If you’re reading this letter, it’s most likely because you have been and are essential to the success of the Boston Busing Desegregation Project (BBDP) and its parent organization, Union of Minority Neighborhoods. Your stories, your time, your critical feedback, your donations, your love and support, your knowledge. All of it has allowed the project to resonate wider and more deeply than the small group that started it imagined possible. Over the life of the project, BBDP has:
- Created an acclaimed film on Boston’s busing/desegregation legacy
- Held gatherings with over 3000 people throughout the Greater Boston region to introduce or reintroduce them to Boston’s desegregation history
- Interviewed dozens of residents who experienced Boston’s desegregation firsthand
- Held circles in communities and organizations to hear their stories of desegregation in Boston and throughout the country
- Worked with coalitions and organizations to attempt to raise awareness of links between race and class history and current issues in public education
- Worked with elected officials to move past fear and hold the city’s first City Hall acknowledgment of the anniversary of the Morgan v Hennigan (aka Garrity) decision
- Created original resources used by citizens, educators, and media to use this history
- Presented project findings about race and class equity, democratic access and demanding excellence of public institution at conferences and training sessions.
At this pivotal time for the nation, this work needs all of us to go forward. Your donation, anything you can give, is critical to the BBDP’s pursuit of Truth, Learning, and Change locally and nationally.
In the coming year, BBDP will be expanding our work around race and class equity, democratic access and demanding excellence. Your donation this season will help us dig deeper into the wisdom of your stories and of our histories. It will help us learn more and take appropriate action as we continue to ask the questions we’ve heard from you, such as:
- Whose story is it and how do we navigate the power differences that allow a master narrative to continue to reassert itself and drown out more marginalized stories?
- Whose city is it when longtime residents and communities are displaced by “luxury” condos and cookie cutter high rises?
- Is it about racism or is it about class and how do we attain the race and class literacy that can help us escape that either/or choice?
- What is excellence when access to it is such a function of privilege?
Too often still, the race and class dynamics at work in Boston and the nation are unnoticed, misunderstood or concealed due to untested assumptions, unexamined behavior, and coded language. The BBDP report, Unfinished Business: 7 Questions, 7 Lessons, was written in order to bring these questions to the fore. The lessons they offer can help tap more diverse resources for addressing the systemic challenges the questions expose.
Unfinished Business is the product of four years of listening and learning. Hearing each other’s stories. Bearing witness to our wounds and our hopes. It is also our road map forward. We can join our stories and our histories to transform Boston into a city that honors the need to speak honestly about the realities of the color line and concentrated wealth. And work together to change those realities.
We do not know what we are capable of unless we are open with ourselves and to each other. This was just as true in 1954 or 1974 as it is today. Please make your donation to this work. Our financial resources are limited but with your support we can continue to build on the work we’ve done together.
P.S. Please make checks payable to Union of Minority Neighborhoods. Or donate online (click here).
P.P.S. BBDP has had the gift of wonderful leadership from UMN staff and former staff/interns and the following who’ve given countless hours of volunteer support: Ann Moritz, Barbara Lewis, Ceasar McDowell, Chris Gallagher, Curdina Hill, Darren Kew, David Knight, Emily Berg, Francis Roache, Gail Burton, Horace FX Small, Jacqui Lindsay, Joan Lancourt, Jose Lopez, Kevin Davis, LaDawn Strickland, Leola Hampton, Marlene Fine, Meghan Doran, Nancy Griffin, Paula Elliott, Rachel Antonsen, Robbie McCauley, Rosa Hunter, Sherry Brooks Roberts, Becky Shuster, Sue Karant, Tom Louie, Trina Jackson, Sharlene Cochrane. What a group!!
P.P.P.S.If you haven’t already, please check out Unfinished Business