Feb 28, 2024 - News

Embrace Boston finds new home, eyes ambitious goals

Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of the nonprofit Embrace Boston, speaks on stage.

Imari Paris Jeffries is executive director of Embrace Boston. Photo: Courtesy of Together Forever Films

Embrace Boston, the nonprofit behind the statue of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King in Boston Common, is building on the momentum of the unveiling in new digs.

Why it matters: The nonprofit is one of several organizations pushing for reparations, the preservation of Black historic sites and the visibility of Black people's contributions in one of the nation's oldest cities.

State of play: The Embrace staff left the Boston Foundation's building in early February and moved into the CIC's downtown space, says Imari Paris Jeffries, the organization's executive director.

  • Embrace, which has a staff of 12, is working on raising millions of dollars to fund its work.

Zoom in: The organization uses documentaries, statues, policy research and other efforts to advance discussions about systemic racism and reparations.

  • The organization is also working on plans to erect two more statues and open the National Embrace Center by late 2027 or early 2028, Jeffries says.
  • That's in addition to plans with local historians and leaders to identify and preserve sites tied to Black history.

Embrace is also working with about 100 organizations ahead of the American Revolution's 250th anniversary to find ways to tell stories that have been ignored from the nation's history — stories of liberation, immigration and justice.

  • "If we don't engage, some stories are going to get left out," Jeffries tells Axios.

The latest: Embrace released its latest report yesterday, making the case for reparations locally.

  • The 146-page report also proposed a series of policies to close racial gaps in housing, wealth, health care and other areas of life.

Between the lines: Embrace casts a wide net in its work, but all of its proposals are different ways to repair various harms to Black people, Jeffries says.

  • Adding more statues, for example, ensures that the city has more than eight memorial sites commemorating Black history.
  • Prioritizing affordable housing could help prevent more displacement, which has hit Black and brown residents harder than their white counterparts.
  • Reparations is not just about financial compensation but about "acknowledging the ongoing harms of systemic racism, addressing the root causes of these injustices and promoting healing," the report says.

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