Local leaders are taking on an ambitious goal: to make Greater Boston a desired destination for people of color, immigrants, and women, in the belief that their contributions will be vital to the region's social and economic future. History tells us that the key to Boston's extraordinary record of vitality over nearly four centuries is the succession of innovations that has rejuvenated the city time and again -- and that people of color and women were central players in more than a third of those innovations. Diversity has been good to Boston. But the history is mixed. A century and a half ago, the abolition movement found a home in Boston. Yet three decades ago, busing opened bitter wounds, and Boston acquired a reputation for intolerance that still hobbles the city and clouds its future. Commonwealth Compact, a project organized by three of Boston's civic and business leaders, and supported by several dozen others, is now committed to concrete steps aimed at reversing that reputation so that Boston is seen as a welcoming, diverse place to live and work for all people. Steve Crosby, dean of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is convening the effort, along with former Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin, who is now an attorney with Bingham McCutchen and chairman of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Ainsley, publisher of The Boston Globe. Bob Turner, who retired recently after 42 years at the Globe and was recently named the Boston Globe Fellow at the McCormack School, is the director of this initiative. Commonwealth Compact has adopted the following mission statement: To establish Massachusetts as a uniquely inclusive, honest and supportive community of -- and for -- diverse people. To acknowledge our mixed history in this effort, and to face squarely the challenges that still need to be overcome, understanding that the rich promise of the region's growing diversity must be tapped fully if Boston and Massachusetts are to achieve their economic, civic and social potential.

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