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Salem creates task force to work on racial equity

Salem has created a broad-based task force to help the city devise strategies for achieving greater racial equity in the community.

The 24-member Race Equity Task Force includes elected and appointed city officials, local legislators, leaders of nonprofit institutions, and organizers of recent marches and actions in the community protesting police brutality and racial injustice.

The group will be chaired by Salem resident Shawn Newton, associate dean of students at Suffolk University and executive director of Urban Echo, a Salem-based social justice organization. The task force will review city policies, services, and ordinances, as well as other systems and practices in the community, and develop recommendations for short and long-term ways to eliminate racial inequities.


An immediate and central focus will be an examination of the Police Department’s policies, opportunities to strengthen connections between the department and communities of color in the city, and the potential creation of a civilian review board.

John Laidler can be reached at