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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.


  • 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.


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. 


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.

Inaugural Nuestra Voz Conference to Advance Next Generation of Latino Leaders

Keynote speaker Maria Hinojosa, host and executive producer of NPR’s Latino USA, addresses the Nuestra Voz conference June 17. Photo courtesy of Latina Circle.


Inaugural Nuestra Voz Conference Held at EMK Institute to Advance Next Generation of Latino Leaders 

Event launches Amplify Latinx initiative to increase Latino leadership in elected and appointed positions

BOSTON – Saturday, June 17, 2017 – Latina Circle, in collaboration with the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston, today hosted the first-ever Nuestra Voz Conference to train and advance the next generation of Latino leaders at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.

"This is a call to action to advance Latino civic participation and leadership," said Betty Francisco, co-founder of Latina Circle. "From serving on boards and commissions, to volunteering, to running for office, it's imperative for more Latinos to get engaged." 

The conference convened over 250 leaders and more than 70 partner organizations, and served as the launch of the new Amplify Latinx Initiative.

"Latinos have power in numbers, yet we are not represented in the same powerful way in government," said Eneida Roman, co-founder of Latina Circle. "Clearly there is a calling and opportunity for our engagement, and that's why we are launching this movement we call Amplifx Latinx." 

Morning speakers included local Latino elected officials who served as ‘Firestarters’ with their inspirational stories; and a keynote address by Maria Hinojosa, host and executive producer of NPR’s Latino USA. 

Afternoon events at UMass Boston included leadership workshops and a fireside chat with former U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.


About Amplify Latinx:

The Nuestra Voz Conference kicked off the launch of the Amplify Latino Power and Impact Initiative (Amplify Latinx), a non-partisan, collaborative movement aimed at significantly increasing the representation of Latinos in elected and appointed positions, on boards and commissions, and in corporate leadership. 

Latinos are the second largest demographic in the US and make up 20 percent of Boston’s population according to a recently released Boston Indicators report commissioned by the Latino Legacy Fund at the Boston Foundation. 

Despite their strength in numbers, a new report from the Greater Boston Latino Network found significant and continued under-representation of Latinos in local government. Amplify Latinx aims to increase Latino civic engagement and participation to ensure that this important talent base is represented at the highest levels of leadership.

For more information, visit www.AmplifyLatinx.com

DOWNLOAD: Powering Greater Boston's Economy

On June 7, 2017, the New Boston Indicators Project, a research center at the Boston Foundation, released a report highlighting the growth of Boston’s Latino community and draws attention to the difficulties Latinos face in accessing jobs in high-value industries.





Powering Greater Boston's Economy

Please join us as we convene for a discussion on the Latino communityʹs essential role in the future prosperity of our region. Presented by the Boston Foundation and the Latino Legacy Fund, this event will engage business, civic, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders in a dialogue about the key role the Latino community plays ‑ and will continue to play ‑ in our regionʹs economy.

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