On February 1st, 2021 MPDC launched its 55th Anniversary!
We commemorated the day by launching the MT2T.org website for Madison’s Train 2 Trades initiative under the Workforce Diversity & Development Program. We also announced ‘Celebrating Black History Month,’ a series of performances from Hibernian Hall featuring local artists and honoring past & present leaders in the Black community. We will be honoring Black History Month all month long on our social media & website.
MT2T.org brings an interactive virtual classroom into people’s homes and builds their skills in the construction and building trades, which will create a larger pool of qualified, trained residents to meet Greater Boston’s growing demands construction industry. MPDC is aiming to position all projects, particularly in the Roxbury neighborhood, to exceed the demands of the Boston Residents Jobs Policy and to create future leaders within the construction industry. MPDC has adapted its Workforce Diversity & Development Program to an online platform for adult learners seeking opportunities to gain the essential skills needed for entry-level positions within Boston’s growing construction industry.
MPDC’s online learning platform, MT2T.org, offers self-paced video modules that will provide participants core competencies and basic knowledge in various vocational building skills, including Measuring & Marking, Introduction to Framing, and much more. Participants of MT2T will build their professional toolbox with accelerated online training and certifications necessary to enter the building trades industry. In April 2021, program participants will apply their online learning with corresponding in-person hands-on workshops hosted throughout Greater Boston. These hands-on workshops are taught by local tradespeople and MWBE contractors who are actively working to ensure that the Boston Residents Jobs Policy remains relevant now and in the future at 51% Boston Residents, 40% People of Color, and 12% Women on all local construction projects.
MPDC is eager to EMBRACE these future leaders in the construction & building trades field.
MPDC is observing Black History Month and, in honor of our 55th Anniversary, celebrating the legacy of leaders from Roxbury, MPDC, and beyond on our social media & website in February.
Michael E. Haynes (May 9, 1927 – September 12, 2019) was an American minister and politician in MA. He was pastor at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury from 1964 to 2004. His brother, C. Vincent Haynes, was a founding member of Madison Park Development Corporation in 1966 and continued to serve on the Board of Directors through the 1990s. MPDC’s Haynes House is named after Vincent Haynes. A few years ago, to honor the Haynes family’s legacy, MPDC established The Haynes Family Scholarship Program for those seeking college or vocational training.
Melnea Agnes Cass (June 16, 1896 – December 16, 1978) was an American community and civil rights activist. She was deeply involved in many community projects and volunteer groups in the South End and Roxbury neighborhoods and helped found the Boston local of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. She was active in the fight to desegregate Boston public schools, as a board member and as president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP. She was involved in women’s suffrage activities for the rest of her life. As a young woman, she attended William Monroe Trotter’s lectures and protest meetings. She received honorary doctorates from Northeastern University (June 15, 1969), Simmons College (May 15, 1971), and Boston College (1975). She is commemorated on the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail.
Charles Turner (June 10, 1940 – December 25, 2019) served ten years (2000-2010) as District 7 City Councilor representing Roxbury, first worked as an organizer for South End Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP), and was in Lower Roxbury in 1966 when Roxbury residents burned trash in Madison Park to protest the city’s disregard for the neighborhood. Thanks to Chuck and other community activists, this event elicited a massive gathering of local residents, signaling that Lower Roxbury bore significant grassroots power and scaring the city into cleaning up the park! Also, in the 1960s and early 1970s, Chuck helped MPDC fight urban renewal plans, gaining Boston Redevelopment Authority approvals to build housing at Madison Park Village. Chuck worked alongside MPDC staff since 2015. Chuck Turner was not afraid; he led an exceptional life working for equity, empowerment, and social justice.
HONORING COMMUNITY & BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Officer Kenneth H. Grubbs is a 35 year veteran of the Boston Police Department. Formerly assigned to the Boston Police Area B-2 Community Service Office, he is now assigned to the Bureau of Community Engagement as the Boston Police Housing Liaison engaging and collaborating with Tenant Task Forces and Associations throughout the City of Boston. After three years assigned to A-1, that eventual created District A-7 in East Boston, Officer Grubbs acknowledged the idea of Community Policing that was implemented by the police department. In addition to answering 9-1-1 calls, the idea of engaging with people in East Boston about their quality of life issues, dialogues with youth, and collaborations with courts and community agencies was a perfect policing strategy for him. As part of the Community Policing Initiative Officer Grubbs requested and was reassigned as a Youth Service Officer in which he provided workshops and programs on Gang and Drug Abuse Awareness and Prevention to thousands of youth throughout the city in a 20 year period of his career. Some of those additional activities included Fishing Trips, PAL (Police Activities League) basketball leagues, Amusement Parks, Cooking Classes, A Day at the Movies, Bowling, Junior Police Academy (youth 7-12 yrs old) week-long summer program, employment opportunities for youth to become interns and peer leaders working for the Boston Police Department and a special spotlight story with NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on how the use of a marked Boston Police Ice Cream Truck can help on improving community relations. Today, Officer Grubbs uses his experience and his passion to continue helping to make Boston the Best City in The Country for the Youth and for all who reside and visits this City.
