white mayor of sommerville refuses to remove ‘black lives matter’ banner from city hall

July 25, 2016

A Black Lives Matter banner has been hanging in front of City Hall in Sommerville Massachusetts since the town’s white major had it erected in August 2015. Since then, a Somerville Police Employee’s Association sent a letter to Mayor Curtatone requesting that the banner be replaced (i.e. silenced) in favor of a general, meaningless “All Lives Matter” one. “It is inconceivable to us as it is demoralizing that our city would propagate its support for this movement while standing silent over the seemingly daily protest assassinations of innocent police officers around the country,” said Michael McGrath, the union’s president, as reported by The Grio.  In response, Mayor Curtatone said, “My unwavering support for our police officers does not and cannot preempt our commitment addressing systemic racism in our nation.” Mayor Curatone had also erected a banner in front of the Sommerville Police Station that honors slain officers.

Despite the union’s condemnation of the BLM banner, not all of local police are opposed to the message, including Somerville Police Chief David Fallon who said that he is “100%” on-board with the Major’s decisions.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at erin@afropunk.com.