hands up dont shoot

Since Sunday’s May 31st, letters supporting the ending of police brutality and the practice of racism in Boston and the United States have been pouring into BlackBoston.com.

Senders, your letters are being shared and distributed to Digital Black Boston. Boston Community is woke! Your sincere support for the peaceful protesters, for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and your funding contributions to community organizations serving the grassroots while advocating for a better world is notable.

Read a few of the letters below.
There are more to come in a separate post. Thank you. – blackboston.com

LISC BOSTON – Observing Juneteenth Today is an important day, during an important moment in our history.  Our work over the last four months has been infused with an unprecedented level of urgency.  The public health and economic effects of the pandemic have demanded that -as has the brutal killing of George Floyd and far too many other Black Americans and the widespread calls for an end to police brutality and a true reckoning with the racism that pervades our country.  

LISC Boston joins, and stands firmly with peaceful protesters in demanding an end to police brutality and structural racism.    While we protest, grieve, listen, reflect and search for the words and deeds and change that might matter, we are leaning into and deepening our commitment to the work of lifting up minority-owned businesses, fighting for housing affordability, creating economic opportunity and working to bridge the racial health and wealth gaps. 

We share below some words from our CEO, Maurice Jones, about LISC’s commitment to dismantling structural racism and building equity for all. This Juneteenth, we want to pause our work and channel its urgency into reflection. Some of you may have a tradition of observing Juneteenth,  and some of you may never have done so.    

You may consider it a day to celebrate emancipation. You may consider it a day to honor and be inspired by those who have fought for freedom and equality.  You may consider it a day to anguish over our failure to emancipate all Americans, and particularly Black Americans, from insidious structural racism, bigotry and brutality.  We are living through a moment of national reckoning about our racist past and present. 

So let us not go about our business as usual.   LISC is closing at 1:00 p.m. today in observance of Juneteenth.  We hope you will join us and take time today to celebrate, honor, grieve, reflect, learn, refuel, and resolve, whether you join the 1 p.m. Juneteenth Emancipation Observation featuring remarks by Rep. Ayanna Pressley or one of many other events.    

This time is an opportunity for each of us to lean in and consider the roles we can play, and the ways we can work together – to understand our past and contribute to building a more just future.  

Happy Juneteenth from all of us at LISC!

Boston City Hall Mayor Walsh Administration

BPDA approves additional investments to further work in diversity, equity, and inclusion

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board this month authorized the agency to make strategic investments that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, including hiring a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and creating an Equity and Inclusion Fund. These investments build on the BPDA’s progress transforming into a community-led, planning-first agency that supports growth that reflects the needs of each neighborhood.

“As the agency that plans and guides inclusive growth in our city, the BPDA has a unique opportunity to create a more equitable city for all, especially Boston’s Black communities and communities of color,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “BPDA staff members spend every day engaging with community members about how our neighborhoods can offer more opportunities for all, and I look forward to growing our team to better focus on and expand this work.”

The Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will be responsible for strategy development and oversight of the agency’s racial equity and diversity priorities. The individual will work as part of the agency’s senior leadership team to establish collaborative partnerships with all internal and external stakeholders, and foster a more inclusive, equitable, welcoming, supportive, and diverse agency.

The agency will also create an Equity and Inclusion Fund as part of the BPDA Fiscal Year 2021 budget. This will fund activities directly related to addressing racial equity and inclusion in the BPDA’s work. The revenue will come from transaction fees from Land Disposition Agreements (LDAs).

The new position and fund will expand on work already underway. The BPDA uses Imagine Boston 2030 as a framework to support equity by creating affordable housing, jobs, and open space in every neighborhood, leveraging funding from large real estate development to support workforce development and training, supporting equitable procurement policies and requiring diversity criteria for developing publicly-owned land.

Last month, the BPDA Board elected Priscilla Rojas as Board Chair, the first woman and Latina to hold the position.

