Diversity in Public Employment

Employment, Racial Justice

Lack of Diversity in Public Employment in Boston and Across the Commonwealth

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) will join Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia and other prominent leaders, including the leadership of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), in a press conference at City Hall Plaza to call for greater diversity and community representation in public agencies. 

Public agencies in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth continue to fall short on diversity in hiring, promotion and retention. This failure to ensure equal access and opportunity to prominent public employment opportunities robs Black and Brown communities of financial security in roles that promote service to the community. It is vital for the community to see themselves reflected in these specialized roles, which serve to enhance trust and accountability between government and the community. To make meaningful progress, City leadership must take a critical look at all barriers to equal employment, including adverse impacts of examinations that fail to center skill-based expertise and other opaque hiring and promotional practices.

In Boston, educators and administrators of color continue to be forced out of the Boston Public Schools, and our police force remains static in its inability to imbed meaningful diversity in specialized units and elevated ranks. The City must do more to ensure meaningful community representation. 

In New Bedford, another city that employs a predominantly white police force despite an increasingly diverse population, community perceptions of unfairness and bias in the New Bedford Police Department are widespread. After nearly a dozen complaints of discrimination filed at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination against the New Bedford Police Department, it is critical for New Bedford’s leaders to promote greater diversity and cultural competency. That’s why LCR is urging the elevation of Captain Nathaniel Rodriguez – the first Latino to achieve the rank of Captain in New Bedford – to Deputy Chief. This appointment offers New Bedford an opportunity to make meaningful change.

Municipal leadership can and should take all opportunities to prioritize diversity and eradicate existing barriers to access and equity. 

Click here for the letter to New Bedford.