Published on June 6th, 2020
This page is authored by the organizers, and is not necessarily endorsed by the signers of the open letter.
➔ The FMCB order
On June 4th, while we were still collecting signatures, the Fiscal Management and Control Board unanimously directed the MBTA not to use its buses to transport police to protests. However, the MBTA continued to transport police to protests on Thursday night, and initially declined to comment on whether it would even follow the board’s direction. This underscored the need for us to add our voices to the board’s in making this demand, and we published our open letter at noon on June 5th. Two hours later, the MBTA officially announced our buses will no longer transport non-MBTA police during protests, a key part of our first request to the GM.
➔ Station closures
When we started circulating the letter, it wasn’t yet clear to us how important keeping T stations open was to the protests, and we thought our efforts would be better focused on reducing the MBTA’s direct contributions to police presence. Part of supporting a movement is updating your views as you get more information — but we didn’t want to make major changes to a letter people had already signed. If we wrote the letter again today, we would absolutely include a request concerning freedom of movement during protests. See e.g. the TransitMatters statement on police brutality.
➔ Public signatures
Our original intent for the letter was to make all signatures public on this web site, once we reached a certain threshold. We weren’t as clear about this intent as we should have been, and some got the impression their names would only be sent to the GM internally. We didn’t have time to double-check with everyone who signed before going public, so to avoid abusing the trust placed in us, we decided not to publish signatures here.
➔ Final thoughts
It’s been a long week, but we’re thrilled with the amount of support folks have shown for this letter, from every corner of the MBTA and beyond. We hope these are the first steps of many, and we must continue to demand that the agency do more to keep its riders safe from police violence. We’d love to hear your ideas for next steps and bigger goals at [email protected].