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Yawu Miller

Stories by Yawu

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Artists bring fresh paint, new faces to Dudley mural

Twenty years after creating a mural showcasing Roxbury history in Dudley Square, artist Michael Womble returned to refresh and revise the work.

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Roxbury explodes in color during Caribbean Carnival

New talent emerges with winning presentations

Caribbean Carnival, one of Boston’s largest cultural events, showcased new talent this year, with new band leaders and designers winning awards.

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Meeting moved! Baker administration reschedules

Roxbury voters objected to the Governor's economic development Sept. 8 listening session tour date in Roxbury, which coincides with the preliminary voting for City Council.

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Boston gears up for Caribbean Carnival

Parades and competitions this week

Carnival Parade comes to Boston this Saturday with a parade of mas bands. Contestants will compete against each other before a panel of judges who are flown in from Trinidad. The parade, which regularly draws tens of thousands of participants and spectators, is the largest cultural event in Boston’s black community and one of the largest in the city. Several other parades and competitions will happen this week.

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MBTA police beating of 911-caller caught on video

Roxbury woman suing T for civil rights violation

Last week, the ACLU of Massachusetts announced a lawsuit against the MBTA Police Department for police brutality and posted its webpage video recordings of the 2014 beating of Mary Holmes by officers Jennifer Garvey and Alfred Trinh. Holmes was facing charges of assault and battery on a public employee, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, but the bus station videos showed clearly that Holmes did nothing to warrant the attack. This is the type of abuse many in the black community have complained about for decades.

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Mayor: cop didn't choke teen

A video of a Boston Police officer choking a teen has angered activists. The mayors response to reporters' questions about the video seems to have fanned the flames.

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Video footage contradicts MBTA cops' assault charge against Roxbury woman

At a time when the City of Boston has been seen resisting a proposal to outfit BPD officers with body-worn cameras, the case of a woman beaten by MBTA officers underscored how effective cameras can be at countering embellished police reports.

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Rox. development projects get green light from city

While the steel and glass luxury apartment towers going up downtown have come to typify Boston’s building boom, the city has greenlighted several smaller projects in and around Roxbury that show a different side to the city’s expanding housing market. The projects promise to bring a mixture of market-rate and affordable housing units to the Roxbury area, as well as ground-level retail space that could contribute to the revitalization of long-vacant commercial areas.

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Hub’s growing Dominican community celebrates culture in downtown Boston

Festival is 30th held in Boston

Over the last 30 years, the city’s Dominican community has grown from a few thousand families centered in Jamaica Plain to one of the city’s largest ethnic groups. With more than 38,000 Boston residents claiming Dominican heritage, Dominicans have surpassed Puerto Ricans as the largest Latino group in Boston.

Black cops suing department over ‘false positives’ in hair tests

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice has filed lawsuits alleging the hair testing the Boston Police Department uses to determine whether officers have used drugs is scientifically unsound and more like to generate false positives among blacks than among white officers.

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Rights groups take aim at anti-terror program

Say Muslims unfairly targeted

Activists in Boston, Minneapolis and Los Angeles spoke out last week against the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism program, calling for more transparency and denouncing what many see as an unwarranted focus on Muslims.

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Candidates are many, campaigns are few in City Council districts 4 & 7

Early Sept. 8 preliminary could see scant turnout

With the date of the city’s preliminary election moved to Tuesday, Sept. 8 — the day after the Labor Day weekend — turnout is expected to be light in Roxbury’s District 7 and Dorchester’s District 4 races. And while both races feature a range of candidates — four in District 4 and six in District 7 — the bounty of candidates will not necessarily translate into an electrified electorate.

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Activists, councilors and cops debate body-worn cameras

During a City Council hearing held by the Committee on Government Operations councilors questioned police officials and members of the Boston Police Camera Action Team on an ordinance that would require police to be outfitted with body-worn cameras.

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Black labor group opens Hub office

Local black labor activists have opened a Boston chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, a national group aimed at forging alliances on civil rights and labor issues.

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Advocates backing bill that would end RMV license suspensions

Massachusetts state senators, representatives and sheriffs were among dozens who turned out to a State House hearing July 23 in support of Senate bill 1812, which would end the legal requirement to suspend driver’s licenses for people convicted of non-violent, no-vehicle-related drug offenses for up to five years.

Boston Olympic bid is scuttled

Calls for city to tackle real problems

As the dust settled on the Boston 2024 bid Monday afternoon, elected officials in Boston’s black community reacted with a mixture of relief and optimism.

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Radius building, five acres of Rox land to be auctioned

A court-appointed receiver for the former Radius Hospital on Townsend Street is seeking bidders for an August 13 auction to sell the 159,000-square-foot facility and the five acres of prime Roxbury land on which it sits. Possible uses for the site include a health care facility, a school, dormitory space or housing.

