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Mayor Walsh announces continuation of race dialogues with partnership of Hyams Foundation

The City-wide initiative will bring together business, government, education and community leaders to create an action plan for addressing racism. 

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a partnership with the Hyams Foundation to launch a series of race dialogues in Boston neighborhoods, as a continuation of the work started to acknowledge systemic racism and work toward racial equity.

The Hyams Foundation is a private, independent foundation dedicated to achieving economic, racial and social justice in Boston and Chelsea. Through this partnership, Hyams will lead efforts to engage local organizations, businesses, agencies and communities in a wide range of dialogues, programs and projects related to racial justice and equity across the Greater Boston community.

"I am grateful to the Hyams Foundation for their partnership in the effort to bring these important conversations to every neighborhood in Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "When we hosted the first citywide race dialogue last November, we saw there was great interest for these conversations to take place, and also saw the healing power that comes with being open and honest about racism. As we continue our work in the city to close persistent racial gaps, I hope all residents will consider stepping forward to get involved in the conversation and help move us closer to racial equity."

"Boston is at a key moment: with increased economic development, a growing population that is becoming more diverse, and a new city-wide strategic plan, a huge opportunity exists to ensure all Bostonians are able to contribute to the city's vitality and growth," said Hyams Executive Director Dr. Jocelyn V. Sargent.  "We've seen dialogues around race happening locally and nationally over the last few years, but we've seen little progress in transforming these dialogues into action. It's time for us to walk the talk."

From June to December, each of Boston's neighborhoods, will hold a facilitated discussion on race, open to all Boston residents. Facilitators will be trained by experienced consultants, and will be provided with a common framework for conducting these dialogues. In addition, Hyams will serve as a resource for other sectors as they develop action plans and benchmarks to achieve racial equity.

It is the hope that the launch of the neighborhood dialogues on racism will inspire community-based groups, philanthropic institutions, businesses, academic institutions, the health-care sector, faith-based organizations, youth groups, mass and social media who have made commitments to working across their fields to realize racial equity in Boston.

Boston's focus on issues of racism and racial equity is linked with its membership in the 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC), a project of the Rockefeller Foundation, which the City joined in December 2014. Through its partnership with 100RC, the City has hired its first Chief Resilience Officer, Dr. Atiya Martin, and formed the Mayor's Office of Resilience and Racial Equity.

In November 2016, as part of that office's work, the City hosted "Boston Talks About Racism," a public forum attended by over 600 residents, which served as the kick-off to a citywide conversation about racism. As part of the event, Mayor Walsh released  "The Blueprint: A Preview of the Principles and Framework for Boston's Resilience Strategy," a report outlining how racial equity lies at the heart of the forthcoming Resilience Strategy.

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