Activist Leadership, Rooted in Community.
Quinton Zondervan grew up in Suriname, a South American country covered by the Amazon Rainforest, before immigrating to the U.S. as a teenager. He received a master's in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, where he met his wife Radhika, and settled down in Cambridge permanently in 2004. They raised two children, Jahnavi and Sunil, who attended Cambridge Public Schools. Quinton is proud of his Afro-Caribbean heritage, worked professionally as a software and biotech executive, and has been deeply involved in the community and local nonprofits for years.
Quinton’s Council Record.
In his second term on the council, Quinton chairs the Health & Environment Committee and the Public Safety Committee. The pandemic has exposed the fault lines of injustice and tested our resilience as a community in ways we never imagined. Quinton recognizes that a just recovery includes eradicating the injustices that existed long before the novel coronavirus came along. He has particularly been a leader on climate change, policing, and ending homelessness.
He is a vocal proponent of state-level action on tenant protections and small business relief and stood with Harvard’s janitorial workers against contracted employee layoffs
He provides daily case updates and analysis at: covid.quintonzondervan.org
He led the successful effort to prevent Eversource from putting a 150-foot substation on Fulkerson Street across from KLO
He is working with Cambridge Community Growers to support their call for greater access to food growing space for Black and Brown community members in the city and particularly in the Port
Quinton is a strong supporter of the Green Roofs Petition which is now before the council
The Attorney General struck down Brookline’s fracked gas ban, but Quinton working with the Rocky Mountain Institute and other municipalities on new ways to advance it in 2021
He is exploring ways to finance and create additional affordable homeownership opportunities for first generation homebuyers, undoing a legacy of racist housing policies which denied Black and brown families the opportunity to build generational wealth
He led the effort to reallocate money from the massive police budget towards racial justice initiatives in other departments, in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives call to defund the police
Quinton’s Activist Record.
“create a more sustainable city and to protect the environment for the health and safety of all.”
In 2011 the group was considering disbanding, and recruited Quinton to take the helm instead. Under his tenure the organization initiated many new programs in the city, including a commercial recycling awareness campaign, a rain barrel installation program in partnership with the city, a solar discount program and a tree protection program. In 2017 Green Cambridge hired its first ever Executive Director, and after winning election to city council Quinton resigned as President of the nonprofit. He continues to serve on the board and has greatly diversified its membership and programming.
Green Cambridge has since taken on stewardship of the Alewife reservation through the acquisition of the Friends of Alewife organization, created an urban farm in East Cambridge, taken over the management of the Riverside community garden and is supporting community led urban agriculture and racial justice efforts in the Port.
The task force produced the Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) which was adopted by the city council in 2015. While the city has held up its end of the bargain and is constructed all new municipal buildings net zero since 2018, the private sector has yet to construct a single net zero building, and the first requirements, for small residential construction, which are supposed to kick in next year (2022) are held up at the state in the form of the proposed net zero energy stretch code.
Quinton continues to be a leader in this space and is actively working with the Rocky Mountain Institute and activists across the state to advance building electrification and net zero buildings.
Quinton’s advocacy led the Rossi administration to conduct a Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Cambridge, and in 2015 after the Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) was adopted by City Council, CPAC took on the task of preparing an annual review and report to the council of progress on the NZAP goals.
Unfortunately the rodent infestation continues, and as City Councillor Quinton continues to work with DPW on improvements to our waste management system that will help address this issue.
Quinton has been deeply involved in the community ever since his days as an MIT grad student. Prior to being elected to the City Council in 2017, he focused mostly on climate change, because of the serious and immediate threat it poses to our community. Climate change is a complex issue, and requires many different solutions. People most vulnerable to climate change are generally the people who have the least. It’s also an issue that will be with us for the rest of our lives. Quinton’s patience, persistence, determination, as well as his technical and leadership skills, have helped him be an effective community advocate on this and many other issues.
Quinton’s Professional Record.
Quinton is an engineer, entrepreneur and executive, and has co-founded several companies in the software and biotechnology industries, as well as several climate and environmental non-profits. As a full time City Councillor he no longer works at companies but does volunteer his time on nonprofit boards.
A People-Powered Campaign.
I have pledged not to accept money from real estate developers and lobbyists seeking to influence the decisions that City Councillors make. Too often, the desires of these groups do not reflect the needs of Cambridge residents. I represent the people’s interests, and that means I’m relying on your grassroots contributions and volunteer efforts to fuel this campaign. Please join us!