As the First Church in Jamaica Plain's bells rang on Thursday night thousands kneeled during the monthly vigil in support of Black Lives Matter. Throughout the vigil many people were unaware it was supposed to be silent, but that didn't matter because they were coming together to fight systemic racism and police brutality. Vigil participants spanned up and down Centre Street with the main contingent was packed around the Soldier's Monument. People clapped together, chanted "no justice, no peace," "black lives matter," and more. At the end of the 30 minutes much of the crowd kneeled in silence.
Thousands of people of all ages peacefully joined together in Franklin Park on Tuesday to stand up against police brutality and systemic racism. The following photos are courtesy of Sacred Harbor Photography
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, and state Rep. Nika Elugardo were among elected officials of color to speak at a press conference on Tuesday outside of the State House, and released a 10-point plan to combat systemic racism. Pressley joined the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and other elected officials of color from across the state to "speak directly to the pain and injustice facing our communities and to advocate for police accountability and reform." You can view the entire press conference here. Elugardo said that she worked closely with African American Coalition Committee (AACC), a group of "inside the wall" advocates incarcerated at MCI Norfolk who, before Elugardo was elected, helped draft the original bill to establish the Commission on Structural Racism referenced in priority #7. (Graphics from Boston At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia)
With triple Boston’s rate of COVID-19 infection and six times the rate of Massachusetts as a whole, Chelsea’s 40,000 residents have experienced far more than their fair share of the pandemic. Chelsea is a close-knit community, so everyone knows someone who has gotten sick, and many know someone who has died. I'm a Jamaica Plain resident Stefanie Shull, and I run the CONNECT economic mobility partnership based at The Neighborhood Developers. CONNECT serves 3,500 people/year, most of whom live in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Malden, and East Boston. Before the pandemic hit, I was focused on building more robust training and job placement services in the area, to take advantage of the strong economy. As the U.S. outbreak took hold in early March, it was clear that would need to be set aside. Having worked on post-Katrina recovery in Louisiana for three years, I felt like I had some idea of what was coming.
The Nazareth Child Care Center is closing its Jamaica Plain program due to increased operational costs, and consolidating with its Dorchester program. Janet MacDougall, Divisional Director of Child Care for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston, provided a letter on May 26 to families of the child care center outlining the reasons for the Jamaica Plain program's closure. "While Catholic Charities continually strives to serve working families, increases to building operating expenses and program related costs of care, along with the overall cost of the renovations necessary to the Nazareth building have become too great for us to continue the program at its current location," wrote MacDougall. MacDougall wrote it was with a "heavy heart" that the decision was made to close the program at 19 Joseph St. The letter states that they're working with the Nazareth teaching team as they will make the transition to the Yawkey Child Care Center in Dorchester.