Twenty-one community members are now officially part of the City of Boston’s Black Men and Boys Commission, a group designed to advise the mayor on issues concerning black men and boys.
The commission is made up of leaders, experts and residents and is housed in the mayor’s office for the promotion of black men. Mayor Michelle Wu welcomed the final commission for the first time on May 19th.
“I could not be more proud to stand with this incredible group of leaders and visionaries who are here to serve the city of Boston and to serve everyone in our community,” Wu said.
The commission was established through a city ordinance sponsored by At-Large city councilor Julia Meija in 2021 and signed by former mayor Kim Janey. It was first proposed in 2014 by former District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson, but was vetoed by then-Mayor Marty Walsh.
“I’m excited to work with the Commission to make sure we move [the] life and results for black men and boys in the city of Boston going forward, ”said Frank Farrow, executive director of the Office of Black Male Advancement, on Thursday. “Of course, we call on society to join us in this work. There are only 21 Commissioners, but there is plenty of work for everyone, and it will be a collaborative, collective work that we must move and promote the lives of black men and boys in the city. “
The members of the commission were elected in a variety of ways: seven of the nominees are experts in the problems facing black men and boys, seven were selected from among 14 nominees submitted by the Boston City Council, and the last seven were elected from a pool of applicants.
“All 21 of these members are here because of their commitment and demonstrated leadership in uplifting, celebrating, supporting the community and ensuring that we keep moving forward,” Wu said. “This commission will first and foremost be community-based and community-oriented to ensure that black men and boys have a voice throughout our government.”
City Councilman Brian Worrell said change can only be achieved with an investment of time, trust and resources and enable leaders to make change.
“From Buffalo to Boston, black people are tired,” he said. “Tired of headline after headline showing pointless violence driven by white supremacy and weapons in our streets, to see widening gaps around public health and public education and to see their pain and the deeply rooted legacy of racism our country was built on ignored. I “Hopefully today we can write a different kind of headline in Boston. People want to see change, be a part of change and feel that change.”
The Commission also has two youth members, one of whom is Abdullah Beckett, a UMass Boston Student and chairman of MBK-Umass Boston. He said he is honored to work with so many “amazing” and “inspiring” black men.
“One thing that I have realized is that expertise is all around us in our society,” Beckett said. “But no one can do it alone. We all need support. We all need someone to be there and say ‘I believe in you’ but not just believe but put their money where their mouth is. The city of Boston puts their money where their mouth is and we want to make sure they go where they are going. We are creators of change. We want to make the next generation and this current generation of black men in the city of Boston feel safe, loved and supported. “
The Commission’s first meeting will be on 1 June at 6pm in the Bruce C. Bolling Building on Nubian Square. Following the first meeting, the Commission meets on the first Wednesday of each month, with all meetings open to the public, the press and published online.
Later this summer, the Commission will hold a community outreach to collect data on the problems facing black men and boys in Boston’s neighborhoods. In January 2023, the Commission will prepare an annual report with recommendations to the city to improve the lives of black men and boys.
“As a lifelong resident of Roxbury, it is extremely important to me to ensure that black men and young people have access to equal opportunities,” said Commissioner Maddrey Goode in a statement. “My focus is to help build a better Boston that focuses not only on diversity and inclusion, but most importantly equality for our current and future black citizens, leaders and generations.”
Here are the members of the commission:
- Tito Jackson * – Former District 7 City Councilman and original sponsor of the ordinance
- Louis Elisa * – President of the Garrison-Trotter Neighborhood Association
- Jeff Similien * – Founder of Kings Amongst Kings
- Devin Morris * – Founder of Teacher’s Lounge
- James Mackey * – Founder of Brother’s Building
- James Hills * – Hosted by JavawithJimmy
- Kurt Faustin * – Founder of Drop Out Academy
- James Morton – CEO of YMCA of Greater Boston
- Joseph Feaster Jr – Of Counsel at McKenzie & Associates, former president of the Boston branch of the NAACP
- Sean Perryman-Futrell – Tech Boston Student
- Abdullah Beckett – UMass Boston Student, Chairman of MBK-Umass Boston
- Tony Brewer – Public Defender, Member of the Black Men’s Committee
- Piter Brandao – Co-founder of MBK617
- Matt Parker – CEO, Union of Minority Neighborhoods
- Maddrey Goode – Instructor, MassHire Boston
- Tony Richards – Vice President of Equitable Business Development, MassHousing
- Andre Barbour – Director of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, NO and WORC2
- Richard Harris – Associate Dean of Diversity Programs and Director of Multicultural Engineering at Northeastern, President of Concerned Black Men
- Darien Johnson – Political Leader, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts
- Imari Jeffries – CEO, King Boston
- Charlie Titus – Former Vice Chancellor, UMass Boston
* Selected from Boston City Council recommendations
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