Remember the I-93 protest that happened earlier this year? I sure do. I was on the way to court and, thanks to the protesters, came minutes away from missing my hearing. Thousands of Massachusetts residents were impacted by this outrageous protest, including a man in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. No one–myself especially–denies the right of others to express their views, but the middle of I-93 is not the place to do this.
That’s why I was shocked and outraged that Mayor Curtatone of Somerville recently advocated that the Middlesex County District Attorney not pursue charges against the protesters. As a local business owner in Somerville and someone who provides legal services across Massachusetts, I don’t think Mayor Curtatone really understands how protesting in the middle of I-93 hurts innocent people. On the day of the protest, I was headed to Wrentham to assist a disabled, single mother facing foreclosure. This “protest” didn’t raise awareness of any cause; it merely put lives at risk and prevented people like myself from helping others in need. Like a stereotypical politician, Mayor Curtatone is looking for a quick news headline at the expense of common sense and what is really best for his constituents in the long run.
Below is a copy of the letter I sent to Mayor Curtatone regarding his support for the I-93 protesters. I encourage others who feel similarly to do the same. And Somerville residents: make your voices known at the next mayoral election.
Dear Mayor Curtatone:
I recently read your statement encouraging the Middlesex District Attorney to drop charges against the I-93 protestors. I am a Somerville attorney who has practiced in this area for the last two years. I wanted to share a story with you about my experience in dealing with the I-93 protestors last year.
On the day of the protest, I was traveling to Wrentham for a court appearance. I was not headed to represent a major corporation or a rich client that morning; I was traveling to assist a disabled, single mother facing a foreclosure. Thanks to the protestors, I came minutes from missing the hearing and not being able to assist my client. I consider myself one of the “lucky” people stuck in traffic that day; I was not the injured man in an ambulance who the protestors delayed getting to the hospital.
With that said, I find your statement in support of the protestors to be deeply insulting. People have every right to express their political views, but not in a way that disrupts the lives, safety, and welfare of others. That’s why I am sending you this letter, in lieu of standing in front of your car and preventing you from getting to work.
Your quotation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is similarly disingenuous. Dr. King advocated peaceful public discourse; he would have never approved a protest that put the public’s safety at risk. I suggest you take a cue from Calvin Coolidge’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts when, during the 1919 Boston police strike, stated “there is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time.” Coolidge rejected what might have been popular for what was right: a lesson you should considering following.
Adam T. Sherwin, Esq.