by: Marceline Donaldson
It is time for Massachusetts to give up its title of the most racist area in the United States.
Having lived in the Cambridge/Boston area for some 36 years, it is clear that title is well deserved and I was born and raised in the deep south and experienced places like Mississippi and Alabama at the height of their most racist actions.
We – my husband and I – have challenged that over many years and each time it had disastrous results because of the slam back we had to take. What is happening now is the worst of times because it has put my husband in Massachusetts General Hospital in their area for people “Protected” by Court Orders.
I went to visit my husband yesterday (Saturday). A Security Guard was called because I needed to have a Security Guard and Policeman present and then I could only stay for 1/2 hour. So far, I have only been able to see him once. Why? One time I couldn’t see him because the staff on his floor said they were short staffed and did not have a Security Guard or Policeman who could be present. With all that has happened and is happening it is clear the goal is to keep me away from my husband by any means.
What happened this time? A security guard by the name of DuBois arrived, asked for identification, left and returned to tell me I was not allowed to see him at all because he had taken out a restraining order against me. That was amazing because I thought that was clearly not true – or it happened after they gave him drugs. The last time I saw him he was clearly on something and you could tell that by the way he looked and how glassy his eyes were – and my husband is a man who does not drink, does not take drugs.
The Security Guard was vicious – as though this was really personal for him. I asked his name a second time because the first time was before he came back to tell me I was under a restraining order and could not see my husband. He refused to give me his name; said he had already given it to me and he wasn’t going to do it again. I asked for the name of the supervisor who said I was under a restraining order and he said he was not going to give that to me because I didn’t need it and he said more. To say he was vicious is an understatement. He finally gave me his name – for the second time – and told me to leave the hospital immediately.
My husband is in the hospital during this coronavirus pandemic when he needs to be home. What are you going to do if he gets the coronavirus while in the hospital? Deny any responsibility? Do what bureaucrats do?
Somerville Cambridge Elder Services brought charges against us. Against me, claiming I was abusive in some horrible ways. Since we have people in our home most of the time that would be impossible. We have many people ready to talk about the relationship they have seen over 20 to 30 years. And the fact that I am even having to prove that to you and others within the state system is unreal and beyond severe retaliation for challenging the racism, sexism etc in this state – city – county.
On a Tuesday march 3rd they had some 8 policemen – all white – come to my home with the authority to break in, if needed. They took him to MGH to undergo tests under a section 12. Disbelief ran through everyone we know. I stayed with my husband at MGH from about 10-11am on the 3rd until 3:30am the next morning.
Do you know what it is like to be African American with all those police at your door, pushing their way into your house, threatening you and demanding to take away your husband? It is terrifying. You should experience the same thing with African Americans at your door doing the same thing so you know what a part of the citizens of your state, city, county experience on a nearly regular basis. Head in the sand is one way to deal with this.
He was released at about 3:30am the next day after he had been put through unbelievable trauma. Not by MGH – they were doing in that department what they were set up to do. When you are put in that department for political reasons – you experience it in a very different way.
When released, his blood pressure was normal and all of his other numbers were within the normal range – especially for an 87 year old man. He was released with an appointment for another visit; a note at the bottom which said no medicines were being prescribed. Since then I have heard about how he was not getting anti-seizure medicine and more and I was supposed to be the person who was keeping this away from him. The story goes that CVS tried to call me to pick up prescriptions left there by doctors and I refused. That was astounding to me. When we called CVS there were no prescriptions to be picked up and no calls made to me or anyone else to pick up the medicine. MGH told us the anti-seizure medicine was only to be given to him for 7 days after his operation and he was in the hospital for all of that time. So the lies throughout all of this are monstrous and all being told through Somerville Cambridge Elder Services.
We were able to get out into the sun for the rest of the day and the next day. I am glad we enjoyed that brief time because it looks like the last time we could even be together. My husband has not seen sun, been out in the fresh air, taken a walk since then. Why? Because the police came back – this time on Friday evening after the Courts closed for the weekend and it was impossible to reach attorneys, with an order which was more draconian than the first. The police were given the right to break into our home; to do whatever they had to do there to take my husband out; with orders that said even if he objected they should ignore his objections and drag him out anyway and anyhow.
They were taking him back to MGH under the same Section 12 and given the same tests he had been through less than 48 hours before and he had to go over again what he went through on March 3rd-4th. Why would a court order such? To send someone back through terror because the state agency filing the order and signed by the court with no notice to the person involved wanted him under their control?
