Our America (121 Responses)

My America, your America, is an indivisible nation with liberty and justice for all.

I am moved at the start of every legislative session when I repledge allegiance to our flag and the republic for which it stands. When I became a legislator, I swore an oath to support the constitution of the United States, which protects the life, liberty and property of every person.

The provocative invasion of Charlottesville by torch-carrying racists declaring that America belongs to whites was un-American and ugly.

Tragically, it escalated into violence that killed one American and led further to the deaths of two police officers who had to deploy to helicopters to oversee the riot.

What should we do?

First, we shouldn’t miss any opportunity to remember and to recall publicly what this country is about – what Americans have fought for, spilling blood from Concord to Gettysburg and across the world: The self-evident truth that we are all created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It has taken a couple of centuries for the full meaning of that truth to sink in, but it is the founding truth of our country and what we have all pledged allegiance to many times.

I can tell you that the bipartisan political leadership of the Commonwealth is united in its allegiance to that truth.

Second, we should express our love and sympathy to the people of Charlottesville who have seen their beautiful city desecrated by violence.

Third, we should remember and take comfort that very few Americans embrace white supremacist views. Yes, a great many people voted for a President who doesn’t really want to disengage from white supremacists. Yes, we all have our conscious and unconscious biases. But most Americans pledge allegiance to our indivisible republic and mean it.

More than that, we should remember that most humans everywhere want nothing more than peace. A few years ago, I rode a bicycle across the country. Mostly alone, I was vulnerable and occasionally in need and I met a lot of people who were very kind to me, although many of them had worldviews very different from mine. And I have knocked on a lot of doors in the neighborhoods of my district and spent a lot of time listening to people. While again, many have different views, most people are kind and tolerant.

Tactically and locally, what should we do?

We should make clear that we do not welcome a hateful message – the Mayor and Governor have already been very clear about that.

Yet, if a small, sick minority of people wish to march under a white supremacist neo-Nazi banner they have a right under our constitution to do so and we should make sure that their event does not escalate into violence. The Boston Police, backed up by the State Police, are very prepared to do that.

Over the days to come, as citizens, we should participate in peaceful rallies and vigils expressing our commitment to American values – liberty and justice for all. It is likely that this weekend, there will be rallies in Boston.

Plans are forming to channel a positive, American rally on Saturday to a location separate from the possible supremacist rally. We should not be giving that un-American brush fire the oxygen of attention.

People seeking to know the safe places in Boston to go march or congregate for American values this weekend should visit bpdnews.com for the most up to date information or follow @marty_walsh and @bostonpolice on Twitter.

Joint Resolution and Proclamation adopted by the House, the Senate and the Governor of Massachusetts, August 17, 2017

ADDRESSING NEO-NAZI AND WHITE NATIONALIST HATE ORGANIZATIONS

WHEREAS, white nationalist organizations in our country have consistently promoted values that are overtly racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant, and these poisonous ideologies continue to promote hatred, bigotry, and violence specifically against individuals solely on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status; and

WHEREAS, today, white nationalism and neo-Nazism remain very real threats to the values for which the Commonwealth stands, and their reinvention as the “Alt-Right,” should not mitigate their hateful ideologies; and

WHEREAS, while free speech is a bedrock value for the citizens in our Commonwealth and Country, white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups promote a message that is the antithesis of Massachusetts’ dedication to civil rights for all, and is in irreconcilable conflict with our foundational principles of liberty and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, white nationalism and neo-Nazism are continuing to grow as menaces to societal order as they seek to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide the nation, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic eradication; and

WHEREAS, the white nationalist and neo-Nazi message of racial and social intolerance has led to senseless acts of violence that continue to terrorize members of ethnic and religious communities; Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that we strongly denounce and oppose the totalitarian impulses, violence, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we urge law enforcement agencies and elected officials at every level of government to condemn white nationalist and neo-Nazi ideology, to vigorously pursue justice in response to hate-fueled violence and work to ensure the protection of the marginalized and targeted communities.

RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Mayor of Charlottesville, Governor of Virginia and President of the United States.

Information from Mayor Walsh and BPD Advisory re Events on Saturday, August 19

“Free Speech” Rally at the Boston Common: 20-100 participants expected

-The rally has been permitted to take place between 12:00-2:00pm.
-The rally will be located at the Bandstand on Boston Common.
-The area of the rally will be barricaded with steel barriers and monitored by police officers.
-Banned items for demonstrators on both sides: bats, sticks, and backpacks.
-Police will have a “zero-tolerance policy” for any actions deemed dangerous and will result in removal from the event.

Counter Protest March and Rally: 1-5000 or more participants expected

-The march will begin at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. The gathering begins at 10:00am and the procession should depart around 11:00am.
-The march will proceed down Tremont Street and onto Charles Street where participants will enter Boston Common through the gate on Charles Street (where Boston Common Parking Garage is.)
-BPD will guide the route with motorcycles, cars, bicycle units, and Officers on foot. The vehicles will block cross streets while participants march through.
-The participants of the march will then rally in the large open area to the left of where they enter (Corner of Beacon and Charles.)
-Banned items for demonstrators on both sides: bats, sticks, and backpacks.
-Police will have a “zero-tolerance policy” for any actions deemed dangerous and will result in removal from the event.

BPD Community Advisory for Events Scheduled for Saturday, August 19, 2017 on the Boston Common

On Saturday, August 19, 2017, the Boston Police Department anticipates large crowds to gather in the Boston Common and participate in a march along a predetermined route beginning at the Reggie Lewis Center and ending in the Boston Common. The Department has been and continues to be in contact with event organizers from several groups and is working with them to ensure a safe and peaceful day. The Department has a comprehensive operational plan in place. While details of the plan are not for public release, people can expect a large police presence of both uniformed and undercover officers. The Department will be deploying fixed video cameras and mobile video support teams to assist with keeping the event safe for all who attend.

Parking in and around the Boston Common will be prohibited. Signs have been posted, “No Stopping Boston Police Special Event” on effected roadways. Due to increased public safety concerns, if you plan on visiting the Boston Common on Saturday August 19, 2017 it is strongly recommended that you do not bring backpacks, large bags or strollers. If you do choose to bring these items, they may be subject to search and there will be no storage area designated to leave your belongings.In order to provide a safe and peaceful environment, the Boston Police Department has determined certain items be prohibited from the Boston Common.

Please see the list of prohibited items below:
• Firearms, knives, weapons, sharp objects, shields or fireworks
• Pop up tents or canopies
• Cans, glass containers, pre-mixed beverages or alcoholic beverages
• Wagons or pull carts
• Coolers
• Drones
• Pets (excluding certified service animals)
• Grills, propane tanks or open flames
• Bicycles
• Flag poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including signs attached to sticks)
• Any athletic equipment or other item which could be used as a weapon

The Boston Police Department expects all who will be attending events on the Boston Common to act respectfully and responsibly. The Department intends to provide a safe and peaceful opportunity for people to exercise their Constitutional rights. Violence or property damage of any kind will not be tolerated. Anyone engaging in illegal behavior is subject to arrest and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

See also Globe Story here.

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    Will Brownsberger
    State Senator
    2d Suffolk and Middlesex District