The July 7, 2011 Bay State Banner article, “Boston playing host to more minority conventions” was right on target and there is more to the story. The effort began long before the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
In 2000, shortly after construction began on the new Boston Convention Center, I convened the first meeting of “10 by 05” bringing together Massachusetts leaders of various business, professional, civil rights, fraternity and sorority organizations. The goal of the effort was to ensure that some of the substantial state dollars committed by the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau would be spent targeting organizations of color to convention in Boston.
Our initial goal was to get commitments from at least 10 organizations to host their regional or national conventions in Boston by 2005 — hence “10 by 05.” We hosted a breakfast for National Urban League President Mark Morial to pitch Boston with the able assistance of Richard Taylor, Ken Guscott and Bruce Bolling. Palmer Doiley and Ralph Browne put on the full court press for the big conference.
We got big results early. The National Black MBAs, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity held conferences in Boston. Pat Moscaritolo and Jim Rooney were early supporters and demonstrated their total commitment early on with the hiring of Michael Munn to serve as our point person in the effort.
We soon changed the effort to “10 by 10” when we reached the first goal so quickly. We hit a bump in 2006 when we lost the tight race to host UNITY when officials learned the Massachusetts still had a law on the books dating back to the 1600s making it unlawful for Native Americans to be caught within the boundaries of the City of Boston after dark. Though we moved swiftly to erase it from the books (I filed a bill which was heard by committee, passed the Legislature and signed by the governor in a record 14 days!) the damage was done and we lost the bid. We need to go back and try again.
Early supporters like the Banner, Carole Copeland Thomas, Linda Monteiro, Pat Moscaritolo and Jim Rooney had the foresight to get on board early and more importantly, to recognize the enormous economic boost Boston would receive in hosting such events. Having the history is important and we can see the future for Boston in increasing its numbers of major conventions of people of color is simply good business.
The Bay State Banner’s July 28, 2011 edition was THE BEST publication I’ve read in my 50 years of living. So much U.S. history, African American history, packed with a wicked amount of data, statistics, on where we came from, how we got here, where we stand today and even a fresh perspective from the main African American civil rights organizations.
You even included a recent meeting with the president of the United States with those civil rights leaders where he was reminded of our plight and given recommendations.
This issue had me underlining history, information, stats and even some ideas to implement!