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Boston's Human Rights Commission activated

The commission will promote human rights throughout Boston.

Building on Boston’s commitment to ensuring all residents of Boston have equal opportunities and equal rights, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston will reactivate the Human Rights Commission. Boston’s Human Rights Commission was established by City ordinance in 1984 to guarantee that all residents are given fair and equal treatment under the law. The Commission has not been active since 1996. The Commission will be led by Executive Director Evandro Carvalho, an attorney who served for five years as a State Representative in the Massachusetts Legislature, representing Boston.

Mayor Walsh is charging the newly created Commission to pay special attention to the needs of Boston’s immigrant communities. Both state and federal law provide legal protections and mandate that certain basic services be provided to all people, regardless of their immigration status. 

“As attacks on human rights continue from the highest levels of our country, here in Boston, we’re committed to preserving and advancing human rights, including in our immigrant communities,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud to activate this crucial Commission, and look forward to Evandro’s strong leadership and track record of helping people guide this Commission. The Human Rights Commission can and will play an important part in protecting the rights of all.” 

The Human Rights Commission is a seven-member body appointed by the Mayor, which was originally created to receive and investigate complaints regarding discrimination relating to the workplace, housing, credit, education, public accommodations and other areas.

The Commission has the power to conduct hearings and call witnesses, and can issue reports and the results of investigations. The Commission also has the power to adopt rules and regulations and recommend legislation to the City Council and the Mayor.

“I’m honored to be chosen by Mayor Walsh to lead the Human Rights Commission,” said Carvalho. “At this time in our country, I’m proud Boston has doubled down on our commitment to protect and advance the rights of all people. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our beautiful City in this new capacity. I thank Mayor Walsh for this opportunity.”

Born in Cabo Verde, Carvalho emigrated to Dorchester at the age of 15. A graduate of Boston Public Schools, Carvalho graduated at the top of his class at Madison Park High, and went to earn degrees from UMass Amherst and Howard University School of Law.

Carvalho began his legal career doing high level internal investigations of large companies and complex litigations at the law firm WilmerHale. Later, as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting gun crimes in Boston, he saw firsthand the cycles of poverty and violence that put our young men and women in the Criminal Justice System. Carvalho served on the board of Teen Empowerment and volunteered for the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance. Most recently, Carvalho represented the Suffolk 5th District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He, his wife Ashley, and their daughter Eliana currently live in Dorchester.

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