I am very pleased that the charges of disorderly conduct levied against Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. have been dropped. The City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Police Department, and Professor Gates have released a joint statement that acknowledges “….the incident of July 16, 2009 was regrettable and unfortunate.” As the parties involved have placed this matter behind them, it seems appropriate for our community to do the same.
The incident did illustrate that Cambridge must continue finding ways to address matters of race and class in a frank, honest, and productive manner. Two months ago, I hosted a town hall meeting in City Hall in which community members were asked to discuss how race and class issues have impacted Cambridge. It was noted that bigotry, misunderstanding, and fear have continued to play a role shaping how we interact with one another – but it was also noted that continued community-wide discussions represent an important step in changing this pattern. I genuinely believe that by bringing people together, by airing our differences, and by challenging our attitudes, we can foster a more tolerant, more inclusive society. I shall continue my efforts to help bring that about, and while we will never have a perfect society, we should never stop striving.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more