State of Neighborhood event slated for Feb. 27

The fourth annual State of Our Neighborhood Forum, a community conversation about racial justice and equity organized by the Jamaica Plain Forum, is slated for Feb. 27, 6-9 p.m., at the Kennedy Elementary School on Bolster Street.

This year’s theme is “Ain’t No One Can Afford This,” about the high cost of living in JP and Boston.

According to JP Forum coordinator Greg Buckland, the forum will cover social justice from a number of viewpoints, including food justice, covering access to affordable and fresh healthy food; fairness to small businesses; affordable housing and gentrification; health equity; and emergency preparation and equity during crises.

The expected 200 to 300 attendees will spend half an hour framing the discussion about equity in JP, then break out into groups to discuss each issue in greater depth. The last hour is expected to be spent in discussion with JP’s elected officials. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, state Reps. Liz Malia and Jeffrey Sánchez, and City Councilor Matt O’Malley had all promised to attend, though Buckland told the Gazette other elected officials “could show up.”

Spoken word poetry performed by local youths involved with the event’s planning is also scheduled.

The moderator will be Malia Lazu, a former JP resident who has done organizing work in Washington, D.C. and locally.

Three local speakers are expected to talk about their experience living and working in JP: Tom Kiefer, from the Southern JP Health Center; Curtis Jones, co-founder of the Cooperative Artist Institute in Forest Hills; and Jen-Marie Diaz, president of the Hyde Square Housing Cooperative.

The JP Forum’s website is

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