Members of the progressive group known as “the Squad” tend to make outrageous claims regarding various topics. This time, one of them alleges that Walgreens is guilty of racial discrimination. On Tuesday, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) made the ridiculous allegation after learning that one of the Boston Walgreens was closing its doors.
The Walgreens, which is in Roxbury, is in one of Boston’s low-income neighborhoods. Pressley stated that the closure was due to the area’s ethnic makeup, which is 85% Black and Latino. The pharmacy chain closed three other stores in the Boston area in 2022.
Pressley stood before Congress to address the closure and demand answers from Walgreens CEO Tim Wentworth.
“This closure is a part of a larger trend of abandoning low-income communities like the previous closures in Mattapan and Hyde Park,” both in her district, said Pressley.
“When a Walgreens leaves a neighborhood, they disrupt the entire community,” she continued. “And they take with them baby formula, diapers, asthma inhalers, life-saving medications and, of course, jobs.
.@Walgreens' closures of pharmacies in Roxbury, Mattapan & Hyde Park are not arbitrary or innocent.
They are disruptive, life-threatening acts of racial & economic discrimination.
As a multi-billion-dollar corporation, they must stop divesting from Black & brown communities. pic.twitter.com/iSvhFWw8Bl
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) January 31, 2024
While she went on about abandoning the neighborhood, Pressley failed to mention the factors behind Walgreens decision. According to Crime Grade, Roxbury’s crime rate is significantly high. In the neighborhood where the Walgreens is located, a crime is committed every 3 hours and 26 minutes.
“Your chance of being a victim of theft in Roxbury may be as high as 1 in 29 in the northwest neighborhoods,” the analysis read.
Walgreens is one of many national chains that reported seeing a significant increase in shoplifting in recent years. Theft has gotten so out of hand in some locations until products are put under lock and key, such as in San Francisco.
Pressley was not alone in her criticism of the pharmacy giant. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with the representative, sent a letter to Wentworth earlier last month demanding that he keep the store open.
A spokesperson for Walgreens released a statement saying that it was a “difficult decision” to close the Roxbury location and that it was due to the “operating environment” and “financial performance.”
After looking at the statistics, no one can blame the company for wanting to protect its assets. If Pressley and her colleagues felt so strongly about keeping Walgreens in the area, they should address the community and try to create tougher legislation to combat crime that plagues the neighborhood.