Photo of Boston Communities United (BCU) members meeting about organizing their 10 Demandments.
A coalition of working class, working professionals, and religious activist, have come together in Boston to promote a list of demands they want the next mayor of Boston to respond to. They refer to their demands as the 10 Demandments, a response to the cities negligence in providing equitable treatment to Boston’s Black, poor and communities of color. The 10 Dedmandments have been placed in an election year when an African American candidate, Tito Jackson is running in the general election against a well-financed Irish incumbent, first term mayor, Marty Walsh.
The average price for an apartment in Boston is $2100. To afford to pay rent at this rate, a worker has to make $36.35 an hour for a 40 hour week.
Tito Jackson has challenge the mayor around the questions of gentrification, poor financing of public schools, giving tax breaks to corporate giant, General Electric, and low rate of contractor to Black and contactors of color who represents the majority population of the city. The Boston housing market is one of the country’s hottest markets, and is having a devastating impact on affordable housing for low income workers. The average price for an apartment in Boston is $2100. To afford to pay rent at this rate, a worker has to make $36.35 an hour for a 40 hour week.
One of the BCU demands focuses on demanding the city put in place a policy that “deals with equity, fairness and justice” around the need of affordable housing. The BCU is also demanding that the city renames public buildings, streets, and icons that “represents white supremacy,” and are “tracked back to slavery.” Below is a list of the Boston Communities United 10 Demandments:
We DEMAND a commitment from the next mayor a focus on the success of black, brown and all children of color (especially boys) in the Boston public school. We believe that good education is a basic right of all Bostonians no matter what zip code.
We DEMAND a city policy around displacement of people of color and a policy that deals with equity, fairness and justice regarding the issues surrounding gentrification where affordable housing for many of the city’s residents has become a dream deferred.
We DEMAND a reduction in violent crime in Boston. This means that Boston City police must develop a strategy that is shared with the community that addresses murder and violence within communities of color. A violence reduction strategy must be presented to the community annually.
We DEMAND renaming Faneuil Hall whose name represents white supremacy, which denies the civic dignity of blacks in Boston and across their country. It may be called the “Cradle of Liberty,” but it was built with funds donated from the sale of slave and the humiliation of a race of people who share citizenship in the city. We also DEMAND the renaming of Dudley Square and removing and re-memorizing public icons that are tracked back to slavery.
We DEMAND that the Boston “Drop-Out” rate be reduced to zero. By effectively meeting the needs of our at-risk youth, the city must adopt creative strategies that focus of retention, outreach and educational excellence. The high drop- out rate harms people living in black and communities of color by allowing for high un-employment rates, which are connected to crime and mortality.
We DEMAND equal procurement contracts from the City of Boston in order to share in the vast economic wealth in the city. People of color represents 55% of the city residents. Yet we share in less than 5% of the money that the city spends on goods, services and vendors. We are locked out of selling or performing services to the City of Boston because of discriminatory practices and racism. We DEMAND a change.
We DEMAND a clear policy that reduces income inequality in the City of Boston. Our city is 1st in income inequality in the United States and is home to the 3rd highest numbers of millionaires in the country. This is an embarrassment and must be addressed. We DEMAND that the mayor of the City commit an economic taxing systems that created income equality, more affordable housing and jobs that pay higher wages. Ensuring a first class education from kindergarten to post-college should be a right and not a privilege of the 1 percent of the rich that live in Boston.
We DEMAND an increase in cultural opportunities for communities of color during out of school time in the City of Boston. Because our youth are not taught history that pertains to their ethics or racial background, we must do this work within our communities. We must particularly teach Black History, Latin history and the history of Native Americans so that our youth understand their past as they move to the future. We DEMAND that our youth be instructed in civics and community life so that they grow with a deeper connection to the life of the city.
We DEMAND a comprehensive plan to diversify the trade unions in the City of Boston. This would require sanctions on unions which fail to implement a diverse building and union trade workforce in 5 years. This would also require upgrading the facilities at Madison Park High School in Roxbury. This facility must become an engine for jobs and careers in Boston for youth who choose not to enter college. We DEMAND the full integration of the construction trade workforce in the city of Boston, without exception.
We DEMAND that the city of Boston follows the court order to hire 22 percent African-American public school teachers in the city of Boston immediately. The city of Boston is currently in violation of this court order. We also DEMAND that the city of Boston establish immediate plans and implementation of rules that diversify all departments within the forelocks like the diversity of all Boston. We also demand the “MAMLEO 18” be rehired because of unfair and race-based termination. Racism in all city institution must end.