Over the next thirteen years, Boston is projected to have over 700,000 residents, making planning for city housing, transportation, and infrastructure a priority. Central to these priorities is ensuring equitable opportunities for all Boston residents.
Over 28% of Boston residents are foreign born and 54% of Boston residents are people of color. The City of Boston employs over 17,000 people, making it one of the City’s largest employers. Boston provides a greater share of subsidized housing than any other city in the state, while also having one of the biggest college and graduate student populations.
Boston is focused on fostering an environment where all members of the community have opportunities to contribute and thrive. They are and will continue to be a City that values and respects immigrants.
Mayor Walsh has established commitments to racial equity through Boston’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. The Blueprint establishes principles and frameworks for Boston’s resilience strategy, centering racial equity. The City’s Economic Equity and Inclusion Agenda focuses on the importance of building employment, business opportunities, and wealth across all of Boston’s neighborhoods.
From Mayor Walsh’s creation of the city’s first Office of Diversity to increase diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, to the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement which provides citizenship and immigration clinics, information, and support to immigrant families, multiple approaches have been, and continue to be, adopted to address racial inequities across Boston.
Boston’s commitment to racial equity includes multiple City departments. These are just some of the departments who’ve adopted racial equity goals and initiatives:
- The Health and Human Services Cabinet, which includes the Boston Public Health Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Office of Food Initiatives, and the Office of Veteran Services.
- Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, and
- Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Racial Equity.
Boston is currently seeking to grow this list to include every City of Boston department.
The City of Boston hopes to accomplish the following as a Government Alliance on Race and Equity member:
- Normalize conversations about structural and institutional racism and its ties to wealth and other inequities Bostonians experience
- Provide City of Boston staff with the training and resources to combat inequity on a small and large scale
- Institutionalize racial equity practices and goals throughout City of Boston departments and city-wide planning processes
While Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston recognize that change will not happen overnight, they hope that starting the hard conversations, instituting practices within the walls of City Hall itself, and developing programs to serve residents from every neighborhood, will lead to significant strides towards a more equitable and thriving city.
Janine Anzalota is the Executive Director for the Office of Fair Housing and Equity. The office investigates local housing discrimination, enforces fair housing law, approves the affirmative marketing plans for income restricted housing developed using public funds, and provides fair housing policy guidance to City of Boston departments. Janine has worked for the City of Boston for over 10 years and serves as the Boston GARE liaison.