Somerville Declares Racism A Public Safety and Health Emergency

A Black Lives Matter protest in 2014, photo by Emily Hopkins

When we talk about loving our community, this is what we’re talking about. On Wednesday, the City of Somerville declared racism a public safety and health emergency. It is an important step towards move forward into safer and more equitable community.

“No one should fear for their lives because of the color of their skin,” said Mayor Curtatone in a press release. “No one should have to grieve the loss of a loved one, friend, or stranger who died because they were black. No one should have to fear those who are sworn to protect and serve.”

Police Reform

Drawing on policy platforms developed by Campaign Zero and the 10-Point Plan released by District 7 Congresswoman Ayanna Presley, the proposal includes developing civilian oversight of police, eliminating conflicts of interest in investigations of officer-involved incidents and a redirection of asset forfeiture funding.

The platform also calls for demilitarization and the withdrawal of the SPD from federal weapons distribution programs, more training in de-escalation and a push for police body cameras. While there is no panacea for systemic racism and police brutality, it is nice to see the city support its citizens as national leadership falters.

For more information visit the City of Somerville website.