The agency is also looking inward and since 2018 has partnered with YW Boston to create a customized and measurable action plan addressing diversity, hiring, retention, and training practices, and have hosted an agency-wide implicit bias training and smaller group participation in the year long InclusionBoston.

The June Board Meeting was held virtually to ensure the safety of the public, staff members, and BPDA Board Members during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The items on the agenda did not require or completed their public process prior to the suspension of in-person public meetings in March. This month, the Board also voted to:

  • Approve the development project located at 3992-3996 Washington Street in Roslindale, which completed its public review process earlier this year. The project will construct a four-story, mixed-use building that will bring 18 home-ownership residential units, two of which are income-restricted to the neighborhood. There will also be 12 interior parking spaces, and 24 bicycle parking spaces. Community benefits associated with the project include a shelter for the adjacent MBTA bus stop.
  • Following a virtual public hearing, the Board approved an amendment to the Tufts University Institutional Master Plan (IMP), and a four year renewal of the IMP following a virtual public hearing. The amendment will add two buildings to the IMP as leased space – 230 The Fenway in the Fenway neighborhood, and 160 St. Alphonsus Street in Mission Hill; the properties currently function as the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. A public process for the IMP amendment and renewal was completed earlier this year. Members of the public were able to testify during the virtual hearing directly, or submit testimony via email prior to the hearing.
  • Building on Mayor Walsh’s recent announcement to expand use of public spaces for outdoor dining, the Board authorized the agency to enter into short term licenses for the use of BPDA-owned land for COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts. This vote supports the Mayor’s ongoing work to support the City’s small businesses, and will create a streamlined approval for appropriate temporary uses of BPDA property to support safe outdoor business operations, activate public space, and assist with COVID-19 related relief efforts. For example, restaurants located on or near BPDA property may wish to expand their outdoor operating area onto BPDA-owned outdoor space. As a major landowner in Boston, the BPDA is in a position to work with the City’s Licensing Board to assist with this type of expansion which is often the critical piece in enabling a business to reopen during this time.

As the BPDA’s response to Covid-19 continues to evolve, please check this page or follow us @bostonplans on Twitter for updated guidance. For more information on the City of Boston’s response to Covid-19, please check this page.


 Today, Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) & Life Science Cares (LSC) launch The Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) Contractors Relief Fund, an initiative to offer emergency financial assistance for Minority and Women-Owned Contractors in Greater Boston. As a community development corporation, MPDC comprehends the economic hardships of small contractors during COVID-19. Many MWBE contractors have found it challenging to access grants, funds, and unemployment assistance currently being offered by state and federal agencies.  

Made possible by a grant from Life Science Cares and spearheaded by Katrina Conrad, MPDC’s Workforce Diversity Project Manager, the MWBE Contractor Relief Fund offers a one-time relief grant of up to $2,500 to qualified MWBE contractors who have been affected by COVID-19. The fund is open to Greater Boston-based MWBE contractors that currently have a city of Boston monitored project, employ ten or less, and did not qualify for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.   Leslie Reid, MPDC’s Chief Executive Officer, said of the fund’s creation,MPDC has long been committed to fostering and uplifting the talent pipeline of local minority labor and contractors.

The MWBE Contractor Relief Fund affirms this commitment by providing access to dedicated resources that allow contractors to return to work safely. We are grateful for Life Science Cares’ investment in this unique opportunity and look forward to supporting our vibrant Boston MWBE contractor community.   Upon learning about the fund, Ronnette Taylor, Owner of FireCode Design, reflected, “Personal protective equipment is so expensive.

 For six technicians, I need 30 sets of PPE, including disinfectants, masks, shields, and gloves. That’s 140 gallons of disinfectant spray a week! Madison Park Development Corporation understands these costs, and more importantly, MPDC understands the struggle of local Black Women contractors during this crisis.”   “The life science industry relies on the talented work of contractors and subcontractors to build and renovate the buildings in which we discover and produce treatments and cures for patients,” said Sarah MacDonald, Executive Director of Life Science Cares. “We are proud to support an effort to ensure minority and women-owned contractors are able to get back to work as quickly as their peers.”

