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Walmart in Boston: Yay or nay?

Unless youÂ've been living under a rock in Boston, you must have heard about the recent controversy surrounding WalmartÂ's attempt to open up a store in the Beantown, specifically in Roxbury. Well, now youÂ'll have the chance to voice your opinion. Tonight, the "We Want Good Jobs Coalition" is hosting a Community Forum on the topic at the Dudley Library. "Nationally, Walmart has launched a campaign to break into urban communities," said the organizers in a press release. "Their goal is to put 500 new stores in major metropolitan areas, like Boston, and they want one of those stores to be in Roxbury. Walmart claims they are bringing desperately needed jobs and groceries, but in reality they are bringing part-time, poverty-wage jobs, discrimination, displacement of other workers, and environmental issues." The meeting, according to the release, will focus on discussing how Walmart affects the community.

The forum, which is expected to draw community activists, elected officials, merchants, and area residents, will take place today, Thursday, September 22 at 6:00pm at the Dudley Library, 65 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA.

According to the press statement, Walmart has currently met opposition from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and many local organizations and elected officials who are concerned about WalmartÂ's record of below-average worker wages, discrimination and environmental impact. Similar opposition has grown in cities across the country as more communities show their support for Walmart associates as they strive for better working conditions and respect on the job.

"Walmart does not belong in Dudley Station, it does not belong in the Dudley triangle, and it does not belong in Roxbury, I believe it would have an adverse affect on businesses in that area Â-- businesses like A Nubian Notion, Tropical Foods, etc...which have been there through thick and thin. Walmart would put them out of business, and IÂ'm not for that. ItÂ's nice that they want to move in now that the city is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into new projects, but where were they 20 years ago when Dudley was a food desert? Where were they even 10 years ago?" said District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson.

"They're trying to divide and conquer, and to buy some of our leaders, We know deep down that Walmart wants to come here full-fledged; that's why we're putting forward an educational effort Â-- because some people still think this is good news." said Jobs With Justice organizer Jean-Claude Sanon, who is helping to put together tonightÂ's event.

For more information, contact Sanon at (617) 839-7191, e-mail: [email protected] or Edwin Argueta at (617) 335-9501, [email protected].

DONÂ'T MISS: Related coverage from our sister publication, the Boston Phoenix: In the Shadow of Walmart