Tensions, accusations of racism erupt at Boston City Council meeting – Boston 25 News

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Tensions boiled over inside and outside the Boston City Council chambers on Wednesday. The serious concerns raised suggest the Boston City Council is racially divided. And it all came to a head during the debate over the handling of sexual assault allegations against one of their own.

“I walked into this city council hearing today knowing that all of our dirty laundry was going to be hung out to dry,” Councilwoman Julia Mejia said.

And during the meeting, a lot of things were broadcast.

“The community thinks the council is racially divided,” Councilwoman Tania Fernandes Anderson said.

A discussion surfacing following revelations of decades-old sexual assault allegations against Councilman Ricardo Arroyo, who is now running for the Suffolk County prosecutor.

“We are in 2022. We are going back and forth on the allegations. But people here are not innocent until proven guilty,” said Fernandes Anderson. “People are guilty first. People are crucified. People are lynched. Same old tricks, same masters though.

Councilors of color, including Fernandes Anderson and Kendra Lara, criticized Council Chairman Ed Flynn’s decision to strip Arroyo of his committee leadership positions, saying the move was agenda-driven.

“It was very clear that this had more to do with the redistricting and how the redistricting was going to be done than anything that had happened in the last two weeks,” Arroyo said after the meeting.

Some members have expressed concern that redistricting could intentionally change the racial makeup of certain districts and, ultimately, who is elected to represent them.

“People call me saying – don’t say anything, stay in your lane, shut up,” Fernandes Anderson said.

“What do I (expletive) do in this advice (expletive) to get respect as a black woman?”

“I just want to send my care and love to Councilor Fernandes Anderson. I know what it’s like to be a woman of color on this council,” Councilwoman Lara said. “I have to show up at events in my district with safety because of the death threats that are coming my way.”

They say the threats are constant and Fernandes Anderson released a voicemail she received as an example. The caller said, “Remember, this country was built by white people, supported by white people. The presidents of the time were all white. If you don’t like why don’t you bring your (expletive) back to your (expletive).

Yet other council members like Frank Baker say actions against Arroyo are about standing with victims of sexual assault.

“This organization that advocates transparency and accountability has a dark shadow over it. I implore my fellow councilors to recognize our moral responsibility for the good of survivors of sexual assault,” Councilor Frank Baker said. “If a predator keeps wandering, the field of death only gets bigger”

Wednesday’s meeting finally ended abruptly. Then, tensions between the dueling protesters spilled over into the hallway.

“If we can’t get along, why should we expect the city of Boston to get along,” Councilwoman Erin Murphy said.

Boston 25 News reached out to Boston City Council Speaker Ed Flynn about the chaotic meeting and its abrupt end.

He sent a statement saying:

“As we move forward through these difficult times in our city and country, it is essential that Boston City Council members always seek to treat each other with respect and dignity, listen to one another and learn from each other’s experiences. each other’s experiences, regardless of our views and differences of opinion. The work for which we have been duly elected by our neighbors and the communities we serve is too important to be overlooked. We must continue to focus on the bigger picture, work together as colleagues and improve the quality of life for the people of Boston.”

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