Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan Launches New Task Force to Address Incidents of Hate and Bias

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Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced the launch of her new Anti-Hate, Anti-Bias Task Force to address the increase of hateful, biased, and racist incidents occurring in our local communities on Wednesday.

“It is alarming that we have seen an increase in Hate and Bias incidents across Middlesex County,” commented Chief Robert Bongiorno of the Bedford Police Department. “In Bedford, we have established an inclusive multi-faceted community response. Having seen the impact first hand, it is imperative we have these conversations.

“Serving on the Task Force,” he added, “I look forward to working with a diverse group of stakeholders with the goal of preventing these types of incidents in the future.”

The Task Force, made up of stakeholders, including lawmakers,  mayors, faith leaders, educators and youth leaders, community advocates and law enforcement takes a multi-pronged approach to engage the community in addressing these issues.

“As we continue to be engaged in a national conversation about racial equality and bias it is clear to me that in order to ensure the safety and security for everyone in all of our cities and towns and to live up to our ideals as a Commonwealth and a Nation, we must act urgently to address the incidents of hate and intolerance happening in our own backyards,” said District Attorney Ryan. “The goal of this task force is to identify, address, and prevent these events from happening in our communities.”

District Attorney Ryan created the task force in response to numerous incidents that have occurred across Middlesex County, including the defacing of a mural of George Floyd in Stoneham, anti-Semitic graffiti in Arlington and Bedford, and a man alleged to have driven at a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Newton.

By bringing together community leaders to address these incidents, the District Attorney’s Office will be able to more rapidly respond to incidents and recognize trends that will help with targeted prevention and education.

Knowing the tremendous impact that hateful symbols have, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has sought to educate and rehabilitate communities through the Juvenile and Young Adult Diversion Program.  Recently in Bedford, the Office utilized Restorative Justice to address an instance in which both private business and town property had been defaced with anti-Semitic and lewd images and words.

The first meeting of the Anti-Hate, Anti-Bias Task Force was held via Zoom on August 26, 2020. Participants in the Task Force include: State Representatives Jack Lewis, Tram Nguyen, Tami Gouveia, and Maria Robinson, Mayors Ruthanne Fuller of Newton and Yvonne Spicer of Framingham and representatives from Cambridge Health Alliance, UTEC, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Immigrant Learning Center, Natick Police Department, Bedford Police Department, Temple Shalom Emeth, Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ), Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), Framingham Public Schools, Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, Saheli, Somerville School Committee, Medford Public Schools, McGlynn Middle School and staff from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.

During that meeting, participants were asked to present on incidents that have occurred in their own communities and to share the impacts of those events. Moving forward, the task force will take a multi-pronged approach – looking at education, prevention, intervention, reparation, enforcement, and legislation.  District Attorney Ryan’s decision to employ the Task Force model is informed by the nationally recognized success of the Office’s Opioid Task Force. The use of this proven approach highlights district Attorney Ryan’s commitment to community-centric, data-driven solutions.

The Anti-Hate, Anti-Bias Task Force part of District Attorney Ryan’s approach to confronting systemic racism in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and across communities. Learn more about what the office is doing
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