The woman who was the recipient of a hate-filled tirade by a Dorchester man that was caught on video earlier this month in Adams Village is hoping to turn her experience into a movement for peace and inclusion.
NeNe Judge, a Roslindale resident who, along with her husband was, the camera shows, verbally accosted by the aggressor on the evening of Aug. 3 after they had pulled over their motorcycles when they came up against a police detour at an accident scene on Adams Street, is organizing a “Ride Against Racism” in Fields Corner for this coming Sunday (August 19).
Fifty-four-year old Paul Sheehan, who was arrested at the site, was arraigned on Aug. 6 on a disorderly conduct charge and is due back in court in October. A police investigation that could lead to hate crime charges is ongoing. When reached for comment, a representative of the BPD said that there were no updates to be released.
A flyer for the Sunday event posted by Judge on her Facebook page invites riders of all backgrounds to meet at the parking lot at the intersection of Park Street and Dorchester Avenue at 2 p.m. After a brief rally, NeNe says, she will lead attendees – quietly and respectfully, she noted – on a symbolic ride to the scene of the incident in Adams Village. The event will then be followed by a cookout at a different location to be determined, the notice said.
“I just want to make sure people know we’re a community,” Judge told the Reporterin an interview.
She said she is expecting a sizable turnout for Sunday, with a “guaranteed hundred” bikers coming from as far as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, in addition to the reaction she has gotten already from the local community.
“There’s gonna be motorcycles, there’s gonna be bicycles, there’s gonna be scooters,” she said. “As long as they’re obeying the laws, I think we can make a powerful statement.”
A 38-year-old former painter who is currently pursuing a degree in construction management at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Judge said the mostly supportive public reaction against what happened that night has come in the form of an outpouring of support on social media. “The positive outweighs the negative; it’s been like two percent negative,” she said.
Judge added that some of Sheehan’s neighbors in Adams Village have reached out to her, inviting her to park her motorcycle in their driveways whenever she wants. Nevertheless, the incident has altered the way she looks at her neighborhood.
“My way of thinking has kind of changed,” she said. “I thought we all lived here. I never second guessed if I wanted to bring my bike there, or worrying about where to park.”
Judge, who began filming Sheehan’s rant on her phone after he used a racial slur, said the torrent of abuse started “before her back tire even hit the curb.” She believes Sheehan should have been charged with more. “I feel like he should be charged with threatening me as well as disorderly conduct,” she said. Footage posted to Judge’s Facebook page shows Sheehan using threatening language, including the phrase “I’ll knock you the f*** out.”
A longtime motorcycle enthusiast, Judge is a member of Riding Solo Family, a loose collection of Boston-area civilians that gets together to ride on a regular basis. For her, riding, or “being on 2s”, as she calls it, is a great way to “find a family” and meet different kinds of people from all races and creeds. She explained that the motorcycle community is more diverse than the largely white optics that dominate public perception and pop culture.
“That’s a misconception,” she said. “The most dominant groups are white, but there are a lot of clubs out here.”
Judge, who said she is organizing the event on her own, has created a GoFundMe page for the ride to help offset costs of permits, advertising, and food for the cookout. She said that people can learn more about the Ride Against Racism at gofundme.com/ride-against-racism.