Harriet Tubman Forum on Race and Education

WED, JAN 18, 2017 (1:45:58)

Throughout the presidential race of 2016 and in the weeks that have followed the election, turmoil has broken out in cities across the country, sparking critical conversations about racial inequality and the deep divisions that exist in our society. The products of institutionalized racism—police brutality, mass incarceration, gentrification, separate and unequal schools, and an ever-growing wealth gap between Black and White Americans—cause pain and frustration for many in our South End/Lower Roxbury community and throughout Greater Boston.

Now approaching our 125th anniversary, United South End Settlements’ philosophy of “neighbors helping neighbors” has taken on new meaning: our community has transformed from a predominantly low-income, immigrant community to the neighborhood with the greatest wealth disparity in Boston. Micro-segregation in the South End prevents neighbors from building bridges across differences and creating an inclusive community.

To bring this reality into the light and open up a community-wide dialogue, USES President & CEO Maicharia Weir Lytle will host and moderate the Harriet Tubman Forum on Race and Education.

Photo: City of Boston Archives/Flickr

+ BIO: Marie St. Fleur

Marie P. St. Fleur is a former Massachusetts State Representative who represented the Fifth Suffolk district from 1999-2011. Her district consisted of parts of the Boston neighborhoods Dorchester and Roxbury.

St. Fleur joined non-profit research and advocacy organization Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children in November 2013. Ms. St. Fleur comes to her new position after a long career in public service, where she was known as a tireless advocate on behalf of children and families. Her new role allows her to use her experience as an attorney, legislator, and senior leader in municipal government to support grassroots research on early education and the care system, advocate for change, and expand outreach and engagement of families, providers, policymakers, and government agencies and the public in support of this sector.

Ms. St. Fleur was appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino on June 13, 2010, as the Chief of Advocacy and Strategic Investment for the City of Boston. In that capacity, Ms. St. Fleur led the Mayor Menino Circle of Promise Initiative and oversaw the Department of Intergovernmental Relations, The Office of New Bostonians, The Small and Local Business/Boston Jobs For Boston Residents Policy, and his Diversity and Reentry Initiatives.

+ BIO: Rahn Dorsey

Dorsey Rahn is Boston’s first-ever Chief of Education appointed by Mayor Walsh in September 2014. His charge is to set a strategic agenda for the city to improve the quality of instruction and student support across Boston’s educational ecosystem and better integrate school, community and work-based learning opportunities. Since 2009, Rahn Dorsey served at the Barr Foundation as Evaluation Director, leading development and implementation of data monitoring and evaluation frameworks for Barr’s investments. Prior to Barr, Rahn gained over 15 years of experience as a program evaluator and researcher with Moore and Associates and Abt Associates.

+ BIO: Robert Lewis Jr.

Thirty four years ago, Robert Lewis, Jr. formed a youth baseball team in the South End called the Boston Astros, with a belief that baseball could be a powerful vehicle to teach young men values and life skills such as the importance of teamwork, motivation, resiliency, and respect both on and off the playing field.

Since then, Robert has emerged as a nationally recognized thought leader, public speaker and passionate advocate for urban youth and along the way, has led his Astros to be recognized as Triple Crown Sports ‘2012 Team of the Year’ from a field of 40,000, the Triple Crown Sports ‘2013 US National Baseball Champions’, and transformed the lives of more than 8,000 Boston Astros players and alumni. His latest initiative, The BASE, builds on the success of the Boston Astros model to provide players with superior baseball coaching and training, and adds comprehensive academic and life skills training to ensure that every student athlete has a winning game plan for life.

Known as a bridge-builder between Boston’s diverse business, civic and public sectors, Robert has deep experience with community-based organizations throughout Greater Boston and has held important roles such as Executive Director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, President of NCCJ, and City Year’s SVP of national operations. Most recently Robert was Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation where he was chief architect of two important initiatives: StreetSafe Boston with a mission to dramatically reduce gun violence in the city by working directly with known offenders in the neighborhoods; and CHAMPS Boston which promotes positive youth development through sports.

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