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BRA seeks support for urban renewal

Push for public support comes as report finds fault with agency

The Boston Redevelopment Authority seems to be making good on its pledge to be more transparent and accountable, seeking public support for its urban renewal districts amid revelations the agency is lacks critical planning staff and has potentially mismanaged finances.

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Five acre Roxbury site goes up for auction

Former Radius hospital to be sold

For sale: 159,000 square-foot hospital building complex on five acres of prime Roxbury land. Bids due August 10.

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Civil rights activists calling for police dept. reforms

A group of civil rights activists, elected officials and attorneys will soon call on Mayor Martin Walsh to settle longstanding discrimination complaints filed by black officers in the Boston Police Department, reform the system of exams used for hiring and promotion, and take affirmative steps to end police profiling.

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Dot residents contemplate future of arts in neighborhood

Brainstorm arts ideas for Boston Creates

The Dorchester residents packed into a classroom at the Vietnamese American Community Center represent a cross section of the city’s most diverse neighborhood: black, Latino, white and Asian, young and old, brainstorming ideas about how to best enhance the local arts scene. The idea-sharing session was part of the city’s Boston Creates initiative, a 15-month effort aimed at enhancing the city’s arts scene.

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Dominican community split over immigration policy

Many defend D.R.’s planned deportations

Last week, the scene in front of the Dominican consulate was tense as a predominantly Haitian group of protesters squared off against a smaller group of Dominicans demonstrating in support of the Dominican government. That protest was perhaps the most visible sign of a rift within the Boston-area Dominican community over their government’s new immigration policy, which critics say will effectively render stateless more than 200,000 people born in the Dominican Republic.

BPD institutes anti-profiling guidelines

Cops now obligated to cite reason for stop

Nine months after the release of a report detailing a pattern of bias in police stops of blacks in Boston, the Boston Police Department has instituted new guidelines for its officers that explicitly prohibit stops based solely on race, gender or physical characteristics.

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Cape Verdeans mark 40 years of independence

Legislators, diplomats attend State House event

As the independent nation of Cape Verde turns 40, Cape Verdeans reflect on the historic significance of the date.

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Main Streets marks 20 yrs. of business improvements

City officials, business boosters gather at Strand Theatre

More than 400 came to the Strand Theatre last week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Boston Main Streets program, which has helped revitalize 20 neighborhood business districts in the city.

Confederate symbol under fire as calls widen to ‘take down the flag”

President Obama’s call to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state capital in South Carolina in the wake of the Charleston church shooting bolstered the growing backlash against the divisive symbol.

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Cambridge councilor seeks career pathways for local residents

Cambridge attorney Dennis Benzan was elected to the city council in 2013 on a pledge to help residents find jobs in the city’s booming tech sector. In two short years, Benzan has zeroed in on a set of programs and initiatives aimed at preparing Cambridge students for the innovation economy.

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Roxbury’s first residential tower planned for Dudley Square

The black-led development team seeking to build an office and residential complex in Dudley Square has pulled the wraps off their design, and it’s big. Rising from the limestone façade of the Institution for Savings in Roxbury and its Vicinity, the steel and glass tower in the rendering from Stull and Lee architects would stand 25 stories above Washington Street and include 392,355 square feet of commercial, office and residential space. If completed according to plan, the building will be the tallest ever built in Roxbury.

Dominican Republic strips Haitian descendants of citizenship, prepares for deportation

Nearly two years after the high court in the Dominican Republic stripped citizenship from people descended from Haitian migrants, the Dominican government reportedly is preparing to send tens of thousands of its former citizens to Haiti.

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Fire Department one of city’s least diverse agencies

Numbers of blacks, Latinos drop in years after desegregation order overturned

With more than 1,600 employees, the Fire Department is the city’s third largest agency. At a time when Boston has become more diverse, the Fire Department has become more white.

Planning groups weigh in on Boston’s bid to host Olympics

A coalition of planning groups is calling on state and local officials to play a lead role in planning improvements to housing, transportation and infrastructure in Massachusetts during planning for Boston’s bid to bring the 2024 Olympic games here.

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Parent organizers preparing for charter school battle

New York-based education group ups the stakes

Families for Excellent Schools opened its Massachusetts office last year in the wake of a failed bid by charter school supporters to lift the Massachusetts cap on new charters. Their ongoing petition, which calls on legislators to “Give every child access to an excellent public school in his or her neighborhood — whether it’s a district or a charter school,” is widely seen as the opening salvo in a coming fight to lift the charter school cap.

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Lawyers provide guidance for Cop Watch activists

Attorneys held a training last week for activists seeking to curb police abuse by observing stops and arrests.

