The Black Response Cambridge Demands (2020-2021)
We call for the City Council to allocate funding towards developing a community based team, that does not include armed police officers as first responders, to any domestic issues where armed violence is not the immediate threat. The first response team should be trained in de-escalation, mental health support, and should be grounded in non-punitive practices.
We call on the City Council to end police patrol in the Black communities in Cambridge (in and around Washington Elms/ Newtown Court Columbia Terrace; Jefferson Park / Rindge Towers; 808-812 Memorial Drive; Roosevelt Towers; Corcoran Park; Putnam Gardens; Woodrow Wilson Court). We want community workers instead.
We call on the City Council to increase youth jobs (and extend the definition of “youth” through 35 years old) and to increase the capacity of the existing job training programs (in preparation for the COVID unemployed).
Dismantle Safety Net Collaborative and other youth based programs that are under police control. Create job training and mentorship programs for youth outside of the police department and in collaboration with the existing youth centers and other programs. Create a robust internship program for youth in Cambridge all year round; collaborate with the universities and the industries to do this.
We want the City of Cambridge to stop the practice of having police officers assigned to the detailing of road service; and instead train civilians to do this job with a specific emphasis to supplement unemployed Cambridge residents.
We call for immediate and direct reallocation of funds to support the Black businesses in Cambridge, job training and support for young people up until 35, universal child care/day care, and Community-based counseling services. We also call for increased funding for affordable childcare and all-day day camps for low-income families (from 8:30am - 6pm); we recommend collaboration with existing programs such as the Summer Urban Program to achieve this goal.
We call for a public discussion and public vote on the police union contract.
The city should return or sell the tank LENCO F550, VALUED AT $350,000. The funds should be distributed to Black and Brown communities in Cambridgeand / or create rent-to-buy home ownership programs for low-income Cambridge residents using the inclusionary zoning units.
The police are operating as an independent entity not accountable to any democratic institution, when it acquires these weapons. The city council should (threaten to) withhold funding from the police department for the lack of transparency and accountability of the UASI acquisition process.
At the very least the Police Department should approve the grant application with the City Council ahead of submission. Ideally, we ought to demand an end to all further UASI grants and military grade weapons acquisitions for Cambridge.