Message: (Don't forget to replace the [x]'s with your information! Also consider adding a couple of sentences of your own to encourage officials to read the message.)
Dear Billerica City Officials,
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of [YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD/DISTRICT]. I am writing to you today to ask what you are doing to address police brutality in our community.
After witnessing the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, I am left feeling outraged, frustrated, and hurt. The system is currently built to systematically fail Black and Brown people. Breonna Taylor’s murderers are still not only walking free, but also currently employed by the Louisville Police Department. Tony McDade’s murderer has yet to even have their name released by the Police Department. The list goes on and on because the system is working exactly as it is designed to.
I urge you to advocate for a meaningful reallocation of the city's expenditures away from policing and towards social programs and resources that support housing, jobs, education, health care, child care, and other critical community needs. For example, there are no funds in the FY2020 budget allocated to the Commission on Disabilities or the Housing Partnership.
The BPD budget is $8.48 million, which makes up 43% of total public safety funds, and is more than four times the budget of the library and recreation, and nine times the budget of human services. This is a gross discrepancy, and I urge you to reassess this disparity before the next budget meeting.
Billerica must begin to reimagine public safety in our community and put an end to the current policing system. I am demanding the following:
Reduce the Billerica Police Department’s annual budget for FY2021 and establish a long-term plan to defund the department and reallocate funds to community-led safety initiatives.
Set up a committee to assess the needs of the city and how to reallocate funds.
Create a community oversight board with legal power.
Replace school resource officers with counselors and eliminate programs like DARE.
Establish community-led restorative justice programs in schools.
Eliminate police-based mental health and addiction services.
Place a moratorium on surveillance technology used to police political activity.
Place a moratorium on ICE collaborations.
Stop using COPLINK, a database that shares information with immigration.
I would like to see the Billerica Police Department collect and report data on civilian deaths that occurred in custody and as a result of an officer’s use of excessive force. The data should be broken down by demographics and should showcase the race, gender, sexuality, and religion of the civilians. Allowing the public access to this information will show us where we, as a community, fall short.
Thank you for your time. I hope that we can work together to dismantle the current system so we can protect the Black, Brown, and Indigenous members of the Billerica community. I refuse to let the next hashtag come from here.
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]