Elsewhere online
May 01, 2015

Boston Community Groups Ease Racial and Economic Disparities

The Boston Globe explores how some local community groups are fighting the racial and economic disparities that can create a sense of hopelessness that can lead to the kind of anger and destruction seen in Baltimore over the past week.

Boston and Baltimore's populations share many demographic traits, including deep divides in housing, employment, education, and income. Groups including the nonprofit YouthBuild USA, which helps young people earn GEDs and find a trade, work to bridge some of these gaps.

According to James Jennings, a specialist in race, politics, and urban policy at Tufts University, when police respond to an incident in a marginalized community, young people "are less inclined to pick up a brick and throw it because they have been involved in community.” Mr. Jenning notes that these organizations often struggle to find the funds to support their operations. The YouthBuild program in the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray was shot closed its doors due to lack of funds.

As The Chronicle reported earlier this week, two of Baltimore's major foundations have said they would accelerate grant making to groups supporting racial, economic, and social justice — especially those that seek to reach at-risk young people.