Today, some of Gloucester’s youth will be peacefully protesting at the Rotary and tomorrow at the Boulevard. To those who will participate in these peaceful protests, to the youth of Cape Ann, and to Cape Ann residents of all ages, I would like to say the following:
After watching the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, it is natural to feel outrage. I believe that the people on Cape Ann, as well as Massachusetts and the nation, are outraged and horrified by this heinous event. The murder of an African-American man, recorded for all to see, while three officers stood by complacently, is unacceptable, un-American, and unjust. As Americans, we are better than this!
Righteous indignation is well-placed in response to any type of inequality, especially racial inequality.
To my constituents, I stand with you and will continue to work with my colleagues, especially those in black and brown communities, in demanding an end to police brutality, racial inequality, and inherent bias whether in the criminal justice system, health care, housing, education, or economic inequities.
The last few months have been very difficult for all of us. Some of us have experienced:
- the loss of a loved one,
- the inability to console a loved one in the hospital,
- the pain and suffering of actually being afflicted by coronavirus itself, and/or other diseases like cancer, which did not go away because this virus entered our new reality.
Some have found themselves unemployed for the first time in their lives or about to lose a business that they have spent a life time building.
And yet, I can’t imagine what the experience has been like in the past few months for African-Americans hearing day in and day out during this pandemic, listening and watching news stations reporting:
- African-Americans are more likely to be affected by coronavirus due to long standing inequities in health care;
- African-Americans are more likely to be affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus because of generations of economic injustice;
- The murder of Ahmaud Arbery recorded on a camera phone video by armed white men in Georgia;
- The murder of Breonna Taylor in her home in Louisville by police officers conducting a “no-knock” raid, AND…
- The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer kneeling on his neck for nine minutes while three additional offices stood by.
The expression of outrage in the form of non-violent, peaceful protest is powerful and necessary. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi together taught us the value of remaining centered and focused on not allowing ourselves to disengage from the maintenance of the value of human dignity, compassion, and love.
Equally as important and necessary is the hard work of diligently working through the process.
The day to day struggle of working for racial justice: studying the legal system, understanding how it works, its foundation, and then being able to design and amend it for legal justice and equity.
The day to day grind of working for economic progress: studying the economic process, understanding it, and then being able to implement it for economic equality and success.
The day to day labor of understanding our health care system: its benefits and its shortcomings, how it works, its functions and its value, and reforming it to better serve all and bringing health equity to all.
The protesting voices, the peaceful, non-violent demonstrations, and the belief in a more perfect union cannot stop today, tomorrow or next week. We must keep at it. We must not be distracted in our pursuit and we must WORK for equality each and every day.