On December 11, 2015, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a new report, Race to Equity: The State of Black Massachusetts. The report documents the prevalence of racial disparities in Massachusetts and highlights the need for policies to reduce inequity. Policies such as Paid Family and Medical Leave, investments in affordable and accessible transportation, raising the minimum wage, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and supporting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are cited as important tools to help close the racial wealth gap and to address the social determinants of health.
On top of the wealth and wage gap, Black residents of Massachusetts disproportionately reside in low-income communities lacking the necessary infrastructure to promote health. According to the report, low-income communities are less likely to have sidewalks and access to safe parks and playgrounds. Race to Equity documents how declining state funding for Environmental Health has left children in low-income communities more vulnerable to lead poisoning and to asthma. Lastly, the report documents how limited access for affordable healthy food has lead to higher rates of obesity with widespread life-long consequences. Race to Equity documents a situation that we cannot not accept and serves as a call to action in support of the policies and programs championed by MPHA and our partners.