Boston Creates Office for Black Male Advancement; Black Men and Boys Commission Accepting Applications

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Frank Farrow will serve as the executive director of the newly formed Mayor’s Office for Black Male Advancement. Farrow will lead the office that seeks to ensure Black men and boys have support to thrive in Boston, announced Mayor Michelle Wu on Thursday.

The new office will be part of the Equity and Inclusion Cabinet. Wu also announced that the Black Men and Boys Commission will be accepting new member applications through the end of the month.

“I am honored and excited to lead the Office for Black Male Advancement, and to continue to uplift Black men and boys under Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration,” said Farrow. “As a Boston native, I understand the persistent social and economic inequities facing Black people. I look forward to the opportunity of working with the Black Men and Boys Commission to ensure that the city’s policies, programs and resources align with the Mayor’s bold vision for a more equitable Boston.”

“I’m excited for Frank’s leadership in ensuring that our city’s policies and programs are truly connected with and supporting Black men and boys across each of our neighborhoods,” said Wu. “I am grateful to Councilor [Julia] Mejia, former Councilor Tito Jackson, and so many community advocates for their work to establish the Black Men and Boys commission. As we work to make Boston a city for everyone, I encourage passionate, dedicated individuals to apply to serve on this critical commission.”

Under Farrow's leadership, the newly formed office will work to improve outcomes and reduce systemic barriers to advancement for Black men and boys living in Boston. The office will also direct and support the efforts of the newly-formed Black Men and Boys Commission.

Farrow was born and raised in Roxbury, and brings years of community engagement and management experience to the Office for Black Male Advancement. Recently, Farrow served on Wu’s campaign as the Roxbury Organizing Director. Previously, Farrow was the Family Organizing Director at School Facts Boston, and engaged with more than 1,600 families to foster dialogue and advocate on important issues to improve education for all in Boston, according to a press release.

Farrow founded Elevate Boston Foundation, which works to improve economic, education, criminal justice and health outcomes of youth and families living in communities of color throughout Boston.

“For years, our communities have worked very hard to be recognized and prioritized in policies and services,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity & Inclusion. “This is our opportunity to amplify the work that so many have championed. I am excited to see how Frank, along with the Commission on Black Men and Boys, will build thoughtful policy and coalitions that positively impact the diverse community of Black men and boys.”

The Black Men and Boys Commission was recently established through a 2021 ordinance sponsored by At-Large City Councilor Mejia and signed by former acting Mayor Kim Janey. A similar commission was first proposed in 2014 by former District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson, which received support from the Boston City Council.

The Commission consists of 21 members, of which Wu will appoint seven members who are experts on issues facing Black men and boys in Boston, seven members from 14 nominees with experience or knowledge on issues facing Black men and boys in Boston submitted by the City Council, and seven members from a pool of applicants with experience or knowledge on issues facing Black men and boys in Boston. Members of the commission will include seven members who will serve two-year terms, seven members who will serve three-year terms, and seven members who will serve four-year terms. One two-year term member and one three-year member shall be youth members.

The duties of the commission shall include but are not limited to:

  • Advising the Mayor on issues pertaining to Black men and boys
  • Assisting the Office of the Mayor in determining budget and policy priorities
  • Monitoring and advising City agencies and departments on issues pertaining to Black men and boys
  • Designing projects and programs that promote equity for Black men and boys which are not currently being implemented by existing City agencies
  • Performing outreach, communication, and liaison to Black men and boys related to community groups and organizations
  • Working with the Department of Intergovernmental Relations concerning state and federal legislation and programs that are of concern to Black men and boys
  • Working with the Office of Civil Rights to assure that Black men and boys are represented at all levels of City government
  • Coordinating dialogues and action on behalf of City government to issues of concern to Black men and boys and related organizations, including but not limited to: concerns related to national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, mental, physical, and sexual health, violence prevention, employment, and more
  • During the first year of its existence, the Commission shall hold monthly meetings, give updates to the City Council on a quarterly basis, and produce an annual report
  • After the first year of its existence, the Commission shall produce an annual report

"It's time for us as a city to think intentionally about the policies and programs that impact Black men and boys on a daily basis," said Mejia. "We are hopeful that the application process for commissioners will bring in a number of applicants with a variety of world views and lived experiences, united by an urgency to uplift the voices of Black men and boys."

"From economic inequality, healthcare disparities, graduation rates and life expectancy, it is clear that Black men and boys in our city have not been fully included in Boston's prosperity,” said Tito Jackson, now CEO of Verdant Medical. “Eight years ago, proposed legislation creating a Commission on Black Men and Boys and today it is a reality. I am grateful to Mayor Wu for making history by creating the Office of Black Male Advancement, Councilor Mejia for passing the legislation to create a Commission on the Status of Black Men and Boys and so many community advocates who have led the charge over the years for the Commission to be established. Together, the Office of Black Male Advancement and the Black Men & Boys Commission will boldly take on the vast challenges facing our community and truly make Boston a city for us all."

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