Despite heat, thunderstorms, dozens turn out to protest at Franklin Park

BOSTON — Thunderstorms and nearly 90 degree weather didn’t stop dozens of people from protesting at Franklin Park on Sunday.

“Through the heat, through the violence, we are fighting for our lives,” said Gabby Ballard, one of the organizers with the ANSWER Coalition.

The group’s acronym stands for ‘Act Now to Stop War and End Racism.’

“Every single day black and brown lives are being taken advantage of and there’s so much injustice in the community – you know it’s definitely time to fight,” said Ailson Carvalho, a protester.

Continuing the fight against police brutality, the protest called on Boston city leaders to reopen cases of black men who were killed by police, as well as pushing to reallocate funding from the police department to areas like social services.

>>>MORE: Hundreds gather for a different type of protest in Dorchester

“The police budget is bloated beyond imagined, while schools are being defunded, while people are without homes, while rents are still racking up and people don’t have jobs to pay them,” Ballard said.

The pandemic doesn’t help. Ballard said that now more than ever is the time to protest since people of color are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. She said it’s also Juneteenth weekend.

“We see that the struggles that were fought for from enslaved Africans; the contradictions that came up through the Civil War have still not been resolved,” Ballard said. “So today we’re still out here fighting against racism, police terror and all manifestations of white supremacy really.”

There’s been a protest or rally in the Boston area nearly every day for the last three weeks, and the ANSWER Coalition said they won’t stop until they start seeing a real change.

“We got to keep going, this has been going on way before our time, it’s been going on for hundreds of years so, we’re going to keep going,” Carvalho said. “Three weeks is definitely not enough.”