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On our two crises, and the way forward

I stand in support of people around the country who are demanding justice for the killing of George Floyd – the latest in a long line of victims of the toxic combination of racism and excessive force.

Our country is in the midst of two crises right now – an overdue reckoning with racism, and the continued impacts of COVID-19 – and they’re both felt acutely here in our own communities.

I don’t claim to have all the answers to the best way forward from this moment of crisis. I’m doing my best to learn and absorb from others.

Two good resources I’ve found so far:

  1. Evidence-based approaches that work in reducing officer-involved violence – such as making sure social service agencies respond to people struggling with mental health and substance abuse; taking weapons of war off the streets and shifting toward community-oriented policing (something that both Revere and Chelsea have adopted with some success in recent years); meaningful oversight; and partnerships with nonprofits that work within the community to improve public safety.

  2. Legislation that has been proposed or passed in cities and towns around the country.

As for addressing the underlying problems that made COVID-19 so deadly in places like Revere and Chelsea, we need to make a commitment to cleaner air and cleaner water, making smart investments in public safety like addressing substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness, and do better at providing job and educational opportunities to underserved communities.

What have you read? What approaches should we be taking? We should all be open to learning more right now.

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