Walsh says he has plan under Obama’s initiative, and we should see it

Mayor Marty Walsh recently vetoed a proposed Boston City Council commission advocating for a 21-member panel of black and Latino men to act as advisers to Walsh on issues affecting their cohort. Since rejecting their proposal, Walsh should make a point to speak about the programs and initiatives he has in place or is working to put in place in lieu of having a panel of men of color.

In a letter to the city council on Nov. 17, Walsh said the proposed commission would duplicate and complicate his own administration’s efforts to support men of color, according to The Boston Globe.

We have to make sure that we are paying special attention to underprivileged populations. I think if Marty Walsh says he’s on it, then he should talk about how he’s “on it.”

Walsh’s efforts to support men of color were allegedly developed after an initiative created by President Barack Obama in February. The initiative, called “My Brother’s Keeper,” is aimed at ensuring that boys and young men of color overcome barriers of success. He invited mayors from across the country to visit DC to discuss his initiative. Marty Walsh was among those in attendance.

In a September speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, Obama introduced the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, which encouraged communities to implement programs to help men of color.

“We need to address the unique challenges that make it hard for some of our young people to thrive,” Obama said during the speech at the caucus, according to the White House media website. “[W]e all know relatives, classmates, neighbors who were just as smart as we were, just as capable as we were, born with the same light behind their eyes, the same joy, the same curiosity about the world — but somehow they didn’t get the support they needed, or the encouragement they needed, or they made a mistake, or they missed an opportunity; [so] they weren’t able to overcome the obstacles that they faced.”

In regards to Walsh rejecting the panel, a Globe article published in November quoted Walsh as saying, “This is not about me taking credit. This is about making sure that my commitment to the president of the United States is followed through.”

I hope Walsh is paying special attention to the lives of people of color, and is working on ways to address the same issues that may have led up to the death of Michael Brown. Although Walsh publicly commented on protesting in Boston after the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson was announced, I would like to hear his thoughts on Ferguson and what this means for the black and Latino men and boys living in Boston, and what he is going to do to help them.

In such a time of protest, it is important that Marty Walsh speak about this issue and state his plans to keep Obama’s. If he doesn’t, then I won’t be surprised if Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Matt O’Malley keep pressing to develop a committee to address the issues faced by men and boys of color.

In response to Walsh’s veto, Councilor Pressley was said to have “cited recent studies attesting to problems afflicting black and Latino men, such as crime and gaps in education and health. She said there are not enough programs to address their needs,” according to the Globe.

Regardless of who sets programs in place to create opportunities for men of color, someone must, and right now would be just as good a time as any other. I’m looking forward to seeing what Mayor Walsh will do for the young black and Latino men of Boston.