For years now, national political rhetoric has been stoking flames of discrimation against immigrant communities across the country that some argue led to the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, last month that killed 24 people who were mostly Latino.
That incident, coupled with an increase in ICE raids, deportations, separations of children from their parents at border states and the Trump Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for those coming here illegally have divided the country on the immigration issue.
Last week, Mayor Martin Walsh decided more needs to be done to project the city’s vulnerable communities like East Boston’s large Lattino population.
Walsh reactivated the city’s Human Rights Commission with an emphasis on helping immigrant communities here in Eastie and across the city.
With over half of the population of Eastie being Latino, Mayor Walsh said he wants to build on Boston’s commitment to ensuring all residents of Boston have equal opportunities and equal rights.
Boston’s Human Rights Commission was established by City ordinance in 1984 to guarantee that all residents are given fair and equal treatment under the law. However, the Commission had laid dormant since 1996
Walsh said he is charging the newly created Commission to pay special attention to the needs of Boston’s immigrant communities like the community that lives and works here in Eastie.
Walsh said both state and federal law provide legal protections and mandate that certain basic services be provided to all people, regardless of their immigration status.
“As attacks on human rights continue from the highest levels of our country, here in Boston, we’re committed to preserving and advancing human rights, including in our immigrant communities,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud to activate this crucial Commission, and look forward to Evandro’s strong leadership and a track record of helping people guide this Commission.”
The Human Rights Commission is a seven-member body appointed by the Mayor, which was originally created to receive and investigate complaints regarding discrimination relating to the workplace, housing, credit, education, public accommodations and other areas.
The Commission has the power to conduct hearings and call witnesses, and can issue reports and the results of investigations. The Commission also has the power to adopt rules and regulations and recommend legislation to the City Council and the Mayor.
The Commission will be led by Executive Director Evandro Carvalho, an attorney who served for five years as a State Representative in the Massachusetts Legislature, representing Boston.
“I’m honored to be chosen by Mayor Walsh to lead the Human Rights Commission,” said Carvalho. “At this time in our country, I’m proud Boston has doubled down on our commitment to protect and advance the rights of all people. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our beautiful City in this new capacity. I thank Mayor Walsh for this opportunity.”
Born in Cabo Verde, Carvalho emigrated to Dorchester at the age of 15. A graduate of Boston Public Schools, Carvalho graduated at the top of his class at Madison Park High, and went to earn degrees from UMass Amherst and Howard University School of Law.
Carvalho began his legal career doing high level internal investigations of large companies and complex litigations at the law firm WilmerHale.
Later, as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting gun crimes in Boston, he saw firsthand the cycles of poverty and violence that put young men and women in the Criminal Justice System. Carvalho served on the board of Teen Empowerment and volunteered for the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance. Most recently, Carvalho represented the Suffolk 5th District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He, his wife Ashley, and their daughter Eliana currently live in Dorchester.