Dear Friends and Colleagues:
All of us at MAPC feel a deep sense of anger and profound sadness at the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others members of the Black community across our country and across generations. Their tragic deaths remind us not only of the seemingly endless string of abuses perpetrated by law enforcement, but also the delays and failures of the judicial system.
So many murders have gone unpunished, and have failed to spur the necessary reforms and self-assessment that this country so desperately needs. We can only hope this time will be different – but hope is only a starting point. We at MAPC are committed to do our part to make it different. The pursuit of equity is a core value at MAPC, although it is important to renew that commitment on a daily basis, never to believe that we are finished, never to believe that we are doing “well enough.” There is always more to do, and we can always do it better.
The destruction in the City of Boston a few nights ago, as well as similar incidents in Brockton, Worcester, and Providence, weigh heavily on all our hearts. While such acts might appear senseless and counter-productive, we understand that they are borne out of a frustration that more peaceful pathways to justice have often proven to be dead ends. We have a law enforcement system that enforces the laws unequally; a justice system that often provides no justice; an economic system that actively transfers wealth from poor people to rich people; and a social system that demonizes people of color and immigrants as a strategy to keep other people in line. Whether mass protests continue or subside, our task of reversing those realities – as individuals, as professional planners, and as members of a broader society – will remain. For many of us, on both the board and the staff, it is our life’s work.
That task appears in even sharper relief than usual due to the ravaging impacts of COVID-19, which has economically and physically impacted lower-income communities of color far worse than wealthier and whiter neighborhoods. We have our work cut out for us. We stand ready to work with communities of color, municipal and state officials, and progressive leaders of the law enforcement community to achieve justice for past wrongs and to set our society on a path toward equity and peace.