Most clergy members invited to open City Council meetings with an invocation calmly pray to God to give city officials the wisdom they need to lead this great city.
Not Eugene Rivers.
Invited by Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester) to give the invocation before today's City Council meeting, Rivers first gave a fiery rant about how elected Black officials are failing their Black children by refusing to send armed guards into BPS schools - such as Madison Park and the Henderson - to protect the students the same way rich Whites and "bourgeois Black people" at Northeastern, Harvard, BU and Harvard are protected by armed guards.
And then Rivers, pastor of the Azusa Christian Community in Four Corners, gave a fiery prayer calling on God to make the "elected officials of color" he says refuse to walk through violent neighborhoods see the light and grant local schools the same protection rich white people take for granted at places like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Boston University, Northeastern and MIT.
In his opening statement, Rivers repeatedly accused elected Black officials, many of whom, he said, don't "live in the hood" like he does, of playing a game "at the expense of black youth" by refusing to agree with him to flood local schools with gun-packing guards, unlike at places like Harvard, which he sarcastically said has "lots of danger and violence."
He said some kids now bring their own guns to school for want of protection by good, virtuous Boston cops with guns, rather than social workers "who could do nothing more than hide when the guns were shown."
"Where is the justice in that?!?" he continued. "I thought Black lives matter! Well, if they do, there should be security to protect their lives," rather than children going to schools where "they live in fear because their political leadership has morally and politically failed them."
He blasted "fools" calling for defunding, rather than reforming, the police and and said there's no excuse for not protecting Blacks from Black violence, especially since Boston criminals are not "real thugs" like the ones in his native Philadelphia.
He concluded his prayer with a call for the audience to give him an "amen." He got a tepid one and urged councilors and others in the chamber to say "amen" louder. "Don't be scared," he said. "I'm Black."
His entire speech and invocation: