November 20, 2018
To the Editor:
Few people in the 13th Suffolk District knew that Question 5 would be on their midterm ballots before the election on Nov. 6. Question 5 was added to the District 13 ballot after the local group Dorchester People for Peace had collected enough signatures from their members, families, and neighbors to get this racial justice wording on the ballot:
“Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a racial justice resolution supporting full and equal access for all Massachusetts families regardless of race or income, to affordable housing, good schools, adequate food, quality healthcare, and living-wage jobs; and an end to the disproportionate targeting of African Americans by the criminal justice system for stops, arrests, incarceration, and killings of unarmed people?”
The results showed that almost 80 percent (9,965) of those voting on the question voted in favor of it while a little over 20 percent (2,435) voted against it, and 14 percent (2,027) left the question blank.
This overwhelming endorsement of racial justice highlights the amount of change that is still needed in Massachusetts to achieve racial justice while illuminating the resounding support for that change. In voting for the systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all, addressing unequal access to jobs, housing, good schools, quality healthcare, and the end of the criminal justice’s targeting of African-Americans, these voters demonstrated their support for racial justice and aspirations for our legislators to make racial justice a priority in Massachusetts.
Dorchester People for Peace did not have the funds to print up big posters or put commercials on television. But the voters in Suffolk County’s 13th State House District recognized the need to draw attention to their desire for addressing the structural racism in our communities.
If you want to join with Dorchester People for Peace’s efforts to implement this question, find them on Facebook or call 617-282-3783. We will be meeting with state Rep. Dan Hunt (and hopefully other Dorchester representatives) and holding discussions at local libraries and other public venues to hear from you about your priorities in advancing racial justice in Dorchester. Please join us!
Kelley Ready, Dorchester