Need Money For Witness Protection? One Fund
The Boston Herald’s current series on the unsolved murders in Boston keeps revealing more layers to a very complicated problem. The Boston Police are making the case for more resources and DA Dan Conley is pushing for an increase to the current witness protection budget which was slashed from $1 million dollars to the current pot of $94, 245 split between 11 DA office in counties across Massachusetts. At one time the witness protection program was fiercely advocated for by Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and funded through the state legislature. The current amount is clearly not significant for any serious program and in this state there are many programs with zero results to show which are extremely well funded.
We all remember the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing and the fervor that spawned the loved and loathed slogans “Boston Strong” and “One Boston” in its aftermath. Here at the Blackstonian we entered into the public dialogue the comparison between the outpouring of concern, support and sympathy to the victims of the bombing to the “everyday” “regular” violence that communities of color experience far too often, with little to address the trauma. The Boston Herald’s recent series points out that there are 336 unsolved murders in Boston and offers data which confirms “The 20 Year Homicide Report” by Darrin Howell.
The Boston Marathon bombing brought together politicians and major corporate entities to establish the “One Fund” which as of January 2014 has raised $73 million dollars. Does similar sympathy that inspires philanthropy exist for victims who are Black & Brown? All over the internet right now you can see grown people dumping buckets of ice water on their head in support of the fight against ALS. This trend has gone viral, becoming the thing to do, despite very little discussion of donations or awareness raised.
It would seem that a paltry million dollars directed towards the witness protection program is well within the realm of possibility in this city of green. Why stop there? Imagine if just half of the One Fund was available to fund not only witness protection and the homicide unit budget, but also available for trauma/grief counseling, after school programming, job training, violence prevention curriculum, violence intervention, anti-recidivism programs and more. Call in the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Foundation, Bank of America, Prudential, John Hancock and all the multi-million dollar developers and businesses in Boston and start a similar initiative to fund a major comprehensive anti-violence program. Let the funds be dispersed by a board of trusted community members to serious and deserving efforts towards creating solutions.
This issue has affected more people, for a longer period of time, and is continually increasing its number of victims and yet this city’s reaction was greater for a one-time anomaly with less affected. This is a perfect time to call on that same collective energy to address the financial limitations which seem to prevent or hinder justice. Mayor Walsh, Gov. Patrick, city/state elected officials this is a challenge that should be quite simple and you don’t even have to get wet.