Brianne Fitzgerald RN, NP
The recent incomprehensible murders of black men in Georgia and Minneapolis have shaken even the most jaded among us. Eleven weeks of COVID-19 quarantine were more than enough, and now we have faced man’s inhumanity to man as well as our complicated relationship to race. The world, as we knew it has changed. We are changing along with it, and I am just not sure what we will look like as a community when and if the dust settles.
The Boston Police Department, the oldest in the country, remains a beacon of hope and comfort for residents of our city. Full disclosure: I have no relatives or even any friends who are members of this outstanding department. As one who works among those with substance abuse issues, I have seen firsthand how the police respond to clients I serve. They are not the easiest or most respectful folks out and about, and yet the police have done their best to diffuse the situation every time I have witnessed a dust-up from Methadone Mile to Zeigler Street. They do keep the peace and risk their lives every single day to do so. Sadly, we seem not to appreciate when things are uneventful, and then we see peaceful protesters, residents and police officers in danger, Boston up in flames and businesses destroyed. We have our fair share of problems and the recent uptick in homicides due to a variety of factors has gotten our attention. Is it the heat, the COVID quarantine, guns, jail releases? One thing though, we can depend on thoughtful men and women led by Commissioner Gross, our Police Commissioner.
The matter of race is a tender wound carried by all of us to a greater degree or less. After all, we are America warts and all. Managing crime, drugs and mental illness are part of a police officer’s daily repertoire. As a large and vibrant heterogeneous community, the melting pot can get pretty hot. It is a gift to all of us citizens that the well-trained men and women of the BPD serve us so very well. As we all move forward, let us take some time for introspection, for some self-care, for some gratitude to our public servants and an understanding that some suffer mightily. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and pray for your safety and well-being.