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New commission focused on Boston’s Black men and boys

During the City Council meeting that took place on September 15, 2021, the Council voted unanimously to create a commission to study and address issues facing Boston’s Black men and boys.

The vote was the second attempt to create a similar commission proposed by former Councilor Jackson that received support from the Council in 2014, but was vetoed by former Mayor Walsh. Acting Mayor Janey signed the ordinance establishing Boston’s first Black Men and Boys Commission.

The matter sponsored by Councilor Mejia requests that the City of Boston Code, Chapter XV shall be amended by adding a new section to establish within the Mayor’s Office a division to be known as the Commission on Black Men and Boys. The membership of this Commission shall consist of 21 members, all of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor. The members of this Commission will include seven members that shall serve two-year terms, seven members that shall serve for three-year terms, and another seven members that shall serve for four-year terms. One two-year term member and one three-year member shall be youth members.

The Duties of the Commission shall include but not be limited to:

  • Advising the Mayor on issues pertaining to Black men and boys
  • Assisting the Office of the Mayor in determining budget and policy priorities
  • Monitoring and advising City agencies and departments on issues pertaining to Black men and boys
  • Designing projects and programs that promote equity for Black men and boys which are not currently being implemented by existing City agencies
  • Performing outreach, communication, and liaison to Black men and boys related to community groups and organizations
  • Working with the Department of Intergovernmental Relations concerning state and federal legislation and programs that are of concern to Black men and boys
  • Working with the Office of Civil Rights to assure that Black men and boys are represented at all levels of City government
  • Coordinating dialogues and action on behalf of City government to issues of concern to Black men and boys and related organizations, including but not limited to: concerns related to national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, mental, physical, and sexual health, violence prevention, employment, and more
  • During the first year of its existence, the Commission shall hold monthly meetings, give updates to the City Council on a quarterly basis, and produce an annual report
  • After the first year of its existence, the Commission shall produce an annual report

This ordinance states, “We have a responsibility and an obligation to continue the work of uplifting the lived experiences of Black men and boys to ensure that we are designing all spaces from a framework of equity and justice. Black men and boys of the City require an outlet for expressing their opinions and ideas and a place to rely on for information, advocacy, and action.”

“We have the opportunity to make history. This ordinance matters because Black men and boys matter,” said Councilor Mejia.

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