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The Boston Society of Vulcans strives to be the most trusted and effective community-based, non-profit organization devoted to the recruitment of minorities into the fire service, education of at-risk populations in prevention awareness, and contribution of charitable services.
Founded in 1969, the Boston Society of Vulcans of Massachusetts (Vulcan Society) (an organization of Black and Latino firefighters) is a community-based non-profit organization comprised of Boston firefighters and local civilians who work together to empower urban Boston residents to pursue public safety careers and to promote knowledge and safety skills through prevention education programs and resources. Our goals are met through a focus on four key objectives:
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Activist groups are demanding Mayor Martin J. Walsh bring more minorities to a fire department that is over 70 percent white — a figure mayoral challenger Tito Jackson quickly pounced on.
“I am very troubled and disappointed, but not surprised, by the findings of the Lawyer’s Committee that under Mayor Walsh diversity in the Boston Fire Department has actually become worse, not better, despite his promises,” Jackson said in a statement, adding he would create a chief diversity officer exclusively for the fire department.
A spokeswoman for Walsh said the mayor has “been working towards a BFD that better reflects the population of the city it protects and serves.”
The Boston Society of Vulcans, a black firefighter advocacy group, and the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice sent Walsh and fire Commissioner Joseph Finn a letter yesterday calling for a meeting with both men and for the department to improve diversity in its ranks. A spokesman for Finn said the commissioner was out of state at a conference and had not seen the letter.
The letter says departments that do not use available options to diversify their workforces could be open to lawsuits, and Vulcans Vice President Darrell Higginbottom would not rule out that possibility.
“A lawsuit is an option,” Higginbottom said. “The mayor often cites goals of diversifying city government; I hope we can work together before coming to a lawsuit.”
Walsh has cited increased diversity at City Hall during his time as mayor, but only nine black firefighters — 5 percent of total hires — have joined the fire department during his tenure, while 157 white firefighters account for 88 percent of new recruits.
The letter calls for Walsh and Finn to create a cadet program for the fire department, involve the Vulcans in the hiring process, recruit and promote employees that will encourage minority outreach and extend the residency preference requirement from one to three years.
BOSTON - A group of Boston firefighters say there isn't enough diversity in the ranks and they're calling on Mayor Walsh to act.
According to Walsh's office 84 percent of the firefighters hired during his administration are white, something the Boston Society of Vulcans and Lawyers Committee for Economic Justice say is unacceptable.
“We have one of the largest public safety agencies in the City of Boston here that simply does not reflect the community that it's serving,” Sophia Hall from Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said.
Darnell Higginbottom is the president of the Boston Vulcans, representing firefighters of color.
"How does that make you feel to not see hires that look like you are me? I know the opportunity it presented to me and other people before me,” he said.
The Vulcans and the Lawyers Committee sent Mayor Walsh a letter Thursday asking his office “to extend a residency requirement for applicants who live in Boston neighborhoods, create a cadet program, tap people with specific skills, and implement better training for working in communities of color.”
Walsh said he is being targeted unfairly, pointing out the Boston Fire Department now has the first ever office of diversity and he's working with lawmakers on the residency requirement issue.
"By pointing me out is completing wrong. It's posturing,” he said.
Walsh also said department veterans have preference for promotions by law.
“There's veterans' preference in the city, they're veterans' preference in the state, and there's veterans' in this country. So I think the Vulcans; they haven't spoken to me about this, and they know, the people who wrote that letter know the challenges we have as a city,” Walsh said.
Mayor Walsh also said the work being done with the office of veterans affairs to recruit armed services veterans of color to the take the civil service exam.
Congratulations to both Julia Santos (Brookline H.S.) and Cydni S. Burton (Bedford H.S.) who are selected for the 2014 Lloyd Phillips, Raymond E. Moss Jr., & Robert Powell Firefighter Memorial Scholarship Award. Julia is attending Westfield State University and Cydni is attending Spelman College.
Special thanks to retiree Walter Townsend's wife Lydia Townsend who is a retired educator and volunteered to lead the selection Committee. The awardees were chosen from a pool of highly qualified candidates.
President Rayshawn Johnson & V.P. Darrell Higginbottom
w/Julia Santos (Brookline H.S.)
President Rayshawn Johnson & V.P. Darrell Higginbottom
w/Cydni S. Burton (Bedford H.S.)
As an organization of firefighters and with heavy hearts, we join in mourning the loss of our brothers, Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Mike Kennedy. The thoughts and prayers of the Boston Society of Vulcans are with the families of Ed and Mike as well as with our other injured brothers from the Beacon St. fire and their families.
Boston Firefighters Local 718 has established a memorial fund at the Boston Firefighters Credit Union. The proceeds will benefit the families of our fallen brothers. Donations may be made to the following: Lieutenant Walsh-Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund, c/o Boston Firefighters Credit Union, 60 Hallet Street, Dorchester, Ma. 02124, Or By VISA or MASTERCARD at the web site of the credit union: www.bosfirecu.com