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Friday, July 02, 2021

MAYOR JANEY DELIVERS SPEECH MARKING HER FIRST 100 DAYS AS MAYOR

MAYOR JANEY DELIVERS SPEECH MARKING HER FIRST 100 DAYS AS MAYOR

BOSTON - Friday, July 2, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey today hosted an event, marking her first 100 days as Mayor. She shared progress on her City agenda of reopening, recovery and renewal, as well as released the Kim Janey Mayoral Transition Committee Report. Prepared by policy and thought leaders across the city, the Janey transition report outlines recommendations in the areas of education; housing planning and development; public health; safety, health and justice; and small business and economic development. 

 


Below are Mayor Janey’s remarks as prepared:

 Thank you Officer Kim Tavares for that lovely performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” You have an incredible voice.  Thank you for your service to our city. 

I also want to acknowledge the remarkable spoken word performance by two magnificent artists, Ashley Rose and Danielle the Buddafly. You both are so amazing. Let’s give them another round of applause!

I want to give a shout out to the City’s digital media team for putting that 100 Days video together. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such an incredible team. Thank you.

I thank all of the elected officials here today: Sheriff Steve Tompkins, State Representative Nika Elugardo, State Representative Liz Miranda.  I also want to thank Boston City Councilor Kenzie Bok, Chair of the Ways & Means Committee, and Councilor Ricardo Arroyo and Councilor Ed Flynn, each of whom were invaluable partners in passing a budget that I know we are all proud of.  This budget will be Boston’s biggest investment in its schools, in its infrastructure and the services our constituents rely on every day.  

I also want to recognize and thank the Honorable Sumbul Siddiqui, Mayor of Cambridge who is here with us; and the Honorable Yvonne Spicer, Mayor of Framingham. Mayor Siddiqui and Mayor Spicer served as honorary co-chairs of my mayoral transition committee. As the only other women of color serving as mayors in our Commonwealth, I am so grateful for your partnership. 

 The meeting house

I especially want to thank the Museum of African American History for protecting and preserving this historic Meeting House where we are today. I thank Leon Wilson, President and CEO, and his incredible team for hosting us. I also want to acknowledge my Chief Resilience Officer Lori Nelson for maintaining this partnership between the City of Boston and the museum.  

Take a look around.  The Meeting House is beautiful.  It exemplifies the remarkable craftsmanship and civic engagement of the early African American residents of Beacon Hill. 

They were educators and shopkeepers, teachers and preachers. Some were born free and some had achieved freedom. They came together with shared values and a shared vision for Boston. 

They built this Meeting House in 1806. William Lloyd Garrison, a journalist, founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society here. And, it hosted many great speakers, among them, the great Abolitionist Frederick Douglass. 

This Meeting House also has a direct connection to my church home. And I want to acknowledge we are joined today by my pastor, Reverend Willie Bodrick. The Twelfth Baptist Church was founded when members of this church community split to create a church with a more proactive stance against slavery.  Like Boston’s early Black community, Twelfth Baptist left Beacon Hill for Roxbury, carrying that spiritual legacy of freedom and resilience with it. Years later, Martin Luther King Jr. would serve as its assistant minister, further punctuating its legacy forward to the rest of the world. 

 100 Days Reflection

It has been just over a 100 days since I took office.  (The actual 100th day came during the height of this week’s heat wave. I thought, however, it wouldn’t be the best time for a speech indoors.)  

I must say that each and every day it has been a privilege to serve you and to lead this City. It is the honor of my lifetime.  

As a child growing up in this City, my oasis on a hot summer day was the Frog Pond in the Boston Common.  Last month, together with Chief White Hammond, Commissioner Woods, and our Parks Department, I got a chance to reopen that Frog Pond for all to use.  (I was even able to get my feet wet for a bit.) It had been closed for over a year due to COVID, and its reopening marked a milestone in our collective efforts to combat this pandemic. 

As a teenager in this City, it was my youth summer jobs through ABCD that gave me a degree of autonomy and valuable career skills. Two days ago, the Boston City Council passed a budget that expands those summer job opportunities for more youth in Boston and creates 1,000 additional year-round youth jobs.

As an adult in this City, I benefited from a first time home buyers program, which helped me purchase the house that I still live in today.  And, together with Chief Dillon and the Department of Neighborhood Development, we announced last month a significant increase in the support we give to first-time homebuyers citywide.  This will make the dream of owning a home -- and access to this wealth building asset -- a reality for far more of our residents. We are offering up to $40,000 thousand dollars in downpayment assistance. This more than triples the amount we previously provided, which was up to $10,000 thousand dollars. 

As Mayor, I have an even deeper appreciation of our City, her people, and, above all, the work that goes into making Boston stronger every day.  

As I reflect on the first 100 days, I am reminded that, like this meeting house, Boston is built by the hard work and skilled hands of many.  

At our best, we are organizing, we are advocating, and we are taking on the challenges that lead to a more just, more prosperous, more joyous community.  

