The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 May 2005

UNITY Wants Ancient Mass. Law Repealed

No Change, No Convention

Even Boston Isn't PC Enough For Journalism Conference

Liberal activist groups have recently found a way to force changes in laws they don't like: by threatening to take conventions elsewhere.

Seattle is well familiar with this tactic, when UNITY: Journalists of Color Inc. tried this trick after Initiative 200 passed in Washington state, banning racial preferences in certain circumstances.

That was a tough nut to crack as it's not as though Seattle could undo a state law passed by voters, instead, it was easier to pass resolutions to placate the group.

UNITY obviously learned not to bite off more than it could chew, so now the focus is petty tantrums, over laws that haven't been enforced in centuries.

They're holding over Boston, a law banning Indians from residing in town limits, that dates back to 1675. Who had the task of looking through dusty, ancient lawbooks to find this one?

If it isn't repealed, the group probably won't hold their 2008 conference in Boston.

What's the point of insisting it be removed? It's obsolete and long forgotten.

It's really about power- we can make you do what we want, or you won't get our convention dollars.

It's also for publicity- it's leading Boston's local news today.

Is there any assurance UNITY would even hold its conference in Boston, if demands are met? No. This puts the group in a position where it can play this stupid game with a number of cities at once, forcing them all to jump through hoops, for their amusement.

Expect goofy Mayor Menino, up for re-election, to do everything possible to placate this group, lest he be called a racist.

(Boston Globe- 11 May 2005- Keith Reed)

Officials in City Hall and at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority met yesterday with the executive director of Unity: Journalists of Color Inc. to discuss repealing the state law, which has remained on the books despite being widely considered unconstitutional.

Its continued presence has sparked ire among some within the journalists' group, which represents Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans working in the news media.

''Our board members are very sensitive to each other, and we want to make sure that no one group is offended or feels excluded," said Unity's executive director, Anna M. Lopez.

Now the convention authority, the city, and at least two state legislators want the law repealed before it can scuttle Boston's chances of hosting Unity's 2008 meeting, which could bring millions in revenue and 8,000 to 10,000 minority journalists. Convention planners also hope to show the visitors that Boston is a diverse and welcoming city.

''I'm going to continue to put the pressure of the Legislature to get this passed," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who forwarded a petition urging the law's repeal to Beacon Hill in December. Two Boston legislators are introducing bills to do that.


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