Freshman U.S. Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar had a meeting with residents in Boston, Massachusetts last weekend during the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) first visit to the state. The squad members were there to meet “with city leaders and activists to address the inequities facing Boston’s black and brown communities and offer solutions for their economic mobility,” reported the Boston Herald.
Pressley touted disturbing statistic surrounding grave disparities between Boston’s Black and white residents, ranging from net worth, life expectancy and inequity in loan lending to Black-owned businesses to inadequate educational resources, transportation and even political opportunities for Black and brown residents.
“Perhaps you are growing weary and tired of these sobering statistics being enumerated. I hope you are growing even more tired of living them,” Pressley said to residents. “These systemic disparities in health and wealth are stark, and continue to grow larger by the day.”
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“Recent reports have shown that the city of Boston is booming. It’s simply a question as to for whom. Today we are here to figure out the answer — how the answer becomes: for us,” Pressley added.
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In addition to Pressley, Omar and members of the CBC, the meeting was attended by local Boston city leaders like Kim Janey, Boston City Council President, Segun Idowu, executive director of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Malia Lazu, an executive vice president at Berkshire Bank and former City Council member Tito Jackson. Each of them are working on solutions to close the wealth gap between Black and white residents in Boston.
Omar weighed in telling the attendees, “We have to change the narrative about who we are and what we are capable of.” Then she asked a series of viable questions.
“What is it going to take for us to have our businesses to thrive? What is it going to take for our businesses to even exist? What is it going to take for us to have investment in our businesses? What is it going to take to have leaders on school boards, on city councils, as state reps, as members of Congress, as president?” Omar mused. “It’s going to take us believing in us.”
Since Massachusetts is her home state, Pressley has a vested interest in the success of its residents. This isn’t the first time she has championed economic policies that would contribute to the upward mobility of underserved communities. She also supported U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s Baby Bonds Bill to help reduce the wealth gap between Black and white communities.
“This is a universal race-conscious program that will benefit all children with families in the lowest bracket,” Pressley told Yahoo Finance at the time. “So the program will inevitably have a positive disparate racial impact that will impact black and brown adults. Because they are disproportionately the most disadvantaged.”