Our Statement Regarding Our Federal Civil Rights Complaint Against the City of Boston

Last week, we sent you our response to the preliminary results from Boston's disparity study that were shared via GBH News and the Boston Globe. Our statement was met with overwhelming support, and almost 800 of you signed our petition calling on the Walsh Administration to follow through on our demands.

Many of you also shared with us your personal stories of trying to do business with the city to no avail or expressed how important this issue was to you and your community. It was clear to us that you would not settle for any more weak executive orders or stale promises from our local government.

That's why we announced that we have filed a civil rights complaint against the Walsh Administration and the City of Boston based on the disparity study, which showed a pattern of discrimination in city contracting against Black- and other minority-owned businesses. We have been joined in this complaint by our steadfast partners at Amplify Latinx and the Greater Boston Latino Network. Our complaint was filed, and will be managed, by the Lawyers for Civil Rights, a champion for civil rights and economic justice.

This is why BECMA was founded. As the chief advocate for the more than 2,000 Black-owned firms across the Commonwealth, we know that we must use every tool available to either encourage or compel leaders in both the public and private sectors to enact strong measures that combat systemic racism and establish justice. The time of papering over gaping disparities with hollow statements is over.

We invite you to read the complaint here. It urges federal intervention and oversight to compel the City to enact race-conscious measures to break down the discriminatory barriers to equitable contracting opportunities. The complaint also calls for the immediate creation of a community-driven remediation process based on the needs identified by our members and others in the small business community harmed by this discrimination.

This issue required immediate and bold leadership years ago. The repeated delay in implementing myriad recommendations from people and organizations across our community has forced this necessary action. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Biden administration and incoming Acting Mayor Janey to more appropriately and substantively address equity in city procurement and ensure our fair participation and access to opportunities.