Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., denounced the closure of a Walgreens in Boston as an act of "racial and economic discrimination," the Daily Mail reported.
With the closing of the Walgreens in Roxbury on Wednesday, Pressley, a member of the progressive group known as "the Squad," said that the pharmacy chain was "abandoning" low-income communities.
Walgreens announced the closure of approximately 200 stores nationwide last year due to what the company called "rampant theft."
In a speech on the House floor Tuesday, Pressley said the "closures are not arbitrary and they are not innocent."
"They are life-threatening acts of racial and economic discrimination," she said, according to the Mail. "That is why I joined with [Massachusetts] Senators [Ed] Markey and [Elizabeth] Warren to demand answers from Walgreens' CEO."
"When a Walgreens leaves a neighborhood, they disrupt the entire community and they take with them baby formula, diapers, asthma inhalers, life-saving medications, and, of course, jobs," the congresswoman said.
She said the company's "talking points about health equity and underserved communities" on its website "is not enough."
"Walgreens is a multi-billion-dollar corporation that needs to put their money where their mouth is and stop divesting from Black and brown communities," she said.
Pressley also questioned why there was "no community input" or "adequate notice to customers" the closure was occurring.
"And no transition resources to prevent gaps in health care?" she said. "Shame on you, Walgreens."
The Roxbury Walgreens is reportedly the fourth store in Boston to close in just over a year. When the closure was announced, Walgreens said patient files would be transferred to the nearest open location, which is one mile away.
According to Best Neighborhood, Roxbury is a majority-minority neighborhood, where more than 30% of residents identify as Black. Boston.com reported that Walgreens also announced closures of stores in Hyde Park and Mattapan, which are both Black-majority communities.
The company said that local market dynamics and a change in buying habits are factors that are taken into consideration when making the decision to close a location.
Opponents of the Roxbury closure tried to convince the company to reconsider for weeks, but were ultimately unsuccessful and the location closed permanently on Wednesday.
A rise in crime has caused Walgreens to close stores across the country, especially in San Francisco, where the pharmacy chain has closed 17 of its 70 locations in the past two years because of widespread shoplifting.
Nicole Wells ✉
Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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