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Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Black and brown communities, through institutional racism and discriminatory policies such as redlining and segregation, have been systematically denied the rights and access to build generational wealth. In Boston, the median net worth of a white family is $247,500, while the median net worth of a Black family is just $8. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the racial wealth gap even more. Michelle has been fighting for shared prosperity through aligning city contracting to close the racial wealth gap and policies for racial and economic justice.

Policy PrioritiesHow We Will Lead

Fighting the root causes of wealth inequality

Addressing the root causes of the racial wealth gap means rewriting the rules that shape our political and economic systems and rethinking who gets to write the rules in the first place. From home ownership to business creation, quality education, and transportation access, communities of color in Boston continue to face barriers to economic security reinforced through policy over generations. While we work to implement concrete policies that build wealth and power among Black and Latinx residents, immigrants, and other underserved communities, we must also shift the rules, practices, and norms that have enabled racial inequities to persist since our City’s founding.

Require equitable City contracting

We need to make full-scale investments in building healthy, resilient communities by aligning public spending with the City’s goals to reduce income inequality and build wealth in our neighborhoods. By harnessing government spending as a force for community economic development, the City can reverse longstanding disparities by zip code and race through investing in businesses owned by people of color, women, and Boston residents.

Promoting home ownership and housing justice

Safe, healthy, affordable housing is a human right and the cornerstone of health, racial justice, and economic and educational opportunity, but Black families have long been locked out of this key opportunity to build wealth by State-sanctioned disinvestment and predatory lending. Read more about Michelle’s commitment to housing justice.

Attract and invest in Black businesses

Black-owned businesses empower Black communities in Boston to build wealth, but their success is stymied by historic disinvestment. Black-owned businesses face systemic exclusion from access to capital, technical assistance, government contracts, and other resources that allow businesses to thrive, and during the pandemic, the structure and administration of small business relief programs have made Black-owned businesses particularly vulnerable to closure. The City must take steps to correct these historic inequities by connecting Black business-owners with capital, technical assistance, and professional support, while ensuring Black entrepreneurs have the resources they need to start new successful businesses. Read more about how Michelle will champion an economy built for the success of small businesses.

Supporting young professionals of color

Boston’s business ecosystem, with business ownership that is far less diverse than the city’s population, does not provide Black professionals and other entrepreneurs of color with the business and social networks they need to thrive. These networks are critical for business owners to obtain information, clients, mentors, financing, and other resources, while withstanding discrimination from lenders, networks, and potential clients. Boston must improve business networks targeted specifically for young professionals of color to improve small business resource access for all residents across all neighborhoods.

Planning for a safe and equitable COVID-19 recovery

The burden of the pandemic has not been borne equally. We can only build a stronger Boston if we center communities of color in our recovery from COVID-19, from ensuring transparency in how emergency funding is being directed to the fighting for safe workplaces and fair wages for our essential workers.

Expanding participatory budgeting

Closing the racial wealth gap requires us to reimagine power in Boston. Participatory budgeting can help us rewrite the rules around who has a say in how money is spent by the City, leading to more equitable investments aligned with community needs and ensuring that the city works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

Implementing Boston’s Green New Deal (GND)

Michelle has proposed a groundbreaking plan to implement the GND at the municipal level, which would mitigate the threat of climate change by eliminating the violence of poverty and economic inequality, closing the racial wealth gap, and dismantling structural racism in Boston. Climate justice is racial and economic justice. Read Michelle’s plan.

Michelle's RecordWhat We’ve Done Together So Far