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Massachusetts to create advisory council focused on Black empowerment

More than 30 Black leaders from across the state were selected to advise Gov. Maura Healey on how to best support the state’s Black community.
Tanisha Sullivan
The president of the NAACP Boston chapter Tanisha Sullivan will co-chair the The Advisory Council on Black Empowerment.Pat Greenhouse / Boston Globe via Getty Images file

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey announced Friday an upcoming executive order to create a council to advise her office on a range of issues related to improving Black life in the state, including workforce development and education. 

“Massachusetts’ Black residents make tremendous contributions to our state, but far too often they face systemic barriers that hold them back from opportunity,” Healey said in a statement Friday. “Our administration is committed to bringing people together and centering equity in all that we do, and that requires ensuring that those who are most impacted by our policy have a seat at the decision-making table.”

The Advisory Council on Black Empowerment will be composed of more than 30 Black leaders from across the state in fields such as state government and advocacy organizations. Members of the council will include president of the NAACP Boston chapter, Tanisha Sullivan, and Rep. Bud Williams.

The announcement comes just weeks after the city of Boston established a Reparations Task Force to study the effects of slavery and generations of discrimination against the city’s Black residents.

Since taking office as governor at the start of the year, Healy has mentioned plans to roll out other equity initiatives, including conducting an equity audit to push diversification across the state government. The pending audit, which she previewed during her inauguration speech, would also focus on preventing disparities among taxpayers by monitoring which taxpayers are accessing state government services, Healey said at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ executive forum last month.

While the equity audit is still in its planning stages, Healey said she looks forward to working closely with the Advisory Council on Black Empowerment to address inequities in the state. 

Healy is expected to sign the executive order and appoint the members of the council on Feb. 27.