- Posted by Mike Fishbein
- On January 23, 2015
- 1 Comments
The unjust and disturbingly recent murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have sent much of America into turmoil, as people grapple for an opportunity to change the rampant injustices that are still present in our society. On the night of Tuesday, November 25th I attended the “Indict America” rally hosted by the non-profit group Black Lives Matter, with fellow RYFTI members (Charlotte Borden, Talia Putnoi and Ada Levine). It was incredible to witness so many different people coming together around an issue that not only disproportionately targets young, black men in America but which plagues the entire country as every person is affected by the many intersections of all forms of oppression. I stood in Dudley Square for a moment of silence, passed vigil candles among the strangers surrounding me, sang songs of respect and hope, chanted “No Justice! No Peace! No Racist Police!,” and finally marched through the streets of Boston. The night was incredibly moving and inspiring, because I knew there were thousands of people beside me, all of whom have entered the same fight to end racial oppression.
After being a part of the collective voice of countless citizens of Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to see how action is being taking at the state level to address the problems of police brutality and racial profiling in Massachusetts. During RYFTI’s fall semester at Temple Israel, I took a social justice action course called “TIKKUN” at Monday Night School. TIKKUN culminated with a trip to the State House, where each teen participating in the course met with their local state senators and representatives to lobby on behalf of issues we are passionate about. This MNS elective showed me that the legislation in Massachusetts is important to become involved in, because I have the voice of a constituent who can influence the issues my local leaders choose to address. Through this lobbying experience, I was invited back to the State House to attend a briefing, as an honorary member of the staff of my state senator, Sonia Chang-Diaz, on Wednesday, December 17th. At the briefing, Boston leadership of the NAACP and ALCU, and State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz addressed three new bill proposals that may be introduced in the upcoming legislation session in light of the recent events in our nation. These bills discuss the availability of data regarding racial profiling, potential body cameras for police and continuing to promote a police force that should reflect the racial composition of our city. It was so interesting to witness politicians, non-profit organizations and interested individuals from all across the political spectrum taking the time to ask each other questions and learn from one another. The fact that so many influential people worked hard to attend this meeting truly demonstrates how important this issue is to our society and the great lengths and efforts people will contribute to affect change.
Experiencing the responses to injustice in America both on the ground and in the State House, it is clear that the actions taken by those today may finally stand a chance at significantly affecting the future of our country and creating beneficial change.