What to watch for at the NAACP's convention in Boston — and events the public can attend

Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia, center, takes a selfie with Councilor Kendra Lara, left, and NAACP Branch president Tanisha Sullivan.  (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia, center, takes a selfie with Councilor Kendra Lara, left, and NAACP Branch president Tanisha Sullivan. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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Get ready for our first potential heat wave of the year. If it doesn’t hit 90 today, it almost definitely will Thursday and Friday. But that’s not the only thing descending on Boston this week.

The NAACP’s national convention kicks off today at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). It’s the first time the NAACP has held its annual convention in Boston since 1982, and thousands of people are traveling from across the country for the five-day gathering, including speakers like Vice President Kamala Harris and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. To get an inside look at what’s in store, our daily podcast The Common spoke to Tanisha Sullivan, the president of NAACP’s Boston branch. Here’s what she thinks you should know:

  • What is a convention exactly? At its core, the convention is the NAACP’s business meeting, according to Sullivan. The primary purpose is to get NAACP members and branches from around the country together to vote on the organization’s policy positions and board members — not to mention network with each other.
  • New this year: the NAACP is introducing a new concept called The Hub. Running Friday through Sunday at the BCEC, The Hub will host free public events like a block party, happy hour and a career summit, in addition to vendors and local sports legends. No prior registration required; Sullivan says you’ll just be asked for minimal information, like name and email. “We try to make sure that we are finding ways to include the community we’re meeting in,” she said.
  • What she’s looking forward to: At every convention, there’s a national competition called ACT-SO. It features Black high schoolers competing in everything from dance to computer science to cooking to physics. “It is absolutely wonderful,” Sullivan, a former participant herself, said. The competitions are on Thursday, followed by a public awards ceremony Saturday.
  • Why has it taken so long for the convention to return to Boston? First, the city — and its hotel rates — are expensive. But the second is Boston’s “reputation for racism,” according to Sullivan. In 1982, Boston was still feeling the friction over busing in the 1970s. “There was so much racial tension and racial strife, the Association did take its time,” Sullivan said. “We have an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves.”
  • Links you can use: You can check out the NAACP convention’s full schedule here, along with the star-studded speakers list.
  • Listen: Radio Boston previews what to watch for during — and after — the convention with John Borders IV, Boston’s tourism, sports and entertainment director.

Boston has a new city councilor: Sharon Durkan. The 32-year-old political staffer won yesterday’s special election to replace former District 8 councilor Kenzie Bok with 70% of the vote.

  • What’s next: Durkan will represent the district — which includes Beacon Hill, Back Bay and Fenway — through at least the end of the year. But she’ll have to win again this fall to serve a full term. Both Durkan and second-place finisher Montez Haywood have qualified for the November ballot.
  • In other Boston City Council news: District 7 Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson will pay a $5,000 civil penalty for violating a state conflict of interest law by hiring her sister and son for jobs on her office’s staff. It’s the latest embarrassment for a Council that’s been mired by recent discord and personal blunders.

Marblehead is banning the use of gas-powered leaf blowers between Memorial Day to Labor Day, so residents will have to rake their yards (or at least use an electric leaf blower) during the summer.

  • The big picture: A small but growing group of Massachusetts communities have similarly (and often controversially) restricted gas leaf blowers due to their noise, emissions and negative health effects — including Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and Somerville. Lexington also plans to ban them in 2026.

Boston officials have suspended the food and liquor licenses of Monica’s Trattoria, effectively shutting down the North End restaurant after one of its owners was arrested for allegedly shooting at another man on Hanover Street (hitting Modern Pastry instead).

  • WCVB reports the Boston Board of Licensing voted 3-0 in favor of the temporary-but-indefinite suspension. Monica’s attorney says it could put them out of business for good.

P.S.— Radio Boston listeners, we want to hear from you! What do you like (or not like) about the show? What do you want to hear more of? Take this survey and help shape the programming you listen to each day. And as always, thank you for listening!


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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