Racial Equity & Boston’s Workforce, Past, Present & Future

THU, MAY 25, 2023

SkillWorks, a collaborative workforce funding initiative under The Boston Foundation, presents a public forum exploring the past and present-day challenges facing Boston’s Black labor force. Topics are grounded in Dr. Jacqueline Jones’ latest book, No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era, a historical account of black workers and the barriers they faced finding employment in progressive Boston.
What do these accounts have to teach us today?

+ BIO: Jacqueline Jones

Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History Emerita at the University of Texas
Jacqueline Jones is the Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women’s History Emerita at the University of Texas at Austin, where she served as Director of Graduate Studies from 2010 to 2014 and Chair of the History Department from 2014 to 2020. She also taught at Wellesley College and Brandeis University. Her fields of study include U. S. labor, urban, southern, African American, and women’s history. She is the co-author of a U. S. history survey textbook and the author of ten books in history; two of them were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in History: Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women and the Family from Slavery to the Present (1985; rev. ed. 2009) and A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America (2013). Among the many other awards for her work are the Bancroft Prize in American History; a MacArthur Fellowship (1999-2004); the Taft Prize in Labor History; finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize; honorable mention for the Lincoln Prize; and fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, and SSRC. In 2021 she served as president of the American Historical Association.

+ BIO: Willie Bodrick, II, J.D., M. Div.

Willie Bodrick, II, J.D., M. Div brings extensive executive leadership and a personal and professional commitment to social and economic justice and the Roxbury community to his role as President and CEO of TACC. His accomplishments span social and community development, healthcare, law, politics, and human development at the international level. Born and raised in Atlanta, Willie was inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the history of the Civil Rights Movement; he is committed to continuing the legacy of creating a beloved community and balancing the scales of justice. Willie holds a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School. In 2020, Willie graduated from Northeastern University School of Law receiving a J.D. degree. In May 2022, Willie received an honorary Doctorate of Community Service from Northeastern University. Prior to joining TACC, Willie worked at Brown Rudnick, LLP, and Senior Advisor for the successful 2020 Ed Markey Campaign for the U.S. Senate, and as the Outreach Coordinator in the Community Engagement Division of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Maura Healey.

Concurrently, Willie serves as the Senior Pastor of the Historic Twelfth Baptist Church (TBC) and is an outspoken advocate for social and economic justice. At TBC, Willie successfully led the 182-year-old church through profound challenges created by the pandemic, partnering with Boston Medical Center to establish a vaccination clinic at TBC that vaccinated 2,500 people and leading efforts to feed over 15,000 residents in 2021 through the food pantry and special programming.
Actively engaged in the community of Roxbury, City of Boston, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Willie holds multiple leadership positions including President of the Boston Network for Black Student Achievement, member of the Boston Public Schools Opportunity and Achievement Gap Taskforce, Board of Directors of Massachusetts Advocates for Children, member of the Boston Medical Center Accelerator Community Advisory Committee, Co-Founder of the Forward Fund, The Boston Foundation’s Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery Advisory Committee, and Board of Advisors of the Roxbury YMCA.

+ BIO: Jerrell Cox

Jerrell’s journey at USES started in 1994 when he and his two older brothers attended their first summer at Camp Hale. Each summer, he returned to camp, taking on more responsibilities, serving in various important roles in the camp community, and developing the foundation of his leadership. In 2003, Jerrell bridged his connection to USES and began working part-time as a group leader in the After School Program (ASP), now known as club48. Jerrell was promoted to Lead Group Leader and Assistant Preschool teacher within a year, serving in both core programs during the school year and going to Camp Hale in the summer. Within three years, he became the After School Site Coordinator and, in 2009, was promoted to Out of School Time Director, managing the ASP and Camp Hale programs. Jerrell served as the Camp Hale Director for the next ten years, leading the organization’s flagship program through an ambitious growth phase that included developing a girls’ program in a historically all-boys camp. From 2012 to 2018, he successfully implemented a program model that equaled the dosage for girls and boys, providing access to summer opportunities for over 220 youth.

Additionally, he launched a capital campaign to match the program site to the quality of services provided. Over the course of 2 years, he secured $5.6 M for capital improvements to Camp Hale, ensuring the camp’s legacy for the next 100 years. In 2020, Jerrell was promoted to Vice President of Development and External Relations, where he secured the resources needed to provide innovative, top-quality programming to children and their families. Now, as Chief Executive Officer, Jerrell sets the vision and strategy for positioning United South End Settlements as the preeminent community-based organization in the Boston area. Jerrell is passionate about youth work and supporting people in reaching their full potential. He is an inspirational, charismatic leader, connector, and fearless advocate for social justice.

+ BIO: Kaitlyn Bean

Kaitlyn Bean has nearly 10 years of experience in workforce development, spending the majority of that time as part of a team of two managing the SkillWorks workforce development funder collaborative and strategy at The Boston Foundation. Kaitlyn is currently the Deputy Director of SkillWorks, managing the SkillWorks annual grant portfolio and relationships with key partners and stakeholders. Kaitlyn also represents SkillWorks on various external partnerships and coalitions, including the Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium, Tech Hire Boston, Workforce Solutions Group and the National Skills Coalition’s SkillSPAN initiative.

Kaitlyn began her career in workforce development at Root Cause, as a social innovation researcher focused on best practices in youth and adult workforce development. She graduated from Northeastern University with a Dual Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs.

+ BIO: Phillip Martin

Phillip Martin, senior investigative reporter for The WGBH News Center for Investigative Reporting, is a multi-award winning journalist. Honors include the 2019 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, the National Society of Professional Journalists 2017 Sigma Delta Chi award for Best Investigative Reporting and the 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Investigative Reporting. He is also the recipient of the 2013 New York Festivals Gold Award and the 2013 United Nations UNDPI Gold Award. He was part of a team of reporters that was honored in 2002 with a George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. He has received numerous other journalism and civic engagement honors over the course of his career including AP, NABJ, regional Edward R. Murrow, AAJA, Rueban Salazar, Gabriel, Prized Pieces, PRNDI, Harry Chapin and Clarion awards. WGBH also awarded Phillip one of its highest honors, the Margret and Hans Rey Producer of the Year Award (2011-2012).

Phillip was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and most recently a Pulitzer-Center grantee (2018). He has also received fellowships from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the U.S. Japan Media Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and the Poynter Institute. He is the recipient of two major Ford Foundation grants and reporting grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Paul Robeson Fund. Phillip earned a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and studied international protection of human rights law at Harvard Law School as well as journalism at the University of California at Berkeley in the Program for Minority Journalists.

Phillip hosted the highly praised podcast, Heat and Light, produced by The Conversation about key events that shaped the year 1998. He worked as a supervising senior editor for NPR from 2003 to 2006 and was NPR’s first national race-relations correspondent from 1998 to 2001. He was executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions, a nonprofit public radio journalism project that he developed “dedicated to exploring issues that divide and unite society”. His Color Initiative, an occasional series of reports about the global impact of skin color, aired on The World from 2007 to 2010.

He is a contributing reporter to PRI’s The World, a co-production of WGBH, the BBC, PRX and PRI; a program, which he helped develop as a senior producer in 1995 and Phillip is an advisory board member for the Groundtruth Project and the Economic Hardship Project.

Boston Foundation