Black Lives Matter

Jesse Mermell
Jun 3 · 3 min read
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On Sunday, I attended a Black Lives Matter Vigil in Easton

America is on fire. Peaceful protesters outside the White House are hit with tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the way for a Donald Trump photo op. Trump calls governors names and threatens the use of military force against those standing up against injustice.

Our communities are in danger. Our democracy is in danger. Black lives are in danger.

Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and so many before them were murdered. Period. They were murdered because far too many in our society don’t see Black and Brown people as human beings.

Let’s be clear — this is not a new problem. Our country’s history of racism predates its founding. And this racist president weaponizes hate, uses his bully pulpit to lift up bigotry, and encourages violence against protestors.

In my advocacy for policies that will address racial injustices, I will listen to and follow the lead of Black and Brown leaders and individuals who experience racism every day. I’m grateful to the Black and Brown leaders across Massachusetts who have outlined reforms we need to see at the local, state, and federal levels to address police violence and advance racial justice. I will wholeheartedly support and advocate for passage of Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s Resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and excessive use of force.

Here are some of the reforms that I will support:

  • Demilitarize local police.
  • Improve oversight and expand independent investigations.
  • Reassert the Justice Department’s authority to investigate racial profiling, police brutality, violence, and civil rights violations.
  • Increase funding for the Office of Civil Rights.
  • Establish all-civilian review boards for police misconduct — including boards that have real authority.
  • Improve data collection on police-involved shootings and ethics violations.
  • Expand use of body cameras.
  • Increase funding for law enforcement training — including implicit bias training — and provide incentives for hiring a diverse force.
  • End stop-and-frisk and “broken windows” policing.

Additionally, there are actions that all we all can take — but especially white people — to help, right here and right now, in our own communities. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Donate to the organizations that are on the ground in our communities providing assistance to those who are protesting racism and police brutality. You can donate to the Massachusetts Bail Fund here.
  • Support Black owned businesses.
  • Educate yourself and other white people. Here is a helpful list of books, podcasts, and movies, including recommendations for children. Here is a guide put together by the writer Mireille Cassandra Harper on 10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship.
  • Amplify and center Black and Brown voices.
  • Speak out against hate of all kinds.
  • Know that there is no finish line in the process of being anti-racist. The work must be constant.
  • Listen. Listen. Listen.

We need to do better. In Congress, I pledge to center the voices of Black and Brown constituents, leaders, and experts in all of my decision making. To understand that there is not a single policy issue in America that doesn’t intersect with racial injustice. To understand that lived experience is policy expertise. And to understand that while I may feel pain or fear or discomfort as a white woman, the conversation is not about me.

I will be a Representative for all people and I will never be afraid to stand up to bigotry and racism no matter where it comes from, even (especially) the White House.

Black Lives Matter.

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