By Bob Katzen
On August 1, 2019, the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities gave a favorable report to a bill creating a 19-member permanent Commission on the Social Status of men and boys of color. The commission is charged with conducting an ongoing study of all matters concerning black men and boys,
including examining issues which disproportionately have a negative impact on black men and boys in Massachusetts. The commission would also work to improve economic, educational, criminal justice, public safety, health and wellness, identity, housing and societal outcomes for black men and boys in the state. The bill is stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee.
“The purpose of the commission is to arrange for an ongoing analysis and develop solutions to help remedy the social ills in society that impact black men and boys in the commonwealth,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Russell Holmes (D-Boston). “The ‘War on Drugs’ has had an enormous negative impact on black men and boys. It has taken men from our households and left the black community the most vulnerable it has been in this country since the end of slavery. We must eliminate the policies implemented at the federal, state and local level that persist and continue to make it difficult for black men and boys to succeed.”