According to the Metro, the NAACP released a report card Oct. 22, giving Mayor Marty Walsh low grades on his administration’s efforts to help communities of color. The NAACP released the report card two weeks before Boston’s mayoral election.
The report grades Mayor Walsh and his administration on four main categories: economic development, education, public safety, and staffing diversity. Each category has multiple subcategories.
The Boston Globe summarized the report, saying that Mayor Marty Walsh did not receive As. His administration received Bs, Cs, and Ds in different areas, but got Fs for the lack of diversity in the Boston Fire Department, the recruitment and retention of teachers of color, and the city’s inability to fully implement the police body camera pilot initiative.
The report said that, in two debates, Walsh pledged to focus on the issues of communities of color during the 2013 mayoral campaign. He said that the different rates of unemployment between black people and white people are “unacceptable” and needed a collective action to fix the disparity. But his efforts to expand affordable housing and support minority businesses were not enough.
Reported by WBUR, Walsh told Tanisha Sullivan, the president of Boston NAACP, that “we’ve made some good progress in lots of areas, but you never settle.” He also pointed out that the problem of racial inequities existed before his watch.
In a statement, Walsh said “we respectfully disagree with the grades given” and that his administration needed time to closely review the grades, while his administration officials questioned the accuracy and consistency of the data used to arrive at them, according to the Boston Globe.
The NAACP said the grades were based on “a comprehensive public records request of the Walsh administration,” according to the Boston Magazine. The organization said in its report that “full information was provided for many of the requests, but many others were answered incompletely or not at all.”
“While some of the outcomes are disappointing, we hold firm to the belief that we all want what is best for people in this city,” Tanisha Sullivan said in her statement. “To that end, we believe it is important to look at both the efforts and results of the city’s work.”
“To help move us forward,” she continued, “the report should serve to highlight many of the issues of importance within communities of color, as well as a guidepost for our collective work in identifying and implementing results-driven solutions.”
“We take this report – don’t look at it as a criticism, look at it as a way to build upon,” Walsh said. “I think that’s what I have to do as a mayor.”