Building on a commitment to make Boston a national leader in battling racism, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced immediate actions to address the impact racism has on the health and well-being of residents in the city, including declaring racism an emergency and a public health crisis in the City of Boston.    “In Boston, we embrace the opportunity this moment and this movement offers us,” said Mayor Walsh. “We stand with our Black community and communities of color to lead the change toward a more just and equitable society. With these actions, we will increase equity in public safety and public health, and launch a conversation that can produce lasting, systemic change to eliminate all the ways that racism and inequality harm our residents.”   Following President Obama’s call to mayors to pursue policing reforms, Mayor Walsh has signed the “Mayor’s Pledge” issued by the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. When President Obama started My Brother’s Keeper in 2014, Mayor Walsh made a commitment to work to address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by youth in Boston.    The “Mayor’s Pledge” commits the City of Boston to the following actions: Review police use of force policies Engage communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories Report review findings to the community and seek feedback Reform police use of force policies   In addition, Mayor Walsh has declared his support for the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus’ “10 Point Plan” which outlines a series of reforms at the federal, state and municipal levels.    Mayor Walsh has created a new Task Force to ensure that these commitments translate to immediate action, made up of an independent group of community members and chaired by former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Wayne Budd.   Mayor Walsh has issued several charges for the Task Force to start their work with, including reviewing Boston Police’s use of force policies, recommending rigorous implicit bias training for police officers, improving the current Body Worn Camera program at Boston Police and strengthening Boston’s existing police review board, known as the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel or Co-op Board.   The Task Force will produce recommendations in 60 days. Aligned with President Obama’s “Mayor’s Pledge,” the community will have two weeks to review recommendations and provide feedback to the City of Boston and Mayor Walsh will announce reforms to be implemented as a result of the Task Force and the community’s input within 90 days of the Task Force beginning their work.   Led by former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Wayne Budd, community members named to the Boston Police Reform Task Force include:  Allison Cartwright, Attorney in Charge, Roxbury Public Defender’s Office Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts Tanisha Sullivan, President, NAACP Boston Branch Darrin Howell, President, DRIVE Boston Community Resources Inc. & Political Coordinator, 1199SEIU Superintendent Dennis White, Chief of Staff, Boston Police Department Marie St. Fleur, former MA State Representative, Boston Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Associate Pastor, Historic Twelfth Baptist Church, Roxbury A designee from the City Council President Accompanying Mayor Walsh’s declaration of racism as an emergency and a public health crisis are eight strategies that are focused on addressing the impact that racism has on the lives of residents and their overall health. This work will be led by BPHC  in partnership with all city departments and supported by redirecting $3 million of Boston Police Overtime funding in FY21 Budget resubmission. Create policy solutions to dismantle systemic racism and barriers to public health by evaluating current policies and using data to drive change. Develop a “Boston Health Equity Now” plan that includes clear objectives and measurable goals to address the root causes of the inequities that cause disparities in health outcomes. Engage historically marginalized communities to identify problems, solutions and support a community driven response. Require public reporting of race and ethnicity data that documents health inequities in Boston by working with hospitals and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to access this critical information. Analyze data to better understand the interconnectedness of societal, environmental and behavioral factors that contribute to the impact of racism and access to jobs, food, housing, transit and education. Improve access to prevention and treatment that is culturally and linguistically competent. Develop services and programs to address the negative impact these inequities have had on specific populations. Advocate at the state and federal level for policies and funding opportunities that directly combat systemic racism.   BPHC will release a plan within the next 120 days with specific actions related to the Boston Health Equity Now plan. In addition, BPHC will release a yearly report on measures of progress and challenges in addressing these systemic barriers starting in 2021.    “Racism is a driving force that shapes access to the social determinants of health and is a barrier to health equity for all Bostonians,” said Marty Martinez, Chief of Health & Human Services. “This declaration will bring this work into greater focus with real, intentional efforts to  get to the root causes and see measurable solutions.”   Additional information and updates on this work will be posted publicly on Information on the City of Boston’s response to COVID-19 and recovery efforts can be found at and Residents can text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to receive text alerts on COVID-19.