Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat, recently asserted that the shutdown of a Walgreens store in the Boston region was linked to racial discrimination. Pressley, a member of the progressive faction within the Democratic Party referred to as “The Squad,” accused the Illinois-headquartered company of engaging in economic and racial bias by closing a pharmacy in the Roxbury neighborhood, which is notable for its diverse minority populations.
In her address, Pressley remarked that the closure was indicative of a broader pattern of neglecting economically vulnerable individuals. She highlighted Warren Street in Roxbury as a community predominantly comprising Latino and Black residents, with approximately 85 percent of its population falling into these demographics.
The congresswoman emphasized that when Walgreens exits a neighborhood, it disrupts entire communities, depriving them not only of employment opportunities but also essential items such as life-saving medications, asthma inhalers, and even infant formula.
In an official statement, Walgreens clarified that the closure of the Roxbury pharmacy stemmed from multiple factors, including inadequate reimbursement rates, low prescription demand, and operational expenses. The company acknowledged that while it was a challenging choice to make, it was essential due to Walgreens’ financial viability.
During her address, Pressley further asserted that the company’s rhetoric regarding underserved communities, equity, and healthcare fell short. She remarked that despite being a multi-billion-dollar corporation, Walgreens needed to cease disinvesting from brown and black communities and instead take tangible actions to support these areas.
In contrast to her statements, Pressley faced considerable backlash on social media, with many accusing her of hypocrisy on the matter. Kevin Smith, the host of the “Loud Majority Live” podcast, was among those who argued that the congresswoman should advocate for her associates to abstain from theft as a means to dissuade the company from leaving the area.
Another prominent voice on Twitter, former Overstock CEO and chairman Patrick Byrne, lambasted Pressley, suggesting that her support for defunding the police played a role in the company’s decision to depart the neighborhood.