BOSTON — From George Floyd Square to Beacon Hill, the country and the commonwealth pause to reflect a year after Floyd’s cry galvanized thousands toward racial justice.
Tanisha Sullivan is the president of the NAACP Boston Branch. The NAACP called for a day of action, urging the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“We need to see more policy shifts in 2021. We must see that policy then translate into practice. We have to move protest to policy to practice,” Sullivan said.
In late 2020, the state passed a sweeping police reform bill that created Police Officer Standards and Training, or POST system, but stopped short of limiting qualified immunity for certified officers.
Representative Russell Holmes wrote the original POST bill in 2016.
“So much of the fight initially when we talked a year ago, Crystal, was about what needed to be done from a legislative perspective. But the problem today is people don’t feel it on the ground,” Holmes said.
Violence in Boston founder and CEO Monica Cannon-Grant is a long-time Boston community activist and organized a 55,000 Black Lives Matter march last summer. But there’s concern the energy seen at protests like that is waning as the state opens up and COVID-19 outbreaks are curbed.
According to A Benevity Impact Labs Report, the share of donations going toward social justice and racial equity plunged from 51% of in June 2020 to just 5% in December.
“It happens. We watched it happen after we protested in 2017 in response to Charlottesville. And people kind of dwindled off and it was, you know, for right now, and they thought we were going away and we didn’t,” Cannon-Grant said. “I think that protesting is one piece. I think people and a lot of times what media don’t cover is the work that happens outside of protesting.”
The local call for federal action on police reform was also turned up Tuesday, pointing to the Ending Qualified Immunity Act reintroduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressely and Sen. Ed Markey.
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