Talia M. Blatt
On April 15, 1970, Massachusetts State Police deployed tear gas in a crowd of nearly 3,000 anti-Vietnam War protesters in Harvard Square. On May 31, 2020 — roughly fifty years later — police deployed tear gas on protesters in the Boston Common and Downtown Crossing area who were demonstrating against the police killing of George Floyd. Months later, both moments are fresh in Cambridge City Councilor Jivan G. Sobrinho-Wheeler’s mind. Sobrinho-Wheeler sponsored a policy order to ban the use of tear gas by police in a City Council meeting on Oct. 26.
Brittle yellowed leaves cluttered Harvard Yard in early August, well before they typically change color. The fallen leaves are a symptom of a much larger problem: the significant drought currently affecting Massachusetts.