MPDC is also currently seeking additional contributors to the MWBE Contractor Relief Fund. Interested individuals or companies should visit Madison Park Development Corporation’s website at http://www.madison-park.org/make-an-impact/give/ or contact MPDC’s Resource Development Manager Kay Mathew at kmathew@madison-park.org/617.849.6335 to learn more about giving to MPDC.  

Those interested in applying for the fund can access the application at https://bit.ly/MWBEContractorsReliefFund or contact Katrina Conrad at kconrad@madison-park.org / 617.849.6226 for more information.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, June 5, 2020  
Media Inquiries for MPDC: Kelly Ransom, Director of Communications & Events P: (617) 721-9306 E: kransom@madison-park.org   Media Inquiries for Life Science Cares: Sarah MacDonald, Executive Director P: (617) 637-5052 E: sarah@lifesciencecares.org    



Arts Emerson from Mr. David C. Howse
George Floyd was basically my age, and his murder has affected me deeply.  Personally speaking, and perhaps like you, I am outraged. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the racist act in New York’s Central Park, and now the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis – it’s all disgusting and overwhelming; and though I have no words, it is all I want to talk about.
I am unsettled and can’t figure out what productive actions should emanate from the deep rage that’s gurgling in the inner depths of my spirit. And so I thought I would write to you because I thought, as someone who cares about ArtsEmerson, you might want to know that I am hurting. As are many people on our team. And many more in our families and in our audience.
I haven’t had the stomach to watch the video, but I know that many have witnessed the brutal murder laid bare, thanks to the courage of the people who, though unable to stop it, resolved to film it. That scene is one that no human should have to witness, let alone endure. What is clear in that video is that his life – the life of this one black man, George Floyd, his physical body was attacked and killed.     What we don’t see as clearly in the video is the ripple effect of his murder: the psychological, social and emotional attack on most all black people. That ripple creates waves that will continue to rise long after the protests end. As a black man, with two teenage sons, I live in the wave that results from too many ripples, and sometimes it truly is hard to breathe.
The constant devaluation of the black body affects us in so many negative ways – one of which is to rob us of our sense of self-worth and dignity. I fight against that every day. And in the words of Toni Morrison, “I am not a victim. I refuse to be.”
So why am I saying all of this?
Of course, I appreciate your care and concern, but know that I am not writing for a sympathetic response. I write in hopes that you will keep clamoring for Justice – not specifically for my benefit, but for the benefit of all of us. Words are appreciated, but action is necessary. I am hoping that you will continue to ask yourself, “What’s to be done? And what is mine to do?” The latter question is the more important one.   For me, I am praying that my rage continues to find productive ways to live in the world.
The death of George Floyd is unacceptable. Let’s not get distracted from this truth into a debate about the way the protests have unfolded. And let’s not get wrapped up in any of these incidents as singular. I’ll say the names again and thereby add them to the long, too long, decades-long, centuries-long list of them: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. Racism is alive and well in all aspects of our lives. Let’s not be numb to the weight of racism on black people and the negative effect it has on all of us. What are you going to do?
In times like these, I tend to look for inspiration, challenge and hope in the artists and art surrounding me. I have always valued the voice of the artist, and I was grateful to hear from Daniel Beaty with the following poem that he wrote on the subject. It resonated with me. Given ArtsEmerson’s stated focus on transforming the city’s violent history around race, it feels right that I share it here. Daniel starts:
“My heart is so full about all that is happening that I wrote this message from our [Black] Ancestors…”

  I can’t begin to explain the weight of my emotions; but art, for me, helps to make meaning of the many vicissitudes of life. Art, in all its forms, is the place that I go to be challenged, to be reflective, and to be inspired – especially in moments like these. I am committed to using the arts as a platform for allowing my rage to live productively in the world.
Let’s keep clamoring for a just America. Let’s keep building new ways of being together. Let’s keep reimagining the future where we all belong…
I’ll end here: It is some kind of hell to be black in America. But today, at least, I am fortunate to say that I am still alive.   P.S. If you haven’t already, you may consider checking in on your other black friends. They may not want to hear from you, but they likely won’t forget that you had the courage to connect.   David C. Howse signature
David C. Howse   To learn more about how this statement came together, click here.

