The chief of staff for Jamaica Plain's marijuana dispensary, Seed, and the Core Social Justice Museum, will be the guest speaker at Thursday's Vigil in Support of Black Lives Matter. Tomas Gonzalez is a 15-year veteran of local government and politics, longtime organizer and advocate for social and economic justice, including being a founding board member for Raise Up Massachusetts. Raise Up Massachusetts is the state's largest social justice coalition. Gonzalez is also the chief of staff for Seed, which opened earlier this year as Jamaica Plain's first marijuana dispensary. Following his remarks there will be a call and response reading of the names of victims of racist violence, and a 20-minute standout along Centre Street.
The Jamaica Plain Art Council has extended its call for Black Lives Matter art. "As a visual arts organization, we want to help make your voices heard (seen) through art," said a JPAC newsletter. "We are offering artists a chance to submit pieces that represent, reflect upon and/or support the Black Live Matter cause and oppose racial injustice in all forms." Selected work with the artist's short statement will be highlighted on JPAC's social media platforms. Art can be submitted by sending your image along with a brief statement (3-5 sentences) and the heading "JPAC BLM Justice for All" to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions are requested by August 1, but will be accepted after that date.
The Massachusetts State Senate passed an unprecedented police reform bill early Tuesday morning when most people were sleeping after many hours of debate. The bill passed 30-7, and would do many things including ban the use of chokeholds by police; limit the use of tear gas; create a committee that would certify all law enforcement officers; prohibit police from shooting into moving vehicles, except for limited circumstances; create uniform standards for training police across the commonwealth. The House will debate the bill before July 31 when the current legislative session ends. House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he wanted to hold a virtual hearing on the Senate bill this week. Last month Governor Charlie Baker filed his own legislation to create a system that would license police and hold them accountable to a set of professional standards.
Last month's Black Lives Matter Vigil in Jamaica Plain was like none before it with thousands of people lining Centre Street. Unbeknownst to many, the Black Lives Matter Vigil in Jamaica Plain has happened the first Thursday of every month for more than four years. This Thursday's vigil will be similar to past vigils, as it will feature speaker Rev. Darrell Hamilton II, who serves as the Pastor for Formation and Outreach at First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain. He's also the Director of the Urban Pastoral Ministry Program at City Mission in Boston. Following Hamilton's remarks there will be a call and response reading of the names of victims of racist violence and a 20-minute silent vigil along Centre Street to stand out for racial justice and human rights.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-7th) and Michigan Congressman Justin Amash recently introduced legislation to eliminate qualified immunity, which would allow people to sue police officers who violate their rights. “Qualified immunity shields police from accountability, impedes true justice, and undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country,” said Pressley. “There can be no justice without healing and accountability, and there can be no true accountability with qualified immunity. It’s past time to end qualified immunity, and that’s exactly what this bill does.”
Lawfareblog.com breaks qualified immunity down:
"Qualified immunity is a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations—like the right to be free from excessive police force—for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate 'clearly established' law." Qualified immunity dates back to 1871 and was originally passed to help the government combat Ku Klux Klan violence down South after the Civil War. There have been numerous Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals cases through the decades on the topic.