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Silent Crisis II Report Reveals Latinos Still Lacking in Government Leadership in Boston & Chelsea

Read the full report at www.GreaterBostonLatinos.org

BOSTON – Thursday, June 15, 2017 – The Greater Boston Latino Network (GBLN) today released its Silent Crisis II report, revealing that Latinos continue to be lacking from Boston and Chelsea city government executive roles, boards and commissions, despite major population growth.

“Latinos are growing our economy, our population and our culture, but remain largely excluded from city government,” said GBLN Steering Committee Member Alex Oliver Dávila. “We need to continue the fight for equal representation in decision-making positions, until our government truly represents the people it serves.”

 The 100+ page report includes a review of all executive position holders in city government in Boston and Chelsea, as well as all appointed seats on boards and commissions.

 MAJOR LATINO LEADERSHIP GAPS REVEALED:

  • In Boston, where Latinos represent nearly one-fifth of the total population, only 11 percent of city government executive positions, and just 5 percent of seats on boards and commissions are held by Latinos.
  • In Chelsea, where Latinos represent nearly two-thirds of the population, only 24 percent of city government executive positions, and just 13 percent of seats on boards and commissions are held by Latinos.

MODEST INCREASES < LATINO POPULATION GROWTH:

The Silent Crisis II report, for the first time, includes three-year trends in Latino leadership in the two cities between 2014 – when GBLN’s original ‘Silent Crisis’ report was released – and 2017, when the latest statistics were compiled.

  • During the past three years, Latinos in city executive positions have increased by just 3 percent in Boston and 8 percent in Chelsea. 
  • These modest increases are not keeping up with recent Latino population growth rates. Boston’s Latino population grew by 12 percent between 2011 and 2015, and Chelsea’s grew by 9 percent during this time. (Newer Census numbers are not yet available.)
  • In one metric, Latino representation dropped outright. In Boston, Latinos serving on city boards and commissions decreased from 7 percent to 5 percent over the last three years; further widening the Latino leadership gap.
  • In Chelsea, Latinos serving on city boards and commissions increased from 10 percent to 13 percent over the three-year period. This small increase does not compare to major changes in the City Council, which now includes a majority of Latinos for the first time, following the elections of November 2015. 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

GBLN’s report also includes in-depth interviews with numerous local Latino leaders, city officials involved in diversity and hiring decisions, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. GBLN’s report offers several recommendations aimed at overcoming the Latino leadership gap and enhancing the presence of Latinos in city governments of Chelsea and Boston. 

Department heads must take charge of increasing diversity:

Leaders of city departments that do not reflect the growing diversity of Latinos in Boston and Chelsea should be charged with developing outreach plans to: a) share information about upcoming careers, as well as board and commission openings widely with the Latino community; and b) develop metrics to assess the impact and success of this outreach; and c) meet periodically with representatives of the Latino community to ensure that diversity goals are met. 

City must convene focus groups with Latino community:

City government agencies must convene a meeting of Latino appointees and guests to discuss the findings and implications of the Silent Crisis II report. This must lead to the creation of focus groups on a range of topics and challenges facing Latinos in Boston and Chelsea. The groups should not treat Latino communities as a monolithic group, but rather sub-groups that reveal the different needs and voices of Boston’s diverse Latino community. These focus groups must result in recommendations for building additional networking spaces that will allow city government to reach a broader Latino talent pool from all ethnic backgrounds.

Latino activists must rise to the challenge:

Latino activists in each city must meet regularly with the leadership of city government to hold the community and its officials accountable for meeting these goals. The major purpose of these meetings should be to share concerns, ideas, and suggestions about how the Latino community and city governments can work more closely together to close the Latino leadership gap. GBLN is committed to facilitating as many of these meetings as possible.