Thank you to the hundreds of you who have written with all manner of racial justice demands, past and present — calling for an end to mass incarceration and to police brutality, raising your voices about the need to physically protest in the wake of recent tragedies across our nation.
This week I’ve been thinking a great deal about the words of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” You have broken the silence with your emails. That’s a powerful first step and yet we all must go further.
My team and I wanted to respond to you as quickly as possible to let you know that we’re grateful you took the time to reach out. We hear you. We know that silence equals violence. And we know that words are not enough in the face of generations of systemic injustice.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of the actions I have taken in recent days with the understanding that so much more is needed — and that we must all sustain our demands and action for racial justice.
In recent days, Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib have reminded us all that historic civil rights protests lasted years and that sustained work and commitment is what’s needed.
In sharing a few links to actions steps, below, I give you my promise to sustain my focus and action for racial justice and equity now and in the days ahead, for as long as I have the honor of serving you in public office.
- This link will take you to a blog post I wrote as the news of George Floyd’s brutal murder broke. In it, I call for an equity agenda for the Commonwealth.
- This link will take you to a Dear Jo column that ran in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on June 8 where I share four recent demands from the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and pledge my support. (The full demands from the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus are here.)
- This link is to a letter I joined requesting no capital bonding funding be allocated for the construction of new prisons or jails.
- This link is to a letter to Governor Charlie Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Public Safety Secretary Thomas Turco, and DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel calling for a ban on police use of pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets during the COVID-19 pandemic to help protestors remain as safe as possible as they exercise their right to assembly.
- And this link is to a statement expressing both outrage and a commitment to joint action from the Franklin County delegation in the wake of a racist incident in Greenfield involving an FRTA driver and a family of color.
Are any of these actions enough? No. Not in the least. As a legislator charged with representing Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district constituents, in the coming weeks and months, I will prioritize legislative solutions to dismantling systemic racism and encourage my legislative colleagues to do the same.
Going forward, let us put all our words and actions to the test of whether they are in the service of racial justice. That’s our charge. Our work together.