As a black man and a public official, with a black wife and two black kids, I can’t help but think about the police violence and brutality, as well as the failure of the state to help communities of color during COVID-19, on both a personal and societal level.
At a time of outrage and heartbreak like this, I turn to voices that capture my feelings and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s voice really spoke to me in the New York Times,
“The convergence of these tragic events — a pandemic disproportionately killing black people, the failure of the state to protect black people and the preying on black people by the police — has confirmed what most of us already know: If we and those who stand with us do not mobilize in our own defense, then no official entity ever will. Young black people must endure the contusions caused by rubber bullets or the acrid burn of tear gas because government has abandoned us. Black Lives Matter only because we will make it so.”
George Floyd’s murder drew attention because his death was captured on video.We know many other black people, who continue to be oppressed, don't make the news.
Firing should not be the worst thing that happens to a police officer who murders someone. Murder is murder. Period. The police need to be held accountable, including the police bystanders who let it happen.
During my time in office, I have fought to provide a voice for the sometimes voiceless in our community- our undocumented neighbors, our black/brown/immigrant business owners facing gentrification, our working class residents. In the upcoming year, Somerville will face a budget shortfall like all major cities in the United States because of COVID-19. I propose we re-evaluate the money we spend on policing and instead redirect part of that budget to provide living wages and jobs to paraprofessionals in our schools, who are largely made up of women of color. That we set-up/fund a civilian oversight board for our police department and invest in programs that build more housing for working class people. I have already submitted a policy resolution for the Mayor, to create a civilian oversight board for our police department. These steps are not enough, but they are a start, a set of priorities.
I want to thank everyone in our community who is playing an active role in the fight against racism, hate and injustice in our society. We must continue to speak out, protest, and organize to make Black Lives Matter.
Your Public Servant,
Always feel free to reach out over email to ask questions/voice concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 508-718-8126.