BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday was the first meeting of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Black Empowerment.

Governor Maura Healey announced last week that she would be forming this council to hear from black leaders across the state. She officially launched the council by signing an executive order at Monday’s meeting.

The council will be responsible for advising the Governor and Lt. Governor Driscoll on issues related to prosperity and wellbeing of the Black community in Massachusetts. The purpose of the advisory council is to make sure the black community is properly represented in the state by reducing inequities and expanding opportunities.

“This isn’t a Boston issue, this is a Massachusetts opportunity, to just convene this group at a time like this where there is a significant amount of government subsidies, excess tax revenue, right? A social awakening. With all of those things we’re hoping the stars are aligned to continue to narrow opportunity divide,” said Tony Richards, who is serving as co-char of the council.

Members will include more than 30 black leaders in the state. Leaders represent everything from state government to advocacy groups, labor unions and religious groups.

Representing Western Massachusetts is Alfred Enchill, president of the Berkshire Black Economic Council, Representative Budd Williams, and executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority Denise Jordan.

Governor Healey also promised in her inaugural address that she would be conducting an equity audit on every state agency to break down systemic barriers.

The council will be going on listening ours throughout the entire state.