Yesterday we had a bunch of protests, two in favor of #BlackLivesMatter and one against it. The numbers were overwhelming in favor of the "for" side, just like our local response has been overwhelming in favor of the for side. For all of you out-of-towners rolling in here trying to stoke a fire, allow me to give you the headline: we don't have a fire.
It was a small number of police officers who showed up to protest the BLM banner hanging at City Hall and most of them were from other cities and towns. At the end of their protest, pro-BLM folks came up to them, shook their hands and then everybody talked. Nobody was yelling at each other, just civil discussion taking place.
Down in Union Square, we had hundreds of BLM protesters show up and pack the Square for hours. They spoke, they sang, they read some poetry. Our police at the site handled the event like the pros they are. Everybody was safe and it went off without a hitch. Once again, protesters and police spent time talking with one another, respectfully and amicably.
So if you want to have a food fight, if you want to find a city where everybody's going to tear at each other's throats, you're going to have find someplace else. #Somervilleisn't going to come apart at the seams for your entertainment. We have a BLM banner at City Hall and an "In Remembrance" banner for the fallen officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge hanging at our police headquarters and we're cool with that.
It was one officer who touched this off while the city and patrolmen's union are in the middle of contract arbitration. I can't speak to what he hoped it would accomplish, but I can tell you where Somerville stands on this - we're not getting sucked into this blue vs. black fight that some of you seem to want to have. We're going to treat minorities and police with the respect they deserve.
The result of all of this in Somerville is people came together and had the conversation we need to have in every community across our nation. To the surprise of no one who actually knows our city Somerville handled this with civility and dignity. I invite people to learn from our example.