All of you in this room, and many, many more across our City are doing that work each and every day. And, I thank you for it.  

 

Transition Committee / Report

With us here today, we have city residents, City staff, and members of my transition committee.  

160 members of the public served on that transition committee.  Each brought their love of Boston and their perspectives on its future.  Together, they drafted a set of recommendations for how we recover from this pandemic and lay the groundwork for a stronger city going forward.  Those recommendations are being posted on the City’s website today.  They cover areas ranging from public health to public education, from economic development to housing, from transportation & climate justice to safety & healing. 

My transition committee was co-chaired by Linda Dorcena Forry, Betty Francisco, Steve Grossman, Quincy Miller, and Kate Walsh.  And the work was facilitated by the Rappaport Institute at Harvard University and by my Transition Director, Gustavo Quiroga. I am eternally grateful for your purpose-driven passion for creating a better Boston for all. 

Importantly, many of the transition recommendations have already been implemented. We have made great strides in expanding equitable vaccine access, supporting businesses in reopening, and getting our children back to school safely. We have stood up for climate and racial justice in proposed projects and we have worked to change how our community responds to mental health crises.  

 

Education -- Children’s & Youth Cabinet

Another of those recommendations we are moving forward on today: To increase equity and reduce disparities for children and youth of Boston and provide for more coordinated services for families, I’m proud to announce that we will be forming a Children’s and Youth Cabinet. 

I have spent most of my career advocating for equity and excellence in youth opportunities in this City. I know the wealth of opportunities we provide. But the total is less than the sum of its parts.  We can do more, if we work better together to serve our youth. 

That is the purpose of the Children’s & Youth Cabinet.  It will be a convening of City cabinet chiefs and department heads who serve youth in the City of Boston aged 0-24. It will work to coordinate the services that the City provides and optimize our partnerships with nonprofit organizations, faith-based partners, the Boston Public Schools, higher education institutions, and employers.

Two of my cabinet members leading this effort will be Dr. Brenda Cassellius, our School Superintendent, and Dr. Mary Churchill, my Chief of Policy & Planning. Dr. Cassellius served in a similar role in Minnesota, as Commissioner of Education for the State, and Chief Churchill has deep relationships with academic institutions across the city. 

In many respects, Boston is the best city in the world. But too many of our children and families are not getting their needs met. To get there, we need to wrap the services of the whole city around each of our youth.  And, this new Children’s & Youth Cabinet will help us to do that.  

We’ll also do that by improving our school buildings. Last month I broke ground on the building of a new Josiah Quincy Upper School. I want to recognize the coordination between the Boston Public Schools and Chief Dion Irish in this work to create great places for our children to learn in our city.

 

COVID → Health Disparities

This type of cross-administration and cross-city coordination is not new.  In fact, it is the hallmark of how we have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.  And, the results prove the model. 

As of today, new cases of COVID are at record low levels. 65 percent of our residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And, for some of our hardest hit by this pandemic -- our seniors -- over 75% are fully vaccinated. 

I want to thank Chief Martinez, who has been spearheading much of this coordination across the City over the last 16 months.  His effort and the effort of his entire team has saved lives and made our City more resilient.

I want to celebrate and thank one of those team members today.  Following a career of public health leadership and a focus on recovery services, Rita Nieves stepped in as the City’s interim executive director of the Public Health Commission in December 2019.  This was just a few months before the first documented case of COVID in our city.  She offered to serve in this role in advance of an expected retirement.  She has done an exceptional job leading her team through this crisis and, for the benefit of the City, putting off retirement.  Today, with the progress we have made, retirement will come at the end of the Summer.  On behalf of the entire city, Rita, I want to thank you for your service.

As we continue our recovery from COVID, I know how important the work of our Boston Public Health Commission will continue to be. Because of that I am proud to announce that the Board of Health last night appointed Dr. Bisola Ojikutu as the next Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. Dr. Ojikutu is an infectious disease doctor at Mass General Brigham.  She has dedicated her career to addressing health disparities and the systems that cause them. I am so excited that Dr. Ojikutu will begin her leadership of the Health Commission starting Sept 1st. Please join me in welcoming her.

COVID-19 exacerbated the health disparities that already existed in our city.  Just as we have done to combat COVID, we will be putting forward a health equity plan that organizes resources and policies. Race, ethnicity, gender, or income should never dictate your health outcomes.

 

Economic Reopening →  Wealth Gap 

Our public health recovery is the foundation for our City’s economic recovery.  And, our economy is recovering.  The unemployment rate has dropped from 16% a year ago to roughly 6% today.  And, economic activity continues to pick up.

Part of the reason for the strong recovery are the programs that Chief Dillon and Chief Morikawa and their teams put in place to provide stability for renters, homeowners, and small businesses.  

For example, nearly 3,000 renters have used the City’s Rental Relief Fund to date.  This includes residents like Tyson, a single dad from Jamaica Plain who was facing eviction. He used the rental relief fund money to move to a new unit in Dorchester.  The fund covered his first, last, and security deposit. With our help, Tyson is happy to be in a new apartment with his son.  

Sara, a healthcare professional from Mission Hill, had her hours cut during the height of the pandemic and was using her savings to pay her rent.  She applied for rental relief funds to pay future rent. We helped her out, and now she can use her earnings to support her family. 

This program will become even more critical once the eviction moratorium expires at the end of this month.  We encourage every tenant who may be in need to reach out.  And, our economic support programs go far beyond rental relief:

For small businesses who may be facing similar challenges, we’ve distributed $16 million dollars to over 4,000 small businesses, and we’ve added an additional $16 million dollars to commercial rent relief and small business support. 

 

For workers looking for new career opportunities, we’ve allocated $1 million dollars in job training in those industries that were hardest hit and $1 million dollars in job training for artists. And last night, we hosted our first Community Advisory Board meeting with community partners in labor, environmental justice, and education to shape $4 million dollars of investment in green jobs.

And, for businesses interested in contracting with the City, we’ve staffed up our supplier diversity team and issued 56 capacity-building grants to businesses, under the leadership of our new Chief of Equity & Inclusion, Celina Barrios-Millner.

All of these efforts stabilize our economy and accelerate our recovery.  In addition, they will help us address the wealth and wage disparities that exist in our city.  

Prior to the pandemic, the gaps in employment, wages, and, in particular, wealth were stark, across race and ethnicity.  Those gaps are markers of years,  decades, and centuries of inequitable policies.  Policies we are committed to changing, together.  

 

Community 

Now, change in our city can be tough.  We are City of engaged residents, with deeply held and well articulated perspectives.  I am a firm believer, however, that we go farther as a City when we give space to this dialog.  When we value engagement. When we respect alternative views.  

That is why, I am so pleased that through this budget we just passed, we will be creating the City’s Office of Participatory Budgeting.  This will allow even more people to directly impact how their tax dollars are invested.  

To build a strong community you must provide an opportunity to involve everybody.  And, you must also provide safety for all. I want to give credit to the Police Department and to Superintendent-in-Chief Greg Long.  This year, Part 1 crime is down 18%, firearm arrests are up 25%.  The Department is putting in place reforms to build greater trust with the public. And, through the work of Chief Aisha Miller, we have launched the City’s Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, under the leadership of Stephanie Everett.

We are also taking steps to increase the role of mental health workers and reduce the role of BPD, where appropriate, in responding to mental health crises.  Last night, we held our first community meeting on the future of mental health crisis response in Boston.  And, next month, we will be releasing the pilot plan.

Safety, justice and healing in our community can also be encouraged by what I call the Joy Agenda. This is a citywide invitation to reimagine our city in a way that centers and celebrates joy. It encourages opportunities for collective healing and for investing in imagination and creativity. 

Whether that is a block party, a barbeque with neighbors, a stroll in Franklin Park with family, or taking in this weekends’ fireworks on the Boston Common with friends, the Joy Agenda is about helping people reconnect and strengthen community ties. 

As a Black woman who is also the granddaughter of a baptist preacher, I know it is joy that helped my ancestors persevere. It gave them hope to carry on. Let’s continue the faith tradition of God’s great joy - sweet, beautiful, soul-saving joy!

And as we tap into our inner joy, let us be inspired by the early African American residents of Beacon Hill who came together, on this southern slope, with shared values to set priorities for the emerging community we now call the City of Boston. Because as we have seen from this space we are gathered in, and as I have witnessed in the last 100 days as your Mayor, our City and her people can achieve anything when we work together. 

Thank you!

Now, without further ado, please rise as we welcome the talented Danny Rivera who will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Files Legislation to Improve Safety & Awareness, Discourage Swimming at Undesignated State Waterfronts

Baker-Polito Administration Files Legislation to Improve Safety & Awareness, Discourage Swimming at Undesignated State Waterfronts

Proposal Would Increase Fines for Swimming Outside of Designated Waterfronts 

BOSTON – In an effort to increase public safety and awareness at state parks and beaches, Governor Charlie Baker will file legislation today to increase fines for swimming outside designated waterfronts across the Commonwealth. The legislation, “An Act Relative to Enhanced Enforcement of Swimming Limitations,” would increase the maximum fine to $500 for entering or swimming in any waters on Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) property that are not designated for swimming. The legislation would provide an appropriate penalty for swimming in unsafe areas and deter park visitors from considering these dangerous activities.  

“Swimming at undesignated waterfronts is dangerous and too often leads to tragic consequences, and this legislation is part of a comprehensive plan to discourage risky behavior and ensure the safety of visitors to our state parks and beaches,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While we encourage all to visit our beautiful coastal and inland beaches, we urge the public to exercise caution and not swim at any body of water that has not been designated for swimming by state or local authorities.”  

“From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, Massachusetts is home to many waterbodies and coastlines offering great opportunities for outdoor recreation; however, we have already seen far too many tragic accidental drownings occur already this year,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to move quickly on these important changes.” 

