When: Saturday, August 19 2017 10:00am–5:30pm
Where: Boston Common, 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Sponsor: Black Lives Matter Network, Black Lives Matter Cambridge, Black Lives Matter Boston
As many of you are aware, there have been conflicting reports that Saturday’s “Free Speech” rally in Boston, organized by white supremacists, has been cancelled. Several confirmed speakers for that event have publicly withdrawn due to community pressure. While Mayor Walsh, Police Commissioner Evans, senators from Massachusetts, and Boston City Council members have openly denounced the gathering of white supremacists slated for Boston Commons, privately they have also denounced the counter-demonstration being organized by Black leadership in the Metro North. It does not go unnoticed that organized resistance from our Black communities is ultimately what led to the apparent collapse of Saturday’s white supremacist rally and platform.
With that in mind, we would like to affirm that the Fight Supremacy Resistance Rally scheduled for Saturday, August 19th will continue as planned.
In recent months, strategies for Black liberation and resistance have shifted away from direct action and public protest. We understand that social movements must evolve and adapt accordingly if they are to remain effective and sustainable. Organizers of the Resistance Rally also understand that prevailing political realities have emboldened overt white supremacists to openly intimidate vulnerable communities, and subject them to unchecked fragility and hatred. The current administration has undeniably been complicit in willfully and deliberately inciting physical and rhetorical violence perpetrated by their neo-conservative base. We believe those committed to anti-racism work have a moral obligation to unapologetically confront and oppose these violent and threatening displays when they occur. We are pleased that community mobilization has disrupted the most recent display planned in Boston.
However, the Resistance Rally was also organized in response to all prevailing manifestations of white supremacy impacting the most marginalized. The events in Charlottesville this past week serve as glaring reminders of the blatant bigotry we still face today. While it is our intention to send a message to those who would subject marginalized communities to domestic white terrorism, hate speech, and violence, we also stand in opposition to the most insidious and deadly forms of white supremacy. These include, but are not limited to: mass incarceration, income inequality, anti-immigration initiatives, police and local law enforcement, and housing and employment discrimination.
The individuals and institutions most effective in harming Black and Brown people do not carry torches or wear white hoods. Instead, they aggressively patrol our neighborhoods, enforce laws unequally, systematically impose poverty, and suppress the voices and needs of oppressed communities. This supremacy is upheld by all who benefit from it, and is in alignment with capitalism, cis-hetero patriarchy, ableism, queer and trans antagonism, misogynoir, and all existing forms of oppression.
We envision a future where Black and Brown families are no longer torn apart due to systemic white supremacy. When Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, cut funding for HIV programs, drug treatment facilities, and elder care services from the fiscal budget, it was understood that Black communities would be hit hardest. This year, 49 Boston public schools sustained significant budget cuts predominantly impacting children of color. Meanwhile, state judiciary and law enforcement institutions continue to aggressively spend resources to disproportionately profile, prosecute, and incarcerate Black community members. Black residents in Massachusetts are incarcerated at a rate SIX TIMES higher than their white counterparts.
In 2011, the state’s largest prison—MCI Norfolk—was fined thousands of dollars by the Department of Environmental Protection for failing to meet water supply standards. Water samples at MCI Norfolk showed elevated levels of minerals that, when ingested over prolonged periods of time, can lead to neurological disorders and other severe health issues. The Massachusetts Department of Corrections was ordered to install a new water treatment system. Six years later, and MCI Norfolk has not yet replaced the water system. The longstanding impact this will have on the Black community is incalculable.
Finally, access to affordable housing must be regarded as a social imperative in the Metro North. Recently, Mayor Walsh of Boston approved 720 new housing units in the neighborhood of Roxbury, with only 15% being made affordable to households earning $60-$70,000 a year. That initiative was touted as “progress,” despite a $30,000 median income for Black and Brown families currently residing in Roxbury. And according to the Boston Federal Reserve, the median net worth of white households in Boston stands at $247,000—compared to just $8.00 (yes, eight dollars) for Black households, and $28.60 for Latinx households.
This is white supremacy.
Saturday’s rally will stand in defiance of these abuses and amplify the voices and truths of the most marginalized. It will serve as an opportunity for local communities to reassert our collective power and autonomy, and reaffirm our commitment to rejecting proponents of bigotry and their oppressive narratives. Organizers of the Resistance Rally remain in solidarity with Charlottesville, Flint, Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Standing Rock, Palestine, and communities of color across the globe.
We encourage individuals intent on combating white supremacy to be deliberate and purposeful in supporting those who are most affected. This means following the direction of Black and Indigenous leadership—including and especially Black queer and femme leadership. We demand to see wage increases and a redistribution of resources so Black families can escape systemic and generational cycles of poverty. We call on those striving to be allies to redistribute resources and pay reparations to Black community members and organizers in your respective communities.
Space must be created and privilege relinquished so the needs of marginalized communities can be better assessed and conveyed. If you do not know where resources are needed, reach out to Black led organizations in your area. Lastly, consider donating to Black/femme led organizations like The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Safety Pin Box, and The Charlottesville Relief Fund (www.solidaritycville.com). You can also donate to the organizers of this rally by visiting www.FightSupremacy.org.
To those attending Saturday’s rally, we look forward to your energy and presence, and remain committed to extending and advancing our organizing efforts throughout Boston and beyond.
“We believe that we will win.”
Black Lives Matter Network
Violence In Boston
Black Lives Matter Boston
Black Lives Matter Cambridge
The Movement for Black Lives
#FightSupremacy #BostonResist #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter
Pluralism Project Summary:
A mere week after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, another alt-right rally was scheduled to take place in Boston, MA. Mindful of the public perception of Charlottesville the organizing group, the Boston Free Speech Coalition, sought to distance themselves from white supremacists, going so far as to publicly disinvite several of their more fringe speakers. However, the coalition maintained its alt-right affiliation. Only 50 protestors showed up to the event, and they were met by 35,000 counter-protestors. The event was largely peaceful with only thirty or so arrests and no serious injuries, but the accompanying debates over the nature of police conduct were fierce. Boston’s Mayor Walsh applauded the counter-protestors. In response to the overwhelming numbers of counter-protestors, sixty-seven alt-right rallies that had been scheduled for the following weeks around the country were canceled.
This summary was written by a Pluralism Project staff member who attended the event.