Jul. 26, 2011
BOSTON — With over 1,000 people gathered in Hynes Auditorium, Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday said Boston's attitude towards diversity had changed for the better.
The governor spoke at an event billed as The State of Black Boston, held as a prelude to the National Urban League conference that begins on Wednesday.
Patrick told the crowd that Boston has made huge improvements since the 1970’s in how it treated and responded to people of color. That is why the national civil rights group is returning to Boston for the first time in 35 years, says Richard Taylor, a board member of Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.
"It was a collaborative effort and it took five to six years but we finally succeeded," Tyalor said.
Many participants, like public relations executive Collette Phillips, viewed the National Urban League's very presence in Boston as a testament to changing race relations here.
"The atmosphere and the tenor of Boston 35 years ago is not the Boston that we have today. Thirty five years ago I was a senior in college and I remember that we were warned about not going into certain neighborhoods. Today I have no fear," Phillips said.
More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the four-day conference beginning Wednesday. Among the guests is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who will be interviewed by Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates later this week.