Under current law, penalties for violating DCR’s rules and regulations vary depending on whether a property was once part of the Metropolitan District Commission, with fines ranging from $20 to $200. The filed legislation establishes a uniform maximum fine of $500 for entering or swimming in waters other than those designated for swimming by DCR. 

At its many designated waterfronts throughout the state, DCR offers services like clearly marked swimming areas with ropes and buoys, lifeguards on-duty, and water quality testing. Undesignated waterfronts do not receive such services, and may also have hazardous features like murky water, steep slopes, and aquatic plant species, creating a potentially dangerous situation for swimmers.

“The legislation filed today reflects the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to the health and safety of Massachusetts residents and visitors,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides. “Increasing fines is a critical part of our comprehensive strategy to prevent potential tragedies and ensure all visitors to the Commonwealth’s state parks have a safe and enjoyable experience.” 

“DCR welcomes visitors of all ages and swimming abilities to our waterfronts each summer season, and we ask that each person heed park signs, staff direction, and water safety recommendations,” said DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “The increase in fines for swimming in unsafe waters on DCR property is another example of the Administration’s continued commitment to increasing safety throughout our state park system.”

DCR has been coordinating with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) and the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) to implement new measures to enhance public safety and discourage swimming at undesignated waterfronts. DCR has produced and posted dozens of new swimming safety signs at DCR parks and beaches. These signs will be in multiple languages at select areas such as Houghton’s Pond within the Blue Hills State Reservation in Canton. DCR has also increased outreach for the agency’s Learn to Swim program, which offers free swimming lessons at 12 locations statewide for people of all ages. 

Last week, DCR announced that it has increased lifeguard pay from $17/hour, or $18/hour for head guards, to $20/hour and $21/hour. Lifeguards who remain committed for the entire season with DCR will also receive a $500 bonus at the end of the season. DCR continues to actively recruit individuals to become a lifeguard at its inland and coastal waterfronts, and deep water swimming pools in the Boston Region (including Cambridge and the surrounding towns), the North Region (specifically Saugus, Nahant, and East Boston), the South Region (specifically Sandwich and Westport), and the Central Region (Metro West to Worcester County). Interested individuals can apply online and are strongly encouraged to call Jim Esposito at (857) 214-0400 or visit the DCR’s lifeguarding webpage, where application information and lifeguard requirements can be found

大波士頓商會設高等教育領袖議會 為產學界搭橋

Chamber Launches Higher Education Leadership Council

The Chamber is proud to announce the launch of the new Higher Education Leadership Council. The Higher Education Leadership Council will bring together business and higher education leaders to build a more diverse, adaptable workforce and collaborate on the shared challenges the higher education industry faces as major employers in the region. The Leadership Council will also collectively strategize to develop and retain local students as well as talent from around the world to advance the region’s economic recovery.

This Council is co-chaired by Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson and Boston University President Robert Brown. Council members include University and College Presidents, Chancellors, and Provosts from across the Commonwealth. 

 “The higher education sector is one of the cornerstones of our economy,” said James E. Rooney, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “It is critical for the Commonwealth’s present and future competitiveness and recovery that our new Leadership Council effectively connect with the business community. We will continue to strategically shape a vibrant and equitable future that increases systemic opportunity for every student and community.”

“Closer collaboration between our business community and higher ed institutions is key to our attracting and retaining the best talent to our region and to rebuilding a more equitable and sustainable economy as we recover from the pandemic,” said Micho F. Spring, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “By working more closely together, we can champion a bold and better future for our students, employees, and workforce.”

“I’m honored to serve as the Co-Chair of the Chamber’s Higher Education Leadership Council and to continue the collaboration between us that was so important and beneficial to institutions across the Commonwealth this past year. We must recognize that our students are the key to our region’s recovery and long-term success, and we must collectively invest in matching the academic curricula with the demands of the employers of today and tomorrow. We can help realize the Chamber’s vision that all businesses and all people in our region succeed by making our higher education ecosystem even more effective, more equitable and more impactful in the lives of students, employees, and communities,” said Paula A. Johnson, President of Wellesley College.

“The work of this new Higher Education Leadership Council is more important than ever, and I’m looking forward to serving as co-chair of the Council. As major employers in the region, higher education institutions understand the urgent need for students to develop critical skills necessary for their future careers as well as strengthening the region’s infrastructure and inclusivity to ensure that students, especially students of color, desire to live and work in Massachusetts after graduation,” said Robert Brown, President of Boston University.

The Chamber’s nine Leadership Councils bring together business leaders from our membership with a specific interest in policy areas and industries to connect, share innovative practices, and help inform and develop the Chamber's policy positions. 

