State of JP focuses on equity

The fourth annual State of Our Neighborhood forum took place on Feb. 27, focusing on the theme of racial justice and equity in Jamaica Plain.

According to JP Forum coordinator Greg Buckland, the event, which drew over 300 attendees, “was definitely one of the best yet.”

Breakout topics included food justice, affordable housing, disaster preparation, equity for small businesses, and health.

“Each group came with remarkable information about the neighborhood. For example, the affordable housing group revealed that 23,000 neighbors spend over 50 percent of their income on housing in JP, while the food justice group considered ways of increasing awareness about SNAP/EBT users getting Bounty Bucks by shopping at farmers markets,” Buckland told the Gazette last week.

During that breakout session, JP resident Lennon Murphy, a farmer, told the food justice group that it is unfair to put so much pressure on nearby farmers to source enough local food. City regulations should be revisited to allow more backyard and commercial farming, he said.

A final session brought the groups back together to engage with JP’s elected officials on the theme issues. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, state Reps. Liz Malia and Jeffrey Sánchez and City Councilor Matt O’Malley were in attendance.

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