Roca responds to comments made at DA Candidates FORUM
District Attorneys have an incredible impact on the young people in our community, especially on the young people who are involved in the criminal justice system. For that reason, Roca is thrilled that the race to Suffolk County District Attorney is attracting our community’s attention.
Roca does not take sides in political campaigns and will never endorse candidates. In fact, with a former staff member in the campaign, we’re working even harder than normal to avoid any involvement in this race. Unfortunately, at a recent debate in Chelsea, incorrect data about Roca and the diversity of our organization’s staff was referenced and included in media coverage so we feel compelled to respond.
Roca started in Chelsea in 1988 and has grown to serve 21 communities across Massachusetts and, as of this month, the City of Baltimore, Maryland. In the past year alone, we have served 1,054 young people, 93 percent of whom were young people of color. Regardless of race and ethnicity, it is a privilege to know them and be part of their lives.
Over the years, we deliberately and consistently worked to grow local leaders and learn from our community. For example, one of our senior directors joined Roca as a participant, later became a staff member, and eventually led all the development of our performance-based management system, a process that made him one of the leading experts in the country.
He’s not alone. We had numerous leadership members from incredibly diverse backgrounds, who have made and continue to make Roca the special and successful organization that it is today.
We are proud to be a diverse organization. Currently, 71 of our 113 staff members (63 percent) are people of color. Among our management teams – middle management, senior management, and the executive team – 54 percent are people of color.
We believe that being transparent and clear are the best ways to see where we excel and where we need to improve. Roca’s executive team includes 20 percent people of color, a figure we know we can improve upon, and our senior management is 50 percent people of color. We are particularly proud of our middle management team, which includes 63 percent people of color, and we have invested a great deal in their work in the past year so they have the skills to grow their leadership within the organization.
Chelsea continues to be the source of Roca’s innovations. Our high-risk young mothers program, which was also developed in Chelsea, was recently expanded to Western Massachusetts, and our flagship high-risk young men program recently expanded to Baltimore, Maryland.
Having spent the past 30 years serving Chelsea, one of the most diverse communities in Massachusetts, we know that diversity is and always will be a tremendous asset for Roca and the young people we serve. We have no doubt that the next District Attorney can play a key role in helping young people in our community transform their lives, and we will be looking forward to meeting with the elected District Attorney this fall and partner with them for the years to come.
Roca Executive Director