About the Greater Boston Chamber

We are the convener, voice and advocate of our region's business community, committed to making Greater Boston the best place for all businesses and all people to thrive. We help our members and Greater Boston succeed by convening and connecting the business community; researching, developing, and advocating for public policies that contribute to our region’s economic success; and providing comprehensive leadership development programs designed to grow strong business and civic leaders. Learn more at BostonChamber.com

MAYOR JANEY ANNOUNCES FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS IN BOSTON 2021

MAYOR JANEY ANNOUNCES FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS IN BOSTON 2021

 

BOSTON - Thursday, July 1, 2021 - Mayor Kim Janey today announced the City of Boston's plans to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Residents and visitors are invited to view the City of Boston's official commemoration, enjoy the Boston Pops Spectacular televised performances, and participate in Boston Harborfest programming. In addition, Boston’s historic sites, museums, and other tourist attractions are excited to offer additional fun and educational ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in Boston.

 “I wish the people of Boston a healthy and happy Fourth of July,” said Mayor Janey. “I am proud to restore traditions like Boston Harborfest, the Boston Pops Spectacular, and the City of Boston’s own parade and commemoration. As we bring our community celebrations and summertime traditions back even better, it is important to get vaccinated to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”

 On Sunday, July 4, 2021, Mayor Janey will lead an updated version of the City of Boston’s traditional Independence Day commemoration and parade. After a speaking program, the parade steps off City Hall Plaza at 9:00 a.m., passing Granary Burial Ground, then continuing through Downtown Crossing to the Old State House for the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. There will be parade viewing available along the route and in Downtown Crossing.

 The parade route is as follows:

·    Step off from City Hall Plaza

·    Process down Tremont Street

·    Halt for honors at Granary Burial Grounds

·    Reform and take a left on School Street

·    Left on Washington Street, and

·    Stop at the Old State House where the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company reads the Declaration of Independence from the balcony.

 

In addition to the City of Boston official commemoration and parade, the City will also co-sponsor and host Boston Harborfest and the Boston Pops Spectacular.

·    Boston Harborfest is a proud summer tradition celebrating Boston’s maritime and revolutionary history from July 1 - 4. Activities include historical reenactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live entertainment, fireworks, and much more!

·    On Sunday, July 4, from 8 - 11 p.m., the Boston Pops 4th of July Spectacular televised program will be broadcast live on Bloomberg TV and radio and on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Enjoy a Boston Pops musical performance and fireworks show from home.

 FIREWORKS VIEWING INFORMATION

 ·    Boston Harborfest Fireworks

·    On Saturday, July 3, at about 9:15 p.m., the Boston Harborfest fireworks display will be launched above Boston's Inner Harbor from Long Wharf.  Residents and visitors will be able to view the fireworks from most areas along Boston's Inner Harbor. There are no official public viewing areas.

 

·    Boston Pops Fireworks

·    The Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular will include a fireworks display launched above Boston Common on Sunday, July 4, at about 10:30 p.m. The entire program will be broadcast live on Bloomberg TV and radio and locally in Boston on WHDH-TV Channel 7. There are no official public viewing areas. But, the fireworks will be visible from Parade Ground (corner of Charles and Beacon), Frog Pond, and other areas with sightlines to the Boston Common. View the map.

 Illegal fireworks pose significant dangers to the safety of our residents and their property. If you hear or see fireworks being displayed in your neighborhood, please call 311 and report them using the Noise Score app so that the City of Boston can track them. To learn more about fireworks safety in Boston, please visit boston.gov/fireworks.

 PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION

 Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are still at high-risk of spreading COVID-19.  If you are not fully vaccinated, you should avoid large social gatherings. If you do plan to attend, avoid congested areas, wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth, and maintain six feet of physical distance as much as possible. To get vaccinated, find a location near you on boston.gov/coronavirus.

 For an overview of public celebrations happening in the City of Boston this Fourth of July weekend, visit https://www.boston.gov/news/fourth-july-celebrations-boston-2021.

 

亞美正義促進會(AAJC))發360萬元支持33個社區組織

 Advancing Justice – AAJC and Kaiser Permanente Collaborate to Support Community-Based Groups, Providing $3.6 Million in Grants

33 groups funded to counter hate crimes, hate incidents, and discrimination against Asian Americans

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC), a national nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and underserved allied communities, and Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system, announced that they are collaborating to distribute $3.6 million to 33 community-based organizations via grants over two years to combat the surge in violence against Asian Americans and to support the rights, health, and wellness of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

 

Through the Stop Anti-Asian Hate and Violence Initiative, Advancing Justice – AAJC and Kaiser Permanente developed a framework for funding the work of AAPI-serving community-based organizations across three strategies to address anti-Asian hate and violence, encompassing 1) Community Education, Mobilization, and Coalition Building; 2) Direct Services, Mental Health, and Organizational Sustainability; and 3) Advocacy and Organizational Leadership.

 

“Advancing Justice – AAJC is proud to support local AAPI-serving community-based organizations on the frontlines of the rise in anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is essential to have this funding go into the local communities, with trusted organizations that are deeply rooted in their communities with the expertise to best address anti-Asian hate and meet their communities’ needs,” said John C. Yang, Advancing Justice – AAJC’s president and executive director. “Many Asian American organizations recognize the troubling escalation of hate we see today during the pandemic as a continuation of the long history of anti-Asian discrimination that our communities have faced.”

 

Yang continued, “Community-based organizations serving our beleaguered AAPI communities have faced the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and hate, while facing resource challenges in meeting the striking rise in community needs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We thank Kaiser Permanente for funding this grant initiative and their commitment to our AAPI communities.”

 

The grant, to be distributed through Kaiser Permanente's fund at the East Bay Community Foundation,  with guidance provided by Advancing Justice-AAJC, will support the work of AAPI community-serving organizations in meeting community needs through expansion of services, including some of the following:

 

  • Victim’s advocacy, legal services, mental health services, and wrap-around support services for those who have been impacted by anti-Asian hate.
  • Culturally responsive therapy to meet community mental health needs arising from and exacerbated by the pandemic and anti-Asian racism, as well as support for staff that are working with community members impacted by anti-Asian hate.
  • Bystander intervention trainings to teach Asian Americans and allies tactics to safely interrupt and stop anti-Asian harassment, tailored to local communities and offered in different languages.
  • Anti-hate/anti-racism campaigns and BIPOC solidarity meetings and public events so that community members can come together and work on shared issues collectively.
  • Building capacity of organizations and community members to engage with local agencies and government services to ensure they are responsive to the needs of the community, including the need for linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate services.
  • Increasing organizational capacity to better support underserved communities, such as Micronesians, Marshallese, and Palauans in Hawaii.
  • Community Safety Trainings in multiple Asian languages for elders, business owners, youth, and their families.
  • Partnering with and learning from LGBTQ+ and gender-based anti-violence groups on effective strategies in anti-violence work; organizing healing and support spaces to strengthen community wellness and resilience.
  • In-language community outreach and education, including narrative change work through ethnic media, to reshape public dialogue about violence and work to reimagine community safety and advance restorative justice.
  • Media arts literacy education to students from elementary school to college, including building an Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander media arts curriculum aligned with ethnic studies in public schools. 

 

“This past year’s disturbing increase in hostility, discrimination, and violence towards Asian Americans spurred us to further hone our strategy for community support,” said Stephanie Ledesma, interim senior vice president of community health at Kaiser Permanente. “This commitment is intended to help prevent further racist acts, provide interventions when they occur, and promote healing in communities that have been discriminated against.”

 

Organizations and projects funded by the collaboration were identified by local community health teams from Kaiser Permanente as well as members of the Kaiser Permanente Asian Pacific Islander Association (KPAPIA), an internal business resource group dedicated to workforce engagement, improvement of inclusive culture, identification and advancement of diverse leadership, and community volunteerism. Funding provided under the Stop Anti-Asian Hate and Violence Initiative will advance the three strategies developed jointly with Advancing Justice – AAJC. 

 

The grantees come from the eight regions where Kaiser Permanente has its presence, including California, where the first spate of 2021 attacks came to national attention. For a complete list of grantees, visit this link.

波士頓代市長Kim Janey 和波士頓市議會通過8150萬元市府營運預算

MAYOR JANEY’S PROPOSED FY2022 OPERATING BUDGET, CAPITAL PLAN, AND BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS BUDGET PASSES CITY COUNCIL, INCLUDING $81.5 MILLION EMERGENCY RELIEF PLAN, FUNDED THROUGH AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

 Boston’s FY2022 Operating Budget, Capital Plan and BPS Budget invests heavily in an equitable recovery for all Bostonians, including utilizing targeted Federal Funding to address emergency and community based needs.

 

BOSTON - Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - Today, Mayor Janey and the Boston City Council passed the largest Operating, Capital and Schools budgets in Boston's history. This budget includes an additional $31.5 million in funding for the emergency relief plan, building on the previously announced $50 million. In total, the City of Boston has proposed $81.5 million to support an equitable recovery and reopening for Boston residents, workers and small businesses in partnership with the City Council, using funding the City of Boston has received from the federal government following the passage of the American Rescue Plan. As part of Mayor Janey’s commitment to an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, funding will be allocated to City and community programs and initiatives, focused on public health, the economy and resources for individuals hardest hit by the pandemic. Boston expects to receive over $500 million through the American Rescue Plan to support the City’s recovery from the pandemic through the end of 2024, with millions in other federal funds going directly to our schools and rental relief efforts.

 Also today, Mayor Janey’s proposed budgets were passed by the Boston City Council, including the Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget, passing with a 10-2 vote; the Capital Plan, passing with 12-0 vote; and the Boston Public Schools budget, passing with a 10-2 vote. Mayor Janey’s previously resubmitted budgets can be found here.

 “The budgets passed today make Boston stronger, more equitable, and will help every resident through this year of recovery, reopening, and renewal,” said Mayor Kim Janey.  “I am proud to lead our city with funding priorities that reflect our shared values. I thank the Boston City Council and the residents of Boston for their partnership and participation in our Fiscal Year 2022 budgeting process.” 

