Sadly, due to a longstanding travel commitment, I couldn’t make yesterday’s massive counter-demonstration to what turned out to be a handful of racists. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who was there, for your courage and commitment. From the Marathon bombings, to the airport travel-ban demonstrations, to the rally for science, and now: Boston can be very proud to stand against the lunacy of bigotry. The whole world was watching.
And yet, as we’ve been hammering away here, we should not pretend that we’ve gotten things right, and that the problem comes from outside our geographical or political comfort zone. The world we move through every day is shot through with racism, with a history of shutting off opportunity to entire classes of people, in cruel and arbitrary ways. We say we don’t believe in that. We told the whole world. But we’ve inherited a place, our place … that still acts racist. And we let it fester at great human cost.
Jamie Eldridge shows us how we can follow through on yesterday’s energy. If we are as anti-racist as we say, what shall we do in Massachusetts?
After decades of research, data, and media coverage, we know that there are clear steps that can be taken in Massachusetts to address the cruel legacy of racism in the commonwealth. We must sign into law legislation filed by Rep. Byron Rushing and Sens. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Linda Dorcena Forry that prevents racial profiling to guarantee the fair treatment of all residents. We must pass bills filed by Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem and Rep. Evandro Carvalho to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, which have proven ineffective in reducing the number of drug crimes and disproportionately impact communities of color.
Finally, we must pass the Safe Communities Act, filed by myself and Rep. Juana Matias, to protect hardworking families from being caught up in the Trump administration’s sweeping deportation orders. These aggressive immigration enforcement policies are leaving families fearful of accessing critical health care services and domestic violence victims fearful of seeking help. We must make it clear that we do not want to live in a state where local and state enforcement are collaborating with federal ICE agents to target immigrants of color.
Emphasis mine. This is a start, a modest one at that. Let’s be accountable to the things we say we believe.