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Complex history lurks behind Crispus Attucks’ teapot

A pewter teapot, said to have belonged to Revolutionary War-era hero Crispus Attucks, is on display at the Boston Public Library. Like Attucks himself, the history of the teapot generates more questions than answers.

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Senate holds fares down, approves oversight board for T

Vote on MBTA budget seen as compromise with Baker administration

The Massachusetts Senate voted against allowing fare increases for the MBTA, and approved an oversight panel, to be appointed by the governor.

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Condos pose opportunities, risks for local home buyers

While prices of single- and multi-family homes are quickly becoming unaffordable for Roxbury residents, condominiums provide an affordable alternative. But stiff competition and unstable condo associations present hurdles and risks for prospective buyers.

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Race colors response to opioid crisis

As drugs hit ’burbs, emphasis shifts to treatment programs

As heroin and other opioids have proliferated in predominantly white communities in Massachusetts, state and local officials have shifted their emphasis from drug law enforcement to treatment. Blacks, who have long argued drug addiction is a sickness, not a crime, see a double standard in the shift from punishment to treatment.

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Black college alumni seek support for students

Sunday, Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard and many of her classmates are going to give back to Delaware State University in a demonstrative way. As the class of 2015 prepares to walk for graduation, members of the class of 1965 will present the largest single donation in the school’s history — a check for $100,000.

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Treasurer Deborah Goldberg pushes for board diversity, financial literacy

Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has launched the Office of Economic Empowerment, an effort aimed at teaching financial literacy in Massachusetts schools, as part of an ambitious reform agenda.

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Mayor rolls out Brother’s Keeper effort

City to pool resources with businesses and nonprofits

City officials are ready to marshal public, corporate and nonprofit resources in an unprecedented effort to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color in education, in the workforce and in criminal justice, as part of Boston’s version of the national My Brother’s Keeper effort.

Council candidates campaign finance update

Not long after we posted Eliza Dewy’s article on this year’s City Council races on the web Wednesday, we got a phone call from the campaign of Tito Jackson noting that the fundraising totals cited for the councilor did not reflect his latest filing. Our press deadline is Monday, and the campaigns weren’t required to report on the last 15-day period until Tues., May 5.

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Former MBTA manager calls for coordinated transit planning

Former MBTA manager Beverly Scott sees last winter’s T failure as an opportunity to plan for the future of the transit agency and foster a broader conversation about how public transit and other modes of transit can work together to better move people and goods in the Greater Boston area.

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Neighbors question integrity of Inspectional Services Department

Allege ISD chief’s former firm gives developer inside track

Roxbury residents are complaining developers may be using political connections to obtain variances from the city’s Inspectional Services Department.

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Legislators commemorate Martin Luther King’s 1965 State House address

Members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus took turns reading King’s 1965 address to the Massachusetts Legislature in a commemorative ceremony that was attended by legislative leadership, Gov. Charlie Baker and past lawmakers.

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Activists call for revival of Roxbury Neighborhood Council

The city relies on a patchwork of neighborhood associations to solicit community input on development decisions in Roxbury. Community residents are calling for the revival of the Roxbury Neighborhood Council as an organization that represents the community’s interests in local development issues.

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RCC president cites state investments, partnerships

In her first year and a half Roxbury Community College President Valerie Roberson closed the school’s longstanding budget deficit, brought the college into compliance with federal financial aid regulations and began a $19 million overhaul of the school’s buildings. This year, Roberson plans to chart a course for the future with the release of a visioning plan she led with faculty, staff, students and residents and stakeholders in the Roxbury community.

Walsh administration releases report on diversity in city’s workforce

The Walsh administration’s first Workforce Profile Report contained few surprises. Released last week, the report underscored the challenges the city faces in maintaining a workforce that mirrors the city’s majority-minority population. While whites make up 46 percent of Boston’s population, they hold 58 percent of city jobs. Blacks, Latinos and Asians are underrepresented in the higher-paying jobs in city government.

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Roxbury residents irked as developer balks at minority hiring goals

As two firms vie for the right to redevelop a long-vacant property, one developer’s refusal to commit to minority hiring and subcontracting goals provoked angry responses from Roxbury residents.

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The History Makers builds digital collection of black oral histories

The History Makers, a Chicago-based nonprofit, has amassed recordings of more than 7,000 oral histories from African Americans in cities around the country. It is the largest African American story collection effort since the Works Progress Administration collected interviews with ex-slaves in the 1930s.

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Committee adopts living wage standards, rejects union rule

The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee voted Monday to adopt a plan that would require developers building on publicly-owned land in Roxbury to commit to so-called living-wage standards for construction workers and for permanent jobs created by new construction projects. The body rejected by a narrow vote a proposal to require new businesses on publicly-owned parcels to commit to card-check neutrality — a provision requiring employers to commit to not blocking employees’ right to unionize.

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