A Powerful Example of “Silent, Yet Effective” Protest on Social Injustice!
Submitted by Samantha Williams
Senior Contributing Writer
The continued practice of criminalizing Black bodies by law enforcement and non-Black vigilantes has sparked numerous global protests. Black people are beyond tired, upset, and frustrated, and our allies have joined forces to demand the justice, equity, and freedoms we have yet to receive.
In June 2020, recent events inspired two Boston-based married couples to organize a silent, yet powerful and peaceful protest at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market, which is also located near City Hall. Co-Leaders of the Boston Men’s Dinner Group, Emerson Foster and Paul Francisco, were joined by crowds of Black men who stood in silence and solidarity as they symbolically demanded change from City Hall and city officials.
Foster is a respected Black business executive leader and current Vice President of Human Resources – North America and Global Strategic Accounts for the Corporate Services Division of Sodexo.
He stated, “We wanted to spotlight the need for police reform and pledged to lend our voice in calling for change. Luckily, there were many in the Boston community and political circles pushing some of these reform measures forward. We stand behind those community members and organizations to ensure legislative actions are taken.”
Demonstrations such as the silent protest organized by Foster and Francisco highlight the need for substantial institutionalized changes and reform.
Group co-leader, Francisco, is the Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Workforce Development programs at State Street Corporation. He recounted, “It was a cathartic moment for many of us, a moment where we were able to reflect on the power of our voices. Though we were silent, the imagery of seeing over 150 men of color standing silently while holding signs with the names of the many black and brown men and women killed was loud. It has inspired many of us to continue to do more.”
Alongside their husbands, Anna Foster and Betty Francisco lead the Boston’s Woman’s Dinner Group, and they also organized the recent Women’s Silent Protest. “I am a Black woman, and I am raising Black children.” Stated Anna Foster, Founder and CEO of A Maven’s World.
She continued, “It is my duty as their mother and for the sake of humanity, to stand up and use my voice against the mistreatment, racism, and injustice against black people.”
Betty Francisco is an accomplished Attorney and current General Counsel at Compass Working Capital.
She explained that she and Foster used the Women’s Silent Protest to “cast a spotlight on the women of color who are victims of violence or have to bear the pain of a murdered loved one.” Francisco continued, “As an Asian Latina married to an Afro-Latino, I have a lifelong responsibility to my children, my family, and community to fight for equity and justice.”
Collectively, these teams of husband and wife Black leaders are united in driving equitable change in Boston and beyond.
The success of these silent protests drives these couples to ask, what’s next? What else can we do as Black executives, professionals, leaders, and citizens to inspire progressive change?
VOTE! Vote like your life depends on it because it does.