Speech to the Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention
I imagine most of you out there take in the nightly news these days like I do, with a mix of revulsion and horror.
Thanks to the members of the Massachusetts delegation along with their Democratic colleagues in Congress, our federal court system and citizen’s movements across the country, the worst of our President’s impulses have been blocked. Yet it is a constant and daily fight to keep him in check.
What is clear is that he is up to no good. That makes it more imperative than ever that those of us at the state and local level effect some good in our communities.
We have people who need help right now, and if we don’t give it to them, no one else will.
Hate and intolerance have reared their ugly heads in America — and even in Massachusetts — many times before. The history books are full of examples of our low moments.
But the good news is those same history books are also full of our high moments … because Americans overcome.
Time and again, bigger hearts, greater minds and more determined spirits have prevailed over those who would divide us, or demean us, or take away our liberties.
Recently I saw a tweet that said this: “Remember all the times you read about national crises in history books and said ‘If I were alive, I would’ve …’ well, now is that time.”
Now is the time to stand up and speak up for what is right and true. Now is the time that Massachusetts must pass the Safe Communities Act and become a sanctuary state.
We must make it clear we will not abandon our values of inclusivity, diversity and equality.
We must make it clear that ALL are welcome and equal here — no one is on the outside of our communities in this state. We must make it clear we will will NOT turn our backs on our neighbors.
We will NOT tear families apart solely because of their immigration status.
And we will NOT violate the Constitution of the United States of America and hold anyone without just cause.
We must dispel the myths, counter the misinformation – and trust me there is a lot of it out there – and correct the lies about sanctuary status and immigrants. Somerville recently celebrated its 30th year as a sanctuary city and we’re proud to see so many other communities join us in recent months.
Our crime rate is down more than 50% in those three decades, partly because immigrants in our city are not afraid to come forward to report crimes or assist our police. Crime thrives in the shadows. Being a sanctuary city has been a burst of sunlight, helping us to promote community based policing, eradicate organizations like MS-13, and improve public health.
There are more than 300 sanctuary cities and counties across America that leave immigration enforcement to the federal government, where it belongs. We realize tearing apart communities only serves to tear them down.
There is no walking the fence on this. We have to be bold. We have to take action. The President of the United States is looking for scapegoats to trample and he’s willing to shred the Constitution to do it.
As elected representatives we need to stand up for EVERYONE who lives in our communities. Because sanctuary cities do that, the President has threatened to cut programs that fund school lunches, special education, veterans programs and senior services.
But we will not be brought to our knees and abandon our core values and principles just for a pot of money.
We are one community, one Commonwealth, one nation. We’ve got values that work. We know what makes America great. And it’s time we show that to the rest of the country.
Massachusetts needs to stick its thumb right in the eye of the President’s vision of a harsher, crueler America. We need to put common sense and human dignity front and center.
There is no better way to do that than to become a sanctuary state. I urge all of you here to rally behind the Safe Communities Act to demonstrate what true American values look like.