FREEZE FRAME BLACK BOSTON 2015: TIME FOR INCLUSION
BLACK ECONOMIC MANIFESTO
November 4, 2015 close to 700 Black Bostonians met at Prince Hall Grand Lodge in response to a call from a coalition of Black leaders and reached a broad based consensus to make Boston an inclusive economy. The powerful and provocative presentation, entitled Freeze Frame Black Boston 2015: Time for an Inclusive Economy, makes the data-driven compelling case for drastic, innovative change in the way business is done. This document represents a major first step in this movement. The rationale is clear:
- Total assets in Boston: Whites - $256,500 vs. Blacks - $700
- Boston homeownership: Whites - 68% vs. Black - 32% (21% in Roxbury)
- Boston is the 3rd worse city for income inequality behind only Atlanta and San Francisco
- Boston unemployment: Whites - 6% vs. Black - 13% (20%-25% for Black males 18-44)
- Boston Bachelor’s degree: Whites - 63% vs. Blacks - 17%
More than $50 billion in public spending was spent in Boston in the last decade. Yet Blacks in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan ("RDM") are faring worse in every measured statistical indicator than at any time since the mid-seventies. There are fewer Black businesses in Boston today than twenty years ago. An estimated 36,000 of the 150,437 Black residents are under/unemployed. A disproportionate share of the dollars spent in these three key neighborhoods went to building affordable housing. Key to our plan is building people!
A collaborative, comprehensive effort focused on the five (5) Massachusetts growth areas - education, health, technology, food service and financial services - offer a practical course to reduce Black unemployment by 5,000 residents annually over the next seven years. This effort should include both hiring residents in these sectors and expanding opportunities from anchor institutions in those sectors for Black businesses, which hire a disproportionate number of Black workers.
We are calling on the governor, mayor, private and public sector leaders, and spiritual leaders to commit and work toward the goal of an inclusive economy. A new and focused agenda on Black economic development and accountability for those responsible for its achievement are a moral and economic imperative and long overdue. To accomplish this plan, Black business and community leaders have formed the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (www.becma.org) to serve as the formal advocacy and organizing arm and the Inclusive Economy PAC to support candidates who support this Black economic agenda.
Real Black economic development will require both immediate and long term community action, broad based leadership, accountability and new and creative strategies. The community spoke loudly on November 4th. Boston's Black community is in economic crisis. Freeze Frame Black Boston 2015: Time for An Inclusive Economy presents important next steps and the time to marshal the will and resources to change this paradigm is now! As Boston 2024 for the Olympic Games showed, we know what Boston can do when this city galvanizes around an issue deemed important. Boston Strong is about to become Boston Stronger!