Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbry. Tony McDade. We, the YDMA Black Caucus, are responding to the crisis of police brutality, while bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus pandemic, as we are dreading the crisis of climate change, and we need our leaders to rise to this moment. Silence is unacceptable. Tweets are not enough. We need action over words.

We call on the Democrats of the Governor’s Council to make every effort to secure parole and commutation for people in our prisons and jails. You cannot socially distance in a cage. Sleeping head to foot is not maintaining six feet of separation. People are dying of a respiratory disease. Don’t tweet about “I can’t breathe.” Free them all.

We call on Sheriffs across the state to use their statutory authority under a public health crisis to release inmates. This can be done by prioritizing people who have less time on their sentence, juveniles, people with health risks, (all of this to attain 6ft of distance). Elected officials need to be visiting jails and prisons that are holding their constituents to ensure their treatment and facility is adequate (especially during a public health crisis). We especially need visits to Bristol County facilities: whenever a Sheriff says they are above the law, the rest of our government must correct them.

We demand our state legislature listen to leaders like Families for Justice as Healing and  not spend millions of dollars to build prisons and jails. Our nurses are wearing trash bags because our cops are wearing military grade equipment.

We call on the MA Congressional Delegation to support Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s Justice guarantee and police brutality resolution. Get us a vote! And then follow up that vote with concrete policy change.

We call on candidates running for office to hold public debates about justice and putting the party’s platform into action. It is not enough to do this in your own campaign. You need to be willing to debate with other candidates and answer our questions to earn our votes.

We are sick, we are tired, we are essential. We want protection and fair wages for our essential workers. We want more supportive government policy when it comes to Covid response. We need our state and municipal governments to be passing out protective equipment, not sending cops to harass people without masks 

We, as a party, agreed we want accountability and consequences for law enforcement; restorative justice practices; divestment from law enforcement and reinvestment in the community. Too many human lives have been cut short for which no justice has been received. 

We no longer want to be treated like second-class citizens. We are tired of giving votes to candidates that do not actually show up for us. These are our demands and need to be met in order for us to truly have equity and be able to “survive” as people. We can’t have happiness without liberty and cannot have liberty without freedom.

As Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “My humanity is bound up in yours for we can only be human together. We are different precisely in order to realize our need for one another.”