(Daily Mail) Among the 10 people who will decide whether to pay members of Boston’s black community are two high schoolers and one college student.
High school juniors Damani Williams and Denilson Fanfan, as well as 22-year-old University of Massachusetts student and Black Lives Matter organizer Carrie Mays, were named to the city’s reparations task force on Tuesday.
It is unclear what expertise the two high schoolers will provide, but a profile of the Jeremiah E Burke High School says it is located in ‘one of Boston’s most historically marginalized areas.’
But Mays had gained local attention for her efforts to rally people to a Black Lives Matter protest in Boston following the death of George Floyd in June 2020. She said the message resonated with her because her family was once stopped by police at gunpoint, causing her personal trauma.
Mays now organizes discussions about racism at her school, and has spoken about the issue at national conferences.
Her social media profiles are also filled with messages supporting Black Lives Matter and spewing her identity politics, with a pinned post on her Facebook profile demanding the ‘white-washed school curriculum teach black history beyond slavery.’
University of Massachusetts Boston student Carrie Mays (pictured) will serve on the panel after rallying residents to a Black Lives Matter march following the police-involved killing of George Floyd in 2020
It will also include high schoolers Damani Williams, left, and Denilson Fanfan, right
A post on her Facebook demands the ‘white-washed school curriculum teach black history beyond slavery’
Mays first rose to local prominence in June 2020 when she created a livestream video ahead of a Black Lives Matter protest in the city, encouraging people to join in.
That video was viewed over 3,000 times with more than 100 people sharing it.
She later said she identified with the Black Lives Matter message because and her family were stopped by police in 2019, causing her some personal trauma.
‘Me, my grandmother and my mother was pulling into the driveway from my godmother’s funeral and five cops held us at gunpoint out of mistaken identity because the description of the car was the same one as a robbery that was supposedly nearby,’ she told WGBH in 2020.
‘From then on, I knew that this movement is just the epitome of all of us. And I am Black Lives Matter.’
But, she said she thought the movement needs to be about more than police brutality.
‘I think a lot of people misconstrue the Black Lives Matter movement to only be about police brutality,’ she said. ‘But when we scream Black Lives Matter, we mean in every area of society. And one way we can make black lives matter is through voting.’
By that October, she said, registered 320 black residents to vote in just one weekend.
At school, Mays has also organized discussions about racism and has spoken at national conferences.
A post pinned to her Facebook profile also demands the ‘white-washed school curriculum teach black history beyond slavery.’
Mays is now a member of the Boston Community Action Team and was recently appointed a member of the Civilian Review Board of Police Accountability.
In a video posted to her Instagram last year, Mays decried what she called white supremacy
Mays has said her family was once stopped at gunpoint by police, causing her personal trauma
Mays is now a member of the Boston Community Action Team and was recently appointed a member of the Civilian Review Board of Police Accountability
View this post on Instagram
In accepting a position as the first youth member on the Civilian Review Board last month, Mays said: ‘I am so deeply humbled, honored and thankful to be given this revolutionary opportunity.
‘I know my ancestors are proud of me,’ she continued in a statement posted on her Instagram. ‘Boston has not had a police accountability board like this in 100 years. Yes I said 100 years.
‘Historically, youth have always been on the front lines and at the forefront of every political movement in America. From 1963 with the Children’s March of Birmingham which ignited de-segregation across the country, to today with the Black Lives Matters movement led by brave unapologetic black youth.
‘So today marks history. I am history. You are history. We’re all walking manifestations of history. As Ayanna Pressley said, the people closest to the pain should be the closest to the power. So we will do just that.
‘I’m super excited and ready to do the work. Thank you so much community, I love you and I mean that with all my heart.’
In another post last year, in which she shared a poem for Black History Month, Mays wrote: ‘When you realize white supremacy is a personal attack on you and goes beyond the systematic, you realize self-love is an act of resistance.
‘You realize untraditional education is an act of resistance. Knowledge is an act of resistance. LOVE is an act of resistance.’
And when Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced on Tuesday that she would serve on the reparations task force, she wore large earrings reading: ‘Young, gifted and black.’
Mays has said she thought the Black Lives Matter movement should be about more than just policing
The college student organizes discussions about racism at her school, and has spoken about the issue at national conferences.
When Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced on Tuesday that she would serve on the reparations task force, she wore large earrings reading: ‘Young, gifted and black’
Also on the panel are basketballers Fanfan and Williams, both of whom are juniors at the Jeremiah E Burke High School.
It is unclear what expertise they might be able to provide, but the Burke High School profile says that it serves students ‘residing in high-poverty, high crime neighborhoods within the Dorchester-Roxbury Grove Hall area.’
The profile goes on to note that the school deals ‘head-on with issues of trust, cultural relevance, respect for traditions and diverse belief systems.
‘Our students rely on teachers that can differentiate their instruction, provide culturally-relevant instruction and to create a trauma-sensitive learning environment.’
Boston’s reparations task force will be chaired by attorney Joseph Fester Jr, a former president of the NAACP Boston branch and a current member of the city’s Black Men and Boys Commission
Others on the panel include L’Mercie Frazier, a public historian, visual activist and the executive director of creative and strategic partnerships for SPOKE Arts, left, and Na’tisha Mills, the program director at Embrace Boston, right
Panel members Dr. Kerri Greenidge and George ‘Chip’ Greenidge Jr. are pictured, left and right
Rounding out the task force are Dr. David Harris, the past managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and Dorothea Jones, a longtime civic organizer