FRAMINGHAM – Today, June 5, State Representatives Carmine L. Gentile, Jack Patrick Lewis, David Linsky, and Maria Robinson announced their public support of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus (MBLLC) state legislative agenda.
The representatives fully support the work being done by their colleagues and appreciate the swell of community support for the Black Lives Matter
movement, evidenced by the massive protests across the MetroWest region.
On Tuesday, a group of Massachusetts elected officials of color from all over the state called for reform and justice in the wake of anti-police brutality protests.
They released a 10-point plan that included actions at the federal, state, and local level.
The following are the state level actions supported by the Representatives:
● Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST): Resolve to provide for a “Special Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training” to study and make recommendations concerning the implementation of a Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) system, H2146 Reps Holmes and Vieira; Reported favorably now with Rules Committee; Establishes a statewide POST system to certify police officers and enable de-certification for misconduct and abuse.
● Civil Service Exam Review and Oversight: An Act to Reform Civil Service Exams, H2292 Rep Holmes; Currently sent to study, but could be added to Outside Section of the Budget; Establishes an Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity to establish guidelines and review for diversity plans for all state agencies, Establishes a peace officer exam advisory board to review examinations for appointment and promotion of peace officers.
● Commission on Structural Racism: An Act establishing a special commission on structural racism, H1440, Holmes; Currently sent to study, but could be added to Outside Section of the Budget; Establishes a commission to study how the systemic presence of institutional racism has created a culture of structural racial inequality which has exacerbated disproportionate minority contact with the criminal justice system in
● Adopt clear statutory limits on police use of force, including choke-holds and other tactics known to have deadly consequences. Require independent investigation of officer-related deaths. Require data collection and reporting on race, regarding all arrests and police use of force by every department. In drafting, to be filed by Rep. Liz Miranda soon.
“Being an ally is not a label one can use for themselves,” Rep. Lewis (Framingham & Ashland ) noted, “it is a distinction given by the community one seeks to support. Now is not the time for half-hearted signs of support or half-baked attempts at compromise, instead we must listen and fully support this agenda put forth by our colleagues of color.”
“As elected officials, we have a duty to speak out when we see injustice, and to act to correct it.,” said Rep. Linsky (Natick). “We cannot rest until there is true justice for all.”
“I want to thank the delegation for their support,” said MBLLC Chair Representative Carlos González (Springfield). He continued, “We are encouraged by the broad support we have mreceived from throughout Massachusetts, from municipal and statewide elected officials, to
implement the institutional changes necessary to address the racial inequities that plague communities of color.”
Rep. Robinson (Framingham) said, “As an Asian woman, I recognize I have vastly different experiences than my black and brown colleagues and friends. While I face discrimination in the form of microaggressions, it is nothing compared to the fear my black and brown colleagues have for their lives. I stand with our electeds of color and fully support the agenda they have put forward to create meaningful change.”
Rep. Gentile (Sudbury) said, “These legislative initiatives confront the institutional, ideological, and interpersonal racism visited upon our friends and neighbors of color in many, perhaps every city and town of the Commonwealth every day. As an Italian American I reflect on the 11 Italians lynched in New Orleans in 1891 and the Italian Americans who overcame Klu Klux Klan persecution in Sudbury (where I live) in the early 20 th century – nothing compared to the thousands of Black men, women, and children who have been lynched in our country and denied justice and respect to this day.”
The Representatives are looking forward to working with other state and local officials as they work to adopt the local and state policy recommendations set forth by Massachusetts elected officials of color, which include a) declaring racism is a public health crisis and worthy of
treatment, assessment and financial investment in order to eradicate negative health impacts and b) creation of a Civil Review Board or Commission with subpoena power to investigate, adjudicate, and sanction actionable allegations of wrongful behavior by those sworn to serve
and protect all members of our communities.