Dr. Karilyn Crockett
Dr. Karilyn Crockett was named the City of Boston's first Chief of Equity, a Cabinet-level position Mayor Walsh established to embed equity and racial justice into all City planning, operations, and work moving forward. Dr. Crockett brings to this new role extensive background in urban studies and planning with a lens on addressing inequities, leadership as a published author and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and insight on municipal government from her time as Director of Economic Policy and Research, and Director of Small Business Development for the City of Boston.
Under Dr. Crockett's leadership, the Office of Equity will be charged with leading the Administration's efforts across departments to embed equity into all city work, and actively work to dismantle racism by putting an intentional focus on supporting communities of color and marginalized groups across all departments, and building equitable governmental structures to sustain this work. The Office will support cross-department collaborative functions that advance innovative equity and opportunity policies and practices, including the strategies outlined in Imagine Boston 2030. To do this work, the office will utilize and leverage the City's partnership and collaboration with community residents, nonprofit organizations and business leaders to promote equitable government policies and outcomes.
Dr. Crockett most recently worked as a Lecturer of Public Policy & Urban Planning at MIT. Prior to that, she worked in the City of Boston's Office of Economic Development, where she was tasked with creating an equity-driven policy framework for guiding job creation, small business development, neighborhood revitalization and public procurement strategies. Dr. Crockett holds a PhD from the American Studies program at Yale University, a Master of Science in Geography from the London School of Economics, and a Master of Arts and Religion from Yale Divinity School.
Dr. Crockett's research focuses on large-scale land use changes in twentieth century American cities and examines the social and geographic implications of structural poverty. As a published author, her new book "People before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and a New Movement for City Making" investigates a 1960s era grassroots movement to halt urban extension of the U.S. interstate highway system and the geographic and political change in Boston that resulted.
Dr. Crockett was the co-founder of Multicultural Youth Tour of What's Now (MYTOWN), an award-winning, Boston-based, education nonprofit organization. MYTOWN hired public high school students to research their local and family histories to produce youth-led walking tours for sale to public audiences. During its nearly 15 years of operation, MYTOWN created jobs for more than 300 low and moderate-income teenagers, who in turn led public walking tours for more than 14,000 visitors and residents. In a White House ceremony, the National Endowment for the Humanities cited MYTOWN as "One of the ten best Youth Humanities Programs in America."
The Office of Equity will focus on:
- Dismantling systemic barriers to achieve racial, gender, health and socio-economic equality
- Developing a city workforce that is representative at all levels of the demographics of the city
- Supporting immigrant, refugee and other vulnerable communities to promote public safety, quality of life and human rights
- Ensuring that an equity lens is placed on all programs, policies, and practices of local government.
- Staffing and coordinating the newly created Boston Racial Equity Fund.
This newly formed Cabinet will comprise the following existing departments and agencies, including: Resilience and Racial Equity, Diversity, Human Rights Commission, Women's Advancement, Immigrant Advancement, Language and Communication Access.