Letters to the Editor
Originally Published November 14, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate
I am writing in response to the continued need for action regarding Lt. Rick Pedrini, as well as the larger culture of white fragility among our town leaders. It took the town manager a year to acknowledge Pedrini’s violent rhetoric as racist, but Mr. Chapdelaine immediately undercut his own words with the clarification that Pedrini himself is “not a racist.” Like many following this story, I am dismayed that our town leadership seems more concerned with protecting the reputation of the police department, including at least one openly racist officer, than with the damage their inaction is doing to targeted communities. I am also deeply concerned with the town’s pattern of using police presence to discourage dissent on this issue. Particularly, police being called in response to peaceful protests (as documented in public records), and the police presence at Arlington Human Rights Commission meetings that began when concerned citizens began approaching them about their involvement in Pedrini’s case. These examples point to a lack of cultural competency that reaches far beyond the APD.
The recent Select Board change in tone around this issue is an improvement, but we cannot forget that it comes after a year of inaction, and of further harm to marginalized communities. It is past time for our leaders to prove that they are listening.