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Commonwealth Compact presents Stepping Up: Managing Diversity in Challenging Times.
The First Annual Report of Commonwealth Compact Benchmark Data, May 2009.
Local leaders are taking on an ambitious goal: to make Greater Boston a desired destination for people of color, immigrants, and women, in the belief that their contributions will be vital to the region's social and economic future.
History tells us that the key to Boston's extraordinary record of vitality over nearly four centuries is the succession of innovations that has rejuvenated the city time and again -- and that people of color and women were central players in more than a third of those innovations. Diversity has been good to Boston.
But the history is mixed. A century and a half ago, the abolition movement found a home in Boston. Yet three decades ago, busing opened bitter wounds, and Boston acquired a reputation for intolerance that still hobbles the city and clouds its future.
Commonwealth Compact, a project organized by three of Boston's civic and business leaders, and supported by several dozen others, is now committed to concrete steps aimed at reversing that reputation so that Boston is seen as a welcoming, diverse place to live and work for all people. Steve Crosby, dean of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is convening the effort, along with former Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin, who is now an attorney with Bingham McCutchen and chairman of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Ainsley, publisher of The Boston Globe. Bob Turner, who retired recently after 42 years at the Globe and was recently named the Boston Globe Fellow at the McCormack School, is the director of this initiative.
The project has already conducted a statewide survey on racial and ethnic attitudes and experiences, and the results demonstrate clearly the need for this initiative. Similarly, the project conducted a survey of local boards of directors, finding a preponderance of white males on corporate boards and non-profits alike—a preponderance profoundly unrepresentative of the make-up of our community. Commonwealth Compact has expanded this survey into a variety of benchmarks which organizations can use to measure and promote progress toward their diversity goals. In addition, the Compact will establish a databank of minority job-seekers, and is creating a clearinghouse to improve the coordination and development of various existing programs dealing with diversity. The project will also seek to smooth the path for immigrants and other English language learners; to promote public discussion; and to tell the story of the new majority minority Boston, particularly what the region's increasing diversity means for the future. It is an ambitious agenda, befitting an ambitious goal.
Commonwealth Compact has adopted the following mission statement:
To establish Massachusetts as a uniquely inclusive, honest and supportive community of -- and for -- diverse people. To acknowledge our mixed history in this effort, and to face squarely the challenges that still need to be overcome, understanding that the rich promise of the region's growing diversity must be tapped fully if Boston and Massachusetts are to achieve their economic, civic and social potential.