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Healey to create advisory council on Black empowerment, taps over 30 Black leaders

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.

Healey will issue an executive order to officially launch the initiative Monday, when the council holds its first meeting.

Members will include more than 30 Black leaders, representing state government, religious groups, advocacy organizations and labor unions, among other interests.

Members will delve into topics like education, health care, housing and workforce development.

Tanisha Sullivan, president of the NAACP Boston, will serve as the council’s co-chair, alongside Anthony Richards II, vice president of equitable business development at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency.

“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

“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 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.

Healey has repeatedly pledged to apply an equity lens to all policy- and decision-making.

Through a separate pending executive order, Healey will direct an equity audit across state government that will aim to dismantle systemic racial barriers and analyze disparities among taxpayers accessing public services.

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.

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Written by Jamil Johnson