On Sunday, police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back - that’s a fact and the video is there for all to see. Once again, we are left asking why did this event have to end this way? We must stand in solidarity with Jacob’s family and the Black community and amplify the powerful statements of Jacob’s mother and sister. We hear the relentless pain in the words of his sister, Letetra Widman: “This has been happening to my family for a long time…It happened to Emmett Till, Emmett Till is my family.” From Jacob’s mother, Julia Jackson, we are reminded of how we can move forward as a country: “We need healing.”
Healing and finding peace can only be achieved if we see the weight the Black community has carried for generations and continues to carry. All the violence and injustice must stop! This includes the violence against protestors peacefully assembling and the senseless violence perpetrated by agitators and extremists. We must condemn bad and racist policing and hold those people accountable while supporting good policing. This will require having difficult conversations about how we can police in a way that protects and values everyone, especially Black lives.
Healing and finding peace requires leadership that brings us together to find solutions, not that further divides us. The business community must lead and create change and systemic opportunity for Black businesses and individuals. Economic empowerment for all must underpin our approach to ending the violence and injustices against the Black community and addressing the growing divisions in this country.
Boston can lead the way to have conversations and heal together. We reaffirm our commitment to Black voices and leadership, through our Fierce Urgency of Now festival which centers on the unique and diverse experiences in Boston, through the elevation of our Pacesetters initiative to help close the racial wealth gap, and in leading by example through the diversity of our Board of Directors.
We are committed to not just making statements, but to actively dismantling systemic racism. Join us as we take a stand to create systemic opportunity.
James E. Rooney
President and CEO
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce