Roxbury residents registered their concerns and hopes for the future of Boston during a Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative planning exercise last week. During the event, which was attended by Mayor Martin Walsh and other city officials, residents visited different areas of DSNI’s office which was organized to gather input on three topics: housing, employment and transportation. The data DSNI collects in its community visioning process will also help the city better understand the needs of the Dudley Street neighborhood, according to Sheila Dillon, director of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development.
Today Henriquez is jumping back into the political arena, mounting a challenge to Carvalho for the 5th Suffolk District seat with posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Data suggest rights violations persist
Questioned last week about police reports alleging unconstitutional searches, Mayor Martin Walsh said the department is making progress in reducing crime and arrests, and pledged to work to improve relations between police and the communities they patrol.
Tyrek Lee’s life in the union movement began as a member in 2002 with a job as a telephone operator at Boston Medical Center. Over the next 13 years, he worked his way up through the ranks to head one of the state’s fastest-growing locals, assuming the position of Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199 last week.
FIO data suggests pattern of unconstitutional stops, searches
According to electronic entries in the department’s Field Intelligence Observation Record database, illegal non-consensual searches are not uncommon. Boston Police officers tracking encounters with the public recorded 3,533 nonconsensual searches, which they justified by citing “reasonable suspicion,” between 2010 and July of 2015.
Highlights unified enrollment, early education
Parents, educators, students and activists protested predicted budget cuts to BPS outside Symphony Hall as guests lined up for Mayor Martin Walsh’s State of the City address. In his speech, Walsh pledged to sufficiently fund BPS and set forth commitment to exploring unified enrollment and expanding early education.
State officials and local residents turned out last week to mark the beginning of the final phase of construction in Harvard Commons, a 99-unit housing development built on the site of the former Mattapan State Hospital.
Lawyers sue department over records requests
Attorneys with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice filed a lawsuit today seeking public records on 1. hair testing — a drug screening process that has been shown to produce higher rates of false positives with blacks — and 2. the demographic makeup of the current Boston Police recruit class.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited the Suffolk County House of Correction for a discussion of criminal justice reform, reentry programs and efforts to reduce recidivism.
Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers President Larry Ellison says there is a longstanding pattern of discrimination against black and Latino recruits at the BPD’s Boston Police Academy.
King’s civil rights struggle broke resistance to black progress, paved way for future success
In the middle of the 20th century, one man more than anyone else pricked the conscience of the American people with his call for a colorblind society. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of a land where “all men are judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” resounded in the ’50s and ’60s, setting the tone for the conscience of the nation.
The Boston Police Department released data on police encounters showing not only that blacks are more widely stopped, observed, searched and questioned than any other group, but also numerous instances of non-consensual searches, and a preponderance of police encounters justified under the vague category of “investigate, person.”
A steady stream of Boston school principals marched into the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building last week to discuss how the estimated $40 million in cuts to this year’s BPS budget would affect their schools. As news of deep cuts spread, parent organizers began piecing together a picture of a challenging fiscal year 2017 for the Boston Public Schools.
More than 200 students, educators and school administrators gathered in Boston last month to share strategies and insights on the challenges facing black and Latino students in the nation’s education system. The meeting was convened by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, which aims to change the cultural assumptions and norms that help produce lower outcomes for black and Latino students.
2016 to bring education, urban renewal before council
An air of camaraderie and celebration filled City Hall on Monday as the Boston City Council welcomed newcomers and elected a new president. As councilors continue to — or join— work on ongoing issues, contemplate new decisions fast approaching and outline their agendas for the term, many officials praised the new council’s diversity of gender, race and backgrounds and said this will be a source of strength.
Hearing finds officers showed bias in dismissal of black recruit
In a stinging rebuke of the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination found that its training academy violated the rights of a black recruit who was expelled from the academy for cheating while white recruits who were accused of public drunkenness, brawling and other offenses were allowed to graduate.
The year 2015 began with Black Lives Matter protests erupting in Boston and cities and towns across the United States. Protesters blocked freeways, occupied shopping malls and did their best to disrupt businesses as usual. Arguably, their efforts were successful, sparking conversations, studies and news media coverage of state violence against blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.
Bostonians struggled through epic snowstorms, fought for and against an Olympics bid and nearly slept through a low-turnout municipal election in 2015.
State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez gathered Latino elected officials at the State House to celebrate electoral gains Latinos have made in recent years.
Colleagues celebrate his 32 years on the body
As Charles Yancey’s 32-year political career comes to an end, supporters, fellow politicians and family members lauded him for his dedication to the district and commitment to human rights.
Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts members marked their 50th anniversary with a dinner at the Northeastern University institute named for BEAM founding member John D. O’Bryant.
Black-owned firm to build hotel, condos
If all goes according to plan, the Peebles Corporation’s mixed-use development will rise 11 stories over the Massachusetts Turnpike at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Streets. The $400 million, five-year project will employ more than 200 construction workers. Peebles will contract with dozens of local businesses – 30 to 50 percent of them owned by women and people of color. The construction workforce will also be 30 to 50 percent women and people of color, according to Tawan Davis, Peebles Corporation’s Chief Investment Officer.
Neighborhood district struggles to find right mix of businesses to attract more shoppers
Grove Hall Main Streets Director Ed Gaskin led Mayor Martin Walsh and city officials on a tour of the commercial district last week, underscoring the opportunities and challenges facing businesses and shoppers in the area.
Parent organizers wary of charter, district school collaboration
As the statewide debate over charter school expansion heats up, a local battle is brewing between Mayor Martin Walsh and a group of parent organizers who are alleging the city plans to transfer Boston Public Schools buildings to charter schools.
Blacks, Latinos, Asians largely absent in Boston-themed Hollywood hits
Boston is yet again on the silver screen with the films Black Mass and Spotlight the latest in a string of Hollywood hits depicting life in Boston. Yet black, Latino and Asian Bostonians may see little semblance between the city they call home and the Hollywood version of Boston. The bumper crop of Boston-themed big budget blockbusters coming out of Hollywood have few if any people of color, and none in lead roles.
Says city, developers putting projects ahead of process
While the Boston Redevelopment Authority is moving forward with its Imagine Boston 2030 initiative aimed at creating a masterplan for Boston’s future, City Councilor Tito Jackson wants Roxbury residents to plan for their own future.
Appeals to white racial anxiety
One year after Ferguson, Missouri activists drew attention to the issue of police abuse of blacks, the fault lines between blacks’ and whites’ views of race and racism remain as stark as ever. Events over the last week have underscored a continuing deep divide.
When a representative of the Milken Family Foundation announced that a teacher from Randolph High would receive an award, Michelle Ryan had no idea it would be her.
In the Boston area, the flare-up of anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment has prompted action from local human rights activists. On Friday, hundreds rallied outside the Massachusetts State House, protesting Governor Charlie Baker’s statement that Massachusetts would not accept Syrian refugees.
Several hundred charter school students, administrators and parents rallied in front of the State House yesterday to lobby the state Senate to approve Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan to lift the cap limiting the number of charter school seats in Massachusetts.
Scholars, representatives of nonprofits and activists from throughout the African diaspora gathered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland earlier this month to discuss the growing movement to secure reparations from the nations that participated in and profited from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Progressives still lack votes to move agenda
The results of the Nov. 3 municipal election revealed a profound shift in Boston with two women of color — Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu — winning the majority of the votes in the city and a longstanding councilor – Stephen Murphy — displaced by female challenger Anissa Essaibi George. That Murphy, a longtime Hyde Park resident, lost by a wide margin on his Ward 18 home turf to Ayanna Pressley demonstrates how much the city has changed.
Jamaica Plain activists and Boston Redevelopment Authority representatives entered the Boston English High School cafeteria Nov. 4 with a tall order — plotting the future of a mile-long stretch of Washington Street in the face of rising rents, sky-high real estate values and an abundance of vacant and under-utilized land.
White conservative voter influence seen waning
The center city electoral base of blacks, Latinos, Asians and progressive-leaning whites, which electoral strategists have referred to as the hole in the donut, has grown at the same time the white electoral base on the periphery has declined. Nowhere has the expansion of voters of color been more palpable than in Hyde Park, the neighborhood that once served as Murphy’s electoral base.
Two weeks ago members of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee grilled developers over two controversial plans: one calling for Northeastern University student housing on Parcel 3 and another calling for a new Conservatory Lab Charter School building at Bartlett Yard. This past Monday, committee members underscored their opposition to the respective plans, with City Councilor Tito Jackson calling for the de-designation of Feldco Development as a partner on the P3 project.
Five caucuses working on broad spectrum of bills
In an unprecedented collaboration, members of the Black and Latino Caucus, the Women’s Caucus, the Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus and the House and Senate Progressive caucuses came together to share information and build support for a coordinated push to change everything from pedestrian stops to the state’s bail system.
Challengers Andrea joy Campbell and Anissa Essaibi George secured spots on the city council, sweeping out that body’s two longest serving members: Charles Yancey and Stephen Murphy.
Local activists concerned about worsening situation on island
Puerto Rico’s long-struggling economy went from bad to worse this year, with Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla asserting that the island’s $72 billion debt burden may never be repaid. Creditors are calling on Puerto Rico’s government to close schools and cut services while Garcia Padilla and others on the island are appealing to the Obama administration to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.
Last week the Boston Redevelopment Authority board gave the BHA the green light to begin phase one of its redevelopment of the Whittier Street public housing development — a $44 million tear-down of one of Whittier Street’s eight-story buildings on Cabot Street and the reconstruction of 68 affordable units in two new buildings, to be sited along Melnea Cass Boulevard.
Social media apps give rise to biased crime reporting
Programs that encourage reporting “suspicious activity” to police have revealed widespread racial biases among civilians, as whites frequently report black neighbors for doing nothing more than going about their daily lives. New social media networks and apps like Operation GroupeMe and Nextdoor further have encourage whites to give voice to racial paranoia.
Education activists and elected officials turned out last week for a marathon hearing on proposals to lift the cap on the state’s charter schools, the opening skirmish in one of the nation’s most heated battles over public education funding.
Boston parents shared their struggles and frustrations seeking school assignments as the Boston Public Schools are considering changes to the current school assignment policy that would allow parents to apply to charter and public schools with one form. The meeting, held last Thursday, was organized by the Boston Compact, an organization that facilitates cooperation between Boston Public Schools, charters and Catholic schools. BPS officials, charter school representatives and education activists joined the parents for a discussion on their experiences with the current assignment system and what they would like to see in a revamped system.
Roxbury neighbors express opposition to charter, question plan for student housing
Controversial development projects dominated Monday’s meeting of the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee, the group charged with delivering community input on major development projects on city and state-owned land in Roxbury. Nuestra Comunidad’s plan to site the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Bartlett Yard, a plan much farther along than the Parcel 3 plan, sparked vigorous opposition at the RSMPOC meeting.
Government officials and activists from the nonprofit sector came together last week to explore ways to combat racial inequality in Boston last week during a day-long conference in Dudley Square. The conference, titled Advancing Racial Equity, the Role of Government, was sponsored by the City of Boston and a coalition of housing, health and civil rights groups.
NAACP forum explores effects of charters on district school funding
With a lawsuit, a ballot initiative and legislation filed by Gov. Charlie Baker all aimed at lifting the state’s cap on charter schools, district school supporters are sounding a note of caution, warning that new charter seats will siphon public education dollars away from Boston’s schools.
Chinatown being squeezed by luxury highrises
In Chinatown row houses, struggling families are seeing their rents double and triple, as well-heeled professionals seeking proximity to their downtown jobs rediscover city living. Looming above the warren of narrow streets are new steel-and-glass luxury towers, including the Millennium with its $37.5 million 60th floor penthouse.
The low turnout during the September 8 preliminary municipal election and confusion over precincts in the City Council District 4 are two of the issues newly-appointed Election Department Commissioner Dion Irish will look at in his new role.
Some Roxbury residents are questioning the city’s approval of a 40-unit mixed-income development by The Community Builders at the corner of Blue Hill Avenue and Quincy Street
Tito Jackson gets 66 percent of District 7 vote
Newcomer Andrea Campbell and incumbent Tito Jackson finished first in the District 4 and District 7 City Council preliminaries, both with commanding leads in a low-turnout election day.
Kavayah Wright, Richard Smith and Anthony Schultz teamed up to run a program, through Smith’s National Youth Development Council, at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and at a second location in Cambridge. For three days a week, students enrolled in the after-school program will learn the fundamentals of audio engineering, recording, animation and other cutting edge technologies in the music and film industries. The program is open to all Boston high school students. Smith will serve as the program’s coordinator. Wright and Schultz are among the program’s instructors.