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GRCx Program: Our Shared History, a Report on Systemic Racism and Boston’s Climate Opportunities

From 2:00PM - 3:30PM

Presented in Collaboration with Embrace Boston and featuring Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space; Ted Landsmark, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Director, Northeastern University; and Dr. Imari Paris Jeffries, President and CEO, Embrace Boston.

Boston is on the verge of a significant transformation into a resilient, post-carbon city, aiming to swiftly eliminate greenhouse gases and protect residents from climate disruptions. Over the next 30 years, substantial investments will be made to retrofit buildings, decarbonize energy, electrify transportation, safeguard against flooding, and adopt sustainable waste practices. This transformation is comparable in significance to historical developments like the infilling of land and the creation of transportation infrastructure. However, those historical “advancements” brought serious associated negative consequences by contributing to a Boston where the quality of lived experience on many dimensions correlates strongly to neighborhood and skin color. The opportunity now stands to distinguish our next transformation by acknowledging the past’s racial disparities and striving for anti-racist and pro-climate choices. To ensure that we do not repeat harmful past approaches to city planning or rely on faulty policies, it helps to share a common understanding of our history.

Completed in collaboration with Embrace Boston, the GRC’s “Our Shared History” report aims to lay the foundation for an open dialog among a wide variety of stakeholders in Boston’s future who hope to explicitly and consciously use the shift to a resilient post-carbon economy as an opportunity to eradicate the harms of racism embedded in our built environment. The report addresses three main topics: patterns of racial injustice, climate inequities, and equitable climate action opportunities. We are now in an era of systemic transformation of Boston, compelled by climate change. In creating this report, the GRC hopes the historical account will serve to inform our shared vision of progress.

This GRCx program will share an overview of the report, focus on development in Boston and how to improve on past historic harms, unpack connections between real estate and the state of race in the city, discuss the recommendations of the report, and facilitate a discussion based on audience questions.


  • Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space, City of Boston
  • Theodore C. Landsmark, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Director, Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy; Northeastern University
  • Dr. Imari Paris Jeffries, President and CEO, Embrace Boston

Register Here

About GRCx:
GRCx is an interactive program series from the Boston Green Ribbon Commission designed to accelerate the implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan by providing high-quality, useful content on climate resilience and carbon mitigation to the Boston community.