Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  02.27.2023

Massachusetts has been working to right some of its wrongs from the past and tackle how they still affect the state’s approximately 9 percent Black population today. On Friday (Feb. 24), Gov. Maura Healey declared a new step in uplifting these communities. 

The governor, who was sworn in on Jan. 5, formed an Advisory Council on Black Empowerment with the goal of finding ways to solve problems on the ground and bring greater equity to The Bay State. The committee is comprised of 30 Black leaders from across the commonwealth and will advise Healey on various issues affecting Black denizens, including education, healthcare, and workforce development.

“Massachusetts’ Black residents make tremendous contributions to our state, but far too often they face systemic barriers that hold them back from opportunity,” Healey said in a statement upon signing the executive order. “Our administration is committed to bringing people together and centering equity in all that we do, and that requires ensuring that those who are most impacted by our policy have a seat at the decision-making table.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll echoed Healey’s sentiment. “Centuries of systemic racism in this country have fueled lasting inequities across all realms of society, but our Black community is resilient,” she said. “Governor Healey and I are committed to not only listening to leaders in the Black community about the work that needs to be done to increase opportunity, but also acting on their recommendations to create real change.” 

Healey’s move is the latest effort by elected officials to address the inequalities that Black Bay Staters face. On Feb. 6, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the creation of a reparations task force designed to study the role Boston had in the slave trade and its continuing impact on the community today, and to determine what can be done to build a brighter future for all. 

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