OUR HOW: EMBRACE BOSTON’S STRATEGIC POLICY INITIATIVES
WHAT: As our local and national community addresses its history, one infected by a virus known as white-body supremacy, (a false hierarchy valuing human life based on race grounded in white supremacy) our organization has committed to informing and influencing local, state and national reparations efforts that seek full repair and reconciliation from: the transatlantic slave trade, chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation and the ongoing inequities stemming from the myths of White supremacy and Black inferiority.
HOW: Through our Reparations work, we acknowledge that the harm caused by systemic oppression cannot be undone by simply addressing the symptoms of inequality, and we commit ourselves through our embodied cultural practices, mobilization of research, and policy advocacy, a more comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of these disparities. We believe that this will work to cultivate an anti-racist culture in Boston that commits to delivering joy, safety, and the prosperity that all of us deserve.
Embrace Boston promotes its legislative agenda by working with members of the state and city legislature, and collaborating with coalitions on the ground who are working to help pass these important key pieces of legislation. Embrace Boston’s legislative priorities are grounded in our Harm Report, which highlights the urgent issues facing Black residents of Boston and of Massachusetts.
STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
S.2393: An Act establishing a commission to study reparations in Massachusetts
This legislation will establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans, with a Special Consideration for African Americans who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States.
2. H.1664: An Act designating the Charlestown division of Boston Municipal Court as the George Lewis Ruffin Courthouse
This legislation will designate the Charlestown District courthouse as the George Lewis Ruffin Courthouse in honor of the honorable George Lewis Ruffin, the first African American to graduate from Harvard Law School, the first African American to serve on the Boston City Council, elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1870, and the first African American Judge in the United States that was appointed in 1883, serving the judiciary, the bar and the people of the city of Boston.
H.3526: An Act relative to low income transit fares
This legislation directs the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) to implement and study a low income fare program that provides free or discounted transit fares for qualifying riders.
4. H.3403: An Act relative to fare-free buses
This legislation would require the MBTA and allow RTAs to implement a one-year fare-free pilot.
5. H.3360: An Act to promote racially inclusive curriculum in schools
This legislation would ensure that instruction in K-12 education shall include the teaching of accurate histories, writings, and contributions of racial and ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented or marginalized. Additionally, the bill would establish a Trust Fund to support school districts with necessary resources to implement these standards.
6. S.816 / H.1260: An Act committing to higher education the resources to insure a strong and healthy public higher education system
This legislation will create a commission that will seek to determine the higher education programs and services necessary to achieve the commonwealth’s goal of expanding access to affordable higher education to help students achieve postsecondary success in the twenty-first century.
H.1905: An Act establishing a jail and prison construction moratorium
This legislation will establish a five-year moratorium on new prison and jail construction and expansion in the Commonwealth.
8. H.1900: An Act relative to telephone service for inmates in all correctional and other penal institutions in the Commonwealth (“No Cost Calls”)
This legislation will provide telephone calls for no cost to incarcerated people at all state prisons, county jails and houses of correction. The exorbitant fees charged are often prohibitive to the families of incarcerated people who are disproportionately low-income families of color. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H1900
9. H. 2814 / S.1521: An Act Relative to Pay Equity
This legislation will require employers to act on their commitment to pay equity by publicly reporting their wage data, providing information essential to measure our progress toward racial and gender wage equity in Massachusetts. The bill will also require employers to provide the pay scale for any employment position upon advertising. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S2721
10. H.1223: An Act to Establish a Massachusetts Public Bank
This legislation will create the first public bank in Massachusetts that will provide flexible, low-cost, and sustainable lending in underserved communities and will help address economic inequities.
11. H.3157: An Act to Ensure Gender Parity and Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions
This legislation will guarantee that all appointive boards and commissions of the state established by the Code, if not otherwise provided by law, shall be gender, racially and ethnically balanced. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H3157
12. H.1250: An Act to Advance Health Equity
This legislation will advance health equity in the Commonwealth through prioritizing health equity in state government, standardizing and reporting on health equity data, and improving access to and quality of care. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/HD2257
CITY OF BOSTON
Boston Task Force on Reparations
The commission was established through a 2022 City Council ordinance and appointed by Mayor Wu. The task force will help the Mayor and the City of Boston on healing racial inequities for descendants of slavery. https://www.boston.gov/equity-and-inclusion/task-force-reparations
Although there has been many attempts to open pathways to allow more people to vote, including the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the Massachusetts VOTES Act of 2022, we continue to see low voter turnout across the nation, and states restricting access to the vote that disproportionately affects low-income communities and voters of color. In Massachusetts too, we have seen a steady decline in voter turnout for local elections in the last few decades, including 2021’s historic mayoral election in Boston, where only 29 percent of registered voters participated. This does not represent a vibrant democracy.
Embrace Boston sees voting as instrumental to building a healthy civic life. It is one of the most powerful mechanisms we have to hold leaders accountable for representing community needs, delivering on promises, and maintaining democracy with integrity.
REGISTER TO VOTE
We are excited to highlight our partnership with TurboVote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works across the country with businesses, higher education institutes, non-profits to modernize the voting process and increase voter accessibility. In partnering with TurboVote, we hope to empower individuals to connect their vote to the issues that matter to them and provide them with tools to make the process easier.
To register to vote, update your voter registration, find your polling location, or get election reminders: Please Click here
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Contact Your Massachusetts State Representatives and Senators
Contact Your Member of Congress:
Contact your Boston City Council Members