Congratulations to the newly installed U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins. Some hope her hands will be tied by continuing to make changes due to the “limitations” of her new job. But she will be a change agent no matter what position she holds.
I also stand with the ministers and others who feel she deserves to have the confidence to do her job.
I applaud Governor Charlie Baker for appointing a black person and a skilled one to end his term as District Attorney. You can see from the impressive work of the new Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden that he understands the challenges the system offers.
On the national front, the bail system and the probation system are in dire need of an overhaul. Rapper Meek Mill is himself a victim of a probation system that consistently punishes for minor violations. He has started an organization called REFORM that fights for change that costs taxpayers billions.
I cried when the decision was made in the Ahmaud Arbery case. Life without probation for two of the perpetrators, with one who was given life with probation. They accidentally and without remorse killed a black man who was jogging through their neighborhood. Arbery’s death says a lot about the inhumanity of man towards man, especially when it comes to race. The judge said that what affected him the most was that after they shot Arbery, they turned their backs and let him bleed out. He went for a walk, the judge said, and ended up running for his life.
In fact, at another time it could have been even worse. Arbery could have been hung high with no resort for not understanding his place when a white person asked him to stop. There was a time when hundreds of black people were hanged for less.
Who in the black community could forget the symbols of the Capitol riots – the noose and the Confederate flag – which were often used to torment blacks, even though the Capitol uprising on January 6 had nothing to do with race!
Or the case of Emmett Till. Emmett’s mother Mamie, like Ahmaud’s mother, fought for the dignity of her son and all black people by standing firm and in public for justice. Her 14-year-old son Emmett from Chicago apparently whistled at a white woman in Mississippi and was taken from his house in the middle of the night, beaten relentlessly and killed for what was then a death sentence among the white vigilant class. The result, though not fairly legal, changed the course of history for African Americans at a time when whites were judges, juries, and executioners.
New DA Hayden wants to tackle the gun legislation, which at national level has been a hard nut to crack. Even in Massachusetts, with the toughest gun laws in the country, there are guns everywhere in certain communities. These communities do not make the weapons, but it is clear that they have no problem getting them. Teenagers are using them and are increasingly victims – not to mention that there are more deaths than ever before.
It takes a lot of work to change the system, but having the right people in place who know what needs to be done and have no trouble working for it is half the battle.
Joyce Ferriabough Bolling is a media and political strategist and communications specialist.