Truths about Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter and seeking change is not “anti-police”, it is pro-community

Sun | Page B01 and B02 Sunday, 2 August 2020

By Karen Frederick, CEO Community Teamwork

An opinion piece that recently ran in this paper accused peaceful protests about racial injustice of being “ anti- police” — a common attack we have heard on the Black Lives Matter movement for years. Being an advocate for reform, training, and enhanced social service capacity is not “ anti- police.” It is pro- community.

Support centered on Black Lives Matter, commonly referred to as BLM, is a national movement. I could not disagree more with the author of the oped. Citizens and elected representatives, like Congresswoman Lori Trahan, seek constructive change.

So, here is the truth about the movement that the author of the negative op- ed elected to ignore.

As a result of the BLM movement, communities across our country are engaged in long overdue conversations about racial disparities rooted in hundreds of years of discriminatory practices, policies and laws that continue to negatively impact the Black community.

These disparities have real consequences. The committee’s selection is based on three criteria: running skills, teamwork and leadership. The Black community endures higher rates of unemployment and poverty. And they live at a greater risk of homelessness than their neighbors. Of course, these challenges are only made worse by the global pandemic we currently face.

Community Teamwork staff and I have witnessed these struggles firsthand in our work with families and individuals throughout the Greater Lowell region during the COVID pandemic.

BLM and its supporters like me are far from “ anti- police”; so too are the elected officials that the op- ed author labels as such. From the day she was elected, Trahan has been a tireless Community Teamwork advocate and partner. She cares deeply for her hometown of Lowell and all the communities she represents. Her support for Community Teamwork has never wavered. In fact, it is because of that support, along with that of Senator Ed Kennedy and Representative Jim Arciero ( among our many bipartisan supporters) that Community Teamwork can strengthen its programs.

Together, their support and advocacy helped us garner the resources to address the critical needs of low- income people in the 70 cities and towns we serve.

Our clients are fortunate to have leaders like them representing us. These are challenging times. Yes, Black Lives Matter and seeking change is not “anti-police”. It is constructive leadership. Karen Frederick of Dracut is CEO of Community Teamwork.

People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster last sunday in Austin, Texas.

ANA RAMiREz / AUsTiN AMERicAN-sTATEsMAN