As Walgreens prepares to close a store in Boston’s crime-ridden Roxbury neighborhood, residents are outraged.
“This Walgreens is critical, not just to this community but the surrounding communities and the seniors,” said Rev. Miniard Culpepper during a Friday protest outside the pharmacy, according to WBZ-TV.
The store is scheduled to close on Jan. 31. The nearest Walgreens location that will remain for Roxbury residents is about a mile away.
Customer Lucille Culpepper-Jones, who is calling for the store to remain open, said she cannot visit the next-nearest Walgreens because she would not feel safe making that walk alone, according to The Boston Globe.
The store’s closure comes as retail theft is on the rise in many urban areas.
A study from the Council on Criminal Justice found that in Boston, shoplifting in June of last year was up 38 percent from June 2019. Theft in Roxbury is such that CrimeGrade.org gives the area an F grade.
In a statement to WBZ, Walgreens said, “When faced with the difficult decision to close a location, several factors are taken into account, including our existing footprint of stores, dynamics of the local market, and changes in the buying habits of our patients and customers, among other reasons.”
But former Boston NAACP president Michael Curry suggested that Roxbury residents deserve a Walgreens near them, regardless of profit or loss.
“The communities where they’re closing these pharmacies are communities where people are disparately impacted by disease — two or three times higher rates in cancer, diabetes, heart disease. … Life expectancy can be 15, 20 years less,” he said, according to a previous report from WBZ.
Walgreens is closing its 4th location in Boston in the black area of Roxbury, a neighborhood plagued by theft.
Residents are outraged and shocked.
Former NAACP president to stores: “Do what’s right for these communities and beyond just your bottom line” pic.twitter.com/tFSZYVQq9I
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) January 16, 2024
Culpepper agreed that the most vulnerable citizens are the biggest losers.
“What happens to our seniors and our single parents that have nowhere to get to a Walgreens or another pharmacy anywhere near their home? And so we think it’s insensitive — it’s unjust,” he said.
Culpepper attributed the store closure to corporate greed and said he thinks minority communities are “targeted” for closures because “they get no pushback. But they’re now getting pushback.”
With the new closing coming after three other Walgreens locations in the area were shut down in 2022, Curry questioned the company’s priorities.
“What is your obligation? What is your expectation as a corporate citizen to do what’s right for those communities beyond what’s right just for your bottom line?” he asked.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.