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Boston NAACP to Issue Civil Rights Report Card on City Councilors

Boston NAACP to Grade Boston City Councilors

The Boston NAACP will begin issuing an annual Civil Rights Legislative Report Card, aimed initially at the Boston City Council.   The Report Card will assess the voting records of the members and offer a grade from A to F.  The NAACP anticipates an October 2014 release of the first annual report card. The Report Card is designed to provide NAACP members and supporters with insight into the general voting patterns and activities of their district and at-large Boston City Councilors over the course of the year.

The Boston NAACP Position

Because Boston uses a strong mayor form of government.  However, the City Council is responsible for approving the city's budget, as well as monitoring, creating and abolishing city agencies, and approving, amending and rejecting legislative proposals.   What the NAACP does is to issue calls for increased access, equality and opportunity.   Therefore, monitoring the City Council is key to monitoring the governance of the City of Boston.

Annually, the National NAACP issues a Congressional Report Card  (http://www.naacp.org/pages/report-cards) so this provides a good model for the Boston NAACP to do the same. 

The Report Card will focus on two issues:
  • How every member of the Boston City Council voted on the key civil rights issues and priorities
  • Boston City Councilor responsiveness to constituent services
'People of color and progressive voters attribute significant weight to the report cards issued by the NAACP,' said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Director of MassVOTE.

'If you plan to be reelected in Boston, we would strongly urge you to align your votes and activities with an agenda that embraces diversity and eliminates racial barriers.'

The First Challenge:  Who will be Boston City Council President?

The leader of the City Council is the president and is elected each year by the Council. A majority vote (7–6) is necessary to elect a councilor to President. 'The power of the President cannot be overstated,' said Michael Curry, Boston NAACP President. 'We worked closely with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Council President Stephen Murphy, as well as several members, to offer a redistricting plan that was right for Boston and empowered communities of color, and the choice of the next President will set the tone for our work in the coming years.'

The NAACP will be examining the results of the voting for the next Boston City Council President.  "Not all City Council members are receptive to the modern, more diverse Boston with empowered communities of color, as we witnessed in the redistricting process," said Mr. Curry.  "The first test for this body, representing a city that is 53% people of color, will be the selection of its leader."

Since 1910 there have been 71 City Council Presidents. The racial history of City Council presidents has been 97% white since 1910. 
  • 69 have been white
  • 2 have been African American (Bruce Bolling 1986-1987; Charles Yancey 2001)
  • 2 have been women (Louise Day Hicks 1976; Maureen Feeney 2007-2008).

Committee Assignments and Other Important Issues

The Boston NAACP will also be focusing its attention on committee assignments, as well as the action taken on issues of importance to communities of color, such as:
  • violence,
  • quality education,
  • affordable housing,
  • health disparities and
  • unemployment.

About the Boston NAACP

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. The Boston Branch is the first chartered branch, established in 1911.

Visit http://www.bostonnaacp.org

Posted: December 23, 2013     Nancy J Conrad

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