MEDIA ADVISORY August 31, 2023
BOSTON DESEGREGATION AND BUSING INITIATIVE TO LAUNCH TWO-YEAR INITIATIVE TO COMMEMORATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF FEDERAL COURT ORDER TO INTEGRATE BOSTON’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The Group Will Outline a Series of Forums, Exhibits and Conversations to Address What Happened, What Lessons Were Learned, and What’s Next
(Boston, Mass.) - On Thursday, September 7th at 10:30, the Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative (BDBI), a group of more than three dozen community leaders and activists, will be hosting a press conference at the Massachusetts State House in Room 428 to launch a two-year series of events to look back at Boston’s busing crisis in the 70’s and assess the racial and educational challenges the city and its public schools still face.
The press conference can be seen via Zoom at this link: https://masshist.zoom.us/j/85354903843
Next June marks the 50th anniversary of the federal court order to desegregate the Boston Public Schools, which led to the controversial implementation of busing in the city. The Initiative involves dozens of state and city leaders, community activists, educators and people who lived the experience, and will include a series of five forums, exhibits of photos and documents covering five distinct periods from 1960-1980. BDBI has partnered with the Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, Embrace Boston, and the Archives at Northeastern, UMass Boston, City of Boston, Facing History and Ourselves and the MA Historical Society to bring these events to students and residents of Boston. These events will serve to educate the city on one of the most impactful periods of Boston’s history, in addition to giving opportunities to voice what is needed now to improve Boston and its schools. WHO: Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative Members
● Lyda Peters, PhD., who worked for 25 years on desegregation and education equity with Ruth Batson, one of the great leaders of the community’s fight for educational equity in the 1960’s.
● Leola Hampton, who was bused to South Boston High School September 1974
● Ira Jackson, who has served in a wide range of leadership positions in the public, private, academic and nonprofit sectors, and was Mayor Kevin White’s Chief of Staff during the busing crisis.
● Bob Monahan, who is now President of the South Boston Association of Non-Profits, and was involved in protests against busing.
● Lew Finfer, Co-Chair, Director of MA Action for Justice.
● Karilyn Crockett, Co-Chair, MIT Professor, former Chief of Equity for Mayor Walsh.
Many other Boston community leaders will also be on hand. WHAT: The beginning of a multi-year series of events designed to remember, examine, and teach about the desegregation of Boston Public Schools and busing.
WHERE: Massachusetts State House Room 428
WHEN: Thursday, September 7th
About the Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative
The Boston Desegregation and Busing Initiative (BDBI) is a committee of more than three dozen members, many of whom were BPS teachers, students and community leaders during the busing crisis. The Initiative seeks to educate the public and students about the history of desegregation and busing in the city as the crisis approaches its 50th anniversary in June 2024. BDBI is partnering with the Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, Embrace Boston, Freedom House, the South Boston Association of Non-Profits, the Archives at Northeastern University, UMass Boston, City of Boston, GBH, and Facing History and Ourselves.