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Lori Nelson named Senior Advisor on Racial Justice in Equity and Inclusion Cabinet

Nelson will lead the cabinet’s work to advance racial equity through strategic partnerships and initiatives.

The Equity and Inclusion Cabinet today announced that Lori Nelson will serve as the Cabinet’s Senior Advisor for Racial Justice. In this role, Nelson will advise Chief of Equity & Inclusion Mariangely Solis Cervera and lead the cabinet’s work to advance racial equity through strategic partnerships and initiatives. Nelson will also ensure the Cabinet’s work acknowledges historical racial gaps in Boston while creating opportunities for healing and restoration for Boston’s communities of color, especially for Black residents.

“Lori leads with an equity lens and a deep love of community,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m thrilled for Lori’s leadership and passion to continue the City’s work in advancing racial justice and creating opportunities for communities of color, and grateful for her service.”    

“As we work towards building a city for everyone, it is imperative that we apply a racial justice lens to our day to day operations,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity and Inclusion. “I am excited to work alongside Lori Nelson, a powerhouse. Lori’s expertise and love for what’s possible will strengthen the impact of our work.” 

Lori Nelson

As Chief Resilience Officer, Nelson leads the City’s Resilience and Racial Equity office to advance strategies for addressing racial and economic inequality in Boston and ensure that the City’s programs and policies are equitable. Since Nelson’s appointment in 2018, the office launched the Racial Equity and Leadership (REAL) Training program led by HRiA, a critical citywide program to train more than 15,000 City of Boston employees in overcoming implicit bias. Additionally, Nelson has fostered and strengthened key partnerships with various organizations including King Boston, Boston Ujima Project, Museum of African American History and Northeastern University Dukakis Center.

“Mayor Wu’s vision for racial justice speaks to our current reality and necessary pathway forward,” said Lori Nelson. “I am honored to serve in this capacity focused on strategic initiatives and partnerships that acknowledge cultural history, build and create opportunities, and present healing and restoration for communities of color.”

With a deep commitment to public service and community engagement, Nelson works to uplift communities of color by improving access and expanding opportunity for all. Prior to her appointment as Chief Resilience Officer, Nelson served as the Director of Communications and Constituency Services for the City of Boston's Housing Authority.  

Prior to joining the city, Nelson was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the MBTA. Before this role, she worked for Governor Deval Patrick as the Deputy Director of Community Affairs and Special Projects, where she served as a liaison on community-related affairs, particularly concerning youth, ethnic groups, and coalitions across the Commonwealth. She worked on creating faith-based partnerships in addition to serving as the liaison for the SSYI initiative. 

In line with her passion for racial justice, Nelson served in leadership as the first Vice President of the NAACP Boston branch from January 2017 through April 2018 and now continues her advocacy as a member within the branch. Currently, she serves on the board of the  Urban League of Eastern Mass in addition to special advisor for the Young Leaders Cabinet for Emerge America. 

“Our partnership with the City Of Boston's Office Of Resilience, Race, and Equity has been a cornerstone to our success,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, Executive Director of King Boston. “They have helped us amplify our message and work as we have moved beyond the creation of The Embrace monument. Their support and partnership as we have moved into the programmatic side of our mission has been without falter. Acting as a resource as we navigate our work with City Hall and as an ally as we stepped into new arenas, they have been a trusted friend in our quest to build Boston into an example of racial equity.”

Nelson’s inspiration for the work of racial justice comes from the examples of her late father, Leon T. Nelson, founder of the Greater Roxbury Chamber of Commerce, and her Mother, Charlotte M. Nelson, a fierce leader and advocate of civil rights, grounded in the core tenets of the NAACP.

Lori lives in Grove Hall, Roxbury and is the proud mother of a 13-year-old son, Malachi Nelson. 

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