Holding Ourselves Accountable

Dear BlackBoston.com

Black and Brown people across the country and in our community are suffering through all stages of grief born from a history on constant repeat. Their pain encompasses not just the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, but centuries of systemic violence and oppression built into our society that has sought to devalue Black life.

We at ArtsBoston stand in solidarity for the call for justice and affirm that: Black Lives Matter The public health pandemic (which itself is highlighting the health disparities facing communities of color) is requiring new modes of working, new ways of interacting, and an urgency to survive and rebuild. But first, arts organizations must recognize their role in sustaining and perpetuating institutionalized racism, and that starts with us.

ArtsBoston is committed to using our privilege, resources, and networks to rebuild a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive arts and cultural community. We are committed to advancing this work beyond a few programs and training by more fully integrating an anti-oppression lens into our organizational strategies, policies, and procedures.

As a primarily white organization with a majority membership of white-led arts organizations, we realize we have much to learn and are committed to the long-term work ahead. That said, we all have a moral obligation to call out anti-blackness and stop it. We fully hold ourselves and our colleagues accountable. We will continue to educate ourselves through training and listening and will apologize when we get it wrong.

ArtsBoston’s mission is to create powerful relationships between arts organizations, the public, and every sector of civic life to build an arts sector that represents the true character and diversity of our city. We ask that you join us. Here are some ways to get started. Please take action now!

Please Donate To
National Police Accountability Project
Massachusetts Bail Fund
NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Please Read and Amplify

10 Habits of Someone Who Doesn’t Know They’re Anti-Black

10 Books About Race To Read Instead of Asking A Person of Color to Explain This To You

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

Boston Prides Itself On Its Progressive Image.

Let Me Tell You What I Know

Please Join and Volunteer
Violence in Boston
Black Lives Matter, Boston Chapter

VERIZON’S ALLEY co-location rental space sent an email and it said

To Our Community,   It’s been a while since we’ve posted—but the events that have taken place over the last week were more than enough reason for us to break the silence.   We thought it was important that we first start a dialogue internally to ensure all members of our team felt heard and supported before we addressed this matter publicly.  

Alley condemns systemic racism in all forms, and we stand with black communities in the fight to dismantle systems of oppression and brutality.    This work is not to be done by black communities alone, it is our collective responsibility to advocate for justice and bring change forward. We are committed to the ongoing work of dismantling our own biases, educating ourselves, and holding not only ourselves, but others accountable, too.   

As a company, we’ve taken a first step forward by making a donation to NAACP Legal Defense Fund — however, we know that one donation is simply not enough. We are redoubling our commitment to support black founders, creators, and entrepreneurs through shared resources, opportunities, and most importantly, using our platforms to amplify their voices, stories, and work. In the coming weeks, we will be outlining actionable means of doing so to ensure that we are held accountable, rightly so.  

As a team, we are banning together to make sure we’re properly educated and equipped with the tools needed to support this movement and keep our community inclusive of all. This work does not end when protests and media amplification lose momentum, it is ongoing. It must be.   

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and black communities everywhere in the fight against white supremacy and racial injustice. We can do better, and we must. His name was George Floyd, and he couldn’t breathe.

With Love,  Team Alley        
© 2020 Alley, 119 West 24th Street, New York, New York
Kiva     Dreams are universal, opportunity is not. There is so much opportunity that is not open or accessible to Black business owners in America due to long-standing systemic racism.   The team at Kiva and our community of lenders seek to create economic justice for Black business owners in the U.S.