Our right to challenge this was taken away from us by the court because the court signed the order presented by Somerville Cambridge Elder Services without our even knowing such was happening and that with a state law which says such notice was necessary.
To go through twice in just a few days the same terror is unbelievable. But, the first time didn’t do the job so try again and make sure you lock this man up for the rest of his life? There was even the suggestion that he be sent to a nursing home with Somerville Cambridge taking guardianship or giving it to someone “responsible.”
The man involved and being so attacked is African American. So it is alright for that to happen.
He is not wealthy, but he is also not living in poverty. The Court ruled that he was “indigent” and so the Court needed to appoint an attorney to represent him. An attorney he did not know, did not want, he had his own attorneys, so even the right to choose his own attorney was taken away from him by this court. Why? Is there something else in here that is not known? Let my paranoia fly to ask if this collusion by the court the state agency and the attorney?
What is being done to him and his family is what happened in the deep south at the turn of the century and in the 1930’s and 1940’s when whites went into black areas and cities and massacred the people there because the whites were terrified that their White Supremacy might be taken away or diminished? The African Americans at that time had no defense and what happened to them was subsequently ignored and is only recently resurfacing in the history books. The outrage at such relating that to what is its modern counterpart is the same.
This time the massacre is being done using the Court System and a retired judge called back to sign this order.
Yes, the people involved who the Court System acted against have worked for decades trying to change the racism, sexism and all the other bigotry in this area. Yes, the people involved are living in a neighborhood where African Americans are not welcome – not by the neighbors, but by the institutional structures which run these cities – and they have been clear that they do not want African Americans living where this couple lives.
I could go on, but my husband is being held in jeopardy to his life and health. At 87 years old he has been kept in bed from Friday through the following Friday through Saturday and will probably be kept as long as they can keep him in bed. What does that do to such a person? It limits his life span – it destroys the quality of his life – it takes away from him all of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution – it took away from him his right to vote on Tuesday March 3rd even after he asked about being allowed to vote and that was denied. That is what you – the Mayors of Cambridge and Somervile. the Governor of Massachusetts and others are allowing to happen by doing nothing – putting your head in the sand. Is he being held until he is broken and his health is irretrievably negatively affected?
We have been harrassed for years. Most recently by a new neighbor who moved in and went bonkers when he discovered after spending millions on his house he was living in the middle of a block with African Americans living on the corner. That was very sad, because the neighbor who lived there before he moved in was a dear friend. And just by coincidence he is rumored to be high up at a major health institution.
I want my husband out of the hospital and home. I want my husband detached from the Somerville Cambridge Elder Services. I want Elder Services investigated. They are ruining the lives of African Americans by their actions and need to be closed and investigated with the people responsible for this FIRED. As I look into this I am discovering that this may not be so strange in Massachusetts and certainly not foreign to Somerville Cambridge Elder Services.
And as I look into this I discovered that in spite of our knowing nothing about it, the Somerville Cambridge Elder Services has been attempting to hound us for many many months, possibly years.
It is time for action instead of this foot dragging and ignoring and doing nothing and I hope this does not result in the police coming for me and dragging me off someplace.
My hands are also tied because his health proxy, named by the Court is someone who is not a blood relative. That person appointed by the court in spite of a health proxy form created by massachusetts general hospital creating a health proxy form naming his wife as his health proxy and that after they talked to him to find out his wishes. In addition, there was another health proxy created by an attorney who works in probate and estate matters in which my husband named his wife his health proxy and that was witnessed by people who knew both of us for some 20 to 30 years and are substantial members of the Cambridge community. The Court decided it knew better and negated both of those in favor of one which both of those health proxies negated. The health proxy created by the attorney was done after Robert discovered the health proxy by the person unrelated to him.
What – if anything – are you going to do about this? I would like my husband home immediately if not sooner and my husband has been begging to be allowed to go home since they locked him up in this “protected” area where, in my youth would have been called the “police lock-up” in the hospital.
marceline donaldson – 49 Hawthorn Street – Cambridge MA. 02138 – 617 497 9166
Letters to the governor, mayors, and other political figures would be much appreciated. All of you who know us and have known us for decades know that this is a travesty – tragic and ruining of live – especially the quality of life of two elder people.