Pauline Sheridan is Roxbury history, living on Shawmut Avenue. She came into this world on June 20, 1932. She grew up on Holland Street in a triple-decker with a Native American family and an Irish family. Pauline recalls “I grew up with all different nationalities and I learned so much. We’re all God’s children, that’s how I grew up.” Ms. Sheridan attended Boston Public Schools’ Roxbury Memorial High School, Henry Lee Higginson, and the Lewis School. Pauline’s first job was with Melnea Cass as an outreach worker in the Lower Roxbury neighborhood. She was hired to do outreach in Lenox, Camden, and Orchard Park. Sent from the Urban League as a volunteer in the court system, Pauline was then hired as a probation officer in the Roxbury area. She also worked with Mayor Menino to support seniors, at the Smith House Social Services for 15 years, and as a youth worker in the community. Although she retired at 65, she has been doing more work since! Over 15 years ago, Pauline began a walking group that started with one and over time grew. This group of senior walkers deemed themselves the “Jolly Walkers”. While many of the original walkers are no longer here physically, Pauline is still leading the Jolly Walkers with those in the community who are interested and able. She also leads a senior fitness class weekly and has been a Peer Health Leader for over 10 years!
The musical talent and jazz acumen of vocalist and music director Fulani Haynes has electrified audiences in clubs, cabarets, theaters, and other performance venues in the Boston area for more than four decades. Her depth of musical and theatrical experience has given Fulani a rich foundation to draw upon in performances and collaborations with noted recording artists like Frank Wilkins, Patricia Adams, Hakim Law, and Mike Shea, and in performances for regular folks and nonprofit organizations in her own community. Fulani’s creative drive inspired her own production company, And the Beat Goes On. She performs solo and with Sisters In Harmony, a three-woman historical jazz group who sing and transform themselves into the personas of female jazz artists of the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s. Fulani also sings regionally with Four, a trio of well-known jazz musicians. Fulani teaches the heritage of jazz in performances in Boston and around the country, where she sometimes leads the audience in impromptu scat sessions. A lifelong resident of Boston, Fulani developed a program for children called “Jazz-A-Ma-Toot-Toot for the Boston Public Schools and various community organizations. This program teaches young people about the rich musical contributions that African American women have made world-wide, and the dues they paid as they paved the way for entertainers today. Fulani has also enjoyed a stellar acting career through her work in Black Nativity, Roxbury Outreach Shakespeare Experience, Black Folks Theater, Middle Passage, The Strand, and Erlick Theaters, The Wheelock Family Theater, several one-woman shows, and in television commercials.
EMBRACING PROMISE & CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Black Market and Madison Park Development Corporation team up to set a precedential model in Nubian Square that mitigates the displacement of Black Artisans, Artists, and Activists
Photo credits: BLM Street Mural- Tiesha “Tizzy Tokyo” Pough
BLM Street Mural Artists: “Mar”, “Square Dot” and Christopher Grant (Curation: Black Market)
BLM Letter curation: I am Kreyol, Joelle Jean-Fontaine
Instagram: @simplyoutstanding @thesarkingroup
Black Market and Madison Park Development Corporation are excited to announce a unique partnership to purchase the building located at 2136 Washington Street with technical support from the City of Boston.
The acquisition of this property is part of a broader vision of self-sufficiency for Roxbury, where local ownership directly blocks speculation and displacement and ensures future development that will focus on investments in businesses, art, and culture in our community. Property ownership represents a key strategy that results in sustainable economic development and builds equity that directly addresses the wealth gap in our community.
Christopher and Kai Grant are long-time residents and local entrepreneurs who have been leading the charge of infusing cultural energy into their community in hopes that a new crop of Entrepreneurs will emerge from the City of Boston’s geographical center: Roxbury. The couple launched a business model, cooperative in nature, called Black Market in June 2017 with a mission to reignite the creative economy in Nubian Square. Since its launch, over 350 hundred aspiring micro-business Founders and over 40,000 Supporters have cycled through Black Market’s signature Marketplace and Public Art events in the Nubian Square commercial district. The couple’s main goal has been to provide a launchpad for Artisans, Artists, and Activists inside the City of Boston’s most struggling Main Streets defining Nubian Square as a destination.
The 1700 sq. Ft. space has been the District’s hub for sharing ideas, cultural events, art creation, and exchange of goods driving the local ecosystem. It is considered by many to be a meeting ground and safe space for interactions that inspire the community to conjure up the big ideas that could potentially transform the surrounding Nubian Square neighborhoods and help close the $247,500 wealth gap.
“We are both humbled and proud to partner with MPDC and set a precedential model in Nubian Square that mitigates the displacement of not only Black Market, but also for the extremely gifted Community of Black Artisans, Artists, and Activists its’ platform has served while fulfilling its’ mission to reignite Roxbury’s creative economy,” remarks Kai Grant, Owner + Chief Curator, BMN.
