Eleven Communities Selected for Racial Equity Advancement & Collaborative Hub (REACH) Cohort

Eleven Communities Selected for Racial Equity Advancement & Collaborative Hub (REACH) Cohort

Acton, Arlington, Framingham, Hamilton, Hudson, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Milton, Natick, and Salem are participating

Boston – April 25, 2024 – The Metropolitan Area Planning Council continues to work towards one of its central goals of creating a more equitable region through the Racial Equity Advancement & Collaborative Hub (REACH) – a training and peer learning initiative that supports municipal government efforts to create inclusive and equitable municipal environments and actions. Acton, Arlington, Framingham, Hamilton, Hudson, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Milton, Natick, and Salem were selected after an application process and signing an agreement on a scope of work with MAPC. MAPC leads the administration and oversight of the program, and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a nationally recognized expert in racial equity strategies and solutions, designed the curriculum and manages the trainings.

“The murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the summer of unrest put racial inequity at the forefront of American discourse,” said MAPC Senior Planner Raúl González. “In the years since those events, racial inequity still exists, and our urgency to address racial inequity remains undiminished.”

Through investments and policies in affordable housing, economic development, transportation, education, and other areas, municipal governments play an important role in either contributing to or reversing the racial economic inequalities experienced by residents. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, MAPC, and GARE / Race Forward partnered in 2020 to pilot an innovative racial equity training and action planning program in Greater Boston to help municipalities do this work. REACH is an evolution of the earlier pilot program.

“REACH emphasizes a team approach to equity that reflects a lesson learned from previous efforts – no one person in a municipal government could or should be tasked with bringing about the systemic changes the program aims to deliver,” said González.

The cohort has shown up in numbers during the first three training sessions, with dozens of municipal employees gathering to discuss and dissect topic areas such as “Communicating Racial Equity,” which was covered in March. The GARE leads participants through practical lessons, including an overview of their Racial Equity Tool, an instrument that promotes the deliberate consideration of racial equity in decision-making processes, and scenarios that have occurred locally and across the country. MAPC also introduces participants to various funding opportunities available in Massachusetts that could support racial equity efforts; REACH dedicates time to sharing information regarding technical assistance available to support the effective use of these funds, ensuring initiatives that stem from the program have a maximum impact.

Participating municipalities are required to complete a brief report and give a presentation at the conclusion of the program – an additional opportunity for showcasing their enhanced dialogue and capacity to promote racial inclusivity. While it may take time for the municipalities to implement policy and practice changes to address decades-in-the-making racial disparities, the knowledge exchange among peers and professional development to integrate racial equity within their roles are key immediate takeaways of the REACH program. In 2023, The Boston Globe wrote about the successes of the REMAP program, REACH’s predecessor, and concrete actions taken in cities like Lynn to implement reforms.

More information on REACH is available at mapc.org/resource-library/racial-equity-advancement-collaborative-hub/.

PRESS CONTACT

Tim Viall
Senior Communications Specialist
tviall@mapc.org
C: 508-965-0456