May 25 marked the one year anniversary of Geroge Floyd’s death after former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Tuesday said that “on this anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we honor his life and legacy throughout our collective action for racial justice and healing in the City of Boston.”
She continued, “We recognize that the conditions that led to George Floyd’s death are still present. That is the urgent work that is before us. We honor his life and his legacy with an urgent agenda for racial equity and justice. As we mark this anniversary, now is our moment to learn in and live up to our values of equity and justice.”
She said that on May 29, an event will be hosted “to remember those we’ve lost and reclaim space to do the important racial equity and justice work.”
Janey then spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic, and announced additional funding that has become available to the city through the federal American Rescue Plan.
“I am proud to report that we continue to see Boston’s COVID metrics trending in the right direction, including in our hardest-hit neighborhoods and in communities of color,” Janey said.
She added that COVID infections have decreased by 51 percent in the past two weeks, and the citywide positivity rate is 1.6 percent, “a historic low,” she said.
Additionally, Janey said that 60 percent of Bostonians have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly half of residents are fully vaccinated.
“While the pandemic is not over, our progress is real, and our public health recovery is the foundation of a stronger, more equitable Boston,” Janey said.
She announced $50 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan to invest in the city’s recovery.
“This is the first allocation of funding that will total $500 million over 5 years,” she said.
Janey said that she is putting together an “equitable recovery coordinating committee consisting of members of my cabinet, along with external stakeholders that will help ensure the equitable distribution of this funding.”
She said that this committee will work in conjunction with the City Council on addressing inequalities that existed before the pandemic hit.
The money will be put towards a “robust package of investments that protect the lives and livelihoods of Boston residents,” including investments in small businesses, the public health response, and treating behavioral health and substance use disorder.
“Ten million dollars will support the hardest hit communities affected by COVID-19,” Janey said, with investments in affordable housing, childcare, language access, and other services.
She said that $14.5 million will be dedicated to food access, tourism and culture, and housing, “in addition to the $50 million I’ve already invested in the Rental Relief Fund,” Janey said, and $15.5 million will be allocated for small businesses that have been affected the most by COVID-19;
Additionally, Janey announced that City Hall will remain operating for in-person service four days a week May 29 through July 9 by appointment only, but as the city approaches full reopening, “you can enjoy the convenience of walk-in services at City Hall five days a week”beginning on July 12, she said.
“I want to thank all of our amazing, dedicated city employees who have been working hard over the last 14 months of this pandemic, and as we reopen City Hall for full services, we are welcoming back our employees in a phased in approach over the next six weeks, because we understand that people need to work out their childcare options and summer camp options for their children and other responsibilities,” Janey said. “We will continue to support our city employees as they return back into the building.”