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Activists Call For 'Strong Police Reform,' Racial Justice Outside Statehouse

BOSTON (CBS) -- Protesters called for strong police reform and attention to social injustices in front of the Statehouse on Friday. The event comes less than a week after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin that has sparked protests around the country.

The rally outside the Statehouse falls on the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. Speakers called for the Legislature to pass "strong police reform." The House and Senate have each passed police accountability bills but have yet to send a final version to Gov. Charlie Baker.

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Protesters called for strong police reform and attention to social injustices in front of the Statehouse on Friday. (WBZ-TV)

"The city needs to – and has started to –  make a commitment around being anti-racist city," said Imari Paris Jeffries, the executive director of King Boston. He oversees the embrace memorial recognizing the contribution Corretta Scott and Dr. King made to the city and the nation.

"[We are facing] the convergence of three pandemics: A racial one, which is 400 years in a making; a viral which we've experienced the last eight months; and then an economic one. All of them, I think, illustrate the same point. Black folks are significantly racialized, disadvantaged…" he said.

From speeches to poems to raps, people gathered while social distancing to speak out against systemic racisms and police shootings of Blacks across the country, including the most recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"I'm using my first amendment right to talk about police brutality and how we all need to stand up against that," said one protestor.

"We must love one and other. We have nothing to lose but our chains," said a speaker at the peaceful protest.

"Enough to the unjust killing and criminalization of our young men and women, enough to the defunding and gentrification of our communities," said a statement from James Mackey, a community organizer with Brothers Building, which is a local group of Black men. "Just as important, this event is a call to remind the Black community that we are 'enough,' and when we come together, we have more than enough to begin the work of creating the world in which we wish to live."

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