Meet Louise Enoch
Q: Why did you get involved with advocating for the HRC?
I’ve always cared about equality and human rights. Growing up, I decided to work in whatever small ways I could toward creating a better world.
My husband and I moved to Watertown in 1985. Over the years, I noticed the town’s demographics were changing. I wanted everyone to feel welcome and safe in our community.
When I learned that an attempt to create a Human Rights Commission had failed some years back, I felt this didn’t send the right kind of message about Watertown’s priorities.
So following the murder of George Floyd in 2019, I decided to educate myself and others about what an HRC could do to help all our residents feel safe and respected. It was a busy time!
I began attending meetings of the MA Human Rights Coalition (MAHRC) to learn about how HRCs function and what they actually do.
I organized a panel that included HRC Commissioners from Belmont, Lexington, and Melrose, sponsored by the Library and Watertown Community for Black Lives.
I was invited to speak on HRCs by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment.
During the last Charter Review process, I joined a group that was interested in seeing an HRC be part of the new charter, and helped to write the request. The Charter Commission included the establishment of an HRC in the proposed new charter, which was passed during the 2021 general election.
Given the community’s strong endorsement of establishing an HRC by ordinance, I worked with a group of residents for over a year on a set of recommendations that was sent to the Rules & Ordinances Committee of the City Council. I was delighted when the proposed Ordinance passed in September of this year. It was a long time coming!
Q: What has living in Watertown been like for you?
My husband and I bought a two family house with his sister and her husband in 1985. I thought it would be our “starter” house and that we would move on as many others had done. However, here we are 38 years later!
I have come to love Watertown. It’s in a great location. It has a mix of wonderful people from different countries and economic backgrounds. It has great ethnic foods and public art. I like that it is not The Big City, nor is it The Suburbs. I also love living near the Charles River, with its walking paths.
My daughter, who went to the Watertown Schools, had the opportunity to grow up in the Watertown Children’s Theater, which was wonderful for her as it has been for so many others.
I am very proud to see the ways that Watertown has been moving into the 21st century!
Q: Tell us a bit about your career.
I had a very satisfying career as a clinical social worker. I worked in agencies and private practice. I taught at Simmons and Smith Schools of Social Work. Helping people understand themselves and make better life choices always felt like a privilege.
Q: What is retirement like?
Being retired is also a privilege in its way. I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock and I get to do more of the things that I love! I have been in books groups for many years and recently started a group that reads American history together. I have taken marvelous courses at BOLLI (Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). I lead a Wise Aging group. I continue my commitment to social justice by volunteering with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and I lead walking tours for Boston By Foot.
I have recently started to say I need to retire from my retirement – I am too busy!