In The People's Blog, Updates from Jo

Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run in Georgia when he was murdered.

Breonna Taylor was shot six times by the police in the middle of the night in her own home.

George Floyd was asphyxiated by a police officer outside a Minnesota grocery store and heard to say “I’m going to die” before losing consciousness.

Christian Cooper, birdwatching in New York City’s Central Park, was the subject of a racist act by a dog walker who was herself in violation of park rules.

Mr. Arbery, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Floyd, and Mr. Cooper are all people of color. All their murderers/attackers are white.

There is an infinite list of horrors. Past and present. Every week new racist acts demand our attention.

And every week we are called to respond.

Thank you to constituents who have been writing in, asking for what we can do as individuals and at the state level.

The answer is: A lot.

As individuals, we can speak up. Leverage who we are. Break the silence. Share our anger and sorrow. Interrupt racist and micro-aggressive acts at every turn. Join powerful grassroots efforts. Fight to dismantle white supremacy.

Big love to LeBron James and the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown who unflinchingly called out George Floyd’s murder immediately.

We can all use our voices.

As a state, we also can and must proactively tackle racism in our midst.

I’ve said this already too many times: COVID-19 has exposed inequities in our midst across racial and ethnic lines that we already knew existed. For example, Attorney General Maura Healey recently released a brief on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color due in part to the long histories of environmental pollution and poverty.

The Legislature just passed a data equity bill which will track COVID-19 health disparities across race and ethnicity, along with an accountability provision and task force to help ensure that we don’t only see the gross disparities, we address them once and for all. We must hold ourselves fully accountable to following through.

But there’s also a world beyond COVID-19.

So, as the state rebuilds from COVID-19 and moves forward toward equity, we must examine every single bit of state policy and spending through a racial equity lens. We must look at healthcare policy, education funding, environmental policy, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, public transportation infrastructure and access, food security and public benefits, and a whole host of other policy issues. We must look at our funding priorities as a Commonwealth. We have to ask ourselves, will this policy or spending decision help or hurt racial equity? And if the answer is that it hurts, then it isn’t the right policy or decision and it doesn’t deserve to move forward.

Every single action we take from this day forward in the Commonwealth must be in the service of directly addressing and transforming those inequities.

Glad to link arms with you in this work.

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