Email Public Comment - June 10th
If you would like to email, rather than comment in person, you can send an email to:
Public comment is important. It says a lot to the City Council when a resident contacts them. It means that people are paying attention and care. You are giving the City Councillors a sense of what is important to their residents, and you are putting pressure on the City Manager to take action. Details are not as important as sharing the values that you hold. It is OK to not have specific suggestions or deep knowledge of the budget. Speaking up is the most important part.
If you'd like a template of what someone might say, you can use the email below as a starting point.
Subject: Reduce the Cambridge Police Department budget
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of Cambridge. I am writing to demand that the City of Cambridge reduce the Cambridge Police Department budget. Cambridge’s needs must be addressed by the provision of care, and not the threat of violence. We must invest in public services that build towards “a free and fair society” rather than an armed force that endangers us.
Our city faces racial inequalities, borne from historical injustice and brought into sharp relief by the COVID-19 epidemic, that can’t be solved by policing. Members of our community live in tight quarters and on lean budgets–this before a pandemic stole three months of wages, and counting. Thousands of us are becoming food-insecure and are at risk of eviction as soon as the ban is lifted. Essential educators are living on starvation pay while repeated and overwhelming community demands to right this glaring injustice are ignored.
Meanwhile, the Police Department is the single largest expenditure in the City’s General Fund behind loan repayments. The CPD currently spends 52% of its budget on patrolling–$33,000,000–or 7x as much spending on patrol than social justice initiatives.
Now especially, the City Council can take a stand for racial justice by significantly defunding policing and investing in Black and Brown communities–starting with cutting the least transparent and most harmful parts of the CPD budget.
Please support Councilor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler's Policy Order POR 2020 #133 and only support an FY21 budget if it reallocates this funding from the Police Department to other measures that promote public safety and address underlying issues in our community that can’t be solved by policing – like poverty, the lack of affordable housing, and healthcare.
Racist police violence doesn’t just happen in other cities–it happens here in Cambridge too. The City Council must stop investing in targeted criminalization and surveillance, and fund what Black and Brown communities need to be safe and healthy: COVID19 relief, housing, healthcare, treatment, school equity initiatives, cooperative businesses, community centers, community-led organizations and projects.