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Press Release: Report Outlines Environmental Effects of Systemic Racism in Boston, Highlights Climate Action Opportunities

Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) and Embrace Boston Survey “Our Shared History” as Launching Point to Build a Carbon-Free City and Redress Long-Standing Inequities

BOSTON, MA (March 29, 2023) – The Boston Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) and Embrace Boston today released “Our Shared History: Using Boston Climate Opportunities to Address Systemic Racism,” a comprehensive survey of past racial inequities and the new conditions that present openings for policymakers, as well as the public and private sectors, to begin to solve complex environmental disparities.

Our Shared History aims to open a dialog among a wide variety of stakeholders in Boston’s future who hope to use the shift to a resilient post-carbon economy as an opportunity to eradicate the harms of racism embedded in our built environment. Embrace Boston and the GRC undertook this work together deliberately to reach different audiences that may leverage a mutual appreciation of the historical account as the platform for a shared vision of progress.

“Our Shared History knits Boston’s past – with all its achievements and considerable failings in terms of racial justice – and the future, with all its promise and opportunities to redress wrongs and build a more equitable and sustainable city,” said Amy Longsworth, Executive Director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission.

“Boston is one of the country’s most compelling storytelling cities, and it has a reputation,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, President and CEO of Embrace Boston. “Boston’s population is diverse, and I believe, through studies like this, that we hold the power to tell a more complete story of our beloved City – one that is inclusive of people of color. Pushing to create policies that mitigate the harms of racism, in collation with many communities and stakeholders, will improve the lives of all of us.”

Following its recounting of racially motivated housing, transportation, and economic policies throughout Boston’s history, the report provides concrete suggestions to redress injustices and ensure that the benefits of climate action are broadly shared. The report states that the path forward could include:

  • Prioritizing low-income households for building retrofits, car-sharing and transit infrastructure, community solar, and employment opportunities.
  • Creating financing tools for low-income households to be able to afford on-site renewable energy installation.
  • Using inclusive hiring practices to connect low-income and minority residents to job opportunities created by climate investments.
  • Developing women and minority-owned contracts to compete for retrofit projects.
  • Using social equity criteria to target climate and resilience investments in environmental justice communities.

The “Our Shared History” Report will be the focus of a long-term civic engagement conversation. To view the full report, visit the Boston Green Ribbon Commission website or click here.

This upcoming June, Embrace Boston will be hosting its second annual Embrace Ideas Festival the week leading up to the Juneteenth holiday. The Festival is a 3-day long celebration of ideas grounded in arts, culture, and public scholarship amplifying

anti-racism and a vision for a transformed Boston. It will provide an opportunity for civic engagement, challenging community members to imagine and build a city worthy of its community.

About the Boston Green Ribbon Commission

The mission of the Green Ribbon Commission is to accelerate the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan by convening, organizing, and enabling leaders from Boston’s key sectors. The City of Boston is committed to achieving net zero carbon energy sources by 2050, even as the city grows. The GRC provides a forum for representatives of the private sector and the City to discuss, plan and act on the opportunities, challenges, ideas, and requirements of preparing Boston to meet the imperatives of climate change. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter.

About Embrace Boston

Embrace Boston was established at the Boston Foundation in 2017, and their work is intended to inspire change and activate social justice values towards the realization of a radically equitable and inclusive Boston by 2030. Embrace Boston is a nonprofit with a mission to dismantle structural racism through their work at the intersection of arts and culture, community, and research and policy. Collectively, the work is intended to create a radically inclusive and equitable Boston where everyone belongs and the BIPOC community prospers, grounded in joy, love, and wellbeing. The organization is a deeply collaborative, BIPOC-led organization that is working toward an ecosystem which fosters equity, opportunity, and wellbeing for a transformed Boston by 2030, the city’s 400th birthday.