City Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) stood with other Black Lives Matter supporters at their weekly vigil at Holy Name Rotary this afternoon after first tweeting out a reponse to last week's Blue Lives Matter rally at the same spot:
I want to address the Rally for First Responders that was held in our neighborhood the other night. I've spoken with many constituents who attended because they wanted to show their support for the good police officers whom they know and love.
They feel as though no one is standing up for these men and women who put their lives on the line every day. I get that. But I believe holding this rally right now was the wrong approach.
The country is reeling from the death of Black & Brown people at the hands of law enforcement. Breonna Taylor was a first responder. Yet the officers who took her life have yet to be arrested for the crime they committed. When I say I support first responders, I support her too.
Many people who attended the rally feel that they can be both pro-Black Lives and pro-Police, and I don't doubt their sincerity. I would encourage everyone to think of this from the perspective of a neighbor of ours: a Black man who felt his pain & anguish dismissed by the rally.
Think of the message that was sent when a Black man had his car spat upon while simply driving home from work. Think of the Black reporter who covered the rally as someone stood inches away from his face, yelling and giving the finger.
Don't we all agree that is disturbing, offensive, and simply wrong?
The crescendo of voices affirming the fact that Black Lives Matter is a clarion call that all of us should heed and in turn work towards change. I have spoken with hundreds of constituents expressing their pain, and their calls for change are impossible to ignore.
Among these calls are law enforcement professionals and police officers who want to be part of that change. #BlackLivesMatter, and we shouldn't feel as though we need to compete with that message or undermine it. We should reach out, listen, and be part of the solution.