First Parish Dorchester cites Rollins for ‘service to the community,’ hails her work on criminal justice reform

From left: Chair of the First Parish Board of Trustees Ardis Vaughan, honoree Rachael Rollins, and First Parish Reverend Terry Sweetser.
Photos courtesy of Jenn Cartee

First Parish Dorchester honored Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins with a Meetinghouse Award for Service to the community at the congregation’s annual gala fundraiser last Saturday night, Nov. 2. 

The Meetinghouse Award, established by the congregation in 2007, recognizes Rollins’s service in pursuing reform of a criminal justice system marked by the disproportionate criminalization of blacks and Latinos.

“This award recognizes that in her first year in office, DA Rollins has effectively served the community by courageously raising the urgent need for reforms in our criminal justice system,” said Ardis Vaughan, current chair of the Board of Trustees at First Parish Dorchester. “She pledged to pursue that mission by reducing incarceration, correcting racial and ethnic disparities, adopting alternatives to traditional prosecution, and focusing the office’s limited resources on serious and violent crimes.

“First Parish applauds and encourages DA Rollins’s advocacy, commitment to positive change, and willingness to speak truth to power. Her approach to the role of district attorney resonates strongly with First Parish where at each Sunday morning worship, the parish affirms its faith commitment to love, service, and truth,” continued Vaughan. “On Jan. 27, 2019, First Parish installed a new Black Lives Matter banner on the Meetinghouse, and at the dedication ceremony, the congregation committed to grow in becoming an intentionally and pro-actively anti-racist faith community.”

Rollins is the first woman to serve as district attorney for Suffolk County, as well as the first woman of color to become a DA in Massachusetts.  Past recipients of the Meetinghouse Award include Bill Walczak (2009), Tina Chery (2011), and, in 2013, the-then state representative and current mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh.