a presentation and resolution supporting the naming of the Children’s Room in the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library as “JaiJai’s Room” in memory of Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao.

In 1988, the Friends of the Faneuil Branch Library group was formed in response to the closing of the library due to budget cuts. Library supporters of all ages mobilized the community to raise funds in order to keep the library open as a “reading room” until operating funds were eventually reinstated.

In 2009 and 2010, the library was again threatened by budget cuts when 30 employees were laid off and the Boston Public Library (BPL) and Mayor Menino proposed closing four BPL branches.

The Friends of the Faneuil Hall Library Group started a “Save Our Library Campaign.” An integral part of the campaign has been Maria Rodrigues and the Rodrigues Rao family. At just 8-years old, Jairam Miguel Rodrigues Rao was an activist during the height of the campaign to save the library. His passion for justice grew as he developed into an environmental activist.

He played drums and guitar, was an avid woodworker, loved the outdoors, and was deeply involved with his high school’s Junior Classical League. He was a Field Team Member of Branching Out, a career development and educational program hosted by the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, where he contributed to the stewardship of the National Park System in the Northeast.

A member of Youth on Board and the Boston Student Advisory Council’s Climate Justice Team, Jairam provided powerful testimony at a Boston City Council hearing in March 2019 on the urgent policy changes needed to address climate change while centering young people in the climate justice movement.

A student of Boston Public Schools, Jairam graduated from Boston Latin School in June 2019 and was headed to Boston University to pursue a degree in Environmental Sciences.

In July 2019, Jairam’s life was tragically cut short during a family trip in Brazil while pursuing his passion for adventure and rock climbing. Jairam lived every day as if it were his last, fighting urgently against climate change and environmental degradation, dedicating his life to making the world a better place, while touching the lives and hearts of many.

The Council adopted the resolution offered by Councilor Breadon, supporting the naming of the Children’s Room in the Faneuil Branch of the Boston Public Library as “JaiJai’s Room” in Jairam’s memory.

Watch Jairam’s testimony during the Council’s hearing held in March 2019.

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