“As we celebrate the 55th anniversary of our founding, it is incredibly meaningful to be fulfilling our mission through a unique relationship with an organization like Black Market. Chris and Kai’s ability to be the change they want to see directly honors the legacy of our founders’ vision for a community-owned and built by its residents,” Leslie Reid MPDC CEO reflects.
This year, Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) marks 55 years since its founding. MPDC was born out of both an innovative vision for the future and necessity during an era in which the Roxbury community faced unprecedented challenges grounded in racial and economic injustices.
As one of the very first community development corporations in the nation, MPDC has accomplished a great deal- building and preserving over 1300 units of high-quality, affordable housing; restoring Hibernian Hall, now a local leader in bringing arts and culture, particularly work from artists of color to Greater Boston audience; creating and growing our now robust Community Action department, which brings a diverse range of programs and resources to hundreds of residents and community members each year; and most recently, the creation of the Dewitt Center in the heart of Madison Park Village, which has quickly become the site of high quality, multigenerational programs, and a vibrant community gathering space.
Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”
The symbol is based on a mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backward. Thus, the Akan believe the past serves as a guide for planning the future. To the Akan, it is this wisdom in learning from the past which ensures a strong future. The Akans believe that there must be movement and new learning as time passes. As this forward march proceeds, the knowledge of the past must never be forgotten.
Photo credits: Roxbury Love Story Mural (MLK and Coretta King)- Afrocentered Media
Roxbury Love Story Mural Artists: Geo Ortega and Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs (Curation: Black Market)
Producer: Melnea Cass Residents/Urbanica, Inc
Photo credits: Afro-Indigenous Arts & Healing Festival- Jay Pix
Afro-Indigenous Arts & Healing Festival Artist credits: (upon request)
Malachi serves as the Mobile Enterprise Manager for the City of Boston’s Office of Economic Development. In this role, he manages mobile businesses and guides them through the permitting process, and oversees the food truck program. Growing up in Boston, Malachi discovered his desire to publicly address issues affecting low-income communities through grassroots organizing at an early age. Eventually, his eagerness to uplift and advance the needs of his community significantly grew. He’s worked with Prisoners Legal Services, providing free legal aid for those incarcerated within Massachusetts prisons and jails. Also, he offered assistance to those of the First Suffolk district in Boston while working in the Office of State Senator Nick Collins. Malachi graduated from Northeastern University, earning his B.A. in Political Science & Communication Studies. He is recognized for his advocacy and leadership through the El Mundo Boston, “Latino 30 Under 30 Award,” Festival Puertorriqueño de Massachusetts Inc., “Youth Advocate Award,” and RegiJames Productions “Leadership Excellence Award.” He’s currently a board member of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, The City of Boston Scholarship Fund, and The Leadership Brainery. It is through these diverse efforts that Malachi is committed to youth development, criminal justice reform, and economic development. In what is only the beginning of his professional life, Malachi has already established himself as an experienced advocate for youth development and mentorship.
Jumaane Kendrick, a Roxbury native, is the Director of Programs and Partnerships of MissionSAFE – a community diversion program created to divert youth from the school to prison pipeline and the Founder of Beyond The Block Youth Solutions Inc. a nonprofit youth entrepreneurship and mentorship organization that engages young people to be both accountable for their actions and capable of finding their abilities to make change and find success in their lives. He has earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration at Lasell College in Newton, MA, and an undergrad degree in Business Management at Bays State College of Boston. In addition, Jumaane was a gang interrupter with Ten Point Coalition mediating battles between rival gangs, and a Coordinator at The Violence Intervention Advocacy Program who provides support and resources to all gunshot and stab wound victims who enter Boston Medical Center’s Emergency room providing trauma response support and resources to help survivors recover emotionally, mentally, and physically to live healthy lives. Jumaane is described as an “exemplar of forgiveness” and is the definition of resiliency and overcoming adversity from being a high school dropout, ex-offender, ex-gang leader, and a survivor of street violence. Today Jumaane has successfully transitioned from the “streets to the boardroom” and decided that his life wasn’t going to end on the sidewalk or in a life prison sentence. Jumaane committed to preserving the lives of his friends and himself, but with a lack of opportunity in his neighborhood, while childhood friends dying daily he set out to put in end to preventing himself and others from losing any more friends to street violence Jumaane started Lasell Denim & Co. a clothing and production company in remembrance of his friend Terrance Lasell Jacobs who was killed in 2009. Jumaane’s focuses were on occupying his friend’s time and provide a safe place to be to prevent further retaliation or incarceration. Through his efforts, several of his friends created their own companies, went off to college, found career paths, or have left the streets in the past. As a result, of his exceptional work around community violence, mentoring, and gang mediation he was recognized and honored in 2012 by The Philanthropic Initiative and awarded the Boston Neighborhood Fellows Unsung Hero Award for being a change agent.