Demographics shift suddenly at the intersection of Roxbury and the South End and the racial boundaries in Boston become clear. In Roxbury, Black Bostonians still live within the redlined boundaries set by the Home Owner's Loan Corporation established in the 1930s which codified racist policies and de facto segregation.Financially, this set Black Bostonian's back generations. The Boston Globe reported in 2017 the household median net worth of Black Bostonians was $8. White households had a median net worth of $247,500.
Today, where many Black Bostonians chose to live may not be up to them. The South End is rapidly gentrifying and will continue to do so. Northeastern University causes anxiety in Lower Roxbury with each expansion and influx of students.That's why community engagement and reinvestment is the core mission of many groups found in both neighborhoods.
Roxbury and the South End are two different, changing neighborhoods with fascinating stories. What's better are the people.
The opioid epidemic has converged most notably around Boston Medical Center. Here people seeks both treatment and the highs that are the cause of the opioid epidemic.
Tucked away against the Massachusetts Ave. connector to I-93 is the Suffolk County House of Correction . Heroin, meth, and other drug abuse now take place on the same street wherein the Summer of 2019 the assault of a corrections officer led to the city's crackdown. The police appeared to target low-level crimes and persons with substance use disorder forcing many out of the South End. 'Where do we go?' became a common question.
Atkinson St., where the summer assault took place and the location of the county jail, is also home to part of Mayor Walsh's Mass/Cass 2.0 plan. There, a fenced-in, open-faced tent that has no permanent running water or electricity provides coffee and snacks from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday. The Engagement Center has centralized where people go to meet. Across the connector bridge, there is a community. The City has tried to force it out of the South End and into Boston's no man's land.
Technically, this is South Boston. I-93 and the rail yard buffer the neighborhood. One block west is Roxbury. North is the South End.Like the neighborhoods, three City Council districts come together at Boston Medical Center. It's a part of Boston where representation is mixed and a responsibility few want to claim.
After George Floyd died under then-Officer Derek Chauvin's knee in Minneapolis, continuous marches for social equality and police reform began in Boston and across the nation. Almost all of these marches within city limits began or ended in Roxbury, at Nubian Square. Nearly all march east or west through the South End.
Despite battling both the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic at at once, non-profits and communitiy organizations help to ease some of the burdens the South End and Roxbury face.
Faith is found and practiced in a diverse multitude of ways in the South End and Roxbury, representing the people who live there.