Dear Needham, Dover, and Medfield friends and neighbors,
I share your horror and grief in a flood of emotions as I witness my country sick in body with the COVID-19 virus pandemic, with its greatest impact in Black and Brown communities, and sick in soul with systems and structures of racism and a history of racist acts resulting in suffering and death for individuals in the Black community.
Our emotions and our words are not enough. There is a lot of work we must do as individuals, families, communities and as a Commonwealth. We must make meaningful changes to ensure that Black lives are safe in our communities. Individually that means making an honest self-reflection on how many actions and beliefs enable systemic racism to continue. This is very hard work. I have engaged in a yearlong program with the Massachusetts Institute of Community Health Leadership with the main focus on racism. I was at times shocked, confused, ashamed and grief stricken. I learned a lot and realized that I had still have so much to do to continue to process, learn, lean in and act.
As your State Representative, I will support policies that make meaningful changes to the systems and structures of racism.
I want you to know that I am listening to the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, virtually attending meetings with colleagues in the Caucus, and I support their published plan for state action for reform in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. This plan includes the following four actions:
- Resolve to provide for a “Special Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training” to study and make recommendations concerning the implementation of a statewide Peace Officers Standards and Training system
- Pass H2292 that establishes an Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity to establish guidelines and review for diversity plans for all state agencies
- Pass H1440 that Establishes a commission to study how the systematic presence of institutional racism has created a culture of structural racial inequality which has exacerbated disproportionate minority contact with the criminal justice system
- Adopt clear statutory limits on police use of force, including choke-holds and other tactics known to have deadly consequences, require independent investigation of officer-related deaths, and require data collection and reporting on race, regarding all arrest and police use of force by every department
You can read their full plan here: https://www.mablacklatinocaucus.com/our-work/mbllc-and-other-elected-officials-of-color-call-for-reforms-in-the-wake-of-anti-police-brutality-protests?fbclid=IwAR2vAaYpOpJzf7ImYaTXcI-JEpr5vlX0Bmga9mI2JGwidQ3ZkcsTsUhPH40
I am also anticipating further legislation to be filed by legislators and the executive branch.
Additionally, I was moved by an email from Attorney General Maura Healey in which she shared resources so that even as we act collectively, we continue the work we must do individually and, in our families, and communities. Please click here for a list of Anti-Racism Resources that you can use and share.
I hope that you will continue to stay well and stay strong in these exceedingly difficult days. We must heal our bodies and our souls through our actions.
Yours in service,