The city has committed $7.5 million to its new Acquisition Opportunity Program, through which real estate investors will qualify for funding to acquire rental properties if they agree to maintain at least 40 percent of the units as affordable to those making no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income.
Natalia Phillips’ winning attitude earned her the valedictorian spot at New Mission High School.
Want Chinatown development to be transferred to land trust
A group of Chinatown public housing tenants are locked in a battle over the ownership of the neighborhood’s largest public housing development.
Protest aimed at plugging gaps in 2017 budget
At issue is a school budget that city officials acknowledge is not keeping pace with the rising costs at BPS. While Walsh has touted his $13.5 million increase in school funding, that increase is substantially smaller than the $30 million increases the schools received in the last three budgets. The city’s budget has increased by 4 percent, but the BPS budget proposed for fiscal year 2017 has increased by just 1.35 percent.
Call for greater affordability, delay in planning
Last week, as community members gathered at English High School viewed BRA poster board displays showing ideas for improvements to transportation, proposals for housing, jobs, economic development and open space, a contingent of more than 100 affordable housing activists marched into the room and read in unison a statement calling on the agency to suspend its planning process and increase the percentage of affordable units proposed for the area from 30 percent to 70 percent.
Budgetary constraints and the pressure schools face to raise students’ scores on math and English language arts MCAS tests have whittled down history and social studies instruction at Boston middle and high schools. Students and teachers testified on the importance of history during a hearing last week.
Tours Villa Victoria, speaks and Wheelock
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke about the importance of community during an appearance at Wheelock College.
Officials launch new program, youths cite police harassment
Last week officials from HUD and the Boston Housing Authority joined Mayor Martin Walsh at the Lenox/Camden public housing development to announce a $100,000 grant to assist ex-offenders. Youths who attended the press conference complained of what they said is ongoing police harassment.
In his book “Brown is the New White,” Phillips argues that candidates ignore at their peril the growing base of voters of color that he calls the “new American majority.”
Many see trusts as way to preserve affordable housing
A coalition of Boston community-based organizations is banding together to advocate for expanding community land trusts — communally-owned plots of land on which housing units are deeded permanently affordable.
The First Church of Roxbury, built in 1804, will undergo a $2.2 million renovation beginning this year. The Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, the nonprofit which owns the building, is currently raising the funds.
Dudley flagship going out of business
After nearly 50 years in Dudley Square, the A Nubian Notion convenience store and gift shop will close next year.
Several hundred immigrant activists from across the state filled Gardner Auditorium Monday in an annual appeal to the Massachusetts Legislature in support of immigrant-friendly laws.
Harvard officials unveiled a plaque commemorating the lives of four slaves who worked for university presidents in the 18th century. The plaque is the university’s first official acknowledgement of its complicity in the institution of slavery.
Court case highlights Baker administration ties to charters
Students seek to intervene and bring a new perspective into a seeming one-sided lawsuit over the charter cap. Plaintiffs and Baker administration defendants both support lifting the cap.
A $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave and a public higher education system that enables students to graduate debt-free are among the goals of Fair Shot, a new organization that launched Monday in Massachusetts.
Coalition will move forward with ballot initiative
A group of state senators last week rolled out compromise legislation that would over the next ten years raise the cap on the percentage of district funding for charter schools from the current 18 percent to 23 percent.
Values, location draw buyers from other neighborhoods
Roxbury’s real estate market may be off to a strong start. While Roxbury sales prices are substantially lower than in many neighboring communities of Jamaica Plain, South Boston and the South End, pressure from those markets may continue to push prices up.
BRA agrees to give Council advance notice of land takings
The Boston City Council voted 10-3 to extend for six years the controversial program, which the BRA says it needs to facilitate large, complex development projects.
Cites high suspension rate at Up Academy Holland
In the wake of revelations of high suspension rates at certain Boston schools, City Councilor Tito Jackson last week filed a hearing order to examine disparities in the administration of school discipline in the Boston Public Schools.
Some Boston Public School parents say their children are being wrongly designated as English language learners during the registration process.
Easing height restrictions in exchange for the creation of affordable housing units, micro units in Roxbury and community land trusts are among the ideas being considered by the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab to lower the cost of home construction for middle income Boston residents.
Dearth of black voter support for Sanders mirrors nation-wide trend
In a pattern that has been repeated at the national level, voters in Boston’s predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods voted overwhelmingly for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week’s Democratic primary, giving her margins as high as 80 percent in some precincts while white voters backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in larger numbers.
This year’s BPS budget pits the parent activists and students against the Walsh administration in what has become in many ways a war of numbers, with the sheer size of the city’s $1.027 billion school budget being deployed by officials and parent groups to reach radically different conclusions.
Minorities fight for inclusion in the building boom
The proliferation of sleek office buildings and condo towers rising in Boston’s downtown neighborhoods attests to the fact that Boston is in the midst of its largest building boom since the stately mansions of the Back Bay rose from the landfill in the late 1800s. For blacks in design, construction and related industries, Boston’s current building boom presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges.
Group focuses on Rox., East Boston
An international group of city planners and nonprofit officials convened in Dudley Square Monday to launch a week-long effort to develop strategies directed at some of Boston’s most pressing problems of inequality.
Several dozen Roxbury residents and stakeholders gathered at the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building to discuss the future development of the Dudley Square area.
Sanders makes swing through Boston, Amherst
The push for votes in the Massachusetts primaries heated up, with Sanders’ visit to the Bay State and campaign events aimed at securing support from black and Latino voters here.
A coalition of civil rights groups and community activists is calling on state and local government to create more opportunities for Boston’s black and Latino residents to improve earnings and wealth in the wake of a Brookings Institution report that found the city leads the nation in income inequality.
While the selection of a Democratic nominee may be the most important choice on the ballot, in most of the city’s wards there will be other choices with local consequences for the next four years: whom to elect to the local ward committee.
Formerly homeless student goes to bat for Charlestown High
Luis Aponte may well have dropped out of high school had he not been enrolled in Charlestown High School’s Diploma Plus program. Now he’s asking the School Committee to keep the program afloat.
The students, parents and teachers who packed last week’s Boston School Committee meeting gave impassioned testimony about the programs, teaching positions and extracurricular activities that stand to be dropped from their schools if Mayor Martin Walsh’s proposed $38 million in budget cuts are incorporated in fiscal year 2017’s final budget.
Past commissioners reflect on progress, challenges
MCAD commissioners past and present gathered at the agency’s Boston headquarters to mark 70 years of fighting discrimination in Massachusetts.
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.