 The $81.5 million emergency relief plan will focus on the following priority areas:

 $14 million to support public health response:

 ·    $7 million for COVID-19 response including mobile vaccine and testing operations and outreach

·    $6 million for behavioral health and substance use, including funding for opioid treatment and services

·    $1 million for maintaining digital access to City services

 $32.9 million for communities most impacted by COVID-19:

 ·    $22.4 million for investments in affordable housing and housing navigation services

·    $20 million for acquisition of occupied buildings to prevent displacement

·    $2 million for additional land acquisition opportunities

·    $400,000 for housing navigation assistance and stabilization services 

·    $3.5 million for addressing health disparities and social determinants of health 

·    $2.5 million to tackle key gaps in social determinants of health, as outlined by the Health Inequities Task Force

·    $1 million for community violence intervention programs

·    $2 million for supporting childcare and early learning initiatives 

·    $2 million for BPS student and family supports, including additional dollars for social workers to ensure a full time social worker in every school

·    $2 million for ensuring pedestrian safety through additional support to the Slow Streets program 

·    $500,000 for green building retrofits 

·    $500,000 for supporting language access, communications, and evaluation

 $18.6 million to address the economic impact of the pandemic on food access, housing, arts, culture, and tourism:

 ·    $4 million for arts and culture, including $3 million for the creative economy industry to help working artists reopen safely and $1 million to support other projects and creative professionals across the city 

·    $3.1 million for programs strengthening homeownership and supporting individuals facing housing insecurity

·    $3 million for food access and equity, including initiatives to support community-based solutions, expand local growing spaces, pilot an affordable community supported agriculture (CSA) model, provide assistance with applying to safety-net programs, and destigmatize utilization of food resources

·    $3 million for expansion of Green Jobs program, building on the $1 million investment in the FY22 budget

·    $3 million for digital equity and access, including an initiative to integrate digital literacy training into job training programs to meet labor market needs and an initiative to expand WiFi in public housing

·    $1 million for basic needs assistance for families not eligible for previous COVID-19 benefits

·    $1 million to expand reach of All-Inclusive Boston campaign and support the tourism industry 

·    $500,000 for expansion of Young Adult jobs pilot, building on the $300,000 investment in the FY22 budget

 $16 million for small business relief:

 ·    $8 million to build on previous small business funds and create a new, flexible grant fund designed to help small businesses cover expenses related to their reopening, recovery, and growth

·    $7.5 million to meet existing demand for the Commercial Rental Relief Fund, designed to stabilize small businesses and prevent commercial displacement due to the pandemic

·    $500,000 for expansion of High Roads Kitchen Restaurant Relief Fund

 The allocation of this immediate funding was guided by the City of Boston’s Equitable Recovery Coordinating Committee (ERCC), which is being formed to ensure the equitable and efficient coordination of stimulus resources for the short- and long-term benefit of Boston residents, with an intentional focus on those who have been hurt most by the pandemic. The ERCC is steered by City leadership, with additional representation across City departments and external stakeholders. 

 The ERCC will continue to be informed by residents and community stakeholders. The $81.5 million emergency relief fund represents 15 percent of the overall $500 million federal investment that Boston expects to receive through 2024. The City of Boston will launch a citywide engagement process and work with the people of Boston to program the remaining federal funds. 

Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale Endorses Michelle Wu for Mayor

 Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale Endorses Michelle Wu for Mayor 

 Boston, MA—  The Progressive West

Roxbury/Roslindale chapter of Progressive MA has endorsed Michelle Wu for Mayor of Boston by an overwhelming majority, earning her the key support of an active group of organizers. They cited her record of fighting for change and strong vision in their endorsement. 

 Rachel Poliner, Chair of Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale Steering committee, said: “Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale is proud to endorse Michelle Wu to be the next Mayor of Boston. Michelle has been working to find solutions to Boston’s challenges citywide for eight years, and has been a consistent voice for progress as a City Councilor At-Large. She is the leader for this moment, with vision, practical and thorough plans, and she understands the interconnected and systemic nature of the challenges we face as a city.

 “During this mayoral campaign, originally launched as a challenge to Mayor Walsh, Michelle has stood out as the candidate who does the research, builds the coalitions, and crafts the policies to address issues throughout Boston. No matter the issue we’ve raised, from schools to housing, racial equity to climate, transit to policing, we’ve found Michelle has thought about it, and has a plan.”

 Michelle Wu said: "I’m delighted and deeply moved to earn the endorsement of my friends, neighbors, and fellow organizers in Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale. These incredible activists have helped reshape what’s possible in Boston politics and policy. Now’s the moment to organize for bold vision and urgent action, and I know this partnership will supercharge our grassroots momentum for City Hall and the mayor’s office to be a platform for activism all across our city."

 Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale’s endorsement adds to the Michelle for Mayor campaign’s enthusiastic coalition of multigenerational, multicultural grassroots supporters including community activists and leaders such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, Assistant Majority Leader and State Senator Sal DiDomenico, former State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing, Sunrise Boston, and fellow municipal elected officials from across Greater Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For all of Michelle for Boston’s endorsements, visit michelleforboston.com/endorsements

AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES NEW STUDENT LOAN OMBUDSMAN, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO HELP BORROWERS

 AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES NEW STUDENT LOAN OMBUDSMAN, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO HELP BORROWERS

Ombudsman Established by State’s Newly Enacted “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights;” Position Strengthens Ongoing Work by AG’s Office to Address Student Debt Crisis

            BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today announced the appointment of a new Student Loan Ombudsman, building off of her office’s nation-leading work on the frontlines of the student debt crisis and providing more resources for struggling borrowers to get the help they need.

            The Ombudsman – established by the state’s economic development legislation that was signed into law in January and codifies the “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights” – will be responsible for resolving student complaints, educating borrowers, monitoring student loan servicers, and submitting annual reports on borrower complaints and trends. This new position will compliment and strengthen the work of AG Healey’s Student Loan Assistance Unit, which was created in 2015 to help borrowers with their loans, explore repayment options, prevent wage garnishments and tax refund interceptions, secure debt relief, and identify “debt relief” scams, among other actions.

“My office is on the frontlines of this $1.7 trillion crisis, fighting on behalf of student borrowers in Massachusetts, and taking on a student loan system that is fundamentally broken and devastating to countless Americans,” AG Healey said. “The establishment of this Ombudsman position will be critical in our ongoing work to help students and families invest in their future and get the relief they deserve. I want to thank Senator Lesser and Representative Higgins for their bold leadership in getting these borrower protections in place and look forward to their partnership, along with the student loan advocacy community, in promoting these resources.”

The “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights,” sponsored by State Senator Eric Lesser and Representative Natalie Higgins, also gives the Division of Banks new regulatory authority and requires certain types of servicers to obtain licenses from the Division.

            “Earlier this year, we celebrated a big moment when the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights became law. Its passage was a result of over six years of advocacy and determination by supporters across the Commonwealth who made calls, spoke up, and cheered Rep. Higgins and I on to push this across the finish line,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “Nearly a million people within Massachusetts collectively owe over $40 billion in student loans, and until now have not benefited from adequate state-level consumer protections on one of the biggest financial investments in their lives. I am looking forward to working with Attorney General Healey and the Student Loan Ombudsman’s office in implementing a strong support system to protect student loan borrowers across Massachusetts from these harmful practices.”

“After more than six years of advocacy, I am thankful that Massachusetts will have a Student Loan Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s Office,” said Representative Natalie M. Higgins, House Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service. “The COVID-19 student loan relief measures are scheduled to end September 30, and with more than one million student loan borrowers in Massachusetts, it is vital they understand their rights and can turn to the Ombudsman’s office for support if they face challenges with their repayment plans.”

“With a regulatory framework in place to ensure servicers are in compliance with the rules, and student borrowers are protected, the Division of Banks is fully prepared to begin accepting and processing license applications from student loan servicers doing business in the Commonwealth,” said Division of Banks Commissioner Mary L. Gallagher. “The Division is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Student Loan Ombudsman in furtherance of consumer protections.”

            Serving as the state’s new Student Loan Ombudsman is Arwen Thoman, Deputy Director of AG Healey’s Insurance and Financial Services Division (IFSD). Erica Harmon, IFSD’s Program Analyst, will serve as Deputy Student Loan Ombudsman. Both Thoman and Harmon have extensive experience helping student loan borrowers through their management of the AG’s Student Loan Assistance Unit.

 As part of the new Ombudsman’s role, the AG’s Student Loan Assistance Unit will also promote borrower educational materials and inform public employees about the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (TEPSLF). In February, AG Healey secured first-of-its-kind relief in a settlement with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), d/b/a FedLoan Servicing, following a lawsuit alleging that the servicer made errors and provided misinformation to borrowers about PSLF eligibility requirements, causing borrowers to lose months of qualifying payments towards loan forgiveness. The settlement provides an opportunity for tens of thousands of Massachusetts borrowers, including public servants and teachers, whose federal loans are serviced by PHEAA to submit a claim and secure a detailed account review.

 In addition, the Student Loan Ombudsman will create opportunities for collaboration with the growing number of state-level student loan ombudspersons, serve as a platform for advocating for regulatory reforms and policy changes with the Biden Administration and with loan servicers, and will help amplify the voices of student loan borrowers. 

 Since its creation in 2015, the AG’s Student Loan Assistance Unit has taken many actions to help student loan borrowers relating to income-driven repayment enrollment, default resolution, disability discharge, borrower defense, school closure, policy advocacy, and settlement implementations. Each year, the unit typically receives nearly 1,000 written help requests and over 2,000 hotline calls and generates savings and refunds of $1.5 million for borrowers. 

 To assist the work of the Ombudsman, a new Student Loan Help Request form has been made available online to better assist borrowers with their needs and loan issues. Massachusetts students who are looking for help or information can also call the AG’s Student Loan Assistance Helpline at 1-888-830-6277.