Since 2009, the year Henry Louis Gates was arrested as a direct result of racist bias, the Cambridge Police Department’s budget has increased by a whopping 33 percent. Our city is now deliberating whether to fork over an additional $4.1 million to the department.

Cambridge should not give any additional funding, and instead should reallocate those funds to housing, health care, education and other initiatives that actively benefit our black and brown community members.

Nationwide, attempts to reform police practices – from implicit bias trainings to body cameras – have failed, as evidenced by the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade in recent weeks. We cannot expect any different from a police department that, despite $21.8 million of additional funding and numerous community policing training programs, continues to treat our community with contempt. Most recently, it slipped up on the official twitter account last month.

Monday’s City Council hearing on the FY2021 budget is an opportunity for us to pressure the council to take a stand and pressure the city manager to adjust the budget. Together, we can shift funds away from the police and transform the way Cambridge invests in community safety and well-being. It’s long past time.

Lillyanne Daigle, Gold Star Court