Let me be clear:
My rejection of City Council’s resolution was in no way a slight to Tito Jackson, Ayanna Pressley, Michelle Wu, or my co-honorees, Monica Cannon-Grant and Angie Camacho. I have nothing but respect for them, and all Black people and POC who are committed to using political or other means to subvert the white supremacy embedded in Boston’s government and throughout your administration.
Today, as I stood at Faneuil Hall — a gift to our city from a slave trading family — I reflected on the irony of bestowing honors to Black women in a building that was named in honor of a notorious Boston slave trader. Why do we honor our oppressors with monuments of granite and steel, yet honor those who oppose them with bits of paper and criminal charges?
Mayor Walsh, my rejection of Boston City Council honors was a transparent attempt to use that podium to make a statement about your role in upholding white supremacy in the city of Boston. You — and District Attorney Conley, and BPD Commissioner Evans — should be ashamed for granting white supremacists a platform and thereby placing Boston residents in danger. We witnessed first hand, in the aftermath of Charlottesville, what happens when we prioritize hate speech over Black lives. Four days before the rally you stood at City Hall Plaza and said, “There is no place here for that type of hatred. […] Boston doesn’t want you here,” but your actions proved otherwise. Three days later, in a show of cowardice, you granted a permit and stated “[white supremacists] have the right to gather, no matter how repugnant their views are. […] They have the right to free speech.”
That is not leadership.
You put our residents in danger because you lacked the courage to do what was right. History will remember that, as I’m sure Boston’s electorate will.
Furthermore, you used riot police to target, assault, and detain protesters assembled as a result of your blatant negligence and failure to govern with honor. Any pride Bostonian’s may have resulting from our resistance march is tainted by the fact 33 protestors remain charged for having the audacity to do what you couldn’t — to take an unapologetic stand against white supremacy. I, for one, will never forget you used your power and influence to uphold racism and oppression this past weekend.
And while I welcome the election of Boston’s first Black mayor, in part as a result of your recent failings, I’d prefer this administration take the necessary steps to right its wrongs.
So once again I call on you, DA Conley, and Commissioner Evans, to drop ALL CHARGES faced by those you unjustly arrested this past Saturday. To date, thousands of concerned citizens have written letters, sent emails, called your office, and signed our petition demanding you do the right thing. We are giving you an opportunity to correct the egregious and shameful errors made under your leadership.
You would be wise to accept it.