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Tito Jackson Aims for Citywide Commission on Status of Black Men and Boys

District 7 Boston City Counselor Tito Jackson announced the creation of a Citywide Commission on the status of black men and boys at a press conference Thursday. With such a large black population throughout the city, Jackson believes there should be a formal commission to support the economic advancement, gains in education, business ownership and political ownership of black men and boys. “We must be doing more. I think we have a moral imperative to do right by them,” he said.

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District 7 Counselor Tito Jackson

Nearly 80 percent of students in Boston Public Schools are black and Latino. Statistics show that the black community has a disproportionate rate of kids dropping out, being sent to special education and being prescribed medication. Mortality rates among black men are higher than those of other races, and the homicide rates continue to rise with 40 murders and 250 shootings in 2013. Jackson hopes to create lasting paths to success for these vulnerable demographics and lower the overwhelming rate of incarceration, which costs $46,000 per prisoner each year. “It is absolutely critical to deal with this problem and put families back together,” Jackson said, “we must move resources from organizations that are not dealing with them efficiently.” He believes there must be beneficial programs that attract these men, and we need to start with those that have a demonstrated history of engaging in them.

The committee’s first steps will be convening a breakfast with organizations assisting black men and boys and holding a town hall forum. The city council hearing will occur, and then they will move forward towards the approval of the ordinance. Once it is passed as an ordinance, it will be moved to the mayor’s office to hopefully be signed and put into law.

“If you do what you can where you are, you can make a difference, you should be impatient, it’s important you be impatient,” Jackson said. “Use that to make change, and that is a critical part. You can move people.”

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