Special to the Journal
In the early hours of January 18, Revere residents gathered in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to commemorate the Civil Rights activist. They hung back up the city’s Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner, stuck social justice posters between the railings, and left behind two messages in chalk.
The first chalk message was a quote by Dr. King, written out above the steps, stating simply, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The second, written below the steps, read, “Revere has been silent for far TOO LONG! BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
Less than 48 hours later, the chalk was washed away and the posters and banner were removed. Their message, however, continued to echo in the minds of local electeds.
At a recent City Council meeting, Councilor Anthony Zambuto presented a motion to request a banner commission “in honor of and depicting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to be displayed on the front of City Hall during the month of February in recognition of Black History Month.” The motion passed unanimously. The banner was soon commissioned by Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo and put up at the front of Revere City Hall on Saturday, February 6th. The Black History Month banner displayed the pan-african colors (red, black and green) and a black-and-white photo of Dr. King.
In recognition of the BLM supporters who fought for this historic win by putting up the city’s other banner on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the exact same Dr. King quote spelled out in chalk was placed on the bottom of the new Black History Month banner. The new banner, despite being put up almost a week into Black History Month, is still expected to be taken down after the Feb. 28. No promises have been made regarding whether it will be used again next February. Local politicians have also not announced any related policy-change to coincide with this symbolic banner.
“I’m really proud to see Revere residents fight hard for human rights and actually win,” shared Chaimaa Hossaini, Vice-Chair of the Revere Human Rights Commision. “I just hope to see this support by local politicians become a regular thing: a yearly commemoration of Black History Month, unwavering support for BLM, and real policy change.”