If your small business needs a loan, the Kiva community is ready to help.   Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Borrow with Kiva   Nearly 95% of Black Americans who applied for the Payroll Protection Program were not deemed eligible for loans, revealing how often Black business owners are financially excluded. At Kiva, we’re working to change that.

Kiva offers: 0% interest with no fees Loan amounts from $1,000 to 15,000 Fair, fixed loan terms Community-backed crowdsourcing Are you a business owner who has struggled to access capital, or do you know someone in a similar position? Apply here for a zero-interest loan today. 

Our community has your back. We’re here and we’re with you.
Sincerely, The Kiva team

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Kiva is a U.S. 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at 986 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103 © 2005 – 2020 Kiva. All rights reserved.

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We, as a nation, are standing at the crossroads of profound moral decisions. Over the past week we have borne witness to horrific images illuminating the deplorable injustices faced daily by African-Americans in the United States. Equally arresting have been the systemic and systematic injustices in healthcare, mass incarceration, housing, educational access, and socio-economic status illuminated by novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which has disproportionately infected and killed members of the Black community. 

We have all been witness to these injustices and now the task of seeking remedy belongs to each of us.    None of us is untouched by these tragedies, nor have the treasures of our City escaped unscathed. A symbol of pride recognizing the contributions of Black Americans’ service to this country, the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial located in the Boston Common has been defaced. Instances of vandalism such as this are designed to create rifts in the community and stymie our work. 

However, our historic buildings, collections, and programs continue to expand cultural understanding and promote dignity and respect for all. One of these, the African Meeting House, has served as a gathering place for those in search of freedom, justice, and equality since 1806.   

The Museum of African American History as a whole continues its legacy of living these maxims and its mission to inspire all generations to embrace and interpret the authentic stories of New Englanders of African descent, and those who found common cause with them, in their quest for freedom and justice. We stand with freedom fighters in Boston and beyond and are invested in serving as a voice to promote justice in the tradition of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, William Lloyd Garrison, or Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin – the Civil Rights leader instrumental in recruiting soldiers for the 54th Regiment.  

The Museum of African American History as a whole continues its legacy of living these maxims and its mission to inspire all generations to embrace and interpret the authentic stories of New Englanders of African descent, and those who found common cause with them, in their quest for freedom and justice

We stand with freedom fighters in Boston and beyond and are invested in serving as a voice to promote justice in the tradition of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, William Lloyd Garrison, and Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin – the civil rights leader instrumental in recruiting soldiers for the 54th Regiment.  

In the upcoming weeks the Museum will be hosting a Town Hall with City Officials to determine how we can continue to serve as an anchor, incubator, and resource supporting and enriching the vibrancy and creativity of our community, as we have for decades.    We will continue to amplify the voices of the marginalized. We will continue our work of lifting the narratives of those who have been silenced by racism.  

We will not waver in our dedication to fighting for justice for all through innovation, and ingenuity, joining our many talents and strengths.   During this time I am reminded of the work of the great Ella Baker, architect of the Civil Rights Movement. Though Ms. Baker’s work went unheralded and in the shadows during her lifetime, it is on her tireless efforts that The March on Washington, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and the NAACP’s Freedom Movement were built. Without Ella Baker there would be no Civil Rights Movement. 

Without African-Americans there would be no America. Though we, too, have been silenced and disregarded we must press forward in the spirit of Baker’s famous words“we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” We are in a moment of pivotal opportunity to continue the freedom work of those who have come before us.

Together we unite to decry not only violence, inequity, and systemic injustice against Black people in this country, but for the entirety of mankind, here in Boston, across our nation, and around the world. The gospel group Sweet Honey in the Rock’s tribute to Ella Baker, titled simply “Ella’s Song” extends her quote to “we who believe in freedom cannot rest – until it comes.” Freedom from injustice will indeed come and I invite each of you to join us in this fight and in this song as we work toward our ultimate goal of achieving true liberty and justice for all.   In Unity,