Here is the description of an event held […] Monday, March 11 at the new WBUR CitySpace facility in Allston. As one local activist noted on Facebook, you can’t make this kind of thing up:
Massachusetts has the lowest firearm death and disability rate in the continental U.S. This is the result of a set of policies that were implemented by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, working with local advocates and researchers to develop best practices that can set an example for the country. In partnership with WBUR CitySpace, the Boston University School of Public Health and The Boston Globe, senior correspondent and host Deborah Becker will moderate a discussion exploring how Massachusetts has achieved this and what we can learn from the state.
Wait, it gets worse. For this celebration of how awesome Massachusetts is on the firearm safety front, these outlets of record have invited, among others, Governor Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, and John Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence. Look, I’m not here to do that whole lefty whiteboy shames the less progressive reporters because he’s just so goddamn woke thing. Frankly I don’t have to, since several folks, many of them people of color, already decorated the event page:
What about more black and brown youth voices in the conversation? I know I spoke at the march last year, along side other youth, whose voices deserve to be heard. My family has had to deal with gun violence in the community, as well as hundreds of others, so why not have voices like mine be heard?
I was looking forward to sharing this event with my friends interested in confronting gun violence… but then I noticed the lack of representation for Black and Brown communities that are most disproportionately impacted by this crises and neglected in our policy responses.
Sometimes our intentions are great but the impact falls short. It’s disheartening to see that those who are most impacted have been left out of this conversation.
For those and other reasons, there’s no end to how much this ordeal offends me.
As a journalist who has spent the past year covering how pols like Baker and DeLeo turn their backs on a completely unchecked law enforcement firearm procurement process, and how the former among others has raked in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign gifts from gun dealers and distributors, I’m absolutely outraged.
As an editor (DigBoston) and editorial director (Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism), I’m horrified that organizers would be so tone deaf on issues they’re pretending to address. It’s bad enough that our efforts are ignored by reporters and politicians who consider themselves to be more serious than those of us who work in the alternative press, but the thought that any of the orgs involved in this disaster get big funding for such fraudulent community engagement while my team at BINJ relies on scraps and volunteers to host legitimate community discussions is saddening.
On the other hand, as somebody who suffered through that awful Globe series on race in Boston, I can’t say that I’m surprised by any of this, from the guest lineup, to their hosting it in Allston, to their charging ten bucks for admission.
Chris Faraone is the News+Features Editor of DigBoston and the Director of Editorial for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He is also the author of four books including ’99 Nights with the 99 Percent’ and ‘Heartbreak Hell.’
This article was first published in DigBoston on 3/4/19. It is being re-posted here